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 By about 1850 flintlocks had been replaced by percussion locks.
Nations are facing a more guerilla-style warfare – even at sea, and the equipment must evolve to meet new demands. Enter the Sea Fighter. Learn about this experimental, high-speed, "invisible" ship.
This week, U.S. officials said they dispatched scientists in December to search for dirty bombs in five U.S. cities, after learning of possible New Year's Eve terrorist attacks. Learn all about these crude weapons.