Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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FFL

Abbreviation for Federal Firearms [Dealer's] License.

Rifle Bedding

A process of filling gaps between the action and the stock of a rifle with an epoxy based material.

Inletting

The process of carving out recesses in wooden stocks with precision, using gouges, chisels and scrapers to accept the steel components of a firearm.

Automatic

A type of firearm which, utilizing some of the recoil or some of the expanding-gas energy from the firing cartridge, cycles the action to eject the spent shell, to chamber a fresh one from a magazine, to cock the mainspring and to fire again. Such a firearm will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held back, until the magazine is empty. A machine gun. A firearm thus activated, but which shoots only one bullet with each separate pull of the trigger, while often erroneously referred to as "automatic" is properly termed Semi-Automatic.

Kurtz

German for "short." Seen as part of a cartridge designation. On some German manufactured guns that use .380 ACP, the designated caliber is 9mm Kurtz (9mm Short), which is also the same as the Italian 9mm Corto

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.

Buttplate (Butt Plate)

A plate which covers the butt. Some steel buttplates have trap doors covering a recess for storage of cleaning equipment.

M1911

The official US military designation for the Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol adopted by the US in 1911. The gun was designed by John Moses Browning, and produced by Colt. During trials, the Browning-Colt design beat out several competing designs, including one from Savage and a .45 caliber version of the German Parabellum ("Luger"). The M1911 saw its first combat in the Philippines and then in World War I. Early use showed that it could be improved and in 1921 the M1911A1 was introduced, which featured a few changes like a reocontoured frame, shorter trigger, and a rounded backstrap. The M1911A1 remained the standard US military handgun until it was replaced in the 1980's by the Beretta M9. However, it remains very popular with civilian shooters in the US, and has been modified extensively to update it to conform to more modern theories of handgun usage.

Flash Suppressor

Also known as a Flash Hider. A muzzle attachment intended to reduce visible muzzle flash caused by the burning propellant. Flash reducers lessen glare as seen by the shooter, but do not hide the flash from other observers to the front or side of the firearm.

Cold Clean Bore

The first shot from a rifle that has been cleaned, and not fired recently may go to a different point of impact, for the same point of aim than a rifle that has been fired recently. This first shot is referred to as a shot from a cold, clean, bore.

Close Quarters Combat

a type of fighting in which small units engage the enemy with personal weapons at very short range, potentially to the point of hand-to-hand combat or fighting with hand weapons such as swords or knives.

SP

Abbreviation for soft point

Magna

Smith & Wesson term for a revolver grip design introduced in the 1930s where the top of the grip extends higher than it had in earlier configurations, to provide a more comfortable hold.

Trap Gun

A shotgun, often with only a single relatively-long barrel, with relatively tight choke boring and a relatively high-combed stock used for shooting clay pigeons in the game of Trap, where the birds are launched at least 16 yards ahead, usually rising and going away from the shooter at relatively low angular velocity. To better absorb recoil, a trap gun is normally heavier than a field gun because one shoots a lot but walks only a little.

Pistol Whip

To hit someone with the grip of a pistol.

Headspace

The distance, or clearance, between the base of a chambered cartridge and the breech face (or bolt face) of a firearm. This is a critical dimension, particularly in high powered rifles. If there is too little headspace, the bolt will not close. If there is too much headspace the cartridge will not be properly supported in the chamber and the cartridge will expand upon firing and may rupture, blasting high-pressure gas into the action and possibly into the body of the shooter. Headspace should be .003" - .006" in a centerfire rifle. It can be checked with a set of "Go and No-Go" gauges specific to the calibre in question. (See below.) With a standard cartridge, the headspace is registered by the shoulder, with a belted cartridge, the headspace is registered by the forward edge of the belt.

Rear Sight

The rear sight is placed at the end of the barrel nearest the shooter. It may be in the shape of a square notch, a U, a V, a ring, or simply two dots designed to be visually placed on either side of the front sight while shooting.

Throat Erosion

The wearing of the portion of the barrel where the gas pressure and heat is highest as the projectile leaves the chamber. The greater the chamber pressure the more rapid throat erosion occurs which is compounded by rapid firing which heats and weakens the steel.

Gloaming Sight

A second, folding or pop-up front sight bead of larger than usual size, perhaps not as accurate as a normal fine bead, but easier to see in the gloaming (twilight) or dawn.

Jaws

The vise-like device on a flintlock hammer used to hold the flint.