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Ultimate Firearms Training Guide

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Smith & Wesson handguns are reliable and safe to use when the firearm safety rules are followed. There are a number of internal safety mechanisms within the lockwork of the handgun which ensure that the firearm will not discharge unless the trigger of the handgun is pulled. That is one reason why it is important to never modify or alter your firearm. Before you use your handgun, you should be fully familiar with its operation.

Here is a list of basic firearms terminology.

AMMUNITION - CENTERFIRE - Ammunition which contains the primer in the center of the base of the case. Among the most common centerfire handgun cartridges are the .32, .38 Special, .380, 9mm, .357 Magnum®, .40 S&W®, .45 ACP and the .44 Magnum®.

AMMUNITION - RIMFIRE - Ammunition which contains the primer material in the rim. Among the most common rimfire handgun cartridges are the .22 Short, .22 Long, .22 LR, and .22 Magnum.

CALIBER - The diameter of a bullet, designated in hundredths or thousandths of an inch (.357) or in millimeters (9mm).

DECOCK - The process by which the hammer or striker is safely lowered.

DOUBLE ACTION - A firing action where a single pull of the trigger draws the hammer or striker to the rear then releases it, firing the handgun.

DOUBLE ACTION ONLY - A firearm that can only be fired in double action (cannot be fired in single action).

PISTOL - A handgun that contains multiple cartridges in a magazine.

REVOLVER - A handgun that contains multiple cartridges in a cylinder that revolves at the rear of the barrel.

SINGLE ACTION - A firing action where the hammer or striker is released from the cocked position by pulling the trigger.

TRADITIONAL DOUBLE ACTION - A firearm that can be fired either in double action or single action.

The operation of your handgun will be explained in greater detail in the pages that follow, as well as a greater description of key component parts.

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