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Despite being used for hunting and in competitions, these guns were designed keeping self-defense in mind. The compact designs enable individuals to easily conceal and carry them. Because it can be concealed so easily, it is deemed dangerous and strictly controlled by the laws in most states.

Handguns are capable of firing fairly accurately at a target at a moderate range. The energy delivered by firearm is sufficient to stop an attack, and at the same time, it is light enough that the recoil doesn’t wrest away from the hand of the shooter. Capable of rapidly firing one shot after another, the two most common types of handguns are semi automatic pistols and double action revolver.


The revolver has many unique features and several advantages. Most importantly, these guns are cheap to manufacture, as they are simple in design, offer reliable operation compared to semiautomatics, not to mention, they can never jam.

This is the first gun every novice begins with, and masters fairly easily. Because revolvers have fewer moving parts than semiautomatics, they are also more accurate. The only drawback of this weapon is that it holds only six shots, and the reload time is long as every bullet needs to be inserted by hand. Semiautomatics are great in terms of reloading, as they only require the shooter to eject and replace a preloaded magazine clip.

Different revolvers have different dimensions to compliment certain aspects of the firearm. For instance, revolvers with long barrels are designed for accuracy; whereas revolvers with shorter barrels are designed to be easily concealable. The sight of a revolver is usually a blade that’s located at the front end and the notch on the rear. A frame of the revolver is the firearm’s largest component, and made using plated or blued steel, lightweight alloys, and stainless steel. Weighing between 1 and 4 lbs., the cylinder contains five or six bullet chambers depending on the type of revolver, and is swung out for reloading.

In order to allow the cylinder of the revolver to turn freely, there’s a gap between the frame and the cylinder. This gap also allows the smoke and gas to escape. This gas also leaves a residue on the hands of the shooter and other items close to the revolver when the weapon is fired. This allows forensic analysis by a pathologist in order to reconstruct the scene of a crime.

When the trigger is pulled, the lock-work rotates the cylinder, cocks and lets the hammer fall. In this action, there are two varieties, a single action revolver and double action revolver. A single action trigger requires the cock to be manually pulled back whereas the double action revolver cocks the revolver and turns the cylinder in a single trigger pull. There are different grips available for revolvers as well, smaller grips are for those firearms that can be hidden easily and larger grips are for more accuracy.

Semiautomatic handgun

A semiautomatic pistol is a much recent development than the revolver. The efforts of John Browning have resulted in the modern day semi automatics that we use. In fact, most semiautomatic handguns today, are a copy or variation of his most famous designs, the Cold 1911 and the browning Hi Power 9mm.

The main advantage of a semiautomatic is that it uses the recoil generated from the first cartridge fired to eject the shell casing and load another one at the end of the cycle and re-cock the hammer for the next shot. This mechanism makes it easier to fire multiple shots instantaneously. Depending on the type of automatic, the rounds can hold range between 9 and 19 rounds.

The disadvantage on the other hand, is the firearm’s complicated mechanism, which requires more practice to learn, and maintain. Relative to revolver rounds, a semi automatic round is less powerful in terms of stopping power.

In a semi-automatic, the barrel is hidden inside the slide. There are limited choices when it comes to choosing barrel length.

The slide happens to be a key component to the functioning of a semi-automatic, as the slide moves along the axis of the barrel, which is held in place using the tension of a spring. When a trigger is pulled, the slide is accelerated backwards with the force of the recoil. The empty shell then hits a piece of metal that protrudes outwards near the back of the barrel. This motion ejects the shell casing outwards from the gap built into the slide; the shell case can fall anywhere between 2 and 10 feet from the shooter. This rearward motion also re-cocks the hammer.

The second half of the cycle is when the slide is returning back to its original position. On its way back, the slide pulls another round from the magazine, pushes it up the ramp and inside the chamber. Here, it locks into place, waiting for the shooter to pull the trigger again.

The butt or handle is more crucial here, as it holds the magazine clip and the rounds. A semiautomatic also includes a safety mechanism that prevents accidental firing. Some models lock the hammer in place, while others models locks the trigger.