Letter B

The Definition of Blank

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Blank

A type of cartridge for a firearm that contains gunpowder but no bullet or shot. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report). Blanks are often used for simulation (such as in historical reenactments, theatre and movie special effects), training, and for signaling (see starting pistol). Blank cartridges differ from dummy cartridges and snap caps, which are used for training or function testing firearms; these contain no primer or gunpowder, and are inert.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Cheekpiece

A broad, flat, raised area on the side of a buttstock.

Handspanner

German for Hand-Cocking or Cocker/De-Cocker. A type of action on a break-open gun or rifle where, in place of a traditional top tang safety, a somewhat more robust tab is fitted. Normally such a gun is carried in the field loaded, but with the action not cocked, an exceedingly safe condition. Then, when ready to fire, the shooter, instead of pushing a safety tab forward, pushes this larger tab forward, cocking the mainspring, making the gun ready to fire. Then, if the shot is not taken, he may simply slide this tab rearwards again, de-cocking the gun and returning it to the still-loaded, but very safe position.

Belt Fed

A firearm, usually (but not always) a fully automatic rifle, that uses a ammunition on a belt rather than a magazine to store the rounds that will be loaded into the gun.

Windage

The setting on the sights used to accommodate the wind or adjust for horizontal (side-to-side) errors in the alignment of the sights with the bore of the firearm.

Youth Stock

A short stock, often ideally sized for teenagers, average-sized adult women, and small-statured adult males.

Cover Hold

Sometimes also known as cover-up hold. A sight picture of when the center of the target is completely covered by the front sight when the sights are properly aligned. Also see center hold and six o'clock hold.

Magna

Smith & Wesson term for a revolver grip design introduced in the 1930s where the top of the grip extends higher than it had in earlier configurations, to provide a more comfortable hold.

NRA

The National Rifle Association. This organization coordinates shooting events on a national level, provides firearms training to civilians and law enforcement, fights restrictive firearms legislation and supports the constitutional right of law abiding citizens to own and carry firearms.

Upset Forging

A process that increases the diameter of a workpiece by compressing its length.

Hinge Pin

A short cylindrical rod of hardened steel running laterally near the front of the bar of a break-open gun's action around which the barrel hook revolves when the gun is opened. Over the decades, this pin and its complimentary hook can wear and a gun can sometimes "shoot loose" or "come off the face." The proper cure for this condition is to replace the hinge pin with a new one, slightly oversized, to compensate for wear on both itself and on the barrel hook.

Lock

The firing mechanism of a a muzzle-loading weapon. In breech-loading firearms, the lock is the firing mechanism and breech-sealing assembly.

Recoil Operation

Recoil operation is an operating mechanism used in locked-breech, autoloading firearms. As the name implies, these actions use the force of recoil to provide energy to cycle the action.

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.

Port

An opening. The ejection port is the opening in the side of a semi-auto from which spent cases are ejected.

Ogive

A type of curve represented by the curved section of a bullet between its bearing surface and its tip.

Collapsible Stock

A stock on a long gun that can be shoved into itself to shorten it, either for storage or to make the gun fit shooters of different sizes.

Choke

A constriction at or near the muzzle of a shotgun barrel that affects shot dispersion.

Trigger Slap

An uncomfortable sensation caused by the trigger springing back into the shooter's trigger finger while firing.

Drilling

A three-barrel gun. Typically it has two shotgun barrels side by side on the top, with a third rifle barrel underneath. This provides a very versatile firearm capable of taking winged animals as well as big game. It also is useful in jurisdictions where a person is only allowed to own a single firearm.