Cock is the storing of energy in the firing mechanism (usually a spring), in preparation to fire. Pulling the trigger releases the cocked hammer or striker, which causes the gun to fire. In single-action (SA) revolvers, this is accomplished by pulling the hammer back until it stops. In striker-fired pistols, this is only accomplished by pulling the slide to the rear. Hammer-fired pistols can be cocked in either fashion, and double-action-only (DAO) firearms cock and subsequently release the hammer or striker with a single press of the trigger.

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