Triggering Debate: The Pros and Cons of Open Bolt Guns

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The Pros and Cons of Open Bolt Guns

In the world of firearms, there is an ongoing debate about the use of open bolt guns. Some enthusiasts swear by them, while others argue against their use. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of open bolt guns to help you make an informed decision about whether they are the right choice for you.

What Are Open Bolt Guns?

Open bolt guns are firearms that have their bolt in the open position when the gun is not being fired. When the trigger is pulled, the bolt closes, chambers a round, and fires the gun in one smooth motion. This design differs from closed bolt guns, where the bolt is closed and ready to fire when the trigger is pulled.

Pros of Open Bolt Guns

  1. Faster Cooling: One of the main advantages of open bolt guns is that they tend to stay cooler during extended firing sessions. This is because the bolt is exposed to the air, allowing for more efficient heat dissipation.

  2. Simplified Design: Open bolt guns often have a simpler design compared to closed bolt guns. This can make them easier to maintain and repair, as there are fewer moving parts involved.

  3. Potential for Faster Rate of Fire: The design of open bolt guns allows for a faster rate of fire compared to closed bolt guns. This can be advantageous in certain situations where rapid fire is needed.

  4. Less Sensitive to Dirt and Debris: Open bolt guns are generally less sensitive to dirt and debris compared to closed bolt guns. This can be beneficial in environments where cleanliness may be a concern.

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Cons of Open Bolt Guns

  1. Potential for Accidental Discharge: One of the biggest drawbacks of open bolt guns is the potential for accidental discharge. Because the bolt is in the open position, it can be more susceptible to being jarred or bumped, causing the gun to fire unintentionally.

  2. Less Accurate: Some shooters find that open bolt guns are less accurate than closed bolt guns. This is because the design of open bolt guns can introduce additional movement and vibration that can affect shot placement.

  3. Not Ideal for Precision Shooting: Due to their design and potential for less accuracy, open bolt guns may not be the best choice for precision shooting or long-range engagements.

  4. Regulatory Concerns: In some jurisdictions, open bolt guns are subject to stricter regulations and may be more difficult to legally own and use compared to closed bolt guns.


1. Are open bolt guns legal?

  • In some countries, open bolt guns are legal to own and use with the proper permits. However, it is essential to check your local laws and regulations before purchasing or using an open bolt gun.

2. Can open bolt guns be converted to closed bolt guns?

  • Converting an open bolt gun to a closed bolt gun can be complex and may not be legal in all jurisdictions. It is recommended to consult with a licensed gunsmith before attempting any modifications.

3. Do open bolt guns require special maintenance?

  • While open bolt guns may have a simpler design, they still require regular maintenance to ensure proper functioning and safety. Cleaning and lubricating the bolt and other components are essential for long-term reliability.
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4. What type of shooting is open bolt guns most suitable for?

  • Open bolt guns are commonly used in military and law enforcement applications where a high rate of fire is desired. They can also be used for recreational shooting but may not be ideal for precision shooting.

5. Are open bolt guns more prone to malfunctions?

  • Open bolt guns can be more prone to malfunctions compared to closed bolt guns due to their design. Regular maintenance and proper handling are crucial to minimize the risk of malfunctions.


In conclusion, open bolt guns have their advantages and disadvantages. While they offer advantages such as faster cooling and potential for faster rate of fire, they also come with drawbacks like the potential for accidental discharge and reduced accuracy. Ultimately, the decision to use an open bolt gun comes down to personal preference and intended use. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if an open bolt gun is the right choice for you.