The Hammer at Half-cock
Next to using the finest steel for the barrel and the receiver, nearly all the other schemes for safety have to do with preventing the gun from accidentally going off before you are ready to pull the trigger.
The greatest safety device ever put on a gun dates way back to the time of the flintlocks and this is the hammer at half-cock—a position midway between the hammer when it rests on the cartridge or shell and when it is at full-cock, that is, pulled clear back.
When the hammer is at half-cock the sear, which is the piece that holds the hammer at half-cock, holds the hammer in place so that it cannot by any hook, slip or crook be pulled down either accidentally or on purpose, and the only way to shoot the gun is to draw the hammer back to full-cock.
Collins, A. Frederick. Shooting, for Boys,. New York: Moffat, Yard and, 1917. Print.
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