Disclaimer: These pages are not intended as a complete course in gun safety and are not a substitute for formal, qualified instruction in the handling, use, or storage of firearms. The guidelines herein should be considered options to minimize the chance of an accident occurring in the home.
Types of Guns
Pistols and long guns are the two basic types of firearms. Revolvers and semi-automatics are the most common types of pistols. Rifles and shotguns are the most common types of long guns.
The Action of a firearm refers to the group of moving parts used to load, fire, and unload a gun. The action identifies the type of gun.
Opened using a life and pull motion. Bolt actions have a box magazine or a tubular magazine to feed cartridges.
Operated with a pumping motion. Opened by pulling the fore-end of the gun to the rear and closed by pushing it back into its original position.
Opened by moving a release lever to one side and moving the barrel(s) down. Hinge actions do not use magazines.
Opened by pulling the lever down and away from the stock. Closed by returning the lever to the original position.
Lever actions can have a tubular magazine or a box magazine.
Opened by pulling the bolt handle straight back to the rear. Semi-automatics can have tubular or box magazines.
A revolver is a pistol with a revolving cylinder that holds the cartridges in individual chambers. The cylinder turns lining up a chamber with the barrel and firing pin each time the hammer moves to the rear. The hammer falling causes the firing pin to strike and fire the cartridge. Revolvers can be single or double action.
Only one action is preformed by the trigger. The hammer must be cocked with the thumb and is released by pulling the trigger.
The trigger performs two functions. When pulled, it cocks and releases the hammer. Many double actions can also be operated as a single action by cocking the hammer with the thumb.
This is a pistol that has only one chamber positioned at the rear of the barrel. A magazine holds the cartridges. The slide of the pistol moves backward, ejecting the empty case and pulls another cartridge up from the magazine as it moves forward.
Muzzleloaders do not use cartridges. They are loaded by pouring black powder into the barrel and inserting a cloth patch and lead ball into the barrel on top of the powder charge. They are available in long guns and pistols.
Always refer to manufacturer's instructions for safe and proper handling of any firearm.