What do you really need to know before buying a gun? Last week, in the first installment of our series, we talked about some of the things you needed to think about, like how you plan to be using it and some basic definitions. But there's a lot more to buying a gun that will work well for you than understanding what the words mean.
So, let's move on to Part 2 of our Monday GunDay guest series by Steve Candidus, who has generously written these articles to make choosing a firearm easier.
What You Need to Know When Buying a Gun
By Steve Candidus
Revolvers vs. Semi-Automatics
Let's start with an important note – your ammunition is not called bullets – that is what exits the barrel. The complete bullet, powder, and brass or aluminum case, is called a cartridge or round.
A revolver, sometimes called a wheel gun, has a cylinder typically holding five or six rounds. A semi-automatic is flatter in profile and typically holds more ammunition. It fires a bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and extracts and ejects the spent cartridge case from the firing chamber, re-cocks the firing mechanism, and loads a new cartridge into the firing chamber.
Revolvers do not come with a safety. The trigger pull is longer and it takes more effort to fire them and thus acts as a safety – sort of. Revolvers come in sizes ranging from small pocket size guns to large heavy hunting guns. They are a good choice for home defense as their extra weight is actually an advantage. The weight absorbs more of the felt recoil.
They are loaded by releasing the cylinder button to the rear of the cylinder and swinging the cylinder out exposing the cartridges. By pushing on the cylinder rod that is located under the barrel when closed and in the center of the cylinder the rounds will be pushed out.
Cylinders can be reloaded either one at a time or with gadgets called speed loaders. These are plastic devices in the exact dimension of the cartridges in the cylinder and are held in place internally by small clips. By simply dropping the rounds into the cylinder and releasing the hold mechanism (a twist or a push) the entire cylinder is loaded very quickly.