HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 05 - HANDGUNS 101


Illustration of a man in a two handed handgun stance at a shooting range.

Semi-auto pistols use a single chamber and barrel. They have a mechanism that’s powered by the previous shot to load a fresh cartridge into the chamber. Each time the trigger is pulled, the action uses the energy of the expanding gas from the burning powder to extract the empty casing and load the next cartridge into the chamber. It’s ‘automatic’ because no hand movement is needed to load another cartridge into the firing position. The safety for a semi-auto pistol is usually found near the hammer. If unsure, check your owner’s manual or talk to a pro.



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