Letter W

The Definition of WCF

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19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


A charge of powder, a projectile or a cartridge. Also, to prepare a gun for firing by inserting ammunition into it.

Double Triggers

On guns (mainly shotguns) that have two barrels, there is a trigger for each barrel that work independently from each other.

Modern Isosceles

In the Modern Isosceles stance, the feet are roughly shoulder width apart, with the gun-side foot closer to the target than the off-side foot. The knees are flexed, and the entire body leans slightly toward the target. The shoulders are closer to the target than the hips, and the hips are more forward than the knees. The shoulders are rotated forward and the head, rather than being upright, is vultured down behind the sights. The entire body thus has an aggressively forward appearance, and is poised to move quickly if necessary.

Shooting Sports

There are a lot of different competitions and other games which involve firearms. These are all referred to collectively as the shooting sports.

Pistol Whip

To hit someone with the grip of a pistol.

Fixed Ammunition

A complete cartridge of several obsolete types and of today's rimfire and center-fire versions

Magazine Disconnect

Another term for Magazine Safety


A railgun is an electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher based on similar principles to the homopolar motor.
Using a magnetic field powered by electricity, a rail gun can accelerate a projectile up to 52,493 feet (16,000 meters) per second.
A railgun consists of two parallel metal rails (hence the name) connected to an electrical power supply. When a conductive projectile is inserted between the rails (at the end connected to the power supply), it completes the circuit. Electrons flow from the negative terminal of the power supply up the negative rail, across the projectile, and down the positive rail, back to the power supply.


The practice of modifying military-type firearms either to make them suitable for civilian sporting use. Common sporterizing includes changing the stock or sights.

Trigger Bar

On a semi-automatic pistol, or any other firearm in which the trigger is at some distance from the sear, this is an intermediate piece connecting the two parts.

Open Bolt

A type of firearm in which the action is in the open position and the chamber empty prior to firing. When the trigger is pressed the bolt moves forward, chambering a cartridge and firing it and returning to the open position. When firing is stopped the bolt remains open and the chamber empty.

Chamber Throat

This is the area in the barrel that is directly forward of the chamber, which tapers to the bore diameter.


The process of a bullet expanding under pressure to fit the bore of the firearm, or a cartridge case expanding under pressure to seal the chamber.

Mauser Safety

A small lever mounted to the cocking piece of a Mauser 98 action (and its copies such as the Springfield 1903), rotating on a longitudinal axis from left (Fire), up to the top (Safe, but allowing bolt movement), and over to the right (Bolt and firing pin locked Safe). While commendable for locking the firing pin instead of just the trigger, its up-and-over arc of operation requires a scope to be mounted awkwardly high. Paul Mauser is not to be blamed; when his safety was developed, telescopic sights were in such infancy as not to be worthy of mainstream consideration.

Airgun (Air Gun)

A variety of pneumatic gun that propels projectiles by means of compressed air or other gas, in contrast to firearms, which use a propellant charge. Both the rifle and pistol forms (air rifle and air pistol) typically propel metallic projectiles, either pellets, or BBs. Certain types of air guns, usually rifles, may also propel arrows.


A type of steel round shot fired from air rifles. The name originated from the size of steel balls used in a shotgun of the same size (.177 caliber). In a 12 guage shotgun shell using BB size shot, there will be typically 90 BBs in a shell


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.

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).

Pellet (shotgun)

Small spherical projectiles loaded in shotshells and more often called "shot."