Letter N

The Definition of Night Sights

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Night Sights

A type of iron sights that glow or shine in the dark, intended for use in low light conditions. Some night sights consist of tiny tubes of tritium, while others use a phosphorus paint.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Neck

The forward portion of a bottlenecked cartridge case. Also the portion of a rifle chamber in which the neck of the cartridge case rests.

Muzzle Velocity

The speed of a projectile or a load of shot at the point that it exits the muzzle of a firearm, normally expressed feet per second.

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.

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.

CHL

Abbreviation for Concealed Handgun License.

Throat Erosion

The wearing of the portion of the barrel where the gas pressure and heat is highest as the projectile leaves the chamber. The greater the chamber pressure the more rapid throat erosion occurs which is compounded by rapid firing which heats and weakens the steel.

EDC

Abbreviation for Every Day Carry

Firing Pin

A needle like metal part of a modern firearm that gives a vigorous strike to the primer initiating the firing of the cartridge.

Receiver

The housing for a firearm's breech (portion of the barrel with chamber into which a cartridge or projectile is loaded) and firing mechanism. In semi-automatic handguns and revolvers, this part is typically called the frame.

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.

Aperture Sight

Also known as peep sights, range from the ghost ring sight, whose thin ring blurs to near invisibility (hence ghost), to target aperture sights that use large disks or other occluders with pinhole-sized apertures. In general, the thicker the ring, the more precise the sight, and the thinner the ring, the faster the sight.

Reflector Sight

A generally non-magnifying optical device that has an optically collimated reticle, allowing the user to look through a partially reflecting glass element and see a parallax free cross hair or other projected aiming point superimposed on the field of view. Invented in 1900 but not generally used on firearms until reliably illuminated versions were invented in the late 1970s (usually referred to by the abbreviation "reflex sight").

Double Action

An action type that when the trigger of a gun is pulled, the gun gets cocked and the hammer (or striker) is dropped. This applies to both revolvers and semi-automatic guns. On a double action revolver, when the trigger is pulled, the hammer is cocked before releasing. With a double-action semi-automatic pistol, the hammer does not have to be manually cocked (via actually pulling back the trigger or tracking the slide), the hammer (or striker) will be cocked while the trigger is being pulled. A firearm that only the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled is a single action gun.

Mirage

A tendency for layers of air of different temperatures near the warm ground to cause refraction in the line of sight and disturbance of the perceived point of aim.

Stance

How the shooter positions her body while shooting. The three most widely used handgun stances are Weaver, Isosceles and Chapman stance.

Magazine

A secure storage place for ammunition or explosives. On a firearm, it is the container, either fixed to a firearms's frame or detachable, which holds cartridges waiting to be fed into the gun's chamber.
Detachable magazines for the same gun may be offered by the gun's manufacturer or other manufacturers with various capacities. A gun with a five-shot detachable magazine, for instance, may be fitted with a magazine holding 10, 20, or 50 or more rounds.
Box magazines are most commonly located under the receiver with the cartridges stacked vertically.
Tube or tubular magazines run through the stock or under the barrel with the cartridges lying horizontally (like on a shotgun or lever action rifle.
Drum magazines hold their cartridges in a circular mode (for example the famous drum magazine on a Thompson submachine gun).
On a revolver, the magazine is known as the cylinder.
Internal magazines are built into the firearm and are not removable. Examples of internal magazines are the tube magazines of a shotgun or the magazine on a Mosin Nagant.
A magazine is not a clip!

Trigger Control

Not putting your finger on the trigger until your sights are on target, then pulling the trigger smoothly, and following through by realigning the sights before allowing your finger to come off the trigger.

Black Powder

Also known as Gun Powder. A mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. It burns rapidly, producing a volume of hot gas made up of carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, and a solid residue of potassium sulfide. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. Modern firearms do not use the traditional black powder described here, but instead use smokeless powder.

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.

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