A handgun is held at arm’s length, instead of against the shoulder like a long gun to fire. A handgun has a short barrel. Handguns are available in a variety of sizes. These range from very small .22 caliber pocket or derringer guns to very large Desert Eagle type automatics. Desert Eagle manufactures large, magnum type pistols, which are automatics.
Handguns are also called pistols. This name probably came from Pistoia, Italy. In this city, may handguns were manufactured during the 15th and 16th centuries. Actually, the word “pistol” is the correct title for handguns that do not have a rotating cylinder as a part of their action.
Each type of handgun has three major parts. These include the frame, barrel, and action. Semi-automatics and revolvers add a fourth major part. In a semi-automatic it is called a magazine and in revolvers it is called a cylinder.
The frame is made of metal and gives the handgun it’s shape. All the other parts are connected to it. The barrel is the metal tube, usually 12 inches or less in length. The end of the barrel is called the muzzle. Rifling is in the barrel to aid in accuracy as it causes the bullet to spin in flight.
The bullet is fired in the action. Basic parts of the action include trigger, mainspring, and hammer. Cocking gun usually compresses the main spring. The mainspring fires by squeezing the trigger. This causes the hammer to hit the cartridge.
Handgun safety generally follows the same safety directions of all firearms: TAB. Handgun handlers should treat every handgun as it were loaded, always point their handgun in a same direction, and lastly, be sure of their target and what if beyond it.