Letter C

The Definition of Cover Hold

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19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


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.

Ballistic Fingerprint

A fired case has marks upon it that it picked up from the extractor, ejector, and breechface of the gun when the shot went off. A bullet fired through a rifled barrel also has rifling marks unique to the barrel that launched it. A record of these marks, when stored in a central database, is called a ballistic fingerprint. Some states require this record to be made by law, so that individual guns can be located from bullets or casings found at the scene of a crime.

Three Rules

The NRA teaches the Three Basic Rules of Safe Gun Handling. There are additional rules, but these are the three that if any two are followed, nobody will be hurt. However, obviously, all three should always be followed.

Rule One: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Rule Two: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
Rule Three: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
The NRA established these three rules in 1871. They were created to be easy to understand and remember, ensuring the highest possible level of firearm safety.
See also The Four Rules

Hammer Spur

The thumb-piece on the top rear of the hammer that enables it to be manually drawn back to full cock.

Sights

The device that aids the eye in aiming the barrel of a firearm in the proper direction to hit a target.They can be a mechanical, optical, or electronic device. Iron sights or sometimes as open sights, consist of specially-shaped pieces of metal placed at each end of the barrel. The sight closest to the muzzle end of the gun is called the front sight, while the one farthest from the muzzle (and nearest to the shooter) is called the rear sight.

Saddle Ring

A steel ring, around an inch in diameter, mounted to a stud, usually on the left side of the receiver of a carbine, to which may be tied a leather thong to secure it to a saddle or a scabbard so as not to lose the carbine when riding a rambunctious horse.

Jaws

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

Hair Trigger

A trigger that breaks from an extremely light touch.

Hammer

The part of the gun that strikes either the firing pin or the round directly when the trigger is pulled then detonates the primer of the load and discharges the gun. Hammers may be external or internal. On a striker fired gun (a gun without a physical hammer) the firing pin is considered the hammer since it releases directly when the trigger is pulled.

Follower

A smooth, sometimes contoured plate, within a magazine, at the top of a spring, across which cartridges slide when being loaded into a chamber.

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.

Neck

The forward portion of a bottlenecked cartridge case. Also the portion of a rifle chamber in which the neck of the cartridge case rests.

Howdah Pistol

Normally, a break-open, double-barrel, side-by-side pistol of large calibre, used by a maharaja when hunting tiger on the back of his elephant (in the howdah, the basket compartment in which he sits). The howdah pistol is the weapon of last resort in case the tiger tries to join him in the howdah.

Internal Safety

A safety which is placed within the gun and is not accessible to the user. Internal safeties are generally designed to prevent unintentional discharges when the gun is dropped or mishandled.

Self-Opening

Attribute of a break-open gun whereby the barrels drop down simply by pressing the toplever without muscling them open manually. The Holland & Holland system utilizes a coil spring within a cylindrical housing mounted just ahead of the forward lump to urge the barrels open. The Purdey system utilizes residual energy remaining in the mainspring after the gun has been fired. Both systems enable a shooter to load more quickly when birds are coming fast.

Rifling

Spiral grooves formed into the bore of a gun barrel, which cause the bullet to spin upon firing, thus stabilizing it much like a thrown football. Rifling may be cut, swaged, or forged into the barrel.

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.

Kentucky Rifle

Usually referred to as a Kentucky Long Rifle or simply Longrifle, the Kentucky Rifle is a flintlock rifle with a long barrel and short, crooked stock. It is widely believed to be a largely unique development of American rifles that was uncommon in European rifles of the same period. The Kentucky Long Rifleis an early example of a firearm using rifling, (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile, commonly a round lead ball, a spiraling motion, increasing the stability of the trajectory. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century.