If you stop me on the street and ask me what a frizzen is, I can tell you.For the past two days I’ve been working on a scene in which a character of the 18th century who has never fired a gun before needs to learn to fire a flintlock pistol (not a rifle; those things are big and heavy and she’s a small woman, and can’t lift one and hold it steady enough to hit a target).

How I’ve written so many scenes in which characters draw, brandish, fire, and feed their families with flintlock rifles or muskets and never known exactly how the mechanics of said firearms work is beyond me. But I’ve got it now. Thanks to this site:

How Stuff Works: Flintlocks 

So in case you ever need to know, there you go. There are video clips provided of the firing mechanisms at work.

Click here to see and hear the action of the frizzen.

Click here to see and hear the action of the hammer.

Click here to see and hear the gun fire.

Research is such a kick. So are flintlocks. So keep those pistols steady, and those rifles braced tight to your shoulder!

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