Hammer Fired/Striker Fired

Hammer Fired

Hammer-fired pistol
Hammer-Fired Revolver

The primer must be dented in order for a gun to fire. With a hammer-fired gun, a spring-powered weight (hammer) swings into the firing pin when released by the trigger. That impact on the back of the firing pin drives the pin into the cartridge’s primer. In some cases, the firing pin is integral to or attached to the hammer itself. Hammers are more commonly seen on the outside of a handgun, but there are many designs with internal hammers.

Striker Fired

striker-fired handgun
striker-fired pistols

The primer must be dented in order for a gun to fire. The hammer and mainspring have been eliminated from the frame of a striker-fired gun. Instead, the mainspring is positioned within the slide and acts on the firing pin directly. In this instance, the firing pin is called a striker. Rather than being hit by a hammer, it does the hitting itself.

Some striker-fired guns are single-action (SA), where the cycling of the slide fully cocks the striker and the trigger serves only to release it. Others are double-action (DA), where the trigger pull fully cocks or finishes cocking the striker, then releases it. Some are DA/SA and may even have an external decocker so a round can be chambered with the hammer down.


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