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Semi-Automatic Handguns

A semi-automatic handgun is just what the name implies.
With each press of the trigger and fire a single shot then the rest is automatic. They are not ‘automatic’ handguns.
You must press the trigger each time to fire a shot.

The semi-automatic handgun is a magazine fed, recoil operated gun held in your hand.
The Handgun was not named a ‘handsgun’ for a reason but of course using both hands is the best way to get the most out of accuracy. This is also know as ‘locking points’.

With that being said, a great number of self-defense incidents with a handgun finds the operator using just one hand. Either there isn’t enough time to get the gun into both hands, or the other hand is doing something else like holding onto a wall or shielding a loved one from the danger. Make SURE you are good shooting your defensive handgun with only ONE hand!

Handguns were invented to fill the role of a defensive firearm.
They are light, easily carried on your person, can be concealed from view and you can quickly get the gun into action.

They were created to fight your way to the gun you really need in a fight – your rifle or your shotgun.
BUT – Handgun calibers are notoriously know for their ineffectiveness, that’s right – ineffectiveness.

Lots of people obviously are killed by handguns each year, this is what we hear on the news, but the truth is most people shot with a handgun survive and most are released the same day from the hospital or the next.

Handgun bullets don’t have the kinetic energy or ‘punch’ of a rifle or shotgun round and don’t create ‘hydro-static shock’ to the body. Hydro-static shock from a rifle or shotgun round will turn the fluids inside the body into a ‘weapon’. Fluids inside our body don’t compress when hit by a shock wave, they act like tidal wave and will reverberate out and cause other significant damage.

Semi-Automatics can be plagued by three types of malfunctions. They are NOT Jams! Lots of people use the word jam incorrectly. A ‘Jam’ is when the gun won’t fire and there is a high probability any type of fixing in the field won’t get it working again. Most likely you’ll have to take it to a gunsmith. I once had this very thing happen to me at the range during a class! After that, I started carrying my BUG – BackUp Gun 99% of the time…. still do!

There are three malfunctions common to a semi-automatic handgun.

Type 1 – Failure to Fire. aka ‘misfire’
Type 2 – Failure to Eject. ‘stove pipe’, ‘high-brass’.
Type 3 – Failure to Feed, aka the ‘mother of all failures

In class we practice the clearing procedures using ‘snap caps’. Snap caps are not real ammunition. The are plastic or aluminum cartridges that work just like a real cartridges but they can’t fire. They allow us to practice without using live ammo.

Rick Cross
Be Safe Firearms Instruction
Las Vegas, Nevada.

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