Monday, April 19, 2010

The Snaphaunce

The next development from the snaplock was called the Snaphaunce. The origin of the name is believed to have come from Dutch Snap Haan which means "pecking cock". It was somewhat similar to the snaplock, but it borrowed one feature from the wheel-lock. Remember that we said, for the snaplock, one needed to open the firing pan's cover by hand before firing the weapon. With the snaphaunce, there was an additional mechanism connected to the trigger so that it would slide back the pan cover and expose the priming gunpowder automatically, as the trigger was pulled.

This meant that a person could walk around with a loaded weapon in damp conditions and keep the powder dry, as the pan cover would open just before the gun was about to be fired. These weapons were commonly used by thieves and highwaymen, as they were cheaper to manufacture than the wheel-lock, but didn't share the matchlock's weakness of having a fire lit at all times.

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