Letter F

The Definition of Firepower

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Firepower

A volume of fire delivered by a military unit. Incorrectly used by the media to mean the ability of a small arm to be discharged many times without reloading.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Wildcat Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge, or wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic (such as the power, size or efficiency) of an existing commercial cartridge. Developing and using wildcat cartridges does not generally serve a purpose in military or law enforcement; it is more a hobby for serious shooting, hunting, gunsmithing and handloading enthusiasts, particularly in the United States. There are potentially endless amounts of different kinds of wildcat cartridges: one source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges for which they produce equipment such as chamber reamers.

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.

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.

Pellet (air gun)

Skirted projectiles used in pellet guns

Double Tap

Two shots fired in rapid succession. Generally without getting a new sight picture on the target. If the second shot is fired after a second sight picture is captured it may instead be called a controlled pair.

Kentucky Rifle

Usually referred to as a Kentucky Long Rifle or simply Longrifle, the Kentucky Rifle is a flintlock rifle with a long barrel and short, crooked stock. It is widely believed to be a largely unique development of American rifles that was uncommon in European rifles of the same period. The Kentucky Long Rifleis an early example of a firearm using rifling, (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile, commonly a round lead ball, a spiraling motion, increasing the stability of the trajectory. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century.

Porting

Openings at the muzzle end of the gun through which some of the spent gases can escape. Porting reduces perceived recoil and lessens muzzle rise but increases the noise and flash.

Stance

How the shooter positions her body while shooting. The three most widely used handgun stances are Weaver, Isosceles and Chapman stance.

Collateral Damage

Damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome.

M1911

The official US military designation for the Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol adopted by the US in 1911. The gun was designed by John Moses Browning, and produced by Colt. During trials, the Browning-Colt design beat out several competing designs, including one from Savage and a .45 caliber version of the German Parabellum ("Luger"). The M1911 saw its first combat in the Philippines and then in World War I. Early use showed that it could be improved and in 1921 the M1911A1 was introduced, which featured a few changes like a reocontoured frame, shorter trigger, and a rounded backstrap. The M1911A1 remained the standard US military handgun until it was replaced in the 1980's by the Beretta M9. However, it remains very popular with civilian shooters in the US, and has been modified extensively to update it to conform to more modern theories of handgun usage.

BUG

Abbreviation for 'Back Up Gun'

Double Action

An action type that when the trigger of a gun is pulled, the gun gets cocked and the hammer (or striker) is dropped. This applies to both revolvers and semi-automatic guns. On a double action revolver, when the trigger is pulled, the hammer is cocked before releasing. With a double-action semi-automatic pistol, the hammer does not have to be manually cocked (via actually pulling back the trigger or tracking the slide), the hammer (or striker) will be cocked while the trigger is being pulled. A firearm that only the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled is a single action gun.

Kurtz

German for "short." Seen as part of a cartridge designation. On some German manufactured guns that use .380 ACP, the designated caliber is 9mm Kurtz (9mm Short), which is also the same as the Italian 9mm Corto

Choke Tubes

Short, interchangeable cylinders, of subtly different internal tapers, that screw into a threaded recess at the muzzle of a shotgun. By inserting different choke tubes, one can alter the shot pattern thrown by the gun.

DA/SA

Abbreviation for Double Action/Single Action. A type of firearm that is designed to operate in double action on the first shot, and in single action on the second and subsequent shots.

Intercepting Sear

A second sear, poised just behind a second notch in the hammer. It is possible that when a cocked firearm is dropped or sharply jarred, a single sear could jump out of its notch and the hammer could fall, firing the gun accidentally. In this event, an intercepting sear would engage before the hammer could fall completely, preventing an accidental discharge. On a gun with intercepting sears, only by pulling the trigger are both sears moved out of the way simultaneously, allowing the gun to fire. Intercepting sears are usually found on better sidelock actions. They are sometimes found on best boxlocks, and can be recognized by an extra screw behind the action fences, in addition to the usual two screws (or pins) along the lower rear of the receiver.

AR

Contrary to some people's belief, AR does NOT stand for Assault Rifle. The designation AR stands for the original designing company ArmaLite.
An AR is a firearm platform originally designed by ArmaLite and built by Colt, an AR is a lightweight, intermediate cartridge magazine-fed, air-cooled rifle with a rotating lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It has been produced in many different versions, including numerous semi-automatic and selective fire variants. It is manufactured with extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials. Types of ARs include AR-15, AR-10 and AR-7.

Cal

Abbreviation for Caliber.

Magazine Follower

Same as Follower. A plate, mounted to the top of a spring, inside a magazine, over which cartridges may slide smoothly as they are guided into the chamber of a repeating firearm.