Course Outline

Even something as simple as loading or unloading a handgun can result in tragedy if it isn't done properly. Here's how to do it safely.

The loading procedure depends on the type of handgun.

Loading Single-Action Revolvers

Single-action revolvers typically load through a gate on the right side of the frame.

To load a single-action revolver:

  • Point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Open the action; make sure the barrel is unobstructed.
  • Load a cartridge into each chamber. To rotate the cylinder, pull the hammer back to half-cock.
  • When the chambers are loaded, close the action.

Loading Double-Action Revolvers

Double-action revolvers have cylinders that are swung outward to expose all chambers for loading.

Loading handguns

To load a double-action revolver:

  • Point the muzzle down and in a safe direction.
  • With your right hand, release the cylinder latch. This frees the cylinder from the frame.
  • Swing the cylinder out and away from the frame with the two middle fingers of the left hand.
  • Make sure the barrel is unobstructed.
  • Load a cartridge into each chamber. After a chamber is loaded, rotate the cylinder with the left thumb and two middle fingers.
  • When the chambers are loaded, make sure the hammer is down (uncocked). Gently swing the cylinder back into the frame, and make sure it locks into place.
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