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The percussion cap, or percussion primer, was introduced in the early 1820s. It is a single-use ignition device for a muzzle loaded firearm with a caplock mechanism. The caps themselves are relatively small, brass or copper cups, about the size of a kernel of corn, filled with a tiny amount of a shock-sensitive explosive. They were carried in a cap pouch attached to the rifleman’s waist belt. The pouch had two flaps; one for securing the pouch cup shut and the other, for protecting the caps. This second or “shield flap” had a billowy, fleece or wool patch secured to it which sat inside thecup keeping moisture out and the caps in.