Letter H

The Definition of Handgun

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Handgun

Synonymous with pistol. A small, short-barreled firearm designed to be fired while held in one or both hands, possibly small enough to be concealed on the person, rather than while braced against the shoulder. The term includes antique dueling pistols, modern single-shot, semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Forend

One of the three major dismountable components of a break-open gun (the others being the barrel(s) and the action/buttstock) which secures the barrels to the receiver, often houses the ejector mechanism, and for some, provides a handle for the one's secondary hand.

Wound Trauma Incapacitation

The correct technical term for the ability of a projectile to incapacitate an animal or human shot with a firearm. Incorrectly called Stopping Power.

Pair

Two shots fired very quickly with the use of the sights.

Magazine

A secure storage place for ammunition or explosives. On a firearm, it is the container, either fixed to a firearms's frame or detachable, which holds cartridges waiting to be fed into the gun's chamber.
Detachable magazines for the same gun may be offered by the gun's manufacturer or other manufacturers with various capacities. A gun with a five-shot detachable magazine, for instance, may be fitted with a magazine holding 10, 20, or 50 or more rounds.
Box magazines are most commonly located under the receiver with the cartridges stacked vertically.
Tube or tubular magazines run through the stock or under the barrel with the cartridges lying horizontally (like on a shotgun or lever action rifle.
Drum magazines hold their cartridges in a circular mode (for example the famous drum magazine on a Thompson submachine gun).
On a revolver, the magazine is known as the cylinder.
Internal magazines are built into the firearm and are not removable. Examples of internal magazines are the tube magazines of a shotgun or the magazine on a Mosin Nagant.
A magazine is not a clip!

Submachine Gun

A machine gun that fires pistol caliber rounds such as .45 acp or 9mm Luger (Parabellum)

Articulated Front Trigger

A spring-loaded hinged front trigger on a dual trigger side by side or over under shotgun, built to cushion its impact on one's trigger finger as the gun recoils when the rear trigger is pulled.

Frame

The common part of a handgun to which the action, barrel and grip are connected.

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.

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.

AE

Abbreviation for Arsenal Exchange or ArsenalExchange.com. Example in a sentence is "Have you seen the latest postings on AE?
AE is also the abreviation for Action Express. .50 Action Express (.50 AE) is a large caliber handgun cartridge. It was developed in 1988 by Evan Whildin of Action Arms.

Pepperbox

An early form of muzzle-loading revolver wherein, instead of the current practice of having one barrel mated to a multi-chambered rotating cylinder, multiple joined barrels revolve together around a central axis.

Boresight (Bore Sight)

Crude adjustments made to an optical firearm sight, or iron sights, to align the firearm barrel and sights. This method is usually used to pre-align the sights, which makes zeroing (zero drop at XX distance) much faster.

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.

Wadcutter

A bullet designed with a full diameter flat point. It is primarily used in target competition because it cuts a clean round hole in paper targets that aids in scoring the target.

Jacket

A metal, usually copper, wrapped around a lead core to form a bullet.

WCF

Abbreviation for Winchester Centerfire.

SxS

Abbreviation for Side-By-Side.

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.

Sight Alignment

The manner in which the sights are lined up properly in front of the shooter's eye, to form a straight path to the target.

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