Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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Ejection Port

The opening through which the empty, spent ammunition case is ejected from of a firearm.

Slide Catch

Sometimes also known as a slide lock, slide release or slide lever. On a semi-autmatic gun, the lever or catch that holds the slide open (after the last round is fired or when racking an empty gun). Typically they are located on the left side of the frame about mide barrel. Some of the newer semi-automatic pistols have an internal slide lock. Even though on pistols with an external slide catch, you can push down on the lever to release the slide, it should never be used in such a manner. The proper way to release the slide is to rack the slide.

Closed Bolt Firing System

A type of firearm in which the action is closed, with a cartridge in the chamber prior to firing. When the trigger is pressed the cartridge is fired, and the action cycles loading another cartridge into chamber and when firing is stopped the bolt remains closed and the chamber remains loaded.

Pitch

The angle of the butt of a gun in relation to the line of sight. Pitch is measured by resting the gun with its butt flat on a floor, the top of the receiver against a wall and its muzzle pointing up. The distance of the muzzle from the wall is the gun's pitch down.

Jump

The amount of change in the bore axis, measured both vertically and horizontally, while the projectile moves from the chamber to the muzzle when it is fired.

Traditional Isosceles

In the Traditional Isosceles stance, Both arms are stretched almost equally forward with the gun centered forward. The knees are straight or only slightly flexed, and the entire body is upright and parallel to the target. This is an acceptable range stance provided recoil control is not an issue and you don't need to make rapid follow-up shots. However, if you are practicing for self-defense, you will probably want to use the Modern Isosceles stance stance instead.

Necking Up

Expanding the neck of an existing cartridge to make it use a bullet of a different caliber. A typical process used in the creation of wildcat cartridges.

Cover Hold

Sometimes also known as cover-up hold. A sight picture of when the center of the target is completely covered by the front sight when the sights are properly aligned. Also see center hold and six o'clock hold.

Live Fire Exercise

Any exercise in which a realistic scenario for the use of specific equipment is simulated. In the popular lexicon this is applied primarily to tests of weapons or weapon systems that are associated with the various branches of a nation's armed forces, although the term can be applied to the civilian arena as well.

MOA

Abbreviation for Minute Of Angle

Creep

Sloppy movement (slack) of a trigger before the actual point of let-off.

Reactive Targets

Targets that do something when you hit them, such as fall over, burst, send up smoke, or make a noise.

Sling

A long strip of leather, plastic, or nylon which is fastened at the fore and rear of the gun for the easy carry of long guns.

Drop Safety

A mechanical safety that prevents a gun from firing when it is unintentionally dropped.

Cylinder

The part of a revolver that holds cartridges in separate chambers radially around a central hingepin. The cylinder revolves as the handgun is cocked, , either to the left or to the right depending on the gun maker's design, bringing each successive cartridge into position, and locked into alignment with the barrel for firing.

Aperture Sight

Also known as peep sights, range from the ghost ring sight, whose thin ring blurs to near invisibility (hence ghost), to target aperture sights that use large disks or other occluders with pinhole-sized apertures. In general, the thicker the ring, the more precise the sight, and the thinner the ring, the faster the sight.

Controlled Pair

Two shots fired in rapid succession. It is different from a double tap because in a controlled pair, the second shot will be fired after the shooter has obtained a second sight picture, whereas in a double tap both shots are fired based upon the initial sight picture alone.

Magazine Safety

A mechanism that prevents the gun from being able to fire when the magazine is removed from the gun, even if there is still a round in the chamber.

CQC

Abbreviation for Close Quarters Combat.

Trigger

The small lever on a cartridge firearm, which one pulls to cause the spring-loaded firing pin to impact the primer, causing the gun to discharge. Normally, the trigger simply connects to the sear. Pulling the trigger moves the sear out of its notch, releasing the spring-loaded hammer to strike the firing pin which in turn strikes the primer; or the coilspring-loaded firing pin directly. Other, often-Germanic systems have their own miniature lockwork which, when cocked, allows an exceedingly light trigger pull to discharge the firearm, a setting that would be perilous to carry in the field.

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