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The single-action revolver, otherwise known as a cowboy-action revolver, is the type of handgun made famous by its use in the American Wild West. They are also commonly known as six-shooters, though there are plenty of modern revolvers that only have five chambers.
When the trigger is pulled on a single action revolver, the hammer is released causing the cartridge in the chamber to fire. Single action refers to the fact that only the release of the hammer occurs when the trigger is pulled. Single action revolvers must be cocked manually prior to each shot. This need to cock the hammer also acts as a safety. This solo action requires much less force than a double-action pistol.
The first cartridge revolvers appeared around 1854. The Lefaucheux Model 1854 used contained cartridges instead of the prevailing power and pistol ball ammo of the time. Revolvers continued to develop through the years. They were the dominant weapon of police forces across the country until the introduction of the Beretta 92 and Glock 17 in the 1970s and 1980s.
Some of the most notable single-actions revolvers include the Colt Single Action Army pistol, the Walker Colt, and the Ruger Vaquero.
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