Handguns 101

Pistols and handguns

Owning and operating a handgun is awesome. They are some of the best-utilized firearm for defense and safety. Whether you are a seasoned firearm owner or someone who is just beginning to look into owning a firearm, there is always something that anyone can learn about operating a handgun. So here is a little crash course in handguns that you may find useful.

First, let’s take a look at some of the types of handguns that are currently on the market. Some of the most common types are:

  • Pistols

These have always been a very common type of handgun. The single-shot pistol dates back to the mid-1300s. Evolutions and modifications over the centuries have included double-barreled pistols, flare guns, and a wide variety of other handheld firearm.

  • Semi-automatics

This is also referred to as a closed-bolt firing system. These handguns can be fired in rapid succession – generally as fast as the operator can pull the trigger.

  • Revolvers

This is another type of pistol that is classified by its revolving chambers. This chamber enables ammunition to be cycled for rapid fire succession.

  • Derringers

These small pistols are designed with a large bore and are often utilized and most effective at close range. These are not ranged firearms, and accuracy greatly diminishes with any range.

Each of these firearms is made up of roughly the same anatomy. There are some universal components that comprise nearly every handgun. Some of these include:

  • Muzzle – this is the end of the barrel from which ammo exits the firearm.
  • Barrel – this is the tube through which gas expands to propel the ammo from the firearm at high velocity.
  • Frame – this is the part of the handgun that offers housing for the hammer and firing mechanism.
  • Slide – this is found on semi-automatic handguns and moves during the operating cycle where the firing pin/striker is typically stored. It serves as the bolt of the firearm.
  • Trigger Guard – this is the loop that surrounds the trigger protecting it from accidental discharge. It also serves as a resting place for a finger that should not be placed on the trigger.
  • Trigger – the trigger is the starting mechanism that initiates the firing sequence of a handgun.
  • Magazine (Chamber) – this is where ammunition is stored in the handgun.
  • Grip – this is the point where the hand holds the firearm in a vertical orientation. For handguns, this is also the hand that would operate the firearm.
  • Hammer – this is the place where the initial energy comes from to provide a source of energy to fire ammunition.
  • Safety – this is the device that is intended to help prevent the accidental discharge or firing of your handgun.

While the components are similar, the uses for a handgun differ. Some of the common uses include self-defense, hunting, target shooting, or competition shooting. Determining how you intend to use your handgun will help determine what type will be right for your purposes. It will also dictate what accessories you might need for your firearm. Handgun scopes can help target or competition shooters, while larger handgun magazines could benefit people looking to fire off more rounds in succession. That being said, there are many different types of people who use handguns. Law enforcement and service personnel are typically issued a handgun. Many people who cannot aim or handle the kick or recoil of high caliber handguns or rifles utilize pistols for self-defense. Many hunters carry a pistol with them in case a dangerous animal comes too close. Handguns really are a universal firearm that nearly everyone can find a need or a use for.

For anyone new to owning or operating a handgun, proper cleaning of your firearm is a must to maintain optimal performance. After rigorous exercises shooting on the range or out in the field, it is a good idea to clean and detail your firearm to keep all of its components functioning properly. As with all firearms, handguns have four important safety rules:

  • Treat every handgun as if it is loaded
  • Always point your handgun in a safe direction
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire
  • Do not pull the trigger unless you know your target and what is beyond your target

Enjoy continuing to learn about your firearm, be safe, and have fun shooting.

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Everything You Need to Know About Guns

Since its invention, the gun has been a staple of human society. Its use has changed the course of history. Guns have also undergone some major changes since the Chinese first developed gunpowder in the 9th century. Though there is centuries of information on firearms, that does not mean you can learn everything you need to know about guns. Whether you are an experienced gun owner, looking for guns for sale online, or just want to gain some more information about firearms in general, there is something that everyone can learn.

Types of Guns

The evolution and progression of the gun has led to many subcategories of firearms. Arms has a broad range that fit under that definition, and so does firearms. Some of the most common are:

  • Rifle

These firearms are designed to be fired from the shoulder. They have a barrel with a helical groove cut into the wall.

  • Shotgun

These firearms are designed to be fired from the shoulder. They discharge ammunition that is filled with small spherical pellets (shot) or solid projectiles known as slugs.

  • Musket

These are a large-caliber firearm that is muzzle-loading. These heavy smoothbore firearms are fired from the shoulder and were carried by infantrymen.

  • Handgun

These are firearms that can be held in one hand, most notably the pistol or revolver.

  • Artillery

These are firearms that can fire distances much greater than the typical range and power of shoulder- or hand-fired guns.

These are just a few of the most commonly seen firearms. There is still a wide variety of subcategories that comprise the entire spectrum of firearms.


Ammo is short for ammunition. This is the material that is fired from a gun. When dealing with a firearm, this term generally refers to shot, shrapnel, bullets, shells, cartridges, or slugs. It comes in a variety of different sizes for fit different calibers of firearms. Ammo can also come designed for specific purposes, including non-lethal and target, to name a couple. Commonly known as rounds, ammunition is held within magazines or loaded directly into the barrel of a gun before firing.

Firearm Accessories

For all the different varieties of firearms, there are equally as many accessories made for them. Scopes, rails, grips, suppressors – the list is nearly endless. They can improve firearms performance, increase ammunition carry capacity, or provide an aesthetic difference.


For firearms that can fire multiple shots in succession, the ammunition must be stored on the firearm so that it can be reloaded instantly. Most are detachable so that they can be reloaded. The main function of the magazine is to move cartridges into a position from which they can be loaded into the chamber of the firearm. A removable magazine is often referred to as a clip. They can range in carrying capacity depending on the firearm and bullet caliber.

Scope, Optics, & Mounts

Improving shooting accuracy is something that every marksmen needs or wants to do. An ideal way to do this is through the use of scopes, optics, and mounts commonly known as sights. These accessories assist with the aiming of a firearm, aligning a firearm, and viewing objects from a distance. Some also project a target or aiming point to show a detailed image of where your shot will make contact.


A pastime, a coming of age, and a way of putting food on the table, hunting is one of the major activities than involves the use of a firearm. Though it is not necessary to use a firearm – many hunters use bows or traps – they are commonly associated with the hunting world. Rifles are made to take down animals from as large as a rhino to as small as a squirrel. There is a vast difference between the two firearms, in large part because what will take down a rhino would obliterate a squirrel and what would successfully kill a squirrel would not do much damage to a rhino. Hunting firearms are as diverse as the animals that are our prey.

Range and Sport Shooting

Recreational shooting is one of the greatest pastimes for avid gun enthusiasts. There are numerous international competitions that showcase an individual or team’s ability in marksmanship. From skeet or target shooting to competitions, range and sport shooting feature a wide variety of firearms fired under countless situations.

Self Defense

Firearms have been used for defense since their inception. Being able to protect your country, state, community, and home is the basis for the second amendment and the right of every individual. Self-defense firearms can be handguns, shotguns, rifles, and myriad other firearms. Being comfortable using your firearm against invaders is the first step to securing the self-defense firearm that is right for you. There is arguably no better reason to buy a gun than for self-protection.

Handling and Safety

The old saying “a gun is not a toy” is true on so many levels. Proper handling and safety of a firearm is imperative to the livelihood of the owner of the firearm and the people they come in contact with. Following gun laws and regulations is important for every responsible gun owner. Adhering to the standards of safety for your firearm will ensure a safer environment for everyone.


Maintaining your firearm is crucial for is functionality and durability. When a firearm is dirty or clogged, it can cause misfires or backfires that can result in injury or fatality. Routinely clean your firearm to make sure it is working at optimal performance.

While this is a good start for getting you informed on everything you need to know about guns, you will be learning about firearms for the rest of your life. Keep reading, researching – and shooting.





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