The pinfire cartridge was invented in 1823 by Casimir Lefaucheux. Even though the "lipfire" and "teatfire" cartridges were invented in the same period it was the first mass produced full metal cartridge. After the invention of the rimfire- and centerfire cartridges the pinfire cartridge soon lost its domination on the market. Below you'll find a section of a pinfire cartridge:


This picture clearly shows the brass pin resting on the fulminate in the cap. Rough treatment could easily result in a premature ignition of these cartridges. Remarkable is the minute quantity of black powder in these cartridges. Firearms loaded with this type of ammunition weren't very effective. Pinfire cartridges for handguns were available in many calibres: 2, 5, 7, 9, 12 and 15mm. Sometimes a clever gunsmith produced a gun in a different calibre to make sure his clients would keep coming back for ammunition. Pinfire cartridges were available with ball, shot and as blanks and were often used by cyclists who had to defend themselves on their velocipede against stray dogs and bumpkins. For this purpose sometimes cartridges were loaded with coarse salt. Below a picture depicting pinfire cartridges in 5, 7, 9 en 12 mm.