Letter M

The Definition of Matchlock

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Matchlock

An early system of ignition for muzzle-loading firearms where a priming charge is loaded into a flashpan with a separate, manually-operated cover. To fire, the cover is opened and then a slowly smoldering wick, held in the nose of the curved arm, is lowered by means of a lever (precursor to a trigger) to ignite a priming charge which then ignites the main propellant charge inside the barrel.

Matchlock

A black powder muzzleloading firearm action which relies upon a serpentine or S-shaped piece of metal to hold a smoldering match. By pressing the lower end of the serpentine, the upper end holding the burning match contacts the priming powder in the pan.


18 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Hand

In any mechanism, a small lever that engages a notch to actuate movement in one direction only. Specifically, a small spring-loaded lever attached to the hammer of a revolver which actuates the cylinder to advance one increment and move the next chamber into battery as the hammer is cocked.

Nipple

A small metal tube extending through the breech of a percussion firearm through which the flame passes from the percussion cap to fire the powder charge.

Pattern

A shotgun term which refers to the manner in which the pellets spread out as they exit the gun. "The pattern" refers to the overall shape of the entire set. A tight pattern is one in which the pellets are closely grouped when they land on target. A loose pattern is one in which the pellets are widely spread.

Red Dot Sight

A type of reflector (reflex) sight for firearms that gives the uses a red light-emitting diode as a reticle to create an aimpoint.

Pull Distance

The distance the trigger must travel before it reaches the break point and fires the gun.

Gun

A firearm.

Ball

Originally used to describe the spherical projectile used in black powder firearms, now also used to refer to a fully jacketed bullet of cylindrical profile capped with a round nose

Blank

A type of cartridge for a firearm that contains gunpowder but no bullet or shot. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report). Blanks are often used for simulation (such as in historical reenactments, theatre and movie special effects), training, and for signaling (see starting pistol). Blank cartridges differ from dummy cartridges and snap caps, which are used for training or function testing firearms; these contain no primer or gunpowder, and are inert.

BATF

Short abbreviation for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Speed Strip

A flat piece of rubber which holds revolver cartridges preparatory to loading them into the revolver's cylinder. Similar to a moon clip

Frontstrap

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

Muzzle

The open end of the barrel from which the projectile exits.

Heel & Toe Plates

Protective plates, usually of steel or horn, covering the top and bottom of a gunstock's butt only (the heel and the toe); leaving wood exposed in the center

Brass

The term used for the casing on modern rifle and pistol ammunition. It is usually made out of brass but can also be aluminum or steel. The casing on a shotgun shell is usually refered to as a hull

Kick

Slang for Recoil.

Federal Firearms License

A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a license in the United States that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture of firearms and ammunition or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms. Holding an FFL to engage in certain such activities has been a legal requirement within the United States since the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Glock

The Glock pistol, sometimes referred to by the manufacturer as a Glock "Safe Action" Pistol, is a series of polymer-framed, short recoil operated, locked breech semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria.

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.

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