In brief, a firearm is a mechanical device that was designed to create an accurate flight path, by initiating a controlled expulsion of a projectile in a specific direction at an intended target. Firearms are offered in a variety of different types and styles, but they all generally have the same core properties. All firearms are mechanical operating devices, with a sequence of steps to follow so it may achieve the desired result; firing a projectile. The particular functions firearms will go through are outlined below in a basic format. Firearms may have slight differences in operation, but the basic principles are ultimately the same.



Feeding ‑ an action in which a cartridge is directed from its stored location (magazine, etc.) into a position where it can begin the rest of the sequences needed to fire. This action can occur in various methods and gives firearms a form of classification. These are:

Manual - firearms such as lever action, bolt action, or pump action models require a user to manipulate the action along with other functions using physical exertion.

Semi-Automatic and Automatic firearm(s) that can keep firing with each press of the trigger, provided that a round has already been discharged, generating the energy required to begin the firing cycle over again. The key difference between a Semi-Automatic vs. Automatic firearm, is a semi-auto will go through the sequence of fire only once when the trigger is pulled, where an auto or "full-auto" firearm will continue to perform all these sequences so long as the trigger is held down, or the ammunition supply is exhausted.

The method used to carry the cartridges into the barrel (Chamber) can vary as well. Sometimes, it is a magazine which can be either internal (common with many bolt action rifles), or external (as seen with most semi-automatic firearms). Other examples are tubes along the firearm (traditionally seen with many shotguns or lever action rifles) or even have the cartridges housed in a cylinder (the case with revolvers). An additional method is for the bullets to be linked together side-by-side in a long string commonly referred to as a "belt" (commonly seen with full-auto machine guns). Finally, yet rare with modern-age firearms, it's possible for feeding to simply occur by the shooter placing a single cartridge into position prior to manually chambering the round.

In Summary: Feeding is the action of shifting a cartridge that is being "fed" into the barrel (Chambering a Round).


Chambering ‑ an action of moving a cartridge from its storage source (such as a magazine) into the chamber itself (pushed into the chamber) so it can properly position, align and lock for firing.

In Summary: Chambering is the action of a cartridge fully transitioning from storage; fed into the barrel (the chamber itself) area allowing the firearm to be fired.


Lockingan action referred to as securing the cartridge into its proper firing position within the chamber, after the cartridge was fed properly into the chamber, in preparation for engaging the primer on the cartridge.

*Side Note: Everything sequenced up to this point does not require the trigger to be pressed on any firearm.

In Summary: The action of locking a firearm is securing the cartridge in the firing chamber of a barrel after the cartridge was fed properly from storage.


Firing an action in which the trigger is pulled, instantly releasing the hammer which then moves and strikes the firing pin; this action then causes the firing pin to impact the primer on the cartridge, which then causes the powder to ignite and burn. The expanding gases that are caused as a result will then move the projectile down the barrel of the firearm.

After the bullet exits the muzzle (front end of barrel), in order for the firearm to be fired again, the firearm will have to clear out the empty cartridge and reset the firing mechanism. The following sequences will define this in further depth.

In Summary: The action of "pulling" the trigger of a firearm in order to fire, and the cartridge primer being struck by the firing pin (hammer), is the igniting of the powder that creates pressure which propels the projectile out of the barrel (muzzle).


Unlocking ‑ an action of unlocking the firearm in order to unsecure the now empty cartridge after the propellant was discharged from its proper alignment in the barrel (chamber). Essentially an act of having the now empty cartridge being prepared for removal in order to cycle the next one.

*Side Note: As mentioned and defined in "Feeding Sequence", the unlocking sequence can either be achieved manually or automatically; all contingent on the firearm being operated.

In Summary: The action of unlocking the now empty cartridge in order to unsecure it from thefiring chamber and prepare it for extraction which will create the space to load or cycle another cartridge.


Extracting ‑ an action of pulling the discharged (spent) cartridge from the chamber after it was properly unlocked.

In Summary: The action of removing the empty cartridge from the chamber entirely.


Ejecting ‑ an action describing how the spent cartridge is expended or discarded from the firearm(s) chamber, clearing a path for a new cartridge to be loaded from storage; an action that resets the specific firearm to cycle through firing sequences 1 ‑ 4 (Feeding > Chambering > Locking > Firing) repeatedly.

*Side Note: As mentioned and defined in "Feeding Sequence", the ejecting sequence can either be achieved manually or automatically; all contingent on the firearm being operated.

In Summary: The action of completely removing the spent cartridge from the firearm, clearing the chamber effectively for a new cartridge to be loaded (cycled).


Cocking‑ a final action where all of the firearm mechanisms are reset which then allows a firearm to function properly for the next sequence of fire, initiating sequence 1 ‑ 8 over again:

Feeding > Chambering > Locking > Firing > Unlocking > Extracting > Ejecting > Cocking > Repeat

In Summary: Cocking is the final action of resetting all the mechanisms of the firearm in order for the weapon to reset for another sequence of fire.


As a firearm owner, it is your moral responsibility to be completely aware, in-tune, and up-to-date with all of your accountable duties that come with responsible firearm ownership. Important aspects such as what type or model you own, caliber type of the model, complete understanding of all functions & features, precise maintenance of the model, and how to safely store it are all vital fundamentals to be considered when committing to owning a firearm.

First, let's establish the basic types of firearms. Traditionally, firearms are classified under the following main categories:

Next, let's take a moment and explore the basics of each of these respective firearm categories, the differences of styles, and what classifies them.

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