Firearm Basics – A beginner’s guide to the basic working parts of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns.

All Firearms have three basic groups of parts, these include the Action, The Stock, and the Barrel.

ACTION: The action is really the guts of the gun. It includes all the moving parts that load, fire, and eject the firearms shells or cartridges.

STOCK: The stock (or Handle) of the gun in composed of two pieces (the Butt and the fore-end).

BARREL: A guns Barrel is the long metal tube, bored out to provide an exit path for the discharging projectile. Once the projectile is fired, it’s forced down the barrel and out of the muzzle by expanding gas forces. In a rifle or a handgun, the bullet travels through the barrel; in Shotguns the Shot or the Slug is shot through the barrel.

Most Firearms have similar parts, pictured below are the parts that one would find on a rifle.

Parts of a Rifle

Shotguns are a type of firearm that fires shells containing either shot (small round pellets) or a slug (a solid projectile). Below are the parts of a common pump-action shotgun.

Parts of a Shotgun

Handguns are handheld short-barreled firearms. The picture below shows the common components found on a pistol and a revolver.

Parts of a Handgun

Breakdown of the basic components of a Firearm.

Bore: The bore in the inside of the buns barrel through which the projectile travels when fired.

Breech: The Breech is the area of the firearm that contains the rear end of the barrel, where the cartridge is inserted.

Cylinder: The Cylinder is the part of a revolver that holds cartridges in separate chambers. The Cylinder of a revolver rotates as the gun is cocked, brining each chamber into alignment with the barrel.

Grip: The Grip is the portion of a handgun that’s used to hold the firearm.

Hammer: The Hammer on a revolver is the part that strikes the firing pin or the cartridge primer directly, detonating the primer which discharges the gun.

Magazine: A Magazine is a spring-operated container, that can be fixed or detachable, which holds cartridges for a repeating firearm.

Muzzle: The muzzle of a gun is the front end of the barrel where the projectile exits the firearm.

Trigger: The Trigger is the lever that’s puled or squeezed to initiate the firing process.

Trigger Guard: The trigger guard is the portion of a firearm that wraps around the trigger to provide both protection and safety.

  1. Ben says:

    I really don’t know a lot about guns so this helps me understand things a little better. Can you guys do some more beginner article on guns.

    • Off Grid Survival says:

      We are in the middle of a beginner series right now. Check out our first in the series, which is a must read for anyone interested in learning about firearms. The first article in on gun safety and can be found at: http://offgridsurvival.com/firearmbasics-gunsafety/

      I would also suggest finding a good qualified instructor in your area who can teach you the proper techniques.

  2. Runner says:

    I liked this. I’m not exactly a beginner with guns, but I appreciate you having this on your site. There are plenty of things I am a beginner at and articles like this one would be really helpful in giving me (and others) some traction on various aspects of prepping. Thanks.

  3. codey says:

    when you explaned bore you spelled guns buns and thanks for the help

    • Nikki says:

      Thank you for mentioning that. *sheepish grin* Having never touched a fire arm before, I was frantically trying to figure out where the “buns” of the barrel might be located, based on the diagrams.

  4. perle says:

    i’d like to know much more about guns

  5. Conner says:

    Can you describe a Modern Shotshell Shotgun?

  6. wanted says:

    Hhaaaa tis is very usefull to becase I’m a beginner thanks for showing me simple and easy thanks
    Now i’lput some over seanes to my friends

  7. wanted says:

    Hhaaaa tis is very usefull to me becase I’m a beginner thanks for showing me simple and easy thanks
    Now i’llput some over seanes to my friends

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