How Does a Striker-Fired Pistol Work? Complete Guide

How Does a Striker-Fired Pistol Work
Alfred Mendoza

Do your modern hammer-fired semi-automatic pistols get drawbacks when firing? 

If you are looking for a compact and snag-free weapon that will not break your bank, a striker-fired pistol may work for you. So, how does a striker-fired pistol work? Let’s find out. 

A striker-fired pistol is a type of pistol that uses spring load when firing. Unlike a protruding hammer-fired pistol, it does not rely on an external hammer-hitting firing pin to ignite the cartridge’s primer. 

When pulling the trigger, the striker is ready to fire position along with potential spring energy. Once you press the lever, the spring striker moves forward, followed by a gunpowder explosion.

Striker-fired guns are famous in the concealed carry market. It is because this type of firearm has a lighter frame. On the other hand, sacrificing convenience means less manageable recoil.

What's A Striker-Fired pistol

How Does It Work?

The mechanism of the striker pistol is simple. The primer will ignite once the striker hits the casing, and it does not need firing pins. As you pull the single-action trigger, the lever bar is then released. 

It will indicate that the spring will have to push forward because the spring power in compression relaxes. The cartridge primer will ignite the rimfire rounds once the spring impacts the cartridge. 

You can compare the mechanism of a striker-fired pistol to the pinball machine launcher. May it be centerfire rounds or rimfire rounds, the casing’s backside should be pound with enough spring force to kindle the primer. 

The guns are spring-loaded instead of utilizing a hammer firing pin. This pistol is partially cocked, so you don’t have to manually cock it. When you press the trigger, the gun powder will now ignite to engage a shot. 

After the bullet is released, the striker or firing pin in hammer-fired guns will return to its pre-set position, ready for the subsequent firing.

Advantages of Handguns with Striker-Fire Action

Advantages of Handguns with Striker-Fire Action

No External Safety Measure

This handgun has an internal safety mechanism preventing the guns from firing. 

High-speed Shots

Since you don’t have to fully cock this weapon, it can give you high-speed shots, may it be a single action or double action. 


The body and structure of the guns are from polymer materials, so it’s lightweight. 

Light and Short Trigger Press

The striker-fired system has a partial-cocked and pre-cooked mechanism giving an easy and consistent trigger pull. Use a trigger pull gauge and find out how you can lighten your AR-15 rifle’s trigger pull here


The learning curve of striker-fired guns is not steep compared to hammer-fired handguns, so it is easy to use, even for a beginner.

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Is a Striker-Fired Gun Safe to Carry?

Yes, striker-fired guns are safe to carry. Most striker-fired pistols come with an internal safety mechanism, preventing the guns from engaging even when dropped. The safety now depends on the user since cocking the striker is equivalent to trigger pulls. 

When there is a trigger pull, it also cocks the striker, requiring a long, deliberate pull of the trigger bar before firing the gun. If it accidentally hits the primer in the half-cock position, it will not ignite, so there will be no shots to fire.

Read: Difference Between Single-Stage & Double-Stage Triggers

Safety Precautions To Consider

Safety Precautions To Consider

Always treat the gun loaded.

Since a striker-fired gun is partially cocked, it will fire once a trigger pull, so it is safe to assume that it is loaded. 

Keep your finger off the trigger.

Unless you are ready to shoot, keep your finger straight and off the trigger. 

Learn the mechanism.

Since this gun is different from a hammer-fired gun, it is safe to learn the mechanism before using it. 

Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Never point the muzzle at something if you do not plan to shoot [1]

Don’t rely on gun safety.

Unlike hammer-fired guns, the striker-fired guns have internal safety mechanisms but do not rely on that and be extra careful.

Also Read: USPSA vs IDPA


Since the striker-fired mechanism does not include an exposed hammer, the only way to decock the gun is by releasing tension in the striker spring. To decock striker-fired handguns, you have first to ensure that the guns are not loaded. Some pistols come with a decocking lever that you have to flip over.

Yes, the striker-fired pistols are reliable. Aside from being lightweight, this type of weapon is within a personal preference of a reputable instructor for self-defense, concealed carry. The firing pin of hammer-fired pistols was replaced by a striker containing all the energy that ignites the primer. There are single-action mode and double-action configurations that function efficiently and well.

Striker-fired pistols dominate the market because it is way cheaper than a hammer-fired. It is also lightweight and easy to carry. In addition to this, striker forward is modeless, so it is not prone to error. Teaching new users with this type of pistol will be easier and faster.

Yes, a striker-fired pistol can accidentally discharge. Since some types of pistols have short trigger pull and do not have external and manual safety, there are some possibilities that they will have an accidental discharge. However, safely handling a weapon depends on the user.

Final Thoughts on How Striker-Fired Pistols Work

Knowing how guns work and their firing mechanism is essential before taking a shot. The mainspring is moved up in the slide and acts directly to the pin. 

Because there is no external hammer, these types of pistols are snag-free. Its mechanism is more efficient compared to the traditional hammer-fired pistol and firing pin.  

Even though it may pose a safety risk to carry a firearm without external safeties, it undeniably gives many advantages compared to hammer-fired pistols.



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