If you are a John Wayne fan or know someone who is, this is not an unfamiliar sight. So what is it? A pistol? Or a revolver? Pistol? Revolver? Before you start reenacting a scene from China Town, let’s call it a tie. But an unequal tie- much like a rectangle can be a  square, but not vice versa, so too is the relationship between revolver and pistol. The defining characteristic of the revolver? The *revolving* cylinder of course. That’s the part that holds the bullets. See below.

Revolvers definedSo what is “Action”? And what makes it single or double?

I asked YouTube for a definition and this is what I found:

YouTube Preview Image

Bottom line:

Single actions require cocking for each bullet to fire. Double actions need to be cocked one time, then they self-cock, until the bullets run out. And there ya have it.