About the Study Guide

You are looking at the Washington Handgun Education Study Guide. At the present time, you cannot obtain handgun education certification from Handgun Safety Course. However, you can use this Study Guide as a resource to learn more about handgun safety.

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.