The matchlock was an early mechanism invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon's flash pan and made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon and both eyes on the target. They were used from 1450 to 1680. A disadvantage to the matchlock was the tell-tale glow, or the smell from the burning slow match, in itself a hazard in proximity to gunpowder.
How to Fire a Pirate Matchlock Musket