Letter I

The Definition of Internal Safety

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Internal Safety

A safety which is placed within the gun and is not accessible to the user. Internal safeties are generally designed to prevent unintentional discharges when the gun is dropped or mishandled.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Youth Stock

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

Pitch

The angle of the butt of a gun in relation to the line of sight. Pitch is measured by resting the gun with its butt flat on a floor, the top of the receiver against a wall and its muzzle pointing up. The distance of the muzzle from the wall is the gun's pitch down.

Primer

A small metal cup that contains a tiny explosive charge that is sensitive to impact. A primer is placed in the base of a shell casing to ignite the powder of the completed cartridge. It is detonated by the striking of a firing pin in the firearm.

Soft Point

A metal jacketed bullet design in which the nose of the core of the bullet is exposed to ensure the expansion of the bullet upon impact. Often abbreviated "JSP" or "SP." They tend to expand more slowly than a Hollow Point bullet and are used where deeper penetration and expansion are needed.

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.

COF

Abbreviation for Course of Fire.

Funeral Grade

A colloquial term to describe a break-open gun, of any quality but often of the very highest, bearing the least possible decoration; having an all-blued receiver with either no engraving at all or only a simple borderline.

Gunpowder

Also called black powder, gunpowder is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. It burns rapidly, producing a volume of hot gas made up of carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, and a solid residue of potassium sulfide. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. The term gunpowder also refers broadly to any propellant powder. Modern firearms do not use the traditional gunpowder (black powder) described here, but instead use smokeless powder.

Choke

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

Magazine

A secure storage place for ammunition or explosives. On a firearm, it is the container, either fixed to a firearms's frame or detachable, which holds cartridges waiting to be fed into the gun's chamber.
Detachable magazines for the same gun may be offered by the gun's manufacturer or other manufacturers with various capacities. A gun with a five-shot detachable magazine, for instance, may be fitted with a magazine holding 10, 20, or 50 or more rounds.
Box magazines are most commonly located under the receiver with the cartridges stacked vertically.
Tube or tubular magazines run through the stock or under the barrel with the cartridges lying horizontally (like on a shotgun or lever action rifle.
Drum magazines hold their cartridges in a circular mode (for example the famous drum magazine on a Thompson submachine gun).
On a revolver, the magazine is known as the cylinder.
Internal magazines are built into the firearm and are not removable. Examples of internal magazines are the tube magazines of a shotgun or the magazine on a Mosin Nagant.
A magazine is not a clip!

Folding Stock

A long gun stock that may be doubled over for conveniently compact storage.

Backstrap

The rearmost surface of the grip on a handgun. the term originated with old pistols. The grips surrounded the frame, making the rearmost of the frame appear as a strap.

Frontstrap

Front, metal, part of a handgun's grip, which together with the backstrap, provides a mounting frame for the grip panels.

High-Capacity Magazine

An inexact, non-technical term indicating a magazine holding more rounds than might be considered "average.".

Musketoon

A musket shortened for cavalry use.

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.

Elevation

The setting on the sights of a firearm that controls the vertical placement and the altitude above mean sea level. This is important for long range precision shooting because the air density changes with elevation and affects the path of the bullet.

Factory Ammo

Ammunition that has been assembled by a commercial vendor of ammunition and sold in retail stores. This is as opposed to Hand loads which have been assembled by individuals and are not typically sold.

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.