One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small amount of explosive powder contained in metal or paper and exploded by striking. Percussion caps are used chiefly in toy guns and formerly in some firearms.
- ‘The trigger detonates a pre-loaded percussion cap which both blasts the projectile out the front of the launcher and ignites the rocket.’
- ‘In 1915 a Belgian company designed a grenade which contained a spring-loaded striker, percussion cap, fuse and detonator.’
- ‘The hammer fell, hitting the percussion cap at the base of the cartridge: the cordite charge ignited, accelerating the bullet to over 600 meters a second (something I remembered from my school days).’
- ‘The first handgun appeared with a wrought iron forged barrel in the 15th century, then came the matchlock in the 15th century, the wheel-lock and flintlock in the 16th century, and the percussion cap arriving early in the 19th century.’
- ‘With the introduction of the percussion cap in 1822, and the conical Mini rifle-bullet in 1849, the infantry attack column was doomed, as the Russians found out to their cost in the Crimean war.’
percussion cap/pərˈkəSHən kap/
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