The large, flared muzzle did not improve the scatter of the shot used, but was more useful for ease of loading when in the heat of battle, especially on the deck of a rocking ship or climbing around in the rigging.Like mainstream weapons of the day, the blunderbuss was fired using a flintlock mechanism.Unlike the many muskets, carbines and pistols used throughout history, the blunderbuss was a fast and loose weapon.
It had a short stock, but was usually fired from the hip, as it is too short to fire from the shoulder.
Sometimes referred to as a "naval" blunderbuss or "pirate" blunderbuss, they were actually in use on land as well.
Naval and merchant ships carried them for protection, to repel boarders such as pirates, who used them also, for the opposite purpose.
They would then board forcefully using axes, pistols, cutlasses, pikes and other weapons in addition to the blunderbuss.
One of a pirate's best weapons was their reputation.