Old English wæpen "instrument of fighting and defense, sword," also "penis," from Proto-Germanic *wēipna- (source also of Old Saxon wapan, Old Norse vapn, Danish vaaben, Old Frisian wepin, Middle Dutch wapen, Old High German wafan, German Waffe "weapon"), a word of unknown origin with no cognates outside Germanic; possibly a substratum word.
"self-acting, moving or acting on its own," 1812 (automatical is from 1580s; automatous from 1640s), from Greek automatos of persons "acting of one's own will;" of things "self-moving, self-acting," used of the gates of Olympus and the tripods of Hephaestus (also "without apparent cause, by accident"), from autos "self" (see auto-) + matos "thinking, animated" (from PIE root *men- (1) "to think").
Of involuntary animal or human actions, from 1748, first used in this sense by English physician and philosopher David Hartley. The meaning "done by self-acting machinery" is by 1850. In reference to a type of firearm, from 1877; specifically of machinery that imitates human-directed action from 1940.
1902, "automatic weapon," from automatic (adj.). The meaning "motorized vehicle with automatic transmission" is from 1949.
type of German automatic pistol, 1904, from the surname of Georg Luger (1849-1923), Austrian-born firearms expert.