As each shot is fired manually, the case of the cartridge is ejected automatically and the chamber is reloaded automatically.
- To open the action, you must pull back the slide (on a pistol). Most semi-automatics, when the slide is pulled back, will lock in the open position if the magazine is empty. If the firearm does not lock open, it means that a cartridge from the magazine has gone into the chamber, making the firearm ready to fire. A few semi-automatics do not lock open and must be held open to check the chamber.
- To unload, first remove the magazine, and lock the action open. Then make sure it’s unloaded—check both the chamber and the magazine for extra cartridges.
- When closing the action for loading, pull back on the slide and let go, allowing it to travel forward on its own. Do not guide it forward with your hand because it may not seat properly.
- On a semi-automatic, the trigger must be pulled each time a shot is fired.