The word venerable seems made to order for the M1911, Colt’s 1911 model semi-automatic pistol originally designed in 1911 by John Browning as a 45-caliber sidearm for the U.S. military. It remained so for seventy-four years, until 1985, when it was replaced as the official military sidearm by the Beretta M9, my personal preference for a large-frame pistol. Counting the examples manufactured for civilian use, for law enforcement, and for foreign governments, there have been around three million M1911 models produced.
What better example is there, then, for a high-quality animation illustrating all the inner workings of a semi-automatic pistol in operation? None, I think, and after viewing the animation, you’ll agree. Check it out, HERE, and for more on the M1911, the WikiPedia page is HERE.