Letter I

The Definition of Isosceles Stance

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Isosceles Stance

There are two basic variants of the Isosceles stance, the Traditional Isosceles and Modern Isosceles stance. In both Isosceles stances, the feet parallel pointing toward the target and are roughly shoulder width apart. Both arms are stretched almost equally forward with the gun centered forward, creating the triangular shape which gives the stance its name.

19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

Slide Bite

A phenomenon which is often grouped with hammer bite. In this case the web of the shooting hand is cut or abraded by the rearward motion of the semi-automatic pistol's slide, not by the gun's hammer. This most often occurs with small pistols like the Walther PPK and Walther TPH that have an abbreviated grip tang. This problem is exacerbated by the sharp machining found on many firearms.

Magazine Pouch

Commonly shortened to mag pouch, this is a device to hold extra magazines which fastens to the shooter's belt.

Slug Gun

Slang for a shotgun which is set up specifically to fire a slug (a large, single projectile) rather than shot (multiple projectiles contained within a single shell).


A unit of weight widely used to express the weight of bullets and of powder charges. Equal to 1/7000 pound.

Shooting Sticks

A pair of slender and easily-carried wooden dowels or sticks, which when held, crossed, in the fingers of the left hand while also supporting the forend of a rifle, usually shooting offhand, provides somewhat enhanced stability for a more accurate shot.

Point Blank Range

The farthest distance that a target of a given size can be hit without holding over or under with the sights. The exact range is determined by the performance of the cartridge used, the ZERO range, and the accepted size of the target area. This term is not to be confused with point blank shooting.


A strap, usually of leather or sturdy webbing, fitted to the fore and aft (usually) of a rifle as an aid to carrying over the shoulder and as an aid to holding the rifle steadily while aiming.

Brady Law

Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 mandates background checks of gun buyers in order to prevent sales to people prohibited under the Gun Control Act of 1968 legislation. Requires checks to be performed through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Records of who has been checked are not preserved because federal law prohibits the creation of a national registry of gun ownership. Sales by unlicensed private sellers who are not engaged in gun dealing as a business are not subject to the checks under federal law, though they are required by some states.


A piece of tooling used to form a sequence of uniform parts through the use of heat and/or pressure; especially, in firearms terminology used to form brass cartridge cases accurately to their correct size for reloading.


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.

Recoil Spring

The recoil spring is the powerful spring that cushions the slide in its rearward travel and then sends the slide forward again with enough force to drive the fresh round firmly into the chamber. The strength of the recoil spring is calibrated to run the slide without any outside assistance.


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?".

Slide Release

A slang term for slide catch.


System of measurement for the internal bore diameter of a smooth-bore firearm based on the diameter of each of that number of spherical lead balls whose total weight equals one pound. The internal diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun barrel is therefore equal to the diameter of a lead ball weighing 1/12 pound, which happens to be .729" (Or in British: Bore.) The Gauge/Bore system is also used, by convention, to describe the internal barrel diameter of large-bore, 19th century, English, single-shot and double-barrel rifles.


A military person designated as a special marksman who is used to shoot designated targets of opportunity at long range.

Trigger Guard

Usually a circular or oval band of metal, horn or plastic that goes around the trigger to provide both protection and safety in shooting circumstances. The shooter's finger should never be within the trigger guard unless the sights are on target and the shooter has made the decision to fire.

Mercury Recoil Compensator

A device fitted inside the buttstock of a heavily-recoiling gun or rifle, usually containing mercury and a valve. As the gun recoils, the mercury is displaced temporarily, increasing the duration, and thus diminishing the perceived impact of the recoil. The added half-pound of weight doesn't hurt either.


The tendency of a bullet to tip in flight and hit a target sideways, leaving a distinctly oblong hole. This destabilization of the spinning bullet in flight is typically caused by a bullet weight inappropriate for the rate of twist of the rifled barrel, an out-of-balance bullet or its having nicked an impediment such as a blade of grass, in flight.


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.