Matchlock Gun from Japan

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A slow-burn revolution

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This is the matchlock of the gun. This type of firearm was developed around the middle of the 15th century. Because of its innovative ignition mechanism, it revolutionized the world of firearms.

Matchlock guns are fired by way of a constantly lit match in the form of a long, slowly burning rope which is attached to a lever called the serpentine. In the case of the design of this matchlock, of Indo-European style, the pulling of the trigger will release a spring, which in turn will cause the serpentine to snap into the flash pan, which is a small pan placed outside the barrel connected to its inner area through a small hole. The flash pan is filled with finely ground gun powder, known as priming powder, which ignites when in contact with the lit match. Consequently, the flash of flame will travel through the small hole and ignite the main charge of gun powder inside the barrel, propelling the bullet.

This firing mechanism relieved the soldiers from having to apply the lit match to the flash pan by hand by simply pulling the trigger instead. This enabled them to keep both hands on the gun...and even more importantly, both eyes on their target!