Letter H

The Definition of Handgun

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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.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Forcing Cone

In a shotgun barrel, A tapered area a few inches from the breech end, providing a transition between the chamber (approximately the diameter of the outside of a shotgun shell) to the bore proper (approximately the diameter of the inside of a shotgun shell). The forcing cone provides the transition between the exterior and the interior diameters of the cartridge. Older shotguns usually have more abrupt forcing cones suitable for then-current thick-walled paper shells with fibre wads. Newer shotguns usually have more gradual, longer forcing cones suitable for thinner modern plastic shells with obturating plastic shot-cup wads.

Slamfire

A premature, unintended discharge of a firearm that occurs as a round is being loaded into the chamber.

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.

Fouling

The accumulation of unwanted material on solid surfaces. The fouling material can consist of either powder, lubrication residue, or bullet material such as lead or copper.

Accidental Discharge

An unexpected and undesirable discharge of a firearm caused by circumstances beyond the control of the participant(s) such as a mechanical failure or parts breakage. There are very, very few firearms related "accidents" and if the "Three Rules" are followed there will hopefully be no injury. Accidental Discharge should not be confused with "Negligent Discharge".

Long Gun

Another term for rifle.

Snap Caps

Dummy cartridges with spring-loaded "primers" used to test the mechanical functioning of a firearm, particularly the trigger pulls, hammer-fall and ejector-timing of a break-open gun. It is not advisable to dry-fire a break-open gun on an empty chamber. Hardened steel parts can shatter without the soft brass primer to act as a shock absorber. Snap caps cushion the blow of the hammer and firing-pin when the use of a live cartridge would be impractical.

Ogive

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

Ambi

Short for the word Ambidextrous. Meaning that a feature of a firearms can be used by either hand, for example ambi-safety, ambi slide catch or ambi mag release.

FPS

Abbreviation for feet per second. A term used in expressing the velocity of a bullet.

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.

Crown

The area inside the bore nearest to the muzzle.

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.

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.

Dud

A round of ammunition that does not fire.

Berm

On an outdoor shooting range, a large pile of dirt that functions as a backstop.

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.

Sight Radius

The distance between the rear sight and the front sight. As a longer lever provides greater mechanical advantage, the greater the distance between the two sights, the more inherently accurate they will be.

Breech Pressure

The amount of rearward force exerted by the propellant gases on the bolt or breech of a firearm action or breech when a projectile is fired. The applied force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. This is also known as Bolt Thrust on firearms that are Bolt Action