About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed National Handgun Safety Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Course Completion Certificate.

Learn More Register for the Course

Removing a cartridge from a handgun

Hang fires happen when the firing pin has struck the primer and there is a delay before it fires. This can occur for several reasons, such as a faulty firing pin or spring, defective primer, or other cartridge-related problems. A misfire is when the primer fails to ignite the powder.

Always treat a “misfire” or “hang fire” as if the handgun is going to discharge at any second.

  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • Do not attempt to fire the gun again.
  • Leave the action closed, and retain your shooting position. Wait for at least 30 seconds.
  • If the gun has not fired after 30 seconds, open the action and remove the cartridge. Also check the gun for obstructions but do not attempt to clear it unless you have experienced help.
    • On a revolver, check both the barrel and the cylinder.
    • On a semi-automatic pistol, clear the chamber and check the barrel.
  • Failure to follow these safe handling practices could result in a tragedy.