Letter M

The Definition of Mainspring

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Mainspring

A strong spring which activates the striker or hammer of a firearm.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Pistol Whip

To hit someone with the grip of a pistol.

Double Triggers

On guns (mainly shotguns) that have two barrels, there is a trigger for each barrel that work independently from each other.

Shell Casing

A hollow, piece of metal (or plastic in the case of a shotgun shell) that is closed on one end except for a small hole which holds a primer. The open end holds the bullet. The hollow portion holds the powder. Together the assembled unit is called a cartridge.

Sporterizing

The practice of modifying military-type firearms either to make them suitable for civilian sporting use. Common sporterizing includes changing the stock or sights.

Rail Mount

Any type of accessory that can be attached to a firearm's rail.

Snap Cap

An inert ammunition-shaped object, used in practice to simulate misfeeds and other malfunctions. Some folks also use them during dry fire practice to cushion the firing pin as it strikes.

Sight Picture

What the shooter sees when looking through the sights at the target.

Stock

The back part of a rifle or shotgun, excluding the receiver.

Carry

Slang for a gun or the action of carrying a gun concealed, e.g "The Bersa Thunder .380 is a fantastic gun for carrying" or "Do you carry?".

Concealed

Hidden from view. A handgun is concealed when it is carried in such a manner that is unseen.

Malfunction

A misfeed or other failure to fire which can be cleared on the spot and without tools.

Gain Twist

A form of rifling where the helical angle (pitch) sharpens progressively down the bore in the interest of maximizing the bullets ultimate rotational speed by initiating it slowly.

Trap

A game of competitive clay pigeon shooting on a formally designed layout. In plan view, one launching machine is located 16 yards in front of a straight line, firing rising targets perpendicular to and away from that line. Five competitors shoot five individual targets at each of five stations along that line. Although each target is presented at slightly randomized vectors, trap emphasizes generally a single type of shot, outgoing and rising, and targets are broken at generally longer ranges than Skeet.

Battery

Most firearms do not have literal batteries. But a firearm is said to be in battery when the breech is fully closed and locked, ready to fire. When the breech is open or unlocked, the gun is out of battery and no attempt should be made to fire it. A semi-automatic is out of battery when the slide fails to come all the way forward again after the gun has fired, making it dangerous or impossible to fire the next round. 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.

Flat Nose

A bullet shape with a flat nose rather than a rounded one.

Electronic Hearing Protection

Ear muff or ear plug hearing protection that have internal electronics that amplify human voices while excluding all noises louder than a given decibel rating. Electronic hearing protection is best used when shooting outdoors. When on an indoor range they have a tendency to pick up too much echo and other muffled sounds.

Sporting Clays

A shotgun shooting sport that combines elements of skeet and trap, and that is designed to simulate field conditions.

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".

Cold Clean Bore

The first shot from a rifle that has been cleaned, and not fired recently may go to a different point of impact, for the same point of aim than a rifle that has been fired recently. This first shot is referred to as a shot from a cold, clean, bore.

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