The man tried to pull the trigger, twice, but the gun did not fire. The weapon's barrel was pointed just inches away from the head of Argentina's Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The perpetrator of the suspected assassination attempt, now detained, has been identified as Brazilian citizen Fernando André Sabag Montiel, who until Thursday resided in Villa del Parque, Buenos Aires.
According to Security Minister Aníbal Fernández, he has been living in Argentina since 1993.
The 35-year-old was arrested after an intervention by the vice-president's security detail, her supporters and police officers. The pistol, which had dropped to the floor and lay metres away from the ensuing melee is now being analysed by forensic ballistics team.
According to the Noticias Argentinas agency, it was a Bersa .380 calibre pistol. There were five bullets, but none in the chamber, according to the Perfil.com website.
Montiel, whose background and residence is now being heavily scrutinised by the authorities, has a record in the Argentine justice system dating back to 2021.
The suspect, who is employed, was arrested last year for possession of a 35-centimetre long knife. It was discovered after he was stopped by a City Police vehicle control point due to irregularities with the licence plate of his Chevrolet Prisma.
The weapon was seized and a case was brought against him, but it was later shelved.
It emerged in the early hours of Friday morning that Montiel had twice recently been interviewed by journalists from the Crónica TV channel. He was asked during a live broadcast about his views about the arrival of Sergio Massa to the Economy Ministry and, on another occasion, for his thoughts on social plans and welfare support.