Matchlock Firearms 4E (1400-1500)


February 25, 1525: Gunmen at the Battle of Pavia

After the age of Handgonnes came the Matchlocks in the 1400s.   The weapon has a lit fuse or “match” attached to a trigger mechanism on the weapon.  Pulling the trigger drops the burning match into the flash pan and the powder charge is ignited.

Matchlocks improve the previous manual ignition systems but maintain the smoothbore barrel.  Their weight can make them difficult to aim and the wielder must ensure that the burning match stays lit.  There can be a considerable delay between pulling the trigger and firing the projectile.  Matchlocks are the least expensive firearms to produce for soldiers which makes them relatively common even when newer firing mechanisms are still available.


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