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Firearms Training

Basic Semi-Automatic

By + John P. Silvaggio

A semi-automatic fires a single cartridge each time the trigger is pulled, automatically extracts and ejects the empty case , and inserts a new cartridge in the chamber.

The Semi-Automatic like the revolver consists of three components: The frame, the barrel, and the action.
  1. Frame
    1. Grip Panels
    2. Trigger Guard
    3. Rear sight
    4. Backstrap
    5. Safety - a mechanical device designed to reduce the chance of an accidental discharge. Because a safety is a mechanical device that can fail, the precention of an accident is always the responsibility of the gun handler.
    6. Slide stop - locks the slide in an open position.
  2. Barrel - as with the revolver, the barrel in a semi-automatic is a metal tube through which the bullet passes.
    1. Bore - the inside of the barrel.
    2. Rifling - spiral lands and grooves cut into the bore. The rifling imparts a spin on the bullet that stabilizes it in flight.
    3. Muzzle - font end of the barrel.
    4. Caliber - distance between the lands. Measured in decimal fractions of an inch or in millimeters.
    5. Front sight - used with the rear sight in aiming.
  3. Action
    1. Trigger
    2. Hammer
    3. Slide - On some models, the slide fits around the barrel; on others, it is located at the rear of the barrel. When the pistol is fired, the slide moves to the rear; it is returned to a closed position due to pressure from a slide spring.
    4. Magazine - a storage device designed to hold cartridges ready for insertion into the chamber.
    5. Magazine release button - a device that releases the magazine so it can be removed from the pistol.
    The action can be classified one of three types: Single-action, double-action, double-action-only