That thing on the side is called the side plate, if you take it off nothing should come out, but I will warn you...
DO NOT REMOVE ANY PARTS FROM INSIDE, ESPECIALLY THE TRIGGER RETURN SPRING unless you have the right tools to put it back in.
Regarding your light strikes, on the front strap of the gun hidden by your grips, there should be a screw which adjusts spring tension for the hammer. Basically you can adjust it to hit harder/softer.
I'll try and find some pictures and look up the proper terminology.