What Are the Most Essential Components of Guns?

All firearms have three basic parts: the action, the stock, and the barrel. Of these three parts, an argument can be made that the action, which contains the “guts” of the gun, is the most important part of any firearm. However, all three of these main firearm parts are worthy of attention and important for one reason or another. Below, the firearms safety and training experts from Gun Safety Training Pros, your premier choice for gun safety classes, go over each one.


The reason for making an argument for the action being the most important part of a firearm is because this is where the main mechanical or movable features are located. This area includes all parts that need to move for the firearm to operate properly, a list that includes parts you’ll need to:

• Load your gun
• Fire your firearm
• Eject shells or cartridges

If any of the moving parts of a firearm are deformed, defective, worn out, damaged, not properly maintained, or not functioning in any other way, it would be difficult, impossible, or not safe to use your firearm. The specific actions on firearms come in two basic styles: single-shot and repeating.

A firearm with an action that allows for single-shot operation only will need to be reloaded each time you wish to fire your gun. If a firearm has a repeating action, extra cartridges or shot shells can be supported and used without the need to keep reloading.


On a rifle, the stock provides support for the gun. It fits snugly in the shoulder area to make the shooting platform more stable.

Handguns don’t typically have stocks. A handgun is smaller and designed to be held and operated as the handle is gripped. This is all contained within the receiver of the handgun. A stock can be added to a handgun for additional stability, but this would classify the handgun as a short-barrel rifle.


The barrel of a gun is the long metal tube that extends from the chamber of the firearm. It’s hollow inside to provide a clear path for the discharge of the shot, slug, or bullet held by the gun. After the gun is fired, the projectile is pushed through the barrel and out the front end, or muzzle. In handguns and rifles, it’s the bullet that goes through the barrel. If your preferred firearm is a shotgun, it’s the shot or slug that goes through the barrel as it’s expelled from the gun.

Smaller (but Still Important) Parts

Rifles, handguns, and shotguns, the most common types of firearms, all have smaller parts often included with popular models—all of which are important in one way or another. Some of these include:

• Front and rear sights that help with aim and accuracy
• Safeties that prevent negligent discharge
• Fixed or detachable magazines on repeating firearms that hold cartridges
• Triggers that initiate the firing action and protective trigger guards
• Cylinders on revolvers that hold cartridges in separate chambers 

One of the most important parts of being a responsible gun owner is knowing how to store, handle, and shoot it properly, which includes understanding its components and how they work. Fortunately, Gun Safety Training Pros offers a high-quality gun safety class online. If you need to learn how to handle a gun and shoot it safely, we have what you need. For more information, contact one of our knowledgeable team members today at [email protected].

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