PETRONEL, a 16th or 17th century fire-arm, defined by R. Barret (Theorike and Practike of Modern Warres, 1598) as a " horseman's peece." It was the fire-arm which developed on the one hand into the pistol and on the other into the carbine. The name (Fr. petrinel for poitrinal) was given to the weapon either because it was fired with the butt resting against the chest (poitrine, Lat. pectus) or because it was carried slung from a belt across the chest.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)