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17th cen­tury

The blun­der­buss took two forms: a muz­zle-load­ing firearm that is of­ten con­sid­ered to be an early form of shot­gun, and a hand­gun ver­sion known as a dragon. Both were par­tic­u­larly lethal when be­ing shot at close range and they be­came es­pe­cially pop­u­lar among those fight­ing at sea.

But the dragons were more widely used by troops on the ground due to their porta­bil­ity and star­tling blasts, so much so that the cav­al­ry­men who car­ried th­ese light­weight weapons be­came known as dra­goons.

Many early ver­sions of the blun­der­buss hand­gun were dec­o­rated with dragon carv­ings — hence why they were called dragons

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