Developed in the 15th century the matchlock was the first really practical firearm. Whilst not perfect & affected by such things as wind & rain its mechanical firing device gave the user far more control. An S shaped arm called a serpentine held a match which once lit was operated by a trigger mechanism. When pulled the trigger would lower the serpentine which would then ignite 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 gun.
One of the obvious problems with the matchlock was getting the slow burning match which was basically a cord soaked in a chemical solution to light then keep it alight. Usually both ends would be lit using a tinder box, striking sparks & kindling which was time consuming & potentially disastrous should the user need to relight in the heat of battle.
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