Huo nu liu xing jian 火弩流星箭, literally translated as ‘fire crossbow shooting star arrow’, was a disposable, dart-launching handgonne. It was made of of a bamboo tube wrapped in tendon, hemp, and iron wire, complete with glue and lacquer on top. It had a wooden handle that was reinforced with iron bands. The bamboo tube was loaded with gunpowder, a sabot 1 and ten poisoned darts. I was then sealed with paper and ready for use.
This type of weapon could of course be used by any type of soldier but we have some understanding that it was cached by stealth operators for defence in hot pursuit situations. 2
- Further reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabot_(firearms)
- ‘Hot pursuit’ situations are those where a stealth team had been compromised in some way and were being pursued.