What Is a Striker-Fired Handgun?

By American Handgunner
Posted in #Guns
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What Is a Striker-Fired Handgun?

July 11th, 2020

3 minute read

On today’s post, we have a “Roy’s Insider Tips” by Roy Huntington, editor of American Handgunner, and shared with us by FMG Publications.

While a striker-fired gun like this XD-M from Springfield Armory might at first seem complicated, they are actually quite easy to operate.

Roy notes that a lot of people often ask the question, “What is a striker-fired handgun?” And, with so many first-time handgun buyers on the market today, this question has become even more important.

The Details

While a striker-fired pistol can be a very simple, reliable and easy-to-operate design, it can be confusing to people new to the world of handguns. Roy states that his goal is to demystify this topic a bit.

A striker-fired pistol is usually simple to operate and very easy to use.

Using a Springfield Armory XD-M pistol, Roy explains what a striker-fired pistol is, how it works, and what its advantages are. He begins by clearing the gun and making sure it is “safe” by removing the magazine, and then cycling the slide to ensure there is no round in the gun.

He explains that the XD-M, like Springfield’s entire XD-based line and the Hellcat, is a striker-fired pistol. He explains that the “striker” is basically a firing pin located in the rear portion of the slide that runs horizontally, parallel with the length of the slide.

Roy Huntington, American Handgunner editor, gives you a breakdown of what a striker-fired handgun is.

The trigger of the XD-M pistol, which features a safety paddle on its face (and the pistol also features a grip safety that must be gripped for the pistol to fire), is designed to allow the striker to fire a round in the chamber. The result is a simple and reliable system of operation that will only fire in the trigger is pulled, thereby depressing the safety paddle and disengaging internal safeties as the trigger is pulled.


As Roy explains, a striker-fired gun may seem confusing to a first-time buyer, but they are actually quite simple and reliable to use. And, unlike other handguns like a 1911 or most revolvers, there is no external hammer that must be cocked and then released to fire the firearm.

This XD-M striker-fired pistol is a very easy gun for a beginner to use.

So, if you’ve been eyeing a striker-fired pistol like the XD-M but was unsure about how it worked, we hope this info helped!

Editor’s Note: This content is based on material from American Handgunner. Also, be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

American Handgunner

American Handgunner

American Handgunner was introduced in 1976 as the first magazine devoted entirely to handguns. Just like a classic, it improves with age. Today it’s still the first place handgunners everywhere turn for the latest and most reliable handgun news and information. From custom handguns, new factory models, competition, pistolsmithing, handloading and more, each issue continues to deliver the goods while staying on top of the rapidly changing world of handgunning. Looking for the benchmark of handgun news and enjoyment? You’ve found it in American Handgunner. The print version of American Handgunner is published six times per year by FMG Publications.

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