Letter M

The Definition of Malfunction

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Malfunction

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


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Small Bore

Generally refers to a .32 calibre or smaller firearm.

Mainspring

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

Choke Tubes

Short, interchangeable cylinders, of subtly different internal tapers, that screw into a threaded recess at the muzzle of a shotgun. By inserting different choke tubes, one can alter the shot pattern thrown by the gun.

Shot

In shotgunning, multiple pellets contained in the shell and sent downrange when the shotgun is fired.

Buckshot

A type of shotgun ammunition that uses medium-sized to large-sized pellets of .24" in diameter or greater, designed to be discharged in quantity from a shotgun. Generally the larger the pellets, the fewer of them there are in casing.

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.

Obturation

The process of a bullet expanding under pressure to fit the bore of the firearm, or a cartridge case expanding under pressure to seal the chamber.

Assault Rifle

Assault Rifles and Assault Weapons do not exist. The terms Assault Rifle and Assault Weapon are made up terms by the anti-gun lobby to describe black rifles with forward grips that you might see in the movies like an AR-15 or an AK-47. Assault Rifles do not exist because a gun cannot assault anything, they are machines that need to be operated by a person.

Speedloader

A device used to reduce the time and/or effort needed to reload a firearm's magazine.

Improvised Firearm

A firearm manufactured by someone who is not a regular maker of firearms.

Slide Catch

Sometimes also known as a slide lock, slide release or slide lever. On a semi-autmatic gun, the lever or catch that holds the slide open (after the last round is fired or when racking an empty gun). Typically they are located on the left side of the frame about mide barrel. Some of the newer semi-automatic pistols have an internal slide lock. Even though on pistols with an external slide catch, you can push down on the lever to release the slide, it should never be used in such a manner. The proper way to release the slide is to rack the slide.

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.

Polygonal Rifling

A type of gun barrel rifling where the traditional lands and grooves are replaced by "hills and valleys" in a rounded polygonal pattern, usually a hexagon or octagon. Polygons with a larger number of edges provide a better gas seal in relatively large diameter polygonally rifled bores.

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.

Muzzle Energy

The power of a projectile or a load of shot at the point that it exits the muzzle of a firearm, normally expressed in foot-pounds.

Traditional Isosceles

In the Traditional Isosceles stance, Both arms are stretched almost equally forward with the gun centered forward. The knees are straight or only slightly flexed, and the entire body is upright and parallel to the target. This is an acceptable range stance provided recoil control is not an issue and you don't need to make rapid follow-up shots. However, if you are practicing for self-defense, you will probably want to use the Modern Isosceles stance stance instead.

Passive Safety

Any safety, internal or external, which functions apart from the shooter's conscious control. Grip safeties are one example of a passive external safety.

LC

Abbreviation for Long Colt

Double Feed

A malfunction in which the spent case fails to eject from a semi-automatic firearm and blocks the chamber. As the fresh round is brought forward it cannot enter the chamber. It is cleared by stripping the magazine from the gun, racking the slide several times to eject the spent case, and then reloading.