The lock of a firearm is the firing mechanism used to ignite the propellant. Types of lock include matchlock, wheellock, snaplock, snaphance, miquelet lock, doglock, flintlock, modern caplock/percussion cap, and experimental electronic types. Parts of the lock can include the serpentine (for matchlocks), wheel (for wheellocks), cock and frizzen (for flintlocks) or the hammer (for caplocks). A complete muzzleloader consists of lock, stock, and barrel.
Locks are typically spoken of when it comes to firearms which use loose ball and powder, and not to metallic cartridge breech-loading firearms, which are all percussion-based. In breech-loading weapons, the general mechanism for handling ammunition is known as the firearm action.
- Pennsylvania Archaeologist. 36–40. Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. 1966. p. 13.
- Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Vol.1, p. 375, C. Knight, 1833.