Let’s oversimplify and lump things into categories. Ever since the dawn of mankind people have used tools to do things. Cutting down a tree presumably would start with not cutting but rather breaking a tree down bare handed. Using a club of some sort to break the tree seems a logical next step, it could at least break branches to use for various purposes. Some sort of axe would come along next followed by simple saws, then in very recent times crosscut saws and chainsaws. Each step seems to trade in some physical labor for efficiency by using energy more precisely until we hit a practical limit and then we switch to using technology to provide the bulk of the energy in the form of a gasoline chainsaw. In a meat gathering scenario it seems that we start as scavengers finding our food then progress to driving animals to their death, then on to clubs then knives then spears, atlatl, vertical bow, crossbow, then again to technology providing the bulk of the energy when we get firearms. Defensive weapons seem to follow a very utilitarian trend as people simply used what tools they had available, but again in the specific purpose built defense tool we start with fists, then clubs, on to blades and eventually firearms using gunpowder to provide the bulk of the energy. Since then the trend is to smaller tools and more capacity. So there’s a general trend that all things seem to follow. We have hit a point in history where suddenly we are using technology for more things than not. Realistically everything about firearms is highly antiquated technology because the major breakthroughs all happened a hundred years ago or more. The common trends we see in other tools in life seem likely to be applied to firearms. So where do we go from here? Energy weapons are a thing of science fiction but are also becoming real life stuff. Where else do we go? We have pretty well gotten the potential out of guns as we know them.