The pischal had a smoothbore barrel and was fired from the shoulder, utilizing the matchlock mechanism. It differed from other matchlock firearms, like the arquebus, in that the flashpan was much larger, making it easier and faster to reload while also allowing a preloaded amount of black powder for a second shot. Also unlike the arquebus, the pischal was equipped with a front sight iron sight, making it comparatively more accurate. Usually a bardiche axe was used as its stabilizing mount.
- Length: 46 inches
- Weight: 8 lbs
- Caliber: .69 to .80
- Muzzle Velocity: 1155 fps
Matchlock firearms like the pischal were the first firearms to use a mechanism to facilitate the firing of the weapon, replacing earlier weapons like the Hand Cannon and marking the beginning of modern firearms. The matchlock first appeared in Europe in the mid-15th Century and remained common until the 1720's, when the widespread adoption of the Flintlock Musket rendered it obsolete (the wheellock mechanism that appeared before the flintlock was expensive and was never widely adopted by Europe's armies).
Ivan the Terrible was the first Tsar to adopt the musket into his army and modernized his forces for his many wars and conquests. Peter the Great would replace the Pischals with the Flintlock Muskets in the early 1700s; during his policies of modernizing the Russian Army.
The Pischal was pitted against the Arquebas of Hernán Cortes. The two firearms were put against three moving targets to test for accuracy and reload time. The pischal eliminated the three targets in two shots, killing the first two moving targets in one shot. Then the pischal was tested on a gel torso clad in Hernán Cortés's steel cuirass armor. It managed to pierce the steel cuirass armor, killing the target. The edge was given to the pischal for it's better accuracy, faster reload time and stabilizing mount in the Bardiche battle axe.
The Arquebus reloaded and shot in 56 seconds while the Pischal did this in 34 seconds; although this was due to the second preloaded chamber, the speed of a second reload for the Pischal was never shown.