Letter C Firearms Glossary

Arsenal Exchange - Firearms Classifieds - Industry Directory

Cable Lock

A cable with a padlock at the end. It is threaded through the action of the firearm rendering the gun safe and useless until the lock is removed.

Cal

Abbreviation for Caliber.

Caliber

The diameter of the bore of a firearm measured as a fraction of an inch. Although such a measurement may be frequently stated in millimeters. It is correctly expressed as ".40 caliber" (note the decimal point) or as "10 millimeter" (without "caliber" or the leading decimal point). Caliber numbers when used to identify the size of the bullet a gun will file are usually followed by words or letters to create the complete name of the cartridge. These letters often represent a brand name or an abbreviation for the name of the company that first introduced the round.

Can

Slang term for a firearm sound suppressor.

Cannelure

A groove or indention around the circumference of a bullet. Its purpose is to permit the cartridge casing to be crimped tightly against the bullet shank to hold it firmly to the casing. A groove or indention around the circumference of a bullet. Its purpose is to permit the cartridge casing to be crimped tightly against the bullet shank to hold it firmly to the casing.

Cant

To tilt a gun to one side or the other, complicating sighting considerably. Can cause material loss of accuracy, particularly with a rifle at longer ranges. Some better long range target rifles are equipped with Spirit Level sights to help control canting.

Cape Gun

A two-barreled, side-by-side, shoulder-fired gun having one smoothbore shotgun barrel and one rifled barrel.

Capper

A hand tool used in the field for inserting live and removing spent primers from cartridges.

Captive Ramrod

A rod, for loading and/or cleaning a muzzle-loading firearm (usually a pistol) that is permanently connected to the gun by some sort of swivel, so as to be easily utilized, but never lost.

Carbine

A rifle with a relatively short barrel.

Carry

Slang for a gun or the action of carrying a gun concealed, e.g "The Bersa Thunder .380 is a fantastic gun for carrying" or "Do you carry?".

Cartouche

A mark within a border, typically stamped into the wood, especially of an American military rifle. It shows the initials of the name of the accepting inspector and often, the date he accepted the firearm into service.

Cartridge

The assembly consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, shell casing, and primer. Cartridges also include shotgun shells and black powder packets used in muzzle loading guns.

Cartridge Overall Length

This is the maximum overall length the cartridge can be (and is expected to be) in order to function properly in magazines and the mag well of a bolt action rifle.

Cartridge Trap

A compartment built into the buttstock of a long gun, usually with a hinged cover, in which are drilled holes deep enough to hold several spare cartridges of the type suitable for use in the specific gun.

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.

Caseless Ammunition

A type of small arms ammunition that eliminates the cartridge case that typically holds the primer, propellant, and projectile together as a unit.

Casing

Also known as a Case. The envelope (container) of a cartridge. For rifles and handguns it is usually of brass or other metal; for shotguns it is usually of paper or plastic with a metal head and is more often called a "shell."

Casket Magazine

A quad stack box magazine.

Cast Off

An offset of a gun stock to the right, so that the line of sight aligns comfortably with the right eye while the butt of the stock rests comfortably on the right shoulder. Almost all right-handed shooters benefit from a little castoff and most custom built guns are made this way. The only question is how much. The castoff of a gun is about right when, with the gun comfortably mounted, the front bead lines up with the center of the standing breech.
A stock offset to the left, for shooting from the left shoulder is said to be

Cast On

An offset of a gun stock to the left, so that the line of sight aligns comfortably with the left eye while the butt of the stock rests comfortably on the left shoulder. Almost all left-handed shooters benefit from a little caston and most custom built guns are made this way. The only question is how much. The caston of a gun is about right when, with the gun comfortably mounted, the front bead lines up with the center of the standing breech.
A stock offset to the right, for shooting from the right shoulder is said to be

CCL

Abbreviation for Concealed Carry License.

CCP

Abbreviation for Concealed Carry Permit.

CCW

Abbreviation for Concealed Carry Weapon

Center Hold

A sight picture of when the center of the target is half covered by the front sight when the sights are properly aligned. Also see six o'clock hold and cover hold.

Center Of Mass

For self-defensive shooters, Center Of Mass (COM) represents the area of an attackers torso within which the most vital organs are likely to be disrupted by a gunshot. Shooting to COM is considered the most expedient way to stop an assailant from continuing threatening behavior.

Centerfire (Center Fire)

A cartridge with its primer located in the center of the base of the case.

CFL

Abbreviation for Concealed Firearms License.

CFP

Abbreviation for Concealed Firearms Permit.

Chain Gun

A type of machine gun or autocannon that uses an external source of power to cycle the firearm.

Chamber

The rear portion of the barrel or firing cylinder in which the cartridge is inserted prior to being fired. Rifles and pistols generally have a single chamber in their barrels, while revolvers have multiple chambers in their cylinders and no chamber in their barrel.

Chamber Throat

This is the area in the barrel that is directly forward of the chamber, which tapers to the bore diameter.

Chapman Stance

The Chapman stance uses the same push-pull tension which defines the Weaver, but instead of both elbows being bent, the gun side elbow is held straight and locked in place. Assuming a right-handed shooter, the right arm is punched straight out, while the left elbow is bent and the left hand pulls back to provide tension. As a result of this change, Chapman gets its stability from both muscle and skeletal support. This makes it a little more friendly than Weaver for those who lack upper-body muscle strength.

Charger

A device typically made from stamped metal which holds a group of cartridges for easy and virtually simultaneous loading into the fixed magazine of a firearm.

Charging Handle

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

Checkered Butt

Checkering, applied to the otherwise-unfinished butt end of a gunstock.

Checkering

A regular pattern of fine grooves cut into the surface of a stock to aid in gripping a gun. Originally done for utility only, checkering has become an art form in itself; craftsmen adorning the borders with ribbons, fleur-de-lys, floral carving, etc. The amount of coverage, the precise regularity, and the number of lines per inch indicate the quality of the work. Too-fine checkering, however, defeats the purpose of the work altogether.

Cheekpiece

A broad, flat, raised area on the side of a buttstock.

CHL

Abbreviation for Concealed Handgun License.

Choke

A constriction at or near the muzzle of a shotgun barrel that affects shot dispersion.

Choke Tubes

Short, interchangeable cylinders, of subtly different internal tapers, that screw into a threaded recess at the muzzle of a shotgun. By inserting different choke tubes, one can alter the shot pattern thrown by the gun.

Clay Pigeon

Originally, live pigeons were used as targets, but they were gradually replaced with clay disks and ultimately banned. Later clay has been replaced with more suitable raw materials.

Clearing

Unloading a gun and double checking that it is unloaded or fixing a malfunction so that the gun is ready to fire again.

Clicks

A unit of adjustment for a sight.

Clip

A clip IS NOT a magazine. A clip is used to load a magazine.
A clip is a simple, disposable narrow spring-lined channel-rail that is used to store multiple rounds of ammunition together as a unit, ready for insertion into the magazine of a repeating firearm. This speeds up the process of loading and reloading the firearm as several rounds can be loaded at once, rather than one round being loaded at a time. The term clip commonly refers to a firearm magazine, though this usage is absolutely completely totaly 100% incorrect. In the correct usage, a clip is used to feed a magazine or revolving cylinder, while a magazine or a belt is used to load cartridges into the chamber of a firearm. in which cartridges are supplied for military weapons. The shooter positions the clip vertically above the firearm's magazine, then pressing down with the thumb, slides the cartridges from the clip and down into the magazine.

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.

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.

Co-Witness Sighting

Co-Witness Sighting is the use of any iron sight mounted onto a rifle that is fitted with an optical sight as a primary sighting system. They come in two basic configurations, fixed or flip-up. The idea is that if you align your red dot and your iron sights you have a backup aiming system on the gun.

Cock

The term referring to the action of manually drawing the hammer back against its spring until it becomes latched against the sear, or sometimes the trigger itself, arming the hammer to be released by a subsequent pull of the trigger. Some external hammers, and all internal hammers, may be cocked simply by pulling the trigger

Cocked

A state of readiness of a firearm. The hammer (or similar mechanism if there is no hammer) only needs to be released by the trigger to cause the gun to fire.

COF

Abbreviation for Course of Fire.

COL

Abbreviation for Cartridge Overall Length.

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.

Cold Range

A condition on a shooting range that is completely safe. Any firearms at the range are on the benches, unloaded with open actions and all people have stepped away from the firing line.

Collapsible Stock

A stock on a long gun that can be shoved into itself to shorten it, either for storage or to make the gun fit shooters of different sizes.

Collateral Damage

Damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome.

Collimator Sight

Also known as collimating sight or occluded eye gunsight, a Collimator Sight is a type of optical "blind" sight that allows the user looking into it to see an illuminated aiming point aligned with the device the sight is attached to regardless of eye position (parallax free). The user can not see through the sight so it is used with both eyes open while one looks into the sight, with one eye open and moving the head to alternately see the sight and then at the target, or using one eye to partially see the sight and target at the same time.

Colt

A firearms manufacturer started by Samuel Colt in 1855. Colt is most famous for the revolvers they invented and built in the 1800's and the semi-automatic pistol model 1911 designed by John Moses Browning, and for being the first manufacturer of the AR-15 type rifles.

COM

Abbreviation for Center Of Mass.

Comb

The top of a gun's stock, where a shooter rests his cheek when mounting a gun. As it is the top of the stock that determines the position of one's eye, and one's eye is the rear sight on a shotgun, the position of the comb is very important in determining the proper fit of a shotgun.

Combination Gun

A shoulder-held firearm that has two barrels; one rifle barrel and one shotgun barrel. Most combination guns are of an over/under design (abbreviated as O/U), in which the two barrels are stacked vertically on top of each other, but some combination guns are of a side-by-side design (abbreviated as SxS), in which the two barrels sit beside each other.

Compensator

Also call a Muzzle Brake. A device attached to or made as part of a firearms barrel designed to reduce recoil or muzzle movement on firing. They generally increase muzzle blast.

Concealed

Hidden from view. A handgun is concealed when it is carried in such a manner that is unseen.

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.

Cordite

A family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance. The hot gases produced by burning gunpowder or cordite generate sufficient pressure to propel a bullet or shell to its target, but not enough to destroy the barrel of the firearm, or gun.

Corto

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

Cover

Anything a person can hide behind that will probably stopp a bullet.

Cover Garment

Any piece of clothing that covers the holstered gun. When the gun is worn on the belt, the most common types of cover garments are vests, sweaters, and jackets.

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.

CQB

Abbreviation for Close Quarters Battle.

CQC

Abbreviation for Close Quarters Combat.

Crane

A swing-out arm on a revolver, to which the cylinder is mounted when opened facilitates loading and cleaning.

Creep

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

Crisp Trigger

A trigger that breaks (to release the hammer) easy.

Cross Dominant

This means a shooter who is right-handed but left-eyed, or left-handed and right-eyed.

Crosshairs

The cross-shaped object seen in the center of a firearm scope. Its more-proper name is reticle.

Crown

The area inside the bore nearest to the muzzle.

Curio and Relic

Firearms which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;
  2. Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  3. Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary channels is substantially less.
A special Curios or Relics license is available from the BATF, which allows collectors to buy eligible firearms in interstate commerce.

Cut-Away

A firearm that has had numerous careful machining cuts taken in its exterior with a view to exposing and demonstrating the functioning of critical parts of its mechanism

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.

Cylinder Drum

On a revolver, a spring activated device housed in the bottom of the frame beneath the cylinder that engages alignment notches in the cylinder. It stops the cylinder's rotation and holds it in place each time a chamber in the cylinder is in alignment with the barrel.

Cylindro Conoidal Bullet

A hollow base bullet, shaped so that, when fired, the bullet will expand and seal the bore. It was invented by Captain John Norton of the British 34th Regiment in 1832, after he examined the blow pipe arrows used by the natives in India and found that their base was formed of elastic locus pith, which by its expansion against the inner surface of the blow pipe prevented the escape of air past it.