Letter M

The Definition of Magazine Well

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Magazine Well

The opening in the bottom of the gun into which a box magazine is fed. On a semi-auto handgun, the magazine well is at the base of the grip; on a rifle, it is usually placed in front of the trigger guard.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Key Fastener

A horizontal wedge, press-fit through the forend of a vintage gun, through a lump attached to the underside of the barrel and out the other side of the forend. To secure the forend in position. Also called a crosspin or a wedge fastener.

Riot Gun

A popular term for a short barreled repeating shotgun as frequently used in law enforcement and personal protection.

Bullet

The single projectile expelled from a gun. It is not the same as a cartridge, the cartridge is complete package, which includes the case, primer, powder, and bullet, which is called or a round. Bullets can be of many materials, shapes, weights and constructions such as solid lead, lead with a jacket of harder metal, round-nosed, flat-nosed, hollow-pointed, etc.

Hammer Bite

The action of an external hammer pinching or poking the web of the operator's shooting hand between the thumb and fore-finger when the gun is fired.

Autoloader

A firearm that automatically loads the next cartridge to be fired into the chamber either upon the pull of the trigger in an open bolt design or upon the firing of the previous round in a close bolt design.
Autoloader should not be confused with Automatic or Semi-Automatic since the term Autoloader only applies to how the next round is chambered not how many rounds can be fired per trigger pull. All Automatic and Semi-Automatic firearms are autoloaders. Revolvers, bolt action, lever action and pump action firearms are not autoloaders.

Rimless

A cartridge in which the base diameter is the same as the body diameter. The casing will normally have an extraction groove machined around it near the base, creating a "rim" at the base that is the same diameter as the body diameter.

Bullpup

A firearm configuration where the magazine and action are behind the trigger.

Muzzleloader

The earliest type of gun, now also popular as modern-made replicas, in which blackpowder and projectile(s) are separately loaded in through the muzzle. The term is often applied to cap-and-ball revolvers where the loading is done not actually through the muzzle but through the open ends of the cylinder's chambers.

Speed Loader

A device used to load magazines or revolver cylinders quicker than by hand.

Penetration

The distance travelled by a projectile from the point where it strikes the target to the point where it stops.

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.

Express Sights

"V" shaped rear leaf sights mounted to a rifle barrel on a block or on a quarter-rib, sometimes solid standing, sometimes folding, and often mounted in a row of similar leaves, each of a slightly different height, marked with the range for which each is regulated

Annulus

A tiny circular recess at the base of a cartridge case surrounding the primer pocket. Recoil from fired cartridges invariably impress a discernable ring on the breech or bolt face of a firearm, providing some evidence of the amount of use it has seen.

Clearing

Unloading a gun and double checking that it is unloaded or fixing a malfunction so that the gun is ready to fire again.

Zeroing

The act of setting up a telescopic or other sighting system so that the point of impact of a bullet matches the sights at a specified distance.

Muzzle Flash

A muzzle flash is the visible light of a muzzle blast, which expels high temperature, high pressure gases from the muzzle of a firearm. The blast and flash are caused by the combustion products of the gunpowder, and any remaining unburned powder, mixing with the ambient air. The size and shape of the muzzle flash is dependent on the type of ammunition being used and the individual characteristics of firearm and any devices attached to the muzzle (such as a muzzle brake or flash suppressor)

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.

BG

Abbreviation for 'Bad Guy'

Short Recoil

A semi-automatic pistol in which the barrel and breechblock are locked together for only a short distance of rearward recoil travel, at which point the two are uncoupled, the barrel is stopped and the breechblock continues rearward, extracting the spent casing from the chamber. Upon returning forward, the breechblock chambers a fresh round and forces the barrel back into its forward position. Most modern recoil operated semi-automatic pistols use short recoil.