Bows have been used since early human history for hunting and continue to be a viable hunting weapon in modern times. The bow, however, is unwieldy and takes skill to use effectively, and giving a weapon of that difficulty to an ordinary villager would be counterproductive without months of training.
These difficulties lead to the development of the crossbow, a weapon that functions like a bow, but can be aimed and fired by anyone that wields it. It takes substantially less time to train a crossbowmen then an archer, making hunting more accessible to the everyman and the Guild enjoyed a boom of new hunters to its ranks.
While the crossbow was in development, a new technology was emerging, gunpowder. With a mixture of Fire Herbs and Nitroshrooms, one can create a tool of immense power. The Guild quickly picked up the technology, seeing its potential in fighting off large monsters. Cannons were developed and installed at forts and along city walls for protection. A few pioneering hunters saw the power of the cannons and began strapping them to the stocks of their old crossbows, producing the first guns. Unwieldy, heavy, and a long reload time hampered these jerry-rigged weapons, but the power was all the hunters needed to know that their weapons would have success.
Reloading was an issue, taking over a minute of standing still, handling dangerous powders and heavy cannonballs made a gunner's life difficult to say the least. Looking for a solution, hunters began to prepackage their shots in bags that would simply slip down the barrel; making reloads slow, but not as slow as they once were. Purpose built guns were being developed, marketed as Hand Cannons, these guns featured smaller barrels, meaning less gunpowder and cannonballs a gunner had to carry. Hunters even began packaging shots into the once useless Huskberrys and Bone Husks.
Reloading was still an issue, having to manually load every shot was still too slow for most hunters in the heat of battle. A blacksmith on tour of one of the forts in the mountains designed to repel Lao-Shans noticed the mechanisms that the fort used for feeding cannonballs from the foundry to the wall and inspiration took hold. The smithy then went to his workshop and constructed the first feeding system for a gun. Initially being gravity feed, his test hunter nearly was killed when his gun didn't load and fire the next cartridge. The smith worked through the issue and, whether it was his nostalgia for old weapons or just using the resources he had lying in his shop, used a bow at the front to act as a spring force. The first Bowgun had just been crafted.
Like with the crossbow, the bowgun saw immediate success and a boom of new hunters filled the Guilds ranks. Seeing the inconsistent builds and technology used in Bowguns, the Guild decided to break the Bowguns into three categories, Light - single bodied weapons that were built for movement and speed, Heavy - double bodied folding guns made with power in mind, and the now phased out Medium - a hybrid gun made for power on a single body.
The Bowgun has become a staple weapon for hunters. With a wide variety of ammunition types that can be loaded, gunners have become a force to be reckoned with in the world of the Monster Hunter