Letter A

The Definition of Automatic

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Automatic

A type of firearm which, utilizing some of the recoil or some of the expanding-gas energy from the firing cartridge, cycles the action to eject the spent shell, to chamber a fresh one from a magazine, to cock the mainspring and to fire again. Such a firearm will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held back, until the magazine is empty. A machine gun. A firearm thus activated, but which shoots only one bullet with each separate pull of the trigger, while often erroneously referred to as "automatic" is properly termed Semi-Automatic.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Dud

A round of ammunition that does not fire.

Pellet Gun

An air gun that shoots a skirted pellet.

SxS

Abbreviation for Side-By-Side.

Sawed-Off Shotgun

Common term for federally restricted "short-barreled shotgun (rifle)" as with a conventional shotgun with barrel less than 18" (rifle less than 16") or overall length less than 26.

Heel

The top of the butt-end of a gun stock.

Under Barrel

The bottom barrel on an Over/Under shotgun.

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.

Silencer

Improper term for a device that cuts down on the noise a firearm makes when it is shot. The correct term is suppressor. Silencers only exist in the movies.

Naked Bullet

A bullet not covered by a metal jacket or patch.

Varmint Gun

Usually a rifle, but not always. A small-caliber firearm or high-powered air gun primarily used for hunting non-native or non-game animals such as rats, squirrels, gophers, jackrabbits, marmots, groundhogs, porcupine, opossum, coyote, skunks, weasels, and other animals considered to be nuisance vermin destructive to native or domestic plants and animals.

Casing

Also known as a Case. The envelope (container) of a cartridge. For rifles and handguns it is usually of brass or other metal; for shotguns it is usually of paper or plastic with a metal head and is more often called a "shell."

Trigger Safety

An external, passive safety which can be found on the face of some trigger designs (most notably found on Glock firearms). It is intended to prevent the trigger from being pulled by objects which find their way into the trigger guard area.

Toplever

A lever on a break-open gun mounted to the top of the receiver which, when pushed with the thumb (normally) to the right, operates (usually) a Scott Spindle, which in turn withdraws (usually) a Purdey Underbolt from the bites in the lumps of the barrels, allowing them to hinge downwards and the gun to open.

Manual Safety

A safety which the shooter must deliberately disengage in order to fire the gun. The most common form of safety mechanism is a switch that, when set to the "safe" position, prevents a pull of the trigger from firing the firearm.

Ejection Rod

The sliding metal dowel located at the muzzle end of a revolver cylinder. After firing, the shooter opens the cylinder and depresses the front end of the ejection rod, which forces the empty cases out of the cylinder.

Handgun

Synonymous with pistol. A small, short-barreled firearm designed to be fired while held in one or both hands, possibly small enough to be concealed on the person, rather than while braced against the shoulder. The term includes antique dueling pistols, modern single-shot, semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.

Gas Vent

A passage built into a firearm to allow the safe conduct of unexpected gas, as from a pierced primer, to minimize damage both to the gun and to the shooter.

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.

Speed Loader

A device used to load magazines or revolver cylinders quicker than by hand.