Flintlock, a firing mechanism used on early firearms. It was first used on muskets about 1650, later on pistols. The cock, or hammer, of the flintlock held a piece of flint which, when the trigger was pulled, struck a piece of steel and caused sparks to fly. The sparks ignited a small priming charge of powder in a pan, which was uncovered as the flint struck the steel. The fire flashed through a touchhole, exploding the main powder charge and discharging the ball (bullet). By about 1850 flintlocks had been replaced by percussion locks.
The successes of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero during the first six months of World War II stunned Western observers. Its dominance was frightening, but soon surpassed. Learn about the rise and fall of the A6M Zero, and its unique design specifications.
The Supermarine Spitfire was continuously improved throughout World War II, with 22,000 Spitfires produced. The Spitfire fought successfully in every theater of the war. See specifications for the Spitfire and read how this heroic airplane developed.