Perhaps the most famous Semi-Automatic pistol of modern times it the Glock pistol, first produced in 1982. The move to a semi-automatic pistol ( it goes “bang” every time the trigger is pressed until it’s empty ) captured the energy of the firing of the cartridge to eject the spent casing and to feed a new cartridge into the chamber. This allowed for faster, more accurate shots as well as an expanded cartridge capacity. The Glock pistol was the first mass-produced weapon that was made using a polymer material for much of the frame. The result was a much lighter weapon
It is called “Safe-Action” because the safety has been integrated into the very front-portion of the trigger. The weapon is safe until the shooter actually places their finger on the trigger and presses the first fraction-of-an-inch to release the safety and preparing the weapon to fire.
Let’s take a walk through this latest innovation in the world of the Semi-Automatic pistols.
The chassis, the primary component that holds all the parts together is the Frame.
The Barrel is the component that allows the bullet to exit the handgun after it is fired and adds a spin to the bullet to increase its accuracy.
The Muzzle is the region immediately at the end of the Barrel where the bullet exits.
The Front Sight, used in conjunction with the Rear Sight is used to acquire an accurate sight picture prior to engaging a threat.
The Hammer is manually thumbed back or moved into firing position by moving the Slide to the rear and releasing it. This prepare the Hammer to strike the primer in the cartridge.
The Magazine contains the cartridges to be fired and feeds a new cartridge into chamber each time the weapon if fired – until the magazine is empty. Magazines in many Glocks are “Double Stacks”. This means that cartridges are stored nearly side-by-side. While this provides a significant larger capacity in the Magazine, it does force the Magazine to be wider, thus increasing the overall width of the grip and the weapon itself.
The Magazine Release is used to drop an empty magazine from the Magazine Well in order to make room for a replacement magazine that is fully loaded.
The Grip is the portion of the pistol that is actually “gripped” by the shooter. The Back Strap fits into the shooter’s palm and the Front Strap provides a purchase for the shooter’s fingers.
The Safe-Action safety is installed in the front of the Trigger. At the beginning of the trigger press, the shooter releases the Safe-Action safety preparing the weapon to fire when the Trigger is pressed to the rear.
The Trigger is the component that is pressed to the rear releasing the internal Hammer and firing the cartridge.
The Trigger Guard provides protection against an accidental discharge from rubbing the Trigger against clothing or a holster.
The Semi-Automatic Pistol is loaded by inserting a loaded Magazine into the Magazine Well and seating it with a firm palm-slap to the bottom of the Magazine. The shooter than manually racks the Slide to the rear and releases it. This will strip a new cartridge out of the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. From this point forward, each time the weapon is fired, part of the energy is captured to automatically force the slide to the rear, eject the spent cartridge out of the Ejection Port and to strip a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. This process will continue each time the Trigger is pressed until the Magazine is empty.
Unloading can be done by depressing the Magazine Release and capturing the Magazine as it falls from the Magazine Well. To display that the weapon is empty, rack the Slide to the rear ejecting any un-fired cartridge that may still be in the chamber out of the Ejection Port. Push the Slide Lock up into the notch on the Slide. This allows the shooter to easily verify the weapon is, indeed, empty.
The name “Safe- Action” comes from the fact that the trigger performs as the weapons safety as well as to release a cocked internal hammer to fire the cartridge. Hence, this is a “Safe-Action” pistol. Because the weapon captures part of the energy of a fired cartridge to activate the Slide, eject the spent casing and to strip off a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber – the only thing the shooter must do is to press the trigger to fire a new round. Thus, it is a Semi-Automatic pistol as well.
This particular weapon has been a favorite around the world since its introduction for recreational shooting, competition, personal defense and as a side-arm by our military.