Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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Group

A set of holes in a target left by a succession of bullets fired from the same rifle or handgun, using the same ammunition and sight setting. Fired (within the limits of one's marksmanship ability) to determine the inherent accuracy of the rifle/ammunition combination, and to aid in the proper adjustment of the sights.

Burst Mode

A firing mode enabling the shooter to fire a predetermined number of rounds with a single pull of the trigger.

Charging Handle

A device on a firearm which, when operated, results in the hammer or striker being cocked or moved to the ready position.

Ejection Port

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

Elevation

The setting on the sights of a firearm that controls the vertical placement and the altitude above mean sea level. This is important for long range precision shooting because the air density changes with elevation and affects the path of the bullet.

GCA

Gun Control Act of 1968. It is a U.S. federal law that regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners. It primarily focuses on regulating interstate commerce in firearms by generally prohibiting interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. It also prohibits all convicted felons, drug users and the mentally ill from buying guns amd raised the age to purchase handguns from a federally licensed dealer to 21.

Semi-Wadcutter

A bullet design featuring a conical extended nose, with a flat point, and a sharp edged shoulder that serves to cut a full diameter hole in the target. This design also may be found with a hollow point to facilitate expansion. A modified wadcutter bullet design with slightly sloping edges, designed to load smoothly in a semi-automatic pistol.

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.

HMR

Abbreviation for Hornady Magnum Rimfire.

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.

Gas Operated

The superheated air created by burning powder. A gas-operated firearm is one that uses the energy from these superheated gases to work the action in semi-automatic and automatic guns.

X-Frame

The frame designation that Smith and Wesson uses for their extra large framed revolvers like the S&W Model 500 and S&W 460XVR

Slamfire

A premature, unintended discharge of a firearm that occurs as a round is being loaded into the chamber.

Rate of Fire

The frequency at which a firearm can fire its projectiles.

Shell Casing

A hollow, piece of metal (or plastic in the case of a shotgun shell) that is closed on one end except for a small hole which holds a primer. The open end holds the bullet. The hollow portion holds the powder. Together the assembled unit is called a cartridge.

Eye Dominance

Although we have two eyes for depth perception and for spare parts, there is a natural tendency for one eye (the master eye) to take precedence over the other, regardless of the relative visual acuity of each eye. It is a fortunate condition when the eye on the side of the shoulder where one is comfortable mounting a gun is also the dominant eye.
To test for eye dominance:

Pick out a small object several feet away. With both eyes open, center your right index finger vertically over the object. Close your right eye. If your finger appears to jump to the right, you are right eye dominant. Then open your right eye and close your left eye. If your finger remains in position in front of the object, you have confirmed your right eye dominance. Alternatively, if in the above test, upon closing your right eye your finger remains in position covering the object, you are left eye dominant. If you close your left eye instead and your finger appears to jump to the left you have confirmed your left eye dominance.
Eye dominance problems can be treated with
1. A severely-cast, crossover stock to bring the dominant eye in line with the gun's line of sight, 2. A patch over the dominant eye, or just a small piece of frosty Scotch tape on shooting glasses intercepting the dominant eye's line of sight, 3. Fully or partially closing the dominant eye, or 4. Learning to shoot from the dominant-eye shoulder.
While less convenient, methods that retain the use of both eyes better preserve the ability to perceive depth in three-dimensional space, a great benefit in wingshooting.

Sniper Rifle

A specialized, highly accurate rifle, fitted with an optical sight used by military snipers to engage personnel and hard targets at long range.

Rimfire

Helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.

Express Sights

"V" shaped rear leaf sights mounted to a rifle barrel on a block or on a quarter-rib, sometimes solid standing, sometimes folding, and often mounted in a row of similar leaves, each of a slightly different height, marked with the range for which each is regulated

Casehardening

A heat-treating process that incorporates carbon into the surface molecular structure of the steel, providing a hard-wearing surface without making the entire receiver brittle. The parts to be casehardened are packed in a crucible with carbon-rich media such as bone meal and charcoal, heated to bright orange, about 1800F, then quenched in bubbling oil. Also called Carbonizing.

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