Parts of a Gun and Their Functions
Here are the main parts of a gun and what they do:
- Barrel – This term refers to the long tube-shaped part of a firearm. It provides an exit path with direction and velocity for a discharging bullet. Barrels are rifled on the inside to create a spin on the bullet as it’s expelled.
- Slide – The slide is the upper portion of the gun that is manually pulled back to load the gun.
- Ejection Port – The spent shell casings, or misfed/misfired casing, are ejected from this portion of the gun.
- Trigger – This is the actual release device of a firearm that initiates the firing sequence of a gun. Most commonly, a gun’s trigger is a small, curved lever that is pulled backward with the shooter’s pointer finger.
- Muzzle – This term refers to the end of the barrel. It is the last part of the gun that the bullet touches before exiting the firearm.
- Sight – Two parts. The front sight is located above the muzzle, and the other located further back down the barrel (in front of the hammer on most pistols). The two are able to be lined up to enable the shooter to aim the firearm to be aimed properly.
- Magazine Well – This is the part of the gun that accepts the magazine. A magazine is a unit that contains the cartridges before they are fed into the chamber of the gun.
To learn more about internal parts of a handgun, parts of a gun magazine, other gun-related verbiage, and definitions, please refer to our comprehensive glossary of firearm terms.
Differences Between Firearms and Handguns
If you’re not an experienced gun aficionado, we understand that all these terms can be confusing. What is the difference between a firearm and a handgun, or the difference between a pistol and a handgun?
To put it simply, all handguns are firearms, but not all firearms are handguns.
By definition, a firearm can be any number of gun types that use an explosive action to fire a bullet. With that said, the term “firearm” can refer to handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and other types of guns and weapons. There are manual firearms and automatic firearms. There is a wide variety of classification of firearms that we’ll explore a little more in the next section.