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Despite their differences, all firearms operate using the same basic principles: the trigger is pulled, causing a firing pin to strike the primer; the primer ignites the gunpowder and the burning powder creates pressure; the pressure pushes the projectile (shot or a bullet) down the barrel and out the muzzle, or end, of the barrel. The following diagram shows what happens when the trigger is pulled.

Firearm Actions Diagram; what happens when the trigger is pulled