Friday, February 10, 2012

Just the Basics – the Double Action Revolver

The double action revolver is the most common type of revolver used for personal defense. You will undoubtedly see the many common components shared between the double action revolver and other handguns that we will discuss. The weapon shown here is a Taurus 865 .38 Special in Magnesium. Let’s take a walk through the different parts first, and then we will discuss what makes this handgun a “double action” revolver.


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 cocked during the process of pulling the Trigger to prepare it to strike the primer in the .38 Special cartridge. As the Trigger press continues, it “breaks”, releasing the Trigger, firing the cartridge.

The Cylinder contains the cartridges to be fired and rotates a new cartridge into position each time the Trigger is pulled or the Hammer is thumbed back.

The Cylinder Release is pushed forward to release the cylinder and allows it to be pushed out of the Frame for easy unloading and reloading.

The Ejection Rod is used to eject all spent casings with a single, firm push of the rod.

The Grip is the portion of the revolver 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 Trigger is the component that is pressed to the rear rotating the Cylinder, cocking the Hammer and releasing the Hammer, firing the cartridge.

The Trigger Guard provides protection against an accidental discharge from rubbing the Trigger against clothing or a holster.
The name “Double Action” comes from the fact that the trigger is used to both cock the hammer as well as to release a cocked Hammer to fire the cartridge. Hence, this is a “Double Action” revolver. An additional function is to also rotate the Cylinder to present a full cylinder chamber in front of the Barrel prior to the Hammer being released.

While small revolvers like this lend themselves nicely to being concealed, they do have a tendency to have a fairly sharp recoil. Also, keep in mind that to facilitate a speed reload, it’s smart to have a couple fully loaded speed loaders tucked away as backup.

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