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Semi-Automatic/Fully Automatic/Single-Shot Firearms

An automatic weapon is one that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired. It can be semi-automatic, firing one shot per single pull of the trigger, or fully automatic, loading and firing ammunition until the trigger is released, the ammunition is exhausted or the weapon malfunctions.

Fully Automatic

Fully automatic is the mode of operation of a firearm whereupon the trigger is pulled and multiple shots are fired and will continue to fire until the trigger is released or until the magazine is empty. This mode of operation is extremely rare, heavily federally regulated and impossible for private citizens to purchase in a regular gun shop or at a gun show.


Semi-automatic is the mode of operation of a pistol, rifle or shotgun whereupon the trigger is pulled and a single shot is fired. Energy from firing is used to reload the chamber and re-cock the firing mechanism for another trigger pull. Can also be termed “self-loading.”

Single Shot

Single shot is the mode of operation where a weapon has no magazine and may contain only a single cartridge, loaded directly into the chamber. The gun must be manually reloaded and manually re-cocked every time it is fired. It is most commonly found in large hunting handguns, simple shotguns or hunting rifles.

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The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. We make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. 

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