How Does a Gun Work? Full Guide

How Does a Gun Work?
Alfred Mendoza

Whether you own a machine gun, handgun, or even a couple of assault rifles, it is essential to know how they function for you to utilize them better. If you want to know more about their varying firing mechanisms, then this article is for you. 

Our team spent 48 hours researching to share everything you need to know about using a gun.

You use a gun by putting bullets inside the gun barrel connected to the firing pin [1]. Once triggered, the firing pin will hit the primer of the bullet, resulting in the release of gases due to the gunpowder.

Firearms change their phase from chemical potential energy to kinetic energy every time a single bullet is fired. There are many factors to consider, like the equal force, explosive force, and even the momentum gained. You may also need to discover which gun carries more momentum and what bullet you should use before coming up with a final choice.

Factors That Affect How Guns Work

Factors That Affect How Guns Work

Bullet Types & Caliber 

Bullets are essential in using firearms. In simple terms, bullets are small projectile metals put inside the gun barrel and fired. However, take note that each type of gun requires a different bullet size.

People also often hear the word “caliber” when talking about a gun or an assault weapon. The term is used in describing the size of the bullet that you need. This is measured by getting the diameter from land to opposite land. 

Loading Mechanisms

Gun owners must learn how to use a loaded gun. The first thing you should do is to point the muzzle in the opposite direction. It would be best to switch on the safety pin when putting in or removing a bullet to prevent accidental firing. 

Military firearms usually have percussion cap mechanisms for the muzzleloader of your gun. If you want to remove a bullet or unload your gun completely, make sure to open the action and eject the spent cartridge. Also, avoid putting your fingers on the trigger.

Types of Guns & How They Work

Types of Guns & How They Work


A pistol is what’s usually used by law enforcement officers. It is a weapon with a metal tube and rifled texture that goes off at very high speed and lets you shoot accurately. You also have the option to accessorize your pistol. 

Semi-automatic pistols have a single chamber and barrel. They are usually double-action with a long trigger that sets you immediately for a new round after a bullet is fired. But, how does a striker-fired pistol work?

Semi-Automatic Rifles

Semi-automatic rifles refer to a weapon that fires a shot when the trigger is pulled. Semi-automatic rifles are not to be confused with other semi-automatic weapons because these rifles usually discharge one bullet per shot. They shouldn’t be confused with machine guns as well, which are used for rapid shooting. 

This assault rifle reloads automatically, and you can freely pull the trigger without taking too much time. Semi-automatics are known for having a high capacity to accommodate several magazines or compartments when shooting.

Semi-Automatic Rifles

Lever Action Rifles

This is one of the assault rifles with a large metal lever located at the back of the trigger. Owners of this type must be more careful because it has a hammer, which may disadvantage some users. 

Aside from that, you can only utilize a round or flat tip for this kind of firearm. It also allows you to shoot at a high velocity and has a big advantage for left-handed shooters.


Revolvers are also one of the common firearms that shooters use and have either single or double action. Aside from being less expensive, it is easier to use when compared to others because of its simple design.

The barrel in a revolver firearm is shorter but ensures one-shot accuracy when fired. They usually come with a blade located in front and notch you can see on the rear.

Also Read: Revolvers vs Semi Auto CCW


Shotguns are also one of the single-shot weapons you may see in the range.

These are popular for firing a single shot of bullet and have a long barrel used by military and law enforcement officers.

The shell casing of shotguns is diverse. Pump-action shotguns are light as they weigh only one pound.

Its barrel may also have a couple of spiral grooves, which gives its bullets a spinning motion. But, how much is a shotgun?


Bolt Action Rifles

These rifles have a breech mechanism and breech-loading with spring and pin in a breech block. These types of weapons are best for right-handed owners.

Using this weapon also requires you to follow a sequence so you can operate it right. You have to unlock its bolt first and remove the cartridge used. The firing mechanisms used here are utilized by shotguns and other handguns as well.


Yes, a gun will work in space. However, unlike here on Earth, you will not hear any sounds when you shoot your firearm because there is no air where the sound waves can travel. Moreover, the bullet you used will continue to float in outer space unless it hits something.

Yes, a gun works under the water. However, these types of guns are designed differently when compared with other types of weapons. If a gun is fired underwater, it will fire flechette instead of the standard bullet. The barrels used for this type of gun are not rifled. Manufacturers also designed them for long-range shooting.

Final Thoughts

The type of guns you choose determines the way it works. The market offers machine guns and submachine guns. You can also choose between a pistol, rifle, revolver, and shotgun that come in unique sizes and shapes.

Your gun will work depending on its type and build, and what applies to one might not prove to be the same to the other. You need to know how these most modern firearms work to prevent any unnecessary incidents.

Aside from that, familiarize yourself with the terms barrel, cartridge, bullets, firing pin, and other gun-related terms to understand things better. 

It is also important to take note that each type of gun differs in caliber size. Study them carefully to gain better accuracy in shooting, whether in an open or close range.



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