Flintlock firearms were really a logical development from matchlock & wheellock guns. The big issue with matchlocks was lighting & keeping the match (a slow burning cord) alight & with wheellocks the problem of jamming or seizing up.
The flintlock worked on the longstanding method of making fire by striking a flint against steel to create a spark. It had an arm (the lock) which held a reusable piece of flint between two jaws, when the trigger was pulled the spring impelled arm holding the flint struck against struck the steel (called a frizzen) creating a spark which ignited the priming powder that had been placed in the pan on the side of the barrel, this in turn ignited the main charge via a small port in the breech of the weapon.
With practice a flintlock musket could be loaded in 15 to 20 seconds & a good quality flint would fire many shots.
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