Rifleman Q & A: Open-Bolt Mechanics

posted on May 23, 2018

Q: What does it mean when a firearm is fired from an open bolt?

A: The term “open bolt” indicates a firearm mechanism where the bolt remains in the open position until the trigger is pulled. Most semi-automatic firearms are of the more familiar “closed bolt” type. In such guns, the bolt is pulled to the rear, released and then moves forward, chambering a round, and then locks into battery before the trigger is pulled. When an open-bolt firearm is operated, the bolt is pulled to the rear and remains in that position until the trigger is pulled. Once the trigger is pulled, the bolt moves forward, chambers a round and then the gun fires when the bolt moves into battery. Open-bolt designs are generally used on full-automatic or selective-fire firearms, as the mechanism aids in cooling. The main downside is that the aim can be affected by the heavy bolt slamming forward at the moment of firing. However, this is not generally viewed as a significant problem when firing fully automatic firearms.

--Bruce N. Canfield


Eotech Launches Anti
Eotech Launches Anti

EOTech Launches Anti-Counterfeit Measures

EOTech has launched a campaign targeting those who create and sell illegal copies of its military sighting systems.

The .405 Winchester: History and Performance

Now largely a forgotten footnote in cartridge development, the .405 Winchester was once the most powerful rimmed cartridge capable of use in a lever-action rifle and was a favorite of Theodore Roosevelt.

Colt Mustang .380 ACP: The Pocket-Size 1911

Based off the classic 1911 design, the small Colt Mustang chambered in .380 ACP is easily concealable and shares the same classic look in its tiny frame.

NRA Reschedules The Annual Members' Meeting

The NRA has rescheduled its Annual Members' Meeting to occur on Oct. 2, 2021 in Charlotte, NC.

The Men And Guns Of D-Day: 101st Airborne Division

Watch this segment of American Rifleman Television "The Men And Guns Of D-Day" to learn more about the men of the 101st Airborne Division, their stories and the firearms they used during "The Great Crusade."

Pat Garrett's Pistol Sells for Highest Price in History

The Colt Single Action Army revolver used by Pat Garrett to kill Billy The Kid sold at auction from Bonhams for more than $6 million dollars, in what is probably the highest price ever paid for a civilian firearm.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.