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TN Handgun Carry

Be Your Own First Responder

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” — 1791

Types of Handguns

There are two types of handguns – revolvers and semi-automatics. Either is fine for self defense. Which one you carry decide to carry will depend on several factors, including at least some of those discussed on our FAQs page.


Double Action Revolver

As the name implies, a revolver uses a rotating cylinder with multiple firing chambers. Revolvers are generally simpler to operate than semi-automatic handguns, and many prefer a revolvers to semi-automatic handguns because revolvers are easier to load and shoot, and becasue they are less complex, there is less that can noramlly go wrong with a revolver. Also, because of the way a revolver operates, malfunctions are normally easier to correct. However, the downside to carrying a revolver is that they generally hold less ammunition than a semi-automatic, and although revolvers are easier to load, reloading can take longer, and must be practiced often to become proficient, especially in high-stress situations.

Semi-automatic handguns

Semi-Automatic Handgun

These firearms were once commonly referred to as "automatics." This led to a great deal of confusion among those unfamiliar with firearms. Thankfully, that term has fallen out of favor with anyone having any actual knowledge of firearms. It is now typically used only by hoplophobes such as leftist politicians, news reporters, and anti-gun propaganda groups Contrary to what these individuals would have us believe, a semi-automatic firearm is not the same an an automatic firearm. While an automatic firearm will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held down, a semi-automatic firearm only fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. The user must release the trigger and pull it again for each subsequent shot.

Many people prefer to carry semi-automatic handguns for self-defense, because they typically hold more ammunition than revolvers, and they are normally much faster to reload, as they use a detachable magazine that holds additional ammunition, and can be quickly and easily swapped out.

Types of Actions

The action is a group of moving parts used to load, fire, and unload a firearm. Revolvers and many semi-automatic handguns have different types of actions. They are:

Single Action
The trigger performs only one action - releasing the hammer to fire the handgun.
  • With a single action revolver, the hammer must be manually cocked each time the user wishes to fire a shot.
    Single Action revolvers ARE NOT recommended to carry for self-defense.
  • With a single action semi-automatic, the hammer must be manually cocked for the first shot. However, after the first shot, the function of the firearm will cock the hammer as the firearms cycles.
Double Action
The trigger performs two actions - cocking the hammer, and releasing the hammer to fire the handgun.
  • Many double action revolvers can be manually cocked to be fired in single action mode.
  • With many double action semi-automatics, the hammer does not need to be be manually cocked for the first shot. However, the trigger pull on the first shot will be significantly heavier when firing in double action mode. After the first shot, these double action semi-automatic firearms will operate in single-action mode.
  • Some revolvers and semi-automatic firearms are available in double action only. They cannot be manually cocked, and are always shot in double action mode only. Double action only handguns typically have much longer and heavier trigger pulls than other action types.
Striker Fired Semi-Automatic
Many newer semi-automatic handguns are striker fired. While striker fired guns are often referred to as double action only, they are actually closer to single action only. However, they are not the same as single action only, as the hammer and firing pin are replaced with a stiker that is released when the trigger is pulled. While the slide must be cycled to reset the striker after the trigger has been pulled, internally they are completely different from a single action handgun, and they should not be referred to as single action or double action.

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