Letter O

The Definition of Optical Sight

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Optical Sight

Usually a telescopic firearm sight.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Magnum

From the Latin for "more." A term indicating a relatively heavily loaded metallic cartridge or shotshell and a gun safely constructed to fire it. It generally indicates a round which cannot be interchanged with other loadings of the same caliber (for example, a .22 Magnum shell does not fit within a firearm designed to fire .22 Long Rifle ammunition).

Chamber

The rear portion of the barrel or firing cylinder in which the cartridge is inserted prior to being fired. Rifles and pistols generally have a single chamber in their barrels, while revolvers have multiple chambers in their cylinders and no chamber in their barrel.

Dust Cover

A small hinged or sliding door covering the ejection port of a firearm to prevent detritus from clogging the works.

Limp Wristing

A floppy, limp wrist while shooting.

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.

Sling

A strap, usually of leather or sturdy webbing, fitted to the fore and aft (usually) of a rifle as an aid to carrying over the shoulder and as an aid to holding the rifle steadily while aiming.

Reticle

A matrix of dots, posts or lines, visible inside a rifle's telescopic sight, normally adjustable via exterior knobs for windage and elevation. After careful adjustment at a known range, the shooter aims the rifle by superimposing this matrix onto the target. With good estimation or range, cooperation from the wind, a clear eye and a steady hand, he may have a reasonable expectation of hitting his target.

Slide Bite

A phenomenon which is often grouped with hammer bite. In this case the web of the shooting hand is cut or abraded by the rearward motion of the semi-automatic pistol's slide, not by the gun's hammer. This most often occurs with small pistols like the Walther PPK and Walther TPH that have an abbreviated grip tang. This problem is exacerbated by the sharp machining found on many firearms.

Bullet Trap

A type of backstop that catches the fired bullet and prevents it from exiting the area. Bullet traps are most commonly used on indoor ranges.

Riot Gun

A popular term for a short barreled repeating shotgun as frequently used in law enforcement and personal protection.

Underbolts

A sliding bar, running longitudinally through the watertable of a break-open side-by-side gun's action, with openings through which the lumps of the barrels pass when the gun is closed. Under spring tension, this bar moves forward when the opening control is released and its two locking surfaces engage complementary slots (bites) in the rear of the two barrel lumps. Originally operated by a hinged tab in front of the trigger guard. Now invariably operated by a cam from Scott's [toplever] spindle. Most modern side-by-side guns lock closed in this manner.

Arsenal

An established place where firearms and ammunition are stored, repaired, or manufactured. The term is misused by the media to mean more than one firearm or any quantity of ammunition, as in "they found an arsenal."

Internal Trigger Lock

A internal locking device built into a firearm, usually operated with a key, to render it unable to be fired. A good example of a internal trigger lock are the ones found on the semi-automatic pistols manufactured by Bersa.

Low Kneeling

A shooting position in which one or both knees are touching the ground and the shooter is as low as possible.

Stalking Safety

A safety catch fitted to a hammer gun where a sliding bar moves into a slot in the inner wall of the hammer base, locking it in place in the cocked position. The safety can then be released silently by sliding the tab, avoiding the game-startling sound of the hammer cocking.

English Grip

A straight-wrist grip, typical on English shotguns, built for graceful aesthetics, light weight and fast handling.

Mississippi Rifle

Nickname for the U.S. M1841 Rifle, a .54 caliber muzzleloading rifle. The name comes from their use by a group of U.S. Volunteers from Mississippi who were commanded by Jefferson Davis in the Mexican War. Some were later rebored to .58 caliber.

SP

Abbreviation for soft point

Gas Port

A small hole in the barrel of a gas-operated firearm through which expanding gases escape to power the autoloading system.