How to Choose a Gun

If you are thinking about buying a gun, you should research as much as you can so you can make an informed decision. There are a lot of choices and this task can seem daunting, especially for first-time gun buyers. This article can help you start thinking about the basic factors to consider when choosing a gun.

What is the Gun’s Purpose?

One of the first things to determine is what you are going to be using your firearm for. Do you need something for home defense? Are you looking to do recreational or competition target shooting? Do you want to use your firearm for hunting? Answering these questions can help you narrow down the style of gun you are looking for.

Caliber and Recoil

Once you have determined what you want to use your gun for, you can start looking at the details. Caliber is a good place to start. In basic terms, caliber is the diameter of the bore (barrel) of the firearm and determines what size bullet that it fires. A gun that has a .22” diameter bore will fire a .22 caliber bullet. The higher the diameter of the bore, the larger caliber it can fire. The larger muzzle increases muzzle velocity and stopping power. A higher caliber weapon also has to be loaded more frequently as the ammunition is larger and not as many cartridges will fit in a magazine.

If you own a gun and plan on using it, it is important that you are able to control it. Higher caliber weapons have stronger recoil or kickback. This kickback or backward movement of the gun happens when a bullet is fired and is caused by the momentum of the bullet leaving the firearm. The larger the bore of the gun, the faster the muzzle velocity, and the stronger you feel the recoil. Additionally, higher caliber guns are often larger in the hand. A smaller caliber gun is easier to control because it has less recoil but it also has less stopping power. Smaller guns are perfect for defensive situations and better for someone who has small hands.

Quality and Maintenance

Purchasing a high-quality firearm can save you trouble down the road. This doesn’t mean that you need the most expensive gun on the market, but you will want to look at manufacturers with a reputation of making accurate and dependable weapons. Your gun store is a great place to start when shopping for any type of handgun. Here you can try a variety of weapons in different price ranges and you have expert salespeople there to answer any questions you may have. Looking at reviews online from reputable websites can also help influence your decision. You want to select a gun that is accurate, reliable, and made from high-quality materials.

You should also consider maintenance when choosing the right gun. If you are looking for a gun with less to maintain then a revolver may be best for you as it has less moving parts than semi-automatic handguns. However, semi-autos can hold more ammunition and fire at a faster rate.

Get Help Choosing a Gun

Testing out different styles and calibers at a shooting range is highly recommended when choosing a handgun. At The Hub, you can try guns you are interested in at our indoor shooting range and get a discount if you choose to purchase after. Our gun professionals are happy to answer any of your questions.

Visit The Hub in Tucson, Lakeside, or online to browse our selection of firearms.

The Parts of a Gun

It’s important to fully understand how a firearm works before operating one. This includes knowing the different parts of a gun. This article specifically goes over the parts of a semi-automatic pistol. Different types of guns vary in composition, so if you are using another variety, it’s important to be aware of its individual parts and their function.

A diagram showing the different parts of a gun

Some of the key parts of a semi-automatic pistol include:


This is the part of the gun that you hold. Various accessories and modifications may make it easier to keep a firm grasp on the gun’s grip. Stippling is one example of this.


The magazine is the part of the firearm that holds cartridges. One mistake that beginners sometimes make is calling this part a clip, which is not actually a part of a gun. Instead, a clip is an accessory that makes it easier to load ammunition into the magazine. While a magazine is essential for the operation of your firearm, a clip is not.

Trigger & Trigger Guard

The trigger is the part of the gun you pull to fire. It is contained within the trigger guard, which is a part of the frame that protects the trigger from being accidentally bumped or squeezed. If you are not actively firing your weapon, you should keep your pointer finger outside of the trigger guard. This is known as trigger discipline.


A gun’s safety is a lever or switch that can be set to “safe.” This prevents accidental discharge of the firearm. There are a few different designs that can be used. Some of the most common are safeties that prevent the trigger from moving and those that disconnect the trigger from the firing mechanism.


The slide is the upper portion of a semi-automatic pistol. It moves back to load rounds into the chamber for firing and also ejects the spent cartridge.

Barrel & Muzzle

The barrel is the metal tube inside of the gun through which a bullet travels. The muzzle is the portion at the end of the barrel where the bullet exits.

Front & Rear Sights

The front and rear sights are on the top of the barrel. You can aim by aligning them.

Gun Accessories

In addition to the parts of a gun, there may be accessories you add onto or use with your firearm. Some examples include holsters, suppressors, and scopes. It’s generally a good idea to fully understand how your gun works on its own before you add any accessories. You should also know how to use any additions safely and effectively.

Purchase Guns, Parts, and Accessories at The Hub

The Hub is your one-stop gun shop and we have a variety of parts and accessories. Whether you are buying your first firearm, building an AR-15, or honing your skills with firearms training, we can help.

Browse our selection of gun parts at either of our stores or online.

Tips for Your First Firing Range Visit

Visiting a firing range allows you to practice your shooting skills and target shooting is helpful for toning muscles like your arms and abs. Besides these benefits, it’s just plain fun. If you’ve never visited a shooting range before, you are likely wondering what to expect. The tips in this article can help you have a fun and safe visit to the firing range.

Ask Questions If You Need To

As a new shooter, you are likely going to have questions and this is completely okay and expected. If you are shooting with a more experienced friend, you should ask them any questions you may have to make sure you fully understand what you should be doing. If you are going to the range alone, you can always ask the Range Safety Officer (RSO). When you arrive, you should let them know that you are a beginner so they are aware of this and can provide you with any assistance you may need. At The Hub, we also have all first-time range visitors watch a safety briefing video that goes over all of the rules in detail.

Protect Your Eyes and Ears

Eye and ear protection are both necessary for a visit to the shooting range. Firearms are loud enough to cause immediate and irreversible damage to your hearing and shooting glasses shield your eyes from any potential hazards. You can either purchase these at our range or bring your own.

Know the Rules of Gun Safety

Safety is essential any time you are handling firearms. If you don’t already know the rules of gun safety, make sure you learn them and keep them in mind at all times.

As a refresher, these are:

  • Treat every gun as though it is loaded, even if you are sure it’s not.
  • Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to shoot.
  • Practice trigger discipline by keeping your pointer finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
  • Know your target and what is beyond it before firing.

Following these rules helps keep you and everyone else who you are sharing the range with safe.

Follow All RSO Instructions

The RSO is there to make sure everyone visiting the range stays safe. It’s important to show them respect and to follow any and all instructions they give you. In addition to putting your safety at risk, failure to do this will result in your immediate removal from the shooting range.

Some commands you may hear from the RSO include:

Cease Fire

This command is fairly straightforward. If you hear the RSO or anyone else say “cease fire,” stop shooting immediately and do not touch your firearm until you hear the RSO give the “all clear” command.

Commence Fire/Range is Hot

The command to commence fire usually comes after a warning that the range is about to go hot. At this point, it is safe to shoot. Always wait to shoot until you have been told it is okay.

Make Safe/Range is Cold

If you hear this command, you should apply your gun’s safety and do not handle your firearm. This is to make the range area safe for anyone entering. You may also hear the phrase “range is cold” which means that no one should be firing or handling their weapons.

Visit Our Indoor Shooting Range

Both of The Hub’s Arizona gun stores have indoor shooting ranges where you can practice firing. We are a welcoming environment for advanced shooters and beginners alike. We also offer rifle and pistol rentals so you can try a new gun and you can get a discount if you choose to purchase that model after using it on the range.

Visit our firing range today in Tucson or Lakeside.

What is Trigger Discipline?

Following the rules of firearm safety is essential for anyone using a gun. These basic actions can help prevent accidents and you should practice them until they become second-nature. One of these rules is trigger discipline, which is keeping your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Instead, your pointer/index finger should rest on the side of the frame. Although it seems simple, trigger discipline can take some training to fully ingrain.

What Does Trigger Discipline Look Like?

When you pick up a gun, draw it from a holster, or move it to point at a target, your index finger should rest on the frame. It should not touch the trigger or enter the trigger guard until you have made a decision to shoot.

A man holding a gun with his finger resting on the frame
An example of good trigger discipline

The photo above shows good trigger discipline. The person has their index finger on the frame of the firearm.

A man failing to exercise trigger discipline and holding a gun with this finger on the trigger
An example of what you should not do while holding a firearm 

This photo shows poor trigger discipline. The man’s finger is resting on the trigger, which makes it more likely that he could fire unintentionally.

A man drawing his gun from the holster using trigger discipline
An example of proper trigger discipline when drawing from a holster

This example shows how to properly draw from your holster with safety in mind. Your finger should remain extended at every point as you draw the weapon and aim at the target, up until the moment you decide to pull the trigger.

A man drawing his gun from his holster with his finger on the trigger, an example of unsafe gun handling
An example of unsafe pointer finger placement when drawing from a holster

In the photo above, the man is not practicing trigger discipline. His finger is on the trigger as he removes the gun from the holster.

Why is Trigger Discipline Important?

Some people question the importance of trigger discipline because if you are following the other gun safety rules, you won’t have your muzzle pointed at anything unless you are ready to shoot. However, this line of thinking does not account for the rapidly-changing situations that can occur if you are using your weapon in a real-world tactical environment. For example, if you are using your gun for self-defense, an innocent bystander may move in front of the target. If your finger is in the trigger guard, you are likely going to move it unconsciously and could fire your weapon without meaning to. When your pointer finger is resting on the frame, you have time to make a decision to move it and fire, which requires you to evaluate the situation more carefully.

Why is Trigger Discipline Sometimes Difficult for Beginners?

The concept of trigger discipline seems very simple in theory, but it can be difficult for those who are new to firearms to get the hang of it. This is because the most natural way to hold an object is with all four of your fingers and your thumb wrapped around it. For good trigger discipline, you need to override that impulse and keep the pointer finger extended. The best way to develop this habit is to practice until it is automatic for you to keep your finger out of the trigger guard any time you hold a gun.

Practicing Safe Gun Handling

Dry fire practice can be a great way to reinforce trigger discipline, especially when it comes to drawing from a holster. All you need to do is remove your unloaded gun from the holster, paying attention to your finger position as you do so, and aim at a target. Firearms training can also be beneficial and in this setting, you will have an expert who can alert you if you are putting your index finger in the trigger guard without realizing it.

Gun Safety Training at The Hub

At The Hub, we offer one-on-one training as well as concealed carry weapon (CCW) classes to help you learn more about gun safety. Our Lakeside location offers a variety of other classes and both locations have indoor gun ranges to practice target shooting. In Tucson, our MILO virtual-reality simulator is a great option for improving your decision-making using realistic self-defense scenarios.

The Hub is your source for all things gun-related. Visit us today at either of our Arizona gun stores.

How to Get Started in Competitive Shooting

Trying out something new can be scary at first, especially if it’s something related to the use of firearms. However, it can also be exciting and with a little bit of planning and research, you can get started in competitive shooting relatively easily.

Here are few basic things you will need to learn:

What to Purchase

Competitive Shooting Pistol

Of course, you will need to have a gun if you want to start competitive shooting. There are many factors to consider when choosing a pistol for this purpose. For example, you should consider the match you are interested in, the capacity, and how easy it is to find a matching holster. To start, you can use any reliable pistol that you personally like and 9mm is the most common competitive shooting caliber.


If you want to start competitive shooting, you may be tempted to buy a lot of equipment. However, you typically don’t need much to start with besides your pistol and a good holster. Before choosing a holster, you should know that some can be dangerous. These include nylon holsters, which are often difficult to operate. In addition, many competitions do not permit Blackhawk SERPA. Finally, holsters with leather inside the waistband tend to collapse when the pistol is removed, and this might be dangerous for a beginner.

Safety Equipment

In addition to your gun and holster, you will need eye protection. This is required both for shooters and for anyone else attending the match. There are several different types of eye protection, and they come at different prices. You do not have to get the most expensive ones to get the best protection. Ear protection is also necessary as gunshots can be loud enough to cause immediate and irreversible damage to your hearing.

What to Know

Competitive Shooting Safety

Safety is the most critical aspect of any shooting competition. It is important to follow all the rules of the range where the competition is being held. You will need to keep your pistol unloaded and holstered until a range officer tells you otherwise. If you are ever unsure of what to do, it can be helpful to have someone with you who is more familiar with competitive shooting. It’s expected that you won’t know everything and might feel a bit lost, but you need to make sure that you keep safety in mind at all times.

One of the most essential things to know is that if the range officer tells you to “stop” or “cease fire” at any point, you need to immediately stop what you are doing and wait for further instruction.

Know How to Run Your Pistol

If you don’t know how to use your pistol, you probably won’t have much fun at the competition. More importantly, you may be creating a situation that can be dangerous to yourself and others. You should know the basics of pistol operation including how to load and unload your weapon and how to clear malfunctions.

Your First Shooting Competition

After you have finished preparing, you can attend your first match. How this looks differs slightly depending on the range that is holding the competition, but the basic steps are usually pretty similar. There is generally a scorecard that you turn in to a scorekeeper at the beginning of the match or stage. This will determine the order in which contestants will shoot. As a beginner, it is a good idea to ask if the scorekeeper can put you at the end of the shooting order so you have a chance to watch others first and get a better idea of what to do.

When your name is called, you should approach the firing line. The range officer will ask you if you understand the course of fire and if you do not, you should ask any questions you have at this time. Once you confirm that you understand, the officer will tell you to “load and make ready” or simply “make ready.” At this point, you are allowed to remove your pistol from the holster, load a magazine, chamber a round, and place the gun back in your holster. The officer will then ask if you are ready and when you confirm, they will set a timer and you will hear a “beep” sound when it is time to start shooting.

After you finish running the course of fire, the range officer will give a command such as “slide, hammer, and holster.” This means you need to drop the slide, dry fire your gun in a safe direction to confirm it is unloaded, and then place it back in your holster.

Get Started at The Hub

At the Hub, you can find everything you need for shooting competitions, including high-quality pistols and holsters.

Visit us today to browse our selection of competitive shooting supplies.

The Basics of Dry Fire Practice

Like any skill, shooting requires practice. However, you may not be able to make it to the range as often as you would like or might want to try to reduce the cost of training by lowering the amount of ammunition you are using. One way to improve your shooting skills at home is with dry fire practice. This is when you go through the motions of firing your weapon without using any live ammunition. When done safely, this can be a great supplement to time at the shooting range.

Dry Fire Practice Safety

When done properly, dry fire practice is a safe way to train without actually discharging your weapon. However, safety is essential to make sure you do not harm yourself or others. Before dry fire training, you need to make sure your gun is unloaded. Double and triple check this before you begin. Using a chamber flag, which visually marks the gun as unloaded, is often a good idea. It’s also recommended that you store ammunition away from where you are practicing.

Even after you verify that the weapon is unloaded, continue to follow all of the rules of gun safety. If you don’t know these already, refer to our article “Essential Gun Safety Rules.” This means you shouldn’t point your gun at anyone else and should practice trigger discipline. Set up a target and only aim at this area. This may seem excessive when you have just made sure the gun has no ammunition, but it’s important to make sure you don’t develop any bad habits. It should be second nature to follow these safety rules any time you handle a firearm.

Why is Dry Fire Practice Helpful?

Actually shooting your gun is essential for perfecting your skills and this should not be overlooked. However, there are many reasons why including dry fire in your practice schedule can be helpful.

Some of the benefits of dry fire training include:

  • Dry firing is great for learning fundamental skills and developing muscle memory before you even start shooting with live ammunition.
  • It’s easy to make dry fire practice a part of your routine and this allows you to train more continually than you may do otherwise.
  • You don’t need to leave your home.
  • You won’t use ammunition, which is cost-effective and can be helpful if a shortage makes it harder to find the ammo you need, as was the case for much of 2020.
  • There are some circumstances where you may be unable to go to the range and dry firing can help prevent degradation of your skills during this time. One example is pregnancy and many women find dry fire practice to be a helpful alternative to actual shooting.

Dry Fire Drills

Basic Dry Fire Practice

The most basic dry fire drill is simply going through the motions of aiming and firing. Do this slowly and focus on getting every detail correct. Speed takes time and it’s important to build your foundational skills first. Align the sights with your target, pull the trigger, and make sure the sights stay on the target.

Firing with a Coin

Place a coin or another small object on the front sight of your firearm. Practice gripping the gun and pulling the trigger. The coin should stay balanced on the gun during this entire process. If it falls, you need to perfect your trigger control and grip.

Drawing from the Holster

In a self-defense situation, you may need to draw your firearm from a concealed carry holster. You should be able to clear away any clothing that is blocking your holster, draw the gun, aim, and fire quickly and accurately. Dry fire allows you to practice these steps safely and build muscle memory.

Combining Different Types of Practice

The best way to improve your skills is to use multiple different methods of training. At The Hub, we have a wide variety of resources whether you are a new gun owner or an experienced shooter. Both locations (Tucson and Lakeside) offer concealed carry weapon (CCW) courses and each shop has an indoor shooting range. In Lakeside, we also offer 101 and advanced classes. Our Tucson location has a MILO virtual range for practicing quick decision-making and we can also schedule one-on-one firearms training.

Visit The Hub today for our shooting range, MILO simulator, and firearms training.

Direct Impingement vs Gas Piston

AR-15 rifles are highly customizable and whether you are building your own or purchasing one, there are many different choices you will need to make. One is which operating system to use: direct impingement vs gas piston. This is a hotly-debated topic among AR-15 owners. It can be helpful to know some of the basics of how these operating systems work and the differences between them before making a decision.

Direct Impingement

How a Direct Impingement Operating System Works

When a shooter pulls the trigger of a gun, the firing pin strikes the primer of the cartridge. This causes a controlled explosion which propels the bullet down the chamber and out of the gun. In a direct impingement operating system, the gas that this explosion generates is guided into a gas tube and is directed to the bolt carrier gas key. The gas then moves into the expansion chamber where it (as the name implies) expands and pushes the bolt carrier back. The gun then ejects the spent cartridge and a new round is loaded into the chamber.

Benefits of Direct Impingement

  • Direct impingement guns are often better-suited to use with a suppressor.
  • This operating system is more common for AR-15s and parts are typically standardized across different manufacturers. This makes direct impingement AR-15s easier to repair and maintain.
  • Many shooters find direct impingement AR-15s to be more accurate. This is because the system limits the recoil more effectively, although this may not be noticeable in all cases.

Downsides of Direct Impingement

  • Direct impingement operating systems heat up the bolt carrier group, which can be more likely to result in malfunctions. You will also need to let the bolt carrier cool down before removing it.
  • Gas ports into the interior of the rifle, which creates more build-up in the gun and requires more frequent cleaning. This is one of the main reasons some gun owners prefer gas piston AR-15s.

Gas Piston

How A Gas Piston Operating System Works

A gas piston system is fairly similar to direct impingement in that the force of the gas pushes the bolt carrier back to cycle a new round into the chamber. The difference is that a gas piston system works by forcing gas into a separate cylinder rather than using a gas tube. This cylinder contains a piston and the gas pushes this piston back, which then pushes the bolt carrier. This is in contrast to direct impingement where the bolt carrier is moved directly by the gas. The gas expels away from the shooter just above the gas block.

Benefits of Gas Piston

  • Since gas does not port back into the gun, it stays cleaner for longer.
  • Gas piston bolt carrier groups do not heat up as much as those in direct impingement systems.

Downsides of Gas Piston

  • Gas piston AR-15s are heavier and have a stronger recoil. As a result, they can be slightly less accurate.
  • Many gas piston operating systems are proprietary to the manufacturer, which makes it harder to find replacement parts if necessary.
  • A piston-driven AR-15 will usually be more expensive than one that uses direct impingement.

Direct Impingement vs Gas Piston: Which is Better?

At the end of the day, direct impingement and gas piston operating systems both have their pros and cons. If you aren’t sure which you would prefer, you can try a few different types out at our shooting range. It’s also possible to switch out the upper receiver on an AR-15 so you can alternate between direct impingement and gas piston operating systems.

Whether you are interested in direct impingement or gas piston, you can find AR-15-style rifles at The Hub.

Clip vs Magazine

There are many different gun terms that can be confusing if you are new to firearms. One distinction to be aware of is clip vs magazine. It’s fairly common for those who are not very familiar with guns to confuse these two and use the wrong word for what they are trying to describe. This can be embarrassing and it’s helpful to know the right terminology.

The Basic Difference Between a Clip and a Magazine

A gun clip vs magazine

Clips and magazines are both used for loading a gun, but they serve different purposes. A clip holds cartridges together to make them easier to load into the magazine. You can also use a clip to load a cylinder. The magazine feeds rounds into the firearm’s chamber during shooting. In the image above, the part on the left is a clip and the part on the right is a magazine. There are different varieties of clips and magazines that may look different than this example. In general, magazines are referenced more often. This is because all guns besides revolvers or single-shot firearms have a magazine. Conversely, clips are not necessary for the operation of firearms and not all models use them.

Types of Clips

Stripper Clip

A stripper clip is the most common variety and loads a magazine from the top. The “strip” on the side holds the ammunition and allows you to easily push the rounds into the magazine. The cartridges are removed from the clip as they are loaded and the clip itself does not go into the magazine.

En Bloc Clip

En bloc clips are associated with the historic M1 Garand rifles used by the United States during World War II. Unlike stripper clips, these are inserted into the magazine and are the reason M1 Garands make a distinct “ping” sound when they run out of ammunition.

Half-Moon/Moon Clips

These clips are in the shape of a circle or half circle and are used for loading revolvers. They position the ammunition so that it easier to place in the cylinder.

Types of Magazines

Detachable Magazine

A detachable magazine is designed so that it can be loaded and then inserted into the firearm when it is ready for use. These are incredibly common and are used for a wide variety of guns.

Internal Magazine

An internal magazine, also called an integral box magazine, is usually found on bolt-action rifles or older semi-automatic rifles. It is built into the firearm and is not meant to be removed. You load these magazines from the top.

Tubular Magazine

A tubular magazine is fixed to a gun, usually under the barrel, and is common for 22-caliber rifles, lever-action rifles, and shotguns. Rounds need to be loaded one at a time.

Guns and Accessories at The Hub

The Hub offers a large selection of firearms and accessories, including clips and magazines.

Visit either of our Arizona gun stores today.

What is a Carbine?

If you are new to the world of firearms, understanding the different types of guns can be a bit overwhelming at first. Carbines are one variety that is often defined imprecisely or inaccurately. A carbine is a type of rifle and is often, although not always, a shortened version of an existing model. This basic definition is enough to know what people are referring to when they mention carbines. However, like almost any firearm-related term, there are more nuances to consider to fully understand this type of weapon.

Carbine vs Rifle

People often mention carbines and rifles together. The question of how these two are different can be a source of confusion. A carbine is actually a specific type of rifle. Compared to a standard rifle, a carbine is generally shorter and easier to handle. If the carbine is a shorter version of an existing rifle, it will often have the same caliber. However, this is not always the case.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine which rifles are carbines and at the end of the day, there isn’t one definition that works in all cases. For the most part, a rifle with a barrel shorter than 20 inches can be called a carbine. If the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is also a short-barreled rifle (SBR) and is regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).

History of Carbines

The word “carbine” comes from the French word “carabinier,” which means “rifleman.” The first use of the word carabinier was describing the Battle of Neerwinden in 1693. At this time, the soldiers would have been using longer muskets. However, these were harder to use on horseback. As a result, a shorter, more lightweight rifle was created. Advancements in technology allowed these shorter guns to become more accurate over time. Today, the military uses carbines such as the M4 for close-quarters combat.

Pistol Caliber Carbines

Pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) are a subcategory of this type of gun and are semi-automatic lightweight rifles chambered for pistol cartridges. Experts believe that PCCs originated in the American Wild West. Cowboys and lawmen would often carry a lightweight rifle and a revolver that used the same caliber of ammunition, which was more efficient. Many modern PCCs are based on the AR-15 design. The main benefit is that these can be easier to control and have less recoil than rifle calibers, although whether or not any individual would benefit from a PCC will depend on how they use it and their personal preferences.

Carbines and Training at The Hub

At The Hub, we offer a wide variety of firearms including carbines. If you are interested in learning more about how to handle this type of gun, our Lakeside location offers an AR 101/Intro to Carbines course.

Visit us at either of our Arizona gun stores to browse our selection of carbines and other guns.

Semi-Automatic vs Automatic

There are many different types of guns and each variety is different. One factor to be aware of is the action mechanism, which is how the weapon reloads after firing. The mechanism that is most common for modern firearms is semi-automatic. Although this may be compared to automatic guns, they are two different types of mechanisms and work differently.

How Semi-Automatic Guns Work

A firearm is semi-automatic if a bullet automatically reloads and if the gun only fires once per trigger pull. There are two main ways a gun can reload automatically. The first is by using the force of the recoil. The “blowback” sends the barrel back rapidly, which ejects the spent cartridge and loads a new one. This mechanism is most often used for smaller calibers and is common for pistols, although variations such as delayed blowback can be used for more high-powered firearms.

A gas operation mechanism uses a portion of the gases that the gun generates while firing to cycle a new cartridge into the chamber. A well-known example of this is the AR-15 model, which uses gas impingement. After firing, the gases flow through a tube into a gas block, which then transfers the gas to a bolt key in order to cycle the action. Other types of gas operation include long-stroke piston and short-stroke piston.

Semi-Automatic vs Automatic

Semi-automatics and automatics both automatically reload after firing. However, they are not the same thing. The difference is a semi-auto gun will fire only once for each pull of the trigger. A fully-automatic gun will continue to fire as long as the trigger is held. Semi-automatic firearms are fairly common. Fully-automatic machine guns, on the other hand, are more difficult to obtain. These are usually collector’s pieces and there are many regulations for owning one.

If you want to experience the difference between semi-auto and full-auto shooting for yourself, you can rent an automatic MP5 variant at our Tucson shooting range.

Other Types of Mechanisms

Some guns are neither semi-automatic nor automatic. For example, revolvers rotate to line each cartridge up with the chamber. The rotation of the cylinder and the firing of the weapon are two separate processes, even though double-action revolvers accomplish both during the trigger pull, so these guns are not semi-automatic. Most shotguns are also not semi-automatic and use a pump-action mechanism for firing. However, some modern shotguns are semi-auto.

Semi-Automatic Firearms at The Hub

At The Hub, we have a large selection of guns to choose from.

Visit us today to purchase a modern semi-automatic firearm.