Letter O

The Definition of Open Sights

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Open Sights

A common type of iron sights in which the rear sight is an open-topped U or a V or a square-notch shape and with a blade type front sight, in contrast to the closed circle commonly found in aperture sights.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Follower

A smooth, sometimes contoured plate, within a magazine, at the top of a spring, across which cartridges slide when being loaded into a chamber.

Wildcat Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge, or wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic (such as the power, size or efficiency) of an existing commercial cartridge. Developing and using wildcat cartridges does not generally serve a purpose in military or law enforcement; it is more a hobby for serious shooting, hunting, gunsmithing and handloading enthusiasts, particularly in the United States. There are potentially endless amounts of different kinds of wildcat cartridges: one source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges for which they produce equipment such as chamber reamers.

Frontstrap

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

Recoil Operation

Recoil operation is an operating mechanism used in locked-breech, autoloading firearms. As the name implies, these actions use the force of recoil to provide energy to cycle the action.

Cocked

A state of readiness of a firearm. The hammer (or similar mechanism if there is no hammer) only needs to be released by the trigger to cause the gun to fire.

Penetration

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

Rimfire

Helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.

Sniper

A military person designated as a special marksman who is used to shoot designated targets of opportunity at long range.

Laser Sight

A laser sight is an alternative sighting device which enables the shooter to quickly and accurately see where the firearm is aimed even when lighting or other conditions prevent using the gun's normal sights. Lasers may be located within the grips, hung from accessory rails at the front end of the gun, or placed within the firearm.

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.

Six O'Clock Hold

A sight picture of when the center of the target rests on top of the front sight when the sights are properly aligned. Also see center hold and cover hold.

Butt

The rear end of a rifle or shotgun. (The portion that rests against the shoulder.)

Four Rules

The four rules of firearms safety,were originally introduced in the early 1900's by various shooting education sources (with varying phrasing, but same implications), they apply every single time a firearm is handled in any way or for any reason. The NRA teaches the Three Rules of Safe Gun Handling.

Rule One: All guns are always loaded. (Treat all guns as if they are loaded, no matter what!)
Rule Two: Never point your firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Rule Three: Never put your finger on the trigger unless your sights are on target (and you have made the decision to fire).
Rule Four: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

Ejector Star

On a revolver, the collective ejector, manually operated through the center of an opened cylinder, when activated, clears all chambers at once.

Benchrest

A device used (usually set on a counter) to support a shooters arms and/or hands to help make steadier shots.

Cut-Away

A firearm that has had numerous careful machining cuts taken in its exterior with a view to exposing and demonstrating the functioning of critical parts of its mechanism

Lock Speed

The same as Lock Time

Holdopen Toplever

A catch built into the receiver of a break-open gun to keep the toplever in its extreme right position when the barrels are removed. This device makes it slightly easier to remount the barrels. As the barrels are mounted and the breech closed, the barrels contact some kind of release pin (marked with the arrow) and the toplever automatically returns to the center locked position. Because, however, it requires a separate act to find and to depress this tiny tab to re-center the toplever on a broken-down gun, this feature may be irritating when trying to put a gun away in its case.

Pan

The small dished container located on the side or top of a matchlock, wheel-lock or flintlock forearm used to hold the priming powder charge.