Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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Clearing

Unloading a gun and double checking that it is unloaded or fixing a malfunction so that the gun is ready to fire again.

Quadrail

Sometimes spelled Quad Rail. First conceived and sold by Knights Armament Company in the mid 90s when Reed Knight saw soldiers duct taping flashlights to their handguards in news footage of Panama, the quad rail has become almost a standard item found on most military rifles. Quad rails allow easy attachment of accessories which aid tactical shooters, such as lights, infrared lasers, foregrips, sling attachment points, and secondary sighting systems. However, nowadays, any full length forearms on an AR, with or without rails may also be refered to as a Quadrail.

Squib

An underpowered powder charge, usually caused by a fault in cartridge loading, often insufficient to expel a projectile from the muzzle of a firearm. If such a blockage is not cleared, the next attempted shot could cause the barrel at least to bulge, and very possibly to burst.

Trigger Control

Not putting your finger on the trigger until your sights are on target, then pulling the trigger smoothly, and following through by realigning the sights before allowing your finger to come off the trigger.

Trap

A game of competitive clay pigeon shooting on a formally designed layout. In plan view, one launching machine is located 16 yards in front of a straight line, firing rising targets perpendicular to and away from that line. Five competitors shoot five individual targets at each of five stations along that line. Although each target is presented at slightly randomized vectors, trap emphasizes generally a single type of shot, outgoing and rising, and targets are broken at generally longer ranges than Skeet.

Double-Barreled Shotgun

A shotgun with two barrels, usually of the same gauge or bore. The two types of double-barreled shotguns are over/under (abbreviated as O/U or OU), in which the two barrels are stacked on top of each other, and side-by-side (abbreviated as SxS), in which the two barrels sit beside each other. See photo at right for example of side-by-side double-barreled shotgun. For double-barreled guns that use one shotgun barrel and one rifle barrel, see combination gun.

Drift

The departure of a bullet or shot charge from the normal line of flight. This can be caused by wind or the unbalanced spinning of the bullet.

Caliber

The diameter of the bore of a firearm measured as a fraction of an inch. Although such a measurement may be frequently stated in millimeters. It is correctly expressed as ".40 caliber" (note the decimal point) or as "10 millimeter" (without "caliber" or the leading decimal point). Caliber numbers when used to identify the size of the bullet a gun will file are usually followed by words or letters to create the complete name of the cartridge. These letters often represent a brand name or an abbreviation for the name of the company that first introduced the round.

Monte Carlo Stock

A rifle or shotgun stock that has a Monte Carlo style comb

Cartridge Overall Length

This is the maximum overall length the cartridge can be (and is expected to be) in order to function properly in magazines and the mag well of a bolt action rifle.

Leading

Fouling of a firearm bore by metal particles from bullets adhering to the metal surface caused by heat or friction.

Quaker Gun

Not really a gun at all. During the U.S. Civil War, both sides would take tree branches or tree trunks, paint them black, and position them so that they appeared to be rifles or artillery pieces. By doing so, they could fool the other side into believing that they had more artillery than they really did.

Tunnel Claw Mount

A claw [scope] mount with openings through which a shooter can use a rifle's iron sights without removing the scope.

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.

Collateral Damage

Damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome.

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.

Primer Pocket

The counter bore in the center of the base of a centerfire cartridge casing in which the primer assembly is seated.

Bolt Action

A type of firearm action in which the guns's bolt is operated manually by the opening and closing of the breech (barrel) with a small handle. As the handle is operated, the bolt is unlocked, the breech is opened, the spent shell casing is withdrawn and ejected, the firing pin is cocked, and finally a new round/shell (if available) is placed into the breech and the bolt closed.

Propellant

The substance which imparts movement to the projectile in a firearm. In a firearm, usually powder. In an airgun the propellant is air or Co2

Matched Pair

Two firearms that are manufactured identical in every way and are sequentially serial numbered and are sold as a set. The most common type of matched pair guns are cowboy style revolvers for a couple of reasons, both guns will feel exactly the same in the hands and they make the set more collectable.

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