Letter H

The Definition of Hot Range

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Hot Range

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


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Patch

A small piece of leather or cloth. A patch can refer to the wadding used in loading a muzzle loading firearms or the piece of cloth used to clean a firearm bore.

Trajectory

The arc described by a projectile (or a load of shot) after it exits the muzzle of a firearm. Falling objects accelerate downwards at a rate of 32 feet per second, per second. The faster a projectile travels, the greater the distance it can cover in a given time before dropping too far. Hence, the higher the velocity of a bullet, the flatter the trajectory it will achieve.

Metallic Cartridge

A cartridge with a metallic case. (Early cartridge cases were made of linen, paper, etc.)

Porting

Openings at the muzzle end of the gun through which some of the spent gases can escape. Porting reduces perceived recoil and lessens muzzle rise but increases the noise and flash.

Falling Block

A type of action used primarily for single shot rifles whereby some kind of lever actuates a breechblock, moving it downwards in a vertical recess to expose the chamber. May have visible or enclosed hammer. For any given barrel length, it allows a shorter overall rifle length compared to a bolt action because no space is taken up by the forward-and-back cycling of the bolt. Most of the better British makers produced them in limited numbers around the turn of the last century, the Farquharson being the most iconic. Perhaps the best-known falling block action today is the Ruger No.1.

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.

Passive Safety

Any safety, internal or external, which functions apart from the shooter's conscious control. Grip safeties are one example of a passive external safety.

Shell

An empty ammunition case.

Live Fire Exercise

Any exercise in which a realistic scenario for the use of specific equipment is simulated. In the popular lexicon this is applied primarily to tests of weapons or weapon systems that are associated with the various branches of a nation's armed forces, although the term can be applied to the civilian arena as well.

Holster

A gun holder that may be strapped to a human body, or affixed to the inside of a pack or bag, or dropped into a pocket. A holster serves to protect the gun's mechanisms and finish, to provide security by covering the trigger so it cannot be pulled inadvertently, and to present the grip of the gun at a constant angle for easy access. Some holsters also serve to obscure the outline of the gun so it may be more easily concealed. Typically made from leather or in plastic.

DAO

Abbreviation for Double Action Only. Is a type of firearm in which the firing mechanism cannot be cocked in a single-action stage. Firing always occurs as a double-action sequence where pulling the trigger both cocks and then fires the gun.

Holdopen Toplever

A catch built into the receiver of a break-open gun to keep the toplever in its extreme right position when the barrels are removed. This device makes it slightly easier to remount the barrels. As the barrels are mounted and the breech closed, the barrels contact some kind of release pin (marked with the arrow) and the toplever automatically returns to the center locked position. Because, however, it requires a separate act to find and to depress this tiny tab to re-center the toplever on a broken-down gun, this feature may be irritating when trying to put a gun away in its case.

Luger

American name for the German "Parabellum" semiautomatic pistol introduced in 1900. The Parabellum was designed by Georg Luger, and based on the earlier Borchardt pistol. The official German military nomenclature was "Pistole '08" or "Po8." At first, it was chambered for the 7.65mm Parabellum round. Soon, it was modified to use the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, which is what most people refer to today when talking about a 9mm cartridge. "Luger" is now a trademark owned by the Stoeger Arms Co.

FOPA

Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986. It is a United States federal law that revised many provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. It bans civilian ownership of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986. Firearms made and registered before that date are not affected. The law limits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from inspecting gun dealers more than once a year, with follow-up inspections allowed only The law also specifically forbids the government from creating a national registry of gun ownership.

Penetration

The distance travelled by a projectile from the point where it strikes the target to the point where it stops.

LMG

Abbreviation for Light Machine Gun

Stock

The back part of a rifle or shotgun, excluding the receiver.

Scope Blocks

A pair of small dovetailed steel bases, screwed usually one to the barrel and one to the front receiver ring of a rifle, to accept mounts for target scopes such as the Unertl where the scope is allowed to move forward in the rings under the recoil of the rifle and which typically carry the windage and elevation adjustments in the mount.

Armor-Piercing Ammunition

An armor-piercing shell must withstand the shock of punching through armor plating. Shells designed for this purpose have a greatly strengthened case with a specially hardened and shaped nose, and a much smaller bursting charge.

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