Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hide Alert Show Alert

Stay up-to-date on operations adjustments and temporary closure of TPWD offices, state parks, recreation facilities and water access points due to COVID-19. Please follow guidance from local authorities, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

See Temporary Closures and Adjustments Boat Registration Office Status State Parks Alert Map

Chapter 2 - Firearms and Ammunition

A firearm is a mechanical device that launches a projectile at high velocity through a tube as the result of expanding gases from a burning propellant. Firearms have changed over the years, but are still based on forcing a projectile such as a bullet or shot through a barrel. 

How Firearms Work

Understanding how firearms work and the correct way to handle them is the first step in becoming a safe and responsible hunter. When learning to handle firearms always follow The Four Primary Rules of Safe Firearm Handling to prevent accidents:

  • Always point your muzzle (or bow) in a safe direction.
  • Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what lies in front of and beyond it.


 Generally, there are three types of firearms: rifles, shotguns and handguns.

 The three basic parts of a modern firearm are:

  • action, which loads, fires and ejects ammunition
  • barrel, a metal tube that the projectile passes through
  • stock, that supports the action and in many cases, the barrel

Other terms:

the end of the stock that is held against the shoulder. Sometimes fitted with a recoil pad.
the front end of the barrel where fired projectiles exit.
the beginning of the barrel that holds a cartridge or shot shell for firing.
the rear end of the barrel, beginning with the chamber.
the interior channel of the barrel through which fired projectiles travel.
a mechanical device designed to prevent accidental firing (never to be used as an alternative to safe firearm handing).
a compartment that holds ammunition for the action to load into the chamber. This can be built into the stock or a detachable container.
the part moved by the finger that fires the cartridge or shotshell.
Trigger guard
a protective ring that deters the trigger from being accidentally struck or touched.

Parts of a Rifle

Parts of a Rifle
labeled image of Rifle Parts

Parts of a Shotgun

Labeled image of shotgun parts

Parts of a Handgun
Revolver corrected



image of rifled boreimage of smooth bore of shotgun