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Firearm Technology 101, Part I: The common elements of every gun



Firearm Technology 101 Part I The common elements of every gun

A tutorial on basic firearm terms and technology for patriots In honour of #GunPrideMonth

The Latin saying ‘praemonitus, praemunitus’ [Forewarned is forearmed] is more than appropriate here in that having basic knowledge of all firearms will prepare those of us on the Pro-Liberty Right for the ongoing attempts by the Authoritarian Socialist Left in depriving us of our basic freedoms.

Knowing the basic facts will help in dispelling the myths and lies from the Liberty grabber Left in the debate over Liberty control. Guns are essentially mechanical devices actuated by the chemical energy of a burning propellant. Most small arms operate in an automated fashion utilizing the energy of a rapidly expanding gas. It makes the use of these tools of self-defense far easier as is the case with most other automated processes.

Almost anything can be used as a weapon to carry out an assault.

The Authoritarian Socialist Left loves using undefined surrogate phrases to attack Liberty whilst pretending to not attack Liberty. It enables them to go after everyone’s freedom while still pretending to be ‘Liberal’. Hence, they exploit terms such as ‘Hate speech’, ‘Assault Weapon’ or their latest creation, ‘Military style’. They use these meaningless terms as a weapon to assault Liberty without looking like they hate speech.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of the term weapon has the phrase ‘assault with a deadly weapon’ as one example of the use of the term. As the saying goes, anything can be a weapon if you hold it correctly, so if anything can be an ‘Assault Weapon’, everything and anything can be banned.

For example, Eric ‘Nukem’ Swalwell has disturbingly switched from a demand to confiscate semi-automatic firearms to banning of any weapon possible under that undefined term. Semi-automatic has a specific definition, ‘Assault Weapon’ or ‘Military style’ do not, meaning those terms could be applied to virtually anything that could be used as a weapon.

Tube, propellant, projectile, ignition

At its most rudimentary level, every firearm has the four basic elements consisting of a tube, propellant, projectile and ignition. There is of course a wide variation in these elements, but these are the common parts of every gun.


Some of the earliest examples of the technology were large bombards used to assault castles. These were formed with rings and staves that resembled a traditional storage barrel, hence the name for this part. It contains the rapid expansion of gases of the ignition of the propellant that forces the projectile through the bore, the inner part of the tube. The inside diameter of the tube it termed the caliber and it is the primary designation of a gun.

The portion of the tube or barrel of the gun that holds the propellant and projectile during the ignition and firing sequence is generally designated as the firing chamber. Some will refer to the inner diameter of the tube or caliber as what a particular weapon will chamber.


In most cases, this is a chemical composition that rapidly produces the gas that forces the projectile through the tube and out towards the target. In other cases this is simply compressed gas that performs the same function.

Gunpowder was the initial chemical propellant consisting of saltpeter (potassium nitrate), sulfur, and charcoal which was replaced by nitrocellulose.


At the most essential level, a weapon is a means by which force can be applied to a target, preferably at a distance. The projectile is the elementary means of carrying out this function and the reason for the existence of a firearm.


This is the means that energizes the chemical reaction of the propellant that produces the rapidly expanding gas that forces the projectile out of the tube and down range at the target. Initially, this was merely a section of rope smoldering at the end known as a ‘slow match’. The tube or barrel would have a small hole to transfer the ignition source to the propellant.

In later developments, a small metallic wheel would spin against a material causing the sparks that ignite the propellant. A spring would cause this rotation and this would be wound up with a spanner, the trigger during the firing sequence would release this to fire the weapon.

Note that the development of this technology in the early part of the 16th century was the cause of the first inklings of Liberty control because this weapon could be carried concealed on the body.

Son of a Breech.

Technological limitations had the barrel closed at one end, necessitating the loading of the propellant and projectile from the muzzle or open end of a firearm.

The development of a breech-loading firearm was one of the revolutionary technological achievements that changed everything. This meant that one could load the propellant and projectile from the opening or ‘breech’ of the gun, speeding up the process considerably.

A bolt from the blue.

The technological innovation of breech loading required the development of a means to seal the opening of the barrel to keep the expanding gases contained during the firing sequence. In most cases this is a cylindrical part that fits into the breech that also a means to load, ignite the propellant and extract the empty case in the instance of Cartridge ammunition.

There are variations in how the bolt seals the breech during the firing sequence, but most will have the bolt rotate along it’s cylindrical or longitudinal axis to engage locking lugs to withstand the firing pressures.

Every gun from a .22 caliber rim-fire to an 16 inch navel cannon has these basic elements. The primary difference between them being the inner diameter and length of the tube. Some have a set of spiral grooves or rifling to impart a gyroscopic spin to the projectile, but for the most part these basic elements describe every firearm in existence.

In part II we will examine the revolutionary innovation developed in the early 19th century and how it made every modern firearm.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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