The earliest firearm used in the colonies was the matchlock musket. An improved version of the matchlock, common in the 17th century, had a trigger separate from the sear that was protected by a metal guard. This feature continued to be required as the weapons changed over time.
These objects appear on archaeological sites but are recovered with a thick layer of iron corrosion nodules and can be mistaken for other types of metal straps. They may not be identified as gun parts until after careful cleaning and conservation. Trigger guards can be made in widely differing shapes, depending on the type of firearm, as well as exhibiting purely stylistic embellishments.
Click on images to learn more about each one.
Updated April 12, 2018