Letter P

The Definition of Port

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Port

An opening. The ejection port is the opening in the side of a semi-auto from which spent cases are ejected.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Recoil Pad

A soft appendage, usually of some kind of rubber, often fitted to the butt end of a shoulder-mounted firearm to reduce the sensation of recoil. A recoil pad has the additional benefit of being less vulnerable to damage than a checkered wood butt or a brittle horn or plastic buttplate.

Rimless

A cartridge in which the base diameter is the same as the body diameter. The casing will normally have an extraction groove machined around it near the base, creating a "rim" at the base that is the same diameter as the body diameter.

Cartridge

The assembly consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, shell casing, and primer. Cartridges also include shotgun shells and black powder packets used in muzzle loading guns.

Half Cock

A middle position for an external hammer that effectively provides a safety function. With a firearm with non-rebounding hammers, when on half-cock, the firing pin will not rest on the firing-pin.

Frangible

A bullet that is designed to disintegrate into tiny particles upon impact to minimize their penetration for reasons of range safety, to limit environmental impact, or to limit the danger behind the intended target. Examples are the Glaser Safety Slug and the breaching round.

Weaver Stance

In the Weaver stance, the body is bladed partly sideways in relation to the target rather than squared towards it (think boxing or martial arts fighter stance). The elbows are flexed and pointed downward. The strong-side arm is slightly straighter than the weak-side arm. Even though the legs are not square to tharget, the hips should be square to the target. The feet should be pointed at the target. The shooter pushes out with the gun hand, while the weak hand pulls back. This produces a push-pull tension which is the chief defining characteristic of the Weaver stance.

Pellet (air gun)

Skirted projectiles used in pellet guns

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!

Caseless Ammunition

A type of small arms ammunition that eliminates the cartridge case that typically holds the primer, propellant, and projectile together as a unit.

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.

Erosion

The wearing away of a barrel's metal surface by a bullet or shot charge or by the heat of powder gases.

Stopping Power

A popular but imprecise term used to refer to the ability of a small arms cartridge to cause a human assailant or an animal to be immediately incapacitated when shot with it. A more precise term is be Wound Trauma Incapacitation (WTI).

Back Action

A sidelock action where the mainspring is mounted rearward towards the butt. The back action is often used in double rifles where the need for strength requires as little steel as possible be removed from the bar of the action.

Velocity

The speed at which a projectile travels. Velocity is usually measured in feet per second or metres per second.

Gain Twist

A form of rifling where the helical angle (pitch) sharpens progressively down the bore in the interest of maximizing the bullets ultimate rotational speed by initiating it slowly.

Lug

Any piece that projects from a firearm for the purpose of attaching something to it. For example barrel lugs are used to attach a break-action shotgun barrel to the action itself. If the firearm is a revolver, the term may also refer to a protrusion under the barrel that adds weight, thereby stabilizing the gun during aiming, mitigating recoil, and reducing muzzle flip. A full lug extends all the way to the muzzle, while a half lug extends only partially down the barrel. On a swing-out-cylinder revolver, the lug is slotted to accommodate the ejector rod.

Bore

The tunnel down the barrel of a firearm through which the projectiles travel.

  • A smooth-bore firearm is one that does not have rifling on the barrel's internal surface.
  • A big-bore firearm is one that fires a large caliber.
  • A small-bore firearm is one that fires a small caliber.

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.

Timing

The proper adjustment of the various interrelated moving parts of a gun so that every operation works in proper sequence, such as that the two ejectors of a double gun kick out the spent cases at the same instant and with the same force.

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