Handguns offer challenges in their use despite the fact that pistols number first among America’s most popular firearms for defense. The options number among the hundreds when it comes to size, shape, and caliber. Every budget and personality can find a fit in this multitude of choices. Revolvers were once the prime choice, starting with the iconic Peacemaker of Samuel Colt. Understanding basic gun anatomy and practices is essential for proper usage regardless of model.


Basic Gun Elements

Before going further into the complexities of self-defense firearm choices, some basic anatomy and vocabulary terms are helpful. Each firearm has three basic groupings of parts: action, stock, and barrel. The action is basically the guts of a gun. It consists of the entirety of the moving parts for loading, firing, and ejecting the shells or cartridges of the firearm. The stock, also known as the handle, is composed of two pieces: the fore-end and the butt. The barrel of a gun is a long metal tube. Once fired, the projectile is forced through the barrel and out of the gun’s muzzle by the expansion of gas forces. In a handgun or rifle, the bullet goes down the barrel. In shotguns, the slug or shot is shot down the barrel.


Delving Deeper into Firearms

Some more basic anatomy is essential for understanding the parts of firearms and basic gun safety for individual defense. For example, the barrel contains the bore, which is the part of the gun through which fired projectiles travel. The muzzle is the barrel’s front end where the projectile makes its exit from the gun. The breech is the firearm’s portion containing the barrel’s rear end; this is where the user inserts the cartridge. On a revolver, the cylinder holds cartridges in individual chambers, and the hammer strikes the cartridge primer or firing pin.


An Array of Choices

Knowing the basics is only the first step to choosing a weapon for personal defense. Shotguns, rifles, and handguns each have their proponents and benefits. A modern revolver for defense provides a long trigger pull that is double-action for safety as well as an option for crisper single-action pulls for situations requiring more precision. Shotguns do not require as specific an aim and are touted by many as the ideal defense.


Whatever weapon you choose to aid your self defense initiative, it is important to understand the anatomy of the weapon so that you can properly use it in dire situations. Taking the time to learn this information will benefit you and everyone around you should you need to defend yourself.


Javill Byron is an accomplished martial artist, entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist based in Miami. As the owner of Top Shot Miami and WMB Martial Arts, Javill strives to serve as a valuable resource for individuals who want to improve their physical abilities and learn to protect themselves. Javill is especially passionate about helping children with disabilities and children who are bullied.

As a philanthropy-minded person, Javill Byron devotes much of his time to his nonprofit, WMB Foundation, Inc., which provides services to families and children diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, or Autism and aims to promote academic success and generally enrich their lives.