Originally Posted by corrado26
The safety catch at the Hessian and the Austrian pistol have to be activated by hand but fell off by their weight when the cocks were pulled back into the firing position.
Thank you, Udo, for alerting me to an interesting point. In looking at your images again I see that these catches have what appear to me a stud to help the fingers engage the device, and they are in general of a sufficient shape and mass which allow gravity to disengage them while the weapon is being fully cocked. So, a semi-automatic safety of sorts -- manual activation, but self-disengagement.
In this important respect they differ from the Portuguese version, which is simply a small pivoting "wing" whose edge engages the foot of the cock. Its design does not appear to utilize gravity to disengage during cocking; on the two examples that I have, which are on good-quality Liège-made Portuguese locks in unused condition, the action of these devices is quite stiff due to tight manufacturing tolerances. If the pivot becomes sufficiently loose through normal use and wear, the brake could conceivably swing away during cocking if the muzzle of the gun were pointed downward during the process, but to me this would be a chancy and clumsy procedure.
(for convenience I attach an image again below)
The design seen on your Hessian and Austrian locks appears to be a lot more sophisticated than either the Portuguese brake or the early dog locks, and I can now understand the rationale behind the revival of the concept, at least for some cavalry weapons.