Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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Weaver Stance

In the Weaver stance, the body is bladed partly sideways in relation to the target rather than squared towards it (think boxing or martial arts fighter stance). The elbows are flexed and pointed downward. The strong-side arm is slightly straighter than the weak-side arm. Even though the legs are not square to tharget, the hips should be square to the target. The feet should be pointed at the target. The shooter pushes out with the gun hand, while the weak hand pulls back. This produces a push-pull tension which is the chief defining characteristic of the Weaver stance.

Underwater Firearm

A firearm specially designed for use underwater.

Firing Pin

A needle like metal part of a modern firearm that gives a vigorous strike to the primer initiating the firing of the cartridge.

Hot Range

A condition (status) of a shooting range that shooters may commence to fire.

Multi-Barreled

A gun with more than one barrel, the most common being the double-barreled shotgun.

NFA

National Firearms Act of 1934. Enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as I.R.C. ch. 53, is an Act of Congress in the United States that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The Act was passed shortly after the repeal of Prohibition. The NFA is also referred to as Title II of the Federal firearms laws.
The NFA includes:

  • Requires the registration of all fully automatic firearms.
  • Requires the registration of all "sawed off" rifles and shotguns.
  • Requires the registration of firearm silencers.
  • Imposes a $200 transfer tax on the above items.

Deringer

The original small single-shot or multi-barreled pocket pistol designed and manufactured by Henry Deringer of Philadelphia. Derringers (spelled with two Rs) are called that because of the original desinger and anmufactuturer of that type of gun, Henry Deringer. To get around copyright infringment other designers and manufacturers spell the name with two Rs. However guns designed and built by Deringer are spelled with only one R

Casket Magazine

A quad stack box magazine.

Loaded Chamber Indicator

A mechanical device that protrudes from the gun when a round is in position ready to be fired, giving a visual and tactile indication that the gun is loaded.

Autoloader

A firearm that automatically loads the next cartridge to be fired into the chamber either upon the pull of the trigger in an open bolt design or upon the firing of the previous round in a close bolt design.
Autoloader should not be confused with Automatic or Semi-Automatic since the term Autoloader only applies to how the next round is chambered not how many rounds can be fired per trigger pull. All Automatic and Semi-Automatic firearms are autoloaders. Revolvers, bolt action, lever action and pump action firearms are not autoloaders.

Long Recoil

A semi-automatic pistol in which the barrel and breechblock are locked together for the full distance of rearward recoil travel, after which the barrel returns forward, while the breechblock is held back. After the barrel has fully returned, the breechblock is released to fly forward, chambering a fresh round in the process.

Patch Box

Covered compartment in the buttstock of a muzzle-loading rifle used to carry patches or other small items.

Wheel-Lock

An early firearm mechanism in which a wheel with serrated edges is wound against the tension of a strong spring and spins against a piece of iron pyrite, sending a shower of sparks into the pan to ignite the charge.

Butt

The rear end of a rifle or shotgun. (The portion that rests against the shoulder.)

Timing

The proper adjustment of the various interrelated moving parts of a gun so that every operation works in proper sequence, such as that the two ejectors of a double gun kick out the spent cases at the same instant and with the same force.

Throat

The beginning of the bore of a rifled firearm. The transition between the chamber and the rifling. The area most vulnerable to erosion from high velocity cartridges.

English Grip

A straight-wrist grip, typical on English shotguns, built for graceful aesthetics, light weight and fast handling.

Shotshell

Same as a Shotgun Shell.

Failure To Fire

Any malfunction that results in no shot fired when the trigger is pulled. Commonly caused by a failure to feed, bad ammunition or a broken firing pin.

Wildcat Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge, or wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic (such as the power, size or efficiency) of an existing commercial cartridge. Developing and using wildcat cartridges does not generally serve a purpose in military or law enforcement; it is more a hobby for serious shooting, hunting, gunsmithing and handloading enthusiasts, particularly in the United States. There are potentially endless amounts of different kinds of wildcat cartridges: one source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges for which they produce equipment such as chamber reamers.