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  • The Terms You Need to Know When Buying a Handgun

    2 min read

    If you're new to firearms, buying a gun can seem incredibly overwhelming. There are a lot of words and phrases that you may not be familiar with, but you're going to need to know them if you're planning a handgun purchase.

    We want to make sure you choose the right firearm, so we've defined some of the most common terms you are likely to encounter when shopping for a handgun.

    Parts of a Handgun 

    Muzzle - The end of the barrel where the bullet comes out.

    Cylinder - On a revolver, it's the spinning part that stores the ammunition.

    Double-Action/DAO - The trigger both cocks and releases the hammer.

    Decocker - A lever on double-action handguns that mechanically lowers the hammer without firing the gun.

    Backstrap - The rear part of the grip. Some handguns offer removable multiple sizes of backstraps that can be easily switched out.

    Ejector: The mechanism on a firearm that ejects a case from a firearm.

    Extractor: The part of a firearm that removes a case from the chamber of a firearm.

    Firing Pin: The part that strikes the primer of a round to initiate ignition. This may also be called a striker.

    Frame/Lower: the housing of the gun that the slide sits on top of.

    Grip Safety - A safety mechanism built into the grip that unlocks the trigger of a firearm when pressure is applied by the shooter's hand.

    Rifling - The spiral grooves cut inside a gun barrel that gives the bullet a spinning motion. Rifling can have a left or right twist.

    Action/Trigger Group - this contains the parts that fire cartridges.

    Grip: the part of the handgun that you hold on to.

    Single-Action/SAO: the hammer must be cocked manually before the trigger is pulled.

    Magazine: A spring-operated device that stores cartridges and feeds them into the firearm.

    Clip: A simple metal device that stores multiple rounds of ammunition together as a single unit.

    Slide: The upper part of the handgun that moves during operation.

    Ammunition Terms

    Caliber: the size of the ammo, usually measured in hundredths of an inch or millimeters.

    Projectile: Another word for bullet.

    Cartridge/Round: A completely loaded piece of ammunition that's made up of a case, powder, primer, and a bullet.

    Spent Brass: an empty, previously fired case

    Headstamp: The markings that are stamped into the head of a round of ammunition. With centerfire ammunition, the markings usually circle the primer.

    Centerfire: A cartridge that contains the primer in the center of the base.

    Rimfire: A cartridge that has the primer distributed around the base.

    If you are confused about a term that's not listed here, feel free to get in touch with us at CustomerCare@GunGoddess.com so we can help!


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