The hinge or break action in firearms has become quite outdated, but weapons that use these actions are still used for sports and hunting. A hinge action firearm is one in where the barrel is hinged at the stock and rotates perpendicularly in axis to the bore to expose loading or unloading area of the cartridges. The hammer is either cocked manually or requires a separate operation to fire the rounds.
There are many different types of hinge action firearms, which is the defining feature of firearms like double barreled shotgun, rifles, and guns that are a combination of both. The break action is quite common in single-shot rifles and pistols, as well as in flares guns, some older revolver, and grenade launchers. They are also referred to as break-barrel, break-open, break-top, or top-break actions.
The hinge or break action weapons are one of the most compact actions and perhaps the strongest of all firearms. Since there aren’t many moving parts, these firearms are much shorter than other repeating firearms. Even the compact break open function is smaller than non-repeating firearms. This compactness contributes to the reduction in both weight and in size, compared to other larger actions.