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Monday Continuing Education Series Part 1

I'm starting a new weekly firearms education post for those who want to learn about handguns. A new post will be made here every Monday morning.

This week we can begin with the 4 basic parts of any handgun. Every handgun has a: (1) Frame This is what all other components are attached to. Frames may be steel, polymer, aluminum, or alloys. Steel frames are heavier and less comfortable to carry concealed, but the added mass reduces felt recoil when firing. The grip (not the handle) is part of the frame; (2) Barrel (where the bullet comes out of the gun when fired). The barrel has a muzzle and a breech. It is loaded at the breech and the bullet is expelled from the muzzle. The barrel is always steel as it has to handle extreme pressures. (3) Magazine. The magazine (not a clip) is where ammunition is stored in the pistol. (a clip is actually a device used to load a magazine, it is not the magazine itself. The terms are not the same thing) This may be a fixed (rare) or removable magazine or a rotating cylinder (as in a revolver). In the picture below we see an example of the cylinder type magazine. Referred to as a cylinder on revolver type pistols, it is actually the magazine on a revolver because this is where ammunition is stored. In the case of the revolver, the cylinder is also part of the action because it moves during the firing sequence. (4) Action; the action is a group of moving parts. It includes various springs, the trigger, and a firing mechanism such as a hammer and firing pin, a striker, etc. If it moves, it's part of the action.

While many other parts have names (such as the trigger, hammer, slide, sights, etc.) they are all components of one of the four basic parts above. Next week we'll discuss ammunition components and begin to see how it all comes together.

Feel free to ask questions, but please limit them to the discussion of the week.

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