North Carolina Hunter Safety Course


Handgun Actions

Handguns, like rifles and shotguns are known by their different actions. Handguns are manufactured in four different actions. Let's look at each action in detail to help you decide which style may suit your needs.

Important! As with rifles and shotguns, the kind of handgun that a hunter uses depends on the game pursued, personal preferences and also hunting laws.


Double-Action Revolver

Double Action Revolver

With this style of handgun, a single pull of the trigger both cocks and drops the hammer. To open the action, every double action has a release button that, when pressed, allows the cylinder to swing out from the frame. With the cylinder accessible, you can load the cartridges into the chambers. To close the cylinder, push the cylinder into the frame until it locks in place. When you pull the trigger back, the cylinder revolves to a new chamber, and at the same time the hammer starts toward the cocked position. Continuing to pull the trigger will result in the cylinder stopping on a new chamber and the hammer being dropped, striking the firing pin. To fire another cartridge, start pulling the trigger back slowly until the revolver fires. Alternatively, while keeping your finger off the trigger, pull the hammer all the way back with your thumb until it locks into position. A slight squeeze on the trigger will fire the gun. To unload the double action, press the cylinder release, swing the cylinder out to expose the chambers, and push on the ejection rod. All the cartridges will fall from the cylinder.

Safety first! A revolver does not have an external safety. When carrying a revolver, make sure the hammer is resting on an empty chamber.