Mid 18th century French flintlock pistol.
The very first true flintlock firearm was developed by Frenchman Marin le Bourgeoys who designed it for King Louis VIII. Flintlock muskets, pistols and rifles were the mainstay of every European and American army from 1660 to 1840.
The flintlock design was initially a smooth bore long gun, or musket. The flintlock design allowed for more variations of weapons and so many short barreled pistol designs and shotgun designs were developed. Flintlock pistols were commonly used by officers on sailing ships and some armies as well. The blunderbuss shotgun designs were more common with sailors and pirates. Some were even designed to fire ropes from one ship to the other. However, the most intuitive design during the flintlock period affected firearms in an incredibly revolutionary way.