an edge and point weapon, in the form of a short sword or spike or knife, designed to be attached to the muzzle of a rifle. The earliest plug bayonets employed a wooden dowel that was inserted into a musket bore. This type of mounting, of course is not optimal.

Later, in the eighteenth century other types of bayonet were developed that connected with the gun either with rings or with a socket-and-stud system. The latter type was due to S├ębastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the prince of military engineers.

As the rate of fire of military firearms increased, the usefulness of the bayonet in combat decreased, relegating it to a role of last ditch weapon for desperate situations. In fact, in modern military weapons the bayonet turned into a large knife (often with a serrated edge), a handgrip and some means of affixing it to the barrel - or even an entrenchment tool. There is also a debate in military circles about the usefulness of bayonet drill: some people believe that in modern wars the type of direct, man-to-man engagament where bayonets are useful will be more and more unlikely.