Well, rookie, you are on the right track. Safe handling of firearms is VERY important. Guns are not toys, though many people have fun shooting them. I can not get into a full description of how semiautomatic pistols work. The main parts of a semiautomatic handgun are the barrel, slide, frame, trigger group, and magazine. The barrel is the tube that the bullet comes out of. The front end (where the bullet comes out) is called the muzzle. The other end of the barrel, where the cartridge is held before firing, is called the chamber. The barrel fits inside a boxy metal piece called the slide. This is the part that moves back and forth when the gun is fired. The slide and barrel fit on top of the frame with some kind of rail that allows them to move back and forth, but not sideways. The frame is the part with the grip and it holds the magazine and the trigger group. The magazine is the part that holds the bullets, and usually fits into the grip. The trigger group consists of the trigger and all the little pices to link the trigger to the hammer to fire. These parts include the safeties and decockers. After a gun is fired, there are several ways to make a gun safe to carry again. There are manual safeties, that can lock the firing pin and trigger, sor the gun can not be accidently shot if the trigger is bumped. There are decocking levers, that release the spring tension and get the hammer out of the cocked position, while blocking the firing pin. ......many guns can also be manually decocked, though it is not as safe. You really need to look at a book that has pictures to understand how these things work. You can go to a library and find good information in the encyclopedias, if they do not have books on guns. Remember, a gun is a tool, that can be very dangerous if misused. Guns do not think, guns do not shoot themselves. YOU must be responsible for safety. If you are old enough to buy a gun, please do not even load it unless you are with an experienced shooter.