***common gun terms are in italics***
***note: I'm not a firearms instructor...never have been, not qualified as such...the following is just my own understanding and interpretation. Do more research to validate your own interpretation.***
When you rack a slide manually it strips (picks off) a bb (or bullet for a real gun) from the top of the magazine and when it slides forward (return to battery) it chambers (puts it in a position to be fired) the round.
That action also cocks the hammer/striker (some pistols like the Glock do not have a hammer like a 1911 does).
Now if you know you have a round in the chamber, and your hammer happens to be de-cocked...then simply cocking the hammer (which sets the action) will put the pistol in a condition to fire.
But if you don't know if there's a round in the chamber, and/or there isn't one in there...then just cocking the hammer/action may not help...since a trigger pull might just end up with a failed shot (well...in airsoft gas will still be released, but no bb). Or you might have guessed right and there was a round in there....
As well...(for a real gun)...some rounds are duds. They don't shoot when they should. So you load a mag, insert mag, rack slide (chambering a round and cocking the action) and pull the trigger...and nothing happens. Well, cocking the hammer manually might be an option...then pull the trigger again to see if maybe another hammer strike sets it off...maybe, maybe not.
Doing that, when you really, really urgently need to shoot someone...is not a good situation for you to be in.
Some pistols do not have exposed hammers that can be manually cocked (e.g. glocks). Their slides MUST be racked back to set the action/striker into the firing position.
So...as a default thing to do when you:
- don't know if there is a round chambered
- "shot" a blank/experienced a "failure to fire"
is to load a new round into the chamber and try again...usually as fast as you can since the situation might be quite pressing. To do that you rack the slide and pull the trigger to fire (which is pretty quick if your brain & hands are still working).
Hope that helps,
Last edited by m102404; August 20th, 2009 at 17:56..