These Are the Different Parts of a Gun

Are you unfamiliar with firearms and their specific parts? Are you considering buying a firearm for self or home defense? Do you want to learn about the different parts of a gun before you go shopping for one?

The United States is popular all over the world for its gun culture. More than 30% of American adults have at least one firearm. It’s a big jump from Yemen, which is the second country with the most firearms.

However, many US adults are still learning about firearms, their parts, and how to operate them. Below, we’ll talk about the different parts you can find on various firearms. Keep reading to learn more about general parts and those that are specific to certain gun types.

1. What Are the Different Gun Types?

Like cars, most guns follow a general operational process. This means that many guns share certain parts, making them common to all firearms. Below, we’ll discuss these general parts further.

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First, let’s discuss the two categories of guns. Those categories include long guns and handguns. Each of these categories divides into subcategories or specific gun types.

Types of Handguns

Two of the most common handgun subcategories are the revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. If you look deeper into handguns, you’ll learn of the many ways they’re classified. Handguns often get categorized into action types, caliber, rate of fire, and others.

Some of the most common subtypes of handguns include:

  • Single-shot pistol
  • Multi-barreled pistol
  • Revolver
  • Semi-automatic pistol
  • Automatic pistol

Each of these subtypes has a unique feature. For example, automatic handguns will keep firing as long as you keep the trigger pressed down. Another unique example is the revolver, which uses a revolving cylinder.

Types of Long Guns

The two common kinds of long guns are rifles and shotguns. You’ll also find that more specific classifications apply to long firearms. You can find specific subcategories of rifles like pump-action rifles.

Other subtypes of long guns include:

  • Semi-automatic rifles
  • Bolt action rifles
  • Lever action rifles
  • Double-barrel shotgun
  • Single-shot rifles

As a tip, if you’re still familiarizing yourself with the different types of guns, take a top-down approach. Learn about general facts first and then study specifics when your knowledge increases. Rather than research specific models, learn about caliber, action type, and more.

2. Parts of a Gun Basics: Long Guns

The pandemic was the primary driving force of the surge in gun sales in the US. The uncertainty of the situation plus the civil unrest that followed makes people nervous. Thus, more adults are looking for ways to secure themselves, loved ones, and their homes.

Buying firearms is one way to do it. However, before you start looking up the best firearms to keep at home, you need to learn the basics. Before you start learning how to use a firearm, you need to know its many parts first.

Now, let’s discuss the basic parts of a firearm. We begin with long guns, which have three main groups of parts. Those are the action, stock, and barrel.

The action is what others refer to as the “heart” of the firearm. That’s because it is what loads and fires the ammunition. It’s also the part that ejects shells or cartridges.

The next part is what we call the stock. This is the solid piece of wood or metal that supports the action and barrel. It is the part that you often hold or brace against when you fire.

Finally, we look at the barrel of the long gun. This is the metal tube at the opposite end of the stock. It’s where you attach the sights and where the bullet or buckshot comes out from. The barrel also serves to guide the projectile in the intended direction.

3. Basic Parts of a Handgun

Now, let’s focus on the basic parts of the handgun. Handguns are much smaller than long guns, but they’re also more complicated. Handguns have four basic parts: action, frame, barrel, and clip or cylinder.

Like the action from the long gun, the action in a handgun is also what loads, fires, and ejects the cartridge. The trigger is one part of the action. In modern handguns, you’ll find that there are several types of actions used.

The next part is the frame of the handgun. This is the metal housing that supports, protects, and keeps the firearm together. The frame includes the handle or grip.

Handguns also have a barrel, albeit a much shorter one. It guides the bullet in the intended direction as well. Faxon barrels are some of the best barrels in the market.

Finally, we have clips and cylinders. The clip and cylinder are not interchangeable. Instead, they each fit a specific type of handgun. The clip is what you use for repeating handguns, and you may also know this as the magazine.

Revolvers use cylinders. If you’ve seen old western movies, these are the common guns the characters use. The cylinder is the spinning part in which they load the ammunition.

4. Parts of a Pistol

Now, let’s take a closer look at the different parts of a gun. We begin with the pistol. Most people interchange the terms pistol and handgun, which is correct to some extent.

As we mentioned, every handgun has a barrel, frame, clip or cylinder, and action. Pistols use clips or magazines and don’t have cylinders. However, semi-automatic pistols always have removable magazines.

Automatic and semi-automatic pistols have a spring-loaded slide. You can find it wrapped around the top of the barrel. The slide reciprocates with recoil when you fire it to create energy to cycle the action.

In general, it serves to extract the spent casing. It also prepares the hammer for the next shot and pushes a new cartridge into the chamber from the magazine. It also protects the user by keeping exhaust gases and gunpowder from coming out.

Some semi-automatic pistols also have a hammer at the top-rear end. This is the part that strikes the primer. When it strikes, it ignites the firing pin and discharges one round.

More popular than hammer-fired pistols are striker-fired pistols. They don’t rely on a hammer to ignite the primer. In essence, rather than getting hit by a hammer, the striker (firing pin) hits itself.

5. Parts of a Revolver

In revolvers, you can find the firing pin sitting in front of the hammer and behind the top cylinder. Some revolvers integrate the firing pin at the tail-end of the hammer. Despite these differences, the hammer works in the same way for revolvers as they do with pistols.

What makes a revolver unique is its revolving cylinder. When it got invented, revolvers offered more convenience to the user because it had chambers that held up to six bullets. Before that, the common gun was an old single-shot gun that needed reloading after each shot.

6. Parts of a Rifle

Do you know what the main difference is between a rifle and a shotgun? The difference is in their barrel. If you open up the barrel of a rifle, you’ll see grooves running along the metal tube.

These grooves follow a circular motion, which causes the bullet to spin as it travels the barrel. This spinning action helps the bullet travel faster. It also gives the shooter more accuracy because the bullet gets ejected straighter.

People in the US have many reasons to buy firearms. Some use their firearms for hunting, sport shooting, collecting, and others. However, protection is the main reason for 65% of men and 71% of women.

Other parts of a rifle consist of the trigger, trigger guard, rear and front sights, and bolt. Some more parts include the butt, bolt handle, forestock, and chamber.

7. Parts of a Shotgun

Unlike rifles, shotguns don’t have grooves etched inside their barrels. Instead, shotgun use “chokes” at the end of their barrel and near the muzzle. These chokes control the accuracy of the shot from a shotgun.

Remember that shotguns use slugs while rifles use bullets. That means that the grains scatter when you fire a shotgun. To keep the range of the grains closer to center, shotgun owners use chokes. Many shotguns come with a smoothbore barrel, which means they don’t have a choke yet.

Other parts of the shotgun include an ejection port, receiver, muzzle, and magazine cap. The typical shotgun also has a trigger, trigger guard, and safety mechanism.

Keep Learning About Firearms

It’s always smart to learn the different parts of a gun and how they work. This knowledge can save your life one day. Use it to prevent the accidental firing of a gun and other similar situations.

We hope you enjoyed reading this educational guide on the different parts of the various guns but it shouldn’t end here. Do you want to read more content on firearms and how to use them? Check out the rest of our posts for more content like this.