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Handgun and semiautomatic rifle manufacturers make firearms that are clip-fed or magazine-fed. A clip or magazine is basically a spring-loaded storage system for ammunition that allows one bullet at a time to move into firing position in the gun. When you charge your rifle or handgun using bolt or slide action, the first bullet is moved from the clip into the firing chamber. (The bullet will not move automatically when you insert the clip.) Once the firearm is charged, it is ready to fire once the safety is off.
Once the trigger is pulled with semiautomatic firearms, the next bullet moves into the chamber. There is no additional charging action needed to fire unless there is a mechanical malfunction with the gun or a misfire. The spring system keeps the bullets pushed together so that they stay pushed to the top of the clip until it is empty. Sometimes a bullet may not be seated properly in the clip and may jam instead of moving into the chamber. In these cases you should clear the firearm, smack the clip against your palm to seat the rear of the bullets firmly against the back of the clip, reinsert the magazine and try again. You will need to charge the firearm once more before attempting to fire.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|