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


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.

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.

Eye Dominance

Although we have two eyes for depth perception and for spare parts, there is a natural tendency for one eye (the master eye) to take precedence over the other, regardless of the relative visual acuity of each eye. It is a fortunate condition when the eye on the side of the shoulder where one is comfortable mounting a gun is also the dominant eye.
To test for eye dominance:

Pick out a small object several feet away. With both eyes open, center your right index finger vertically over the object. Close your right eye. If your finger appears to jump to the right, you are right eye dominant. Then open your right eye and close your left eye. If your finger remains in position in front of the object, you have confirmed your right eye dominance. Alternatively, if in the above test, upon closing your right eye your finger remains in position covering the object, you are left eye dominant. If you close your left eye instead and your finger appears to jump to the left you have confirmed your left eye dominance.
Eye dominance problems can be treated with
1. A severely-cast, crossover stock to bring the dominant eye in line with the gun's line of sight, 2. A patch over the dominant eye, or just a small piece of frosty Scotch tape on shooting glasses intercepting the dominant eye's line of sight, 3. Fully or partially closing the dominant eye, or 4. Learning to shoot from the dominant-eye shoulder.
While less convenient, methods that retain the use of both eyes better preserve the ability to perceive depth in three-dimensional space, a great benefit in wingshooting.

Overbore Capacity

Is that combination of caliber, barrel length, bullet weight, and case volume which does not allow the complete burning of the charge of ballistically correct powder within the volume of case and barrel.

Grip

The portion of the stock (on a rifle) or frame (on a pistol) gripped by the trigger hand.

Marksman

A person who can shoot up to the mechanical capability of their weapon.

DT

Abbreviation for Double Triggers

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

Heel & Toe Plates

Protective plates, usually of steel or horn, covering the top and bottom of a gunstock's butt only (the heel and the toe); leaving wood exposed in the center

Matchlock

An early system of ignition for muzzle-loading firearms where a priming charge is loaded into a flashpan with a separate, manually-operated cover. To fire, the cover is opened and then a slowly smoldering wick, held in the nose of the curved arm, is lowered by means of a lever (precursor to a trigger) to ignite a priming charge which then ignites the main propellant charge inside the barrel.

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.

Twilight Sight

A rifle front sight with a extra-large, folding bead. Typically, in addition to the normal fine bead (which allows for more precision) the larger bead, while at a cost of potential accuracy, is more readily acquired in marginal light. Also called a Gloaming sight

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.

Trigger Safety

An external, passive safety which can be found on the face of some trigger designs (most notably found on Glock firearms). It is intended to prevent the trigger from being pulled by objects which find their way into the trigger guard area.

Revolver

A repeating firearm in which the ammunition is held in a multi-chambered cylinder, which is rotated to bring each chamber in line with the barrel. Most revolvers are handguns, although shoulder-fired arms have been made using this sort of mechanism.

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.

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.

Silencer

Improper term for a device that cuts down on the noise a firearm makes when it is shot. The correct term is suppressor. Silencers only exist in the movies.

Bandolier

A pocketed belt for holding ammunition and cartridges. It was usually slung over the chest. Bandoliers are now rare because most military arms use magazines which are not well-suited to being stored in such a manner. They are, however, still commonly used with shotguns, as individual 12 gauge shells can easily be stored in traditionally designed bandoliers.

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