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Percussion Locks (also called “caplocks”) replaced the flintlock in the early 1800s. Early percussion locks used priming compounds inside a metallic foil cap placed over the vent hole. When the hammer strikes the cap, the resulting flame ignites the powder inside the barrel. The percussion cap also paved the way to the self-contained ammunition we have today.

Percussion lock parts

Revolvers were the next advance. In 1835, a series of percussion locks and barrels were arranged on a rotating wheel (cylinder) to allow a rapid succession of shots. With a single hammer and trigger, multiple shots could be fired without reloading—a repeating firearm.