After its invention, an aggressive marketing campaign was initiated to sell them with slogans like "Protect yourself!" advertising its use to defend oneself from bandits and brigands. It became so popular that ironically most bandits could be counted on to have one as well, which fuelled further sales.
In The Witcher computer game
During the quest The Final Trial, if Garelt shoots at a flock of harpies and lands several shots, Lambert will comment that he 'needs to get a Gabriel like Garelt', confirming that the Witcher is in possession of one. Later in the game, the Professor wields a miniature wrist-mounted crossbow, which is more than likely one of these weapons.