Letter A

The Definition of Adjustable Stock

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Adjustable Stock

The stock is the wooden, polymer, or metal handle of a long gun that extends from the trigger back to where the gun is braced against the shoulder. An adjustable stock is one that can be easily lengthened or shortened to fit shooters of different sizes.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Cartridge

The assembly consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, shell casing, and primer. Cartridges also include shotgun shells and black powder packets used in muzzle loading guns.

Doll's Head

A rib extension on a break-open gun, ending in a circular or semi-circular shape in plan (resembling the head of a doll), mating into a similarly-shaped recess in the top of the receiver, designed to resist the tendency of the barrels to pull away from the standing breech when firing. Because an action's centerpoint of flexing when firing is at the base of the standing breech, not at the hingepin, a passive doll's head extension makes an effective extra fastener, even without additional mechanical locks operated by the opening lever.

Obturation

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.

Frame

The common part of a handgun to which the action, barrel and grip are connected.

Semi-Wadcutter

A bullet design featuring a conical extended nose, with a flat point, and a sharp edged shoulder that serves to cut a full diameter hole in the target. This design also may be found with a hollow point to facilitate expansion. A modified wadcutter bullet design with slightly sloping edges, designed to load smoothly in a semi-automatic pistol.

Traditional Isosceles

In the Traditional Isosceles stance, Both arms are stretched almost equally forward with the gun centered forward. The knees are straight or only slightly flexed, and the entire body is upright and parallel to the target. This is an acceptable range stance provided recoil control is not an issue and you don't need to make rapid follow-up shots. However, if you are practicing for self-defense, you will probably want to use the Modern Isosceles stance stance instead.

Over-Under

Can also be spelled Over/Under, OverUnder or Over and Under. A firearm (most commonly a shotgun) with two barrels that are vertically aligned with each other, one on top of the other.

Racking the Slide

Pulling the slide back to its rearmost position, and then letting it go forward under its own spring tension. Racking the slide loads the chamber and prepares the gun to fire in a semi-automatic handgun.

Under Barrel

The bottom barrel on an Over/Under shotgun.

Frizzen

The part of a flintlock action that receives the blow of the flint-tipped hammer, which then yields tiny molten fragments of steel ,sparks, which fall into the flashpan, igniting the priming charge and thence, through the touchhole, the main charge.

External Safety

A safety lever or button found on the outer surfaces of the firearm and is accessible to the user. Enabling the external safety should prevent accidental pulling of the trigger. However, the best safety is always you.

Safety

A device, incorporated into the design of most firearms actions that, when engaged, should prevent the discharge of the firearm. Some safeties are more positive than others. A safety device is not a perfect substitute for the general principles of responsible gun handling. Never point a gun in a direction you do not intend to shoot

Trigger

The small lever on a cartridge firearm, which one pulls to cause the spring-loaded firing pin to impact the primer, causing the gun to discharge. Normally, the trigger simply connects to the sear. Pulling the trigger moves the sear out of its notch, releasing the spring-loaded hammer to strike the firing pin which in turn strikes the primer; or the coilspring-loaded firing pin directly. Other, often-Germanic systems have their own miniature lockwork which, when cocked, allows an exceedingly light trigger pull to discharge the firearm, a setting that would be perilous to carry in the field.

Slide Release

A slang term for slide catch.

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.

Shotgun

A smooth bore long gun that shoots a group of pellets called shot instead of bullets. Depending on the bore size and the size of the pellets there may be from less than 10 to two hundred or more pellets in a single shotgun cartridge. Shotguns are designed for shooting moving targets (such as flying birds or running rabbits) at close range.

Out of Battery

A semi-automatic is said to be out of battery when the slide fails to come all the way forward again after the gun has fired. This condition can be created by a misfeed, a dirty gun, weak springs, the shooter's thumbs brushing against the slide, riding the slide, or any of several other causes.

Rimfire

Helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.

Trap Gun

A shotgun, often with only a single relatively-long barrel, with relatively tight choke boring and a relatively high-combed stock used for shooting clay pigeons in the game of Trap, where the birds are launched at least 16 yards ahead, usually rising and going away from the shooter at relatively low angular velocity. To better absorb recoil, a trap gun is normally heavier than a field gun because one shoots a lot but walks only a little.