Letter M

The Definition of MOA

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19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Sear

The part of the trigger mechanism which holds the hammer or striker back. Pressure on the trigger causes the sear to release the hammer or striker, allowing it to strike the firing pin and discharge the weapon.

Extended Top Tang

A display of gunmaking skill with a possible benefit of strengthening the wrist of a heavily-recoiling rifle, whereby the top tang of the action is made extra long, shaped and inletted into the top of the buttstock, extending along the top of the wrist and up over the comb. Popularized by Holland & Holland and adopted by several of the finest contemporary riflemakers in the USA.

Airgun (Air Gun)

A variety of pneumatic gun that propels projectiles by means of compressed air or other gas, in contrast to firearms, which use a propellant charge. Both the rifle and pistol forms (air rifle and air pistol) typically propel metallic projectiles, either pellets, or BBs. Certain types of air guns, usually rifles, may also propel arrows.

Smokeless Powder

The propellant powder used in modern ammunition. It is not an explosive, but rather a flammable solid that burns extremely rapidly releasing a large volume of gas. Commonly called "gunpowder" and usually made from nitrocellulose, or nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. It is classified as a "Flammable Solid" by the Department of Transportation.

Nose

The point of a projectile.

Three Rules

The NRA teaches the Three Basic Rules of Safe Gun Handling. There are additional rules, but these are the three that if any two are followed, nobody will be hurt. However, obviously, all three should always be followed.

Rule One: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Rule Two: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
Rule Three: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
The NRA established these three rules in 1871. They were created to be easy to understand and remember, ensuring the highest possible level of firearm safety.
See also The Four Rules

Limp Wristing

A floppy, limp wrist while shooting.

Headspace Gauge

Plugs of hardened steel, precisely machined in relation to the standard dimensional specifications of a given cartridge, normally in sets of three: "GO", "No-Go" and "Field". By loading these plug-gauges into the chamber in succession, one can check that the action should close on the "Go" gauge. It should not close on the "No-Go" gauge, but might were enough force to be used. And, it absolutely should not close on the "Field" gauge.

Saturday Night Special

A slang term for a small inexpensive handgun. Saturday night specials have been defined as compact, inexpensive, small-caliber handguns with perceived low quality; however, there is no official definition of "Saturday night special" under federal law, though some states define "Saturday night specials" or "junk guns" by means of composition or materials strength. Low cost and high availability make these weapons attractive to many buyers despite their shortcomings.

Caseless Ammunition

A type of small arms ammunition that eliminates the cartridge case that typically holds the primer, propellant, and projectile together as a unit.

Firearm

A firearm is a portable gun (pistol or rifle), being a barreled weapon that launches one or more projectiles often driven by the action of an explosive force.

Overbore Capacity

Is that combination of caliber, barrel length, bullet weight, and case volume which does not allow the complete burning of the charge of ballistically correct powder within the volume of case and barrel.

Dram

A unit of measure traditionally used for black powder shotgun charges. Today, used for smokeless powders on the basis of the new propellant's equivalent performance to that weight of black powder. Thus, a shotgun shell marked 3 - 1 1/8 would be loaded with the smokeless powder equivalent of 3 drams of black powder, and with 1 ounce of shot. 1 Dram = 1/16 ounce = 437.5 grains.

Frontstrap

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

Slide Bite

A phenomenon which is often grouped with hammer bite. In this case the web of the shooting hand is cut or abraded by the rearward motion of the semi-automatic pistol's slide, not by the gun's hammer. This most often occurs with small pistols like the Walther PPK and Walther TPH that have an abbreviated grip tang. This problem is exacerbated by the sharp machining found on many firearms.

Browning

John Moses Browning was born in Ogden, Utah on January 23, 1855, and was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of military and civilian firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world. Almost all of his design concepts can be found in some form or another in every modern automatic and semi-automatic firearm. He is regarded as one of the most successful firearms designers of the 20th century, in the development of modern automatic and semi-automatic firearms, and is credited with 128 gun patents. He made his first firearm at age 13 in his father's gun shop, and was awarded his first patent on October 7, 1879 at the age of 24.
The Browning Arms Company was founded in 1878 by John Moses Browning and his brother Matthew Sandifer Browning. The company was founded to market the sporting (non-military) designs of John Moses Browning. The company still exists today mostly manufacturing world class shotguns.

Slamfire

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

Recoil

The tendency of a firearm when fired to move backwards, and a little upwards as a reaction to the force of the projectile moving down the barrel. As Newton says, to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. The mass of the firearm provides some inertia to counteract the momentum of recoil. What remains is absorbed by at the shoulder or the hand. The heavier the gun, the less the recoil. The more powerful the cartridge, the more the recoil.

Flinch

To jerk a firearm off target inadvertently in the instant of firing in timid anticipation of recoil. Commonly caused by learning to shoot with a gun more powerful then they are ready for.

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