What are the three basic types of handguns

A firearm is a portable gun (a barreled ranged weapon), and there are three basic types of handguns.

A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e., at distances greater than the physical reach of the weapon itself.

The smallest of the firearms is the handgun, and there are three basic types

The single-action revolver is fired by cocking the hammer and squeezing the trigger one shot at a time

The double-action revolver can be fired in the same manner as the single action or by squeezing the trigger to fire (a double-action.)

And the semi-automatic uses a single fixed firing chamber machined into the rear of the barrel, and a magazine that can be used to fire more than one round. Each press of the trigger fires a cartridge, using the energy of the cartridge to activate the next cartridge, which may be fired immediately.

The video below shows how each one works.

Rimfire Centerfire primer ignition systems and how they work

Rimfire and centerfire primer ignition systems and how they work.

In a rimfire system, a bullet’s gunpowder is ignited by a primer when the rim of a cartridge is struck by a gun’s firing pin.

In a centerfire system, a bullet’s gunpowder is ignited by a primer when the center of a cartridge is struck by a gun’s firing pin.

Rimfire systems are used in smaller caliber cartridges like the .22LR because the cartridge wall needs to be thin enough to be crushed by the gun’s firing pin.

Larger caliber cartridges use the centerfire system, and today the vast majority of ammunition produced is centerfire.

The primer in centerfire system is a metal cup that holds a primary explosive. The firing pin of the gun impacts the primer and crushes the explosive between the cup and an anvil.

There are two kinds of primers for centerfire systems

The two types are called the Berdan and Boxer, with the main difference being the location of the anvil. The separate stirrup design of the boxer primer makes no difference in performance but allows for easier removal of spent primers, making them easier to reload. U.S. factory-made commercial centerfire cartridges are Boxer-primed.

There are four sizes of primers for common centerfire cartridges: small pistol, large pistol, small rifle, and large rifle.

More info on this topic can be found in this NRA video.

The bullet is one piece of a total of four components found in a cartridge

The bullet is one piece of a total of four components found in a cartridge, and its shape affects its use.

In the old days, they were simple cast-lead balls.

Today the bullet’s nose has six shapes

Number 1 – The round nose

Number 2 – The semi-round nose

Number 3 – The flat nose

Number 4 – The wadcutter

Number 5 – The semi-wadcutter

Note – Wadcutters are special-purpose flat-fronted bullets specifically designed for target shooting, and plinking.

Number 6 – The pointed or spitzer-tangent ogive

Note – In ballistics or aerodynamics, an ogive is a pointed, curved surface mainly used to form the approximately streamlined nose of a bullet or other projectile, reducing air resistance or the drag of air. In fact, the French word ogive can be translated as “nose cone” or “warhead.”

Its base has five shapes

Number 1 – The flat-base bullets are the most common type, as well as the easiest to manufacture. This base is found on many hunting rifle bullets and most handgun bullets.

Number 2 – The hemispherical base is rarely seen in the United States.

Number 3 – The boattail-rebated base is a popular choice for target shooting and hunting at long ranges, The rebated design is not as efficient as the standard boattail, but easier to manufacture.

Number four – The boattail-standard base is by far the most popular low-drag design.

Number 5 – The hollow or recessed base is often found on handgun bullets where an effort has been made to maximize bearing surface sealing. This type of base is seldom used in modern rifle bullets.

And there are ten common types of bullets

Number 1 – The full-metal-jacket (FMJ) is a common type of military design that encases the projectile (Bullet) in a hard metal exterior. The jacket allows for higher muzzle velocities over bare lead without depositing significant amounts of metal inside the barrel.

Number 2 – The hollow-point design is standard on many handgun bullets and lightweight, small-caliber rifle bullets. They have a hollowed-out center causing the bullet to deform on impact causing significant damage.

Number 3 – The soft-point bullet is the favorite for nearly all types of hunting. It is sometimes called a “partially jacketed bullet.” Unlike a full metal jacket that completely encases the bullet in a coating of metal alloy, the soft point leaves a portion exposed.

Number 4 – The hollow soft-point combines the best of hollow and soft-point designs in a revolver bullet.

Number 5 – The capped bullet design has a soft metal cap over a soft point that collapses on impact, aiding expansion.

Number 6 – The tipped expanding bullet features a metal or plastic tip on the ogive that is designed to prevent tip deformation in the magazine, enhance the ballistic coefficient, and assist expansion on impact.

Number 7 – The frangible bullets are usually lead-free bullets made of composite materials that are designed to break up into small particles on impact with a hard surface.

Number 8 – The bonded bullets are a favorite with big-game hunters. Bonding the core to the jacket ensures the controlled-expansion performance desirable for killing animals like elk, moose, and bear.

Number 9 – The solid bullets may be either monolithic (made of one piece of homogeneous metal) or heavily jacketed with a lead core. Also, some hybrid types combine a monolithic body with a heavy metal insert. The purpose of a solid is to penetrate dangerous game reliably.

Number 10 – The hybrid bullets combine two or more of the above characteristics.

A bullet’s caliber refers to its diameter

A gun’s caliber refers to the diameter of its barrel, and a bullet’s caliber refers to its diameter

The cartridge is made up of four components, a metal bullet (projectile) that sits on top, the case which is usually made of nickel, brass or steel, and the primer that ignites the gunpowder.

The metal bullet’s weight is measured in grains. The weight affects the way it flies and how it performs when it hits a target. A heavier bullet travels slower but hits with more momentum, while a lighter bullet has a flatter trajectory and greater velocity.

The cartridge, commonly called “the bullet” comes in many sizes

The .22 is the most common caliber regarding units sold. The average weight of this bullet is roughly 20-40 grains. These bullets are only a few steps up from a pellet gun round. As a firefighter, I can tell you I went to a call one night in which a man was shot in the forehead with a .22, and the bullet lodged just under the skin but did not penetrate his skull. He was sitting up talking when we arrived. A hard head, distance, weak bullet, or a combination of them all, saved his life.

The .25 ACP  is slightly larger than the .22 LR and slightly more powerful.

The .380 ACP, sometimes called a “9mm short” is a low power round that works best at close range.

The 9mm is used by the majority of police forces around the world. Its weight varies between 115-147 grains and has very low recoil. For most shooters, this is the go-to round.

The .40 S&W is stronger and more powerful than the 9MM, and a little bit heavier.

The 10mm has incredible stopping power with a harsh recoil.

The .45 ACP has a lot of power behind it. With around 230 grains and moderate recoil, it is a good self-defense choice.

The .38 special is most commonly found in revolvers. It has a longer cartridge and more powder, but it is slower than a 9mm.

The 7.62X39MM is a Soviet round designed to be used in the AK-47. Its average weight is roughly 123 grains.

The 5.56X45MM/.223 have almost identical dimensions. The .223 has a slightly lower pressure than the 5.56. It has long-range accuracy, which makes it a good option for people who might want to use it for self-defense.

The .308/7.62x51mm have almost identical dimensions as well. The .308 is the most preferred caliber for snipers all over the world.

The .30 Carbine was designed for the M1 Carbine and still popular with civilians.

The 5.7x28mm is a small bullet that travels very fast and allows for increased penetration with low recoil and high magazine capacity. It ranges from 23-31 grams.

The .357 Magnum has excellent stopping power and mainly designed for revolvers.

The .300 Blackout is designed to give the ballistic performance of a larger “.30 caliber” AK 7.62x39mm round but designed for the AR-15. It is popular because of its flexibility and power.

The 7.62x54mmR was designed by the Russians for their Mosin-Nagant. It is the oldest cartridge still in combat use.

The .30-06 Springfield has a strong recoil and good range. Its weight is around 150-180 grams.

Shotgun shells come in different gauges. The most common gauge in use in the U.S. is the 12 gauge, but 28, 20, 16, and 10 gauge are available. Shotgun ammunition varies depending on what you’re using it for. Birdshot is the most typically used shotgun ammo containing many smaller balls of metal. Buckshot is actually the same as birdshot but with metal balls that are bigger in diameter. And slugs are usually a piece of solid metal weighing 1 ounce.