Letter P

The Definition of Powder

Arsenal Exchange - Firearms Classifieds - Industry Directory

Powder

The chemical propellant which is burned to produce the hot gases which send the projectile flying downrange.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


BATF

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

Howdah Pistol

Normally, a break-open, double-barrel, side-by-side pistol of large calibre, used by a maharaja when hunting tiger on the back of his elephant (in the howdah, the basket compartment in which he sits). The howdah pistol is the weapon of last resort in case the tiger tries to join him in the howdah.

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.

Cylinder

The part of a revolver that holds cartridges in separate chambers radially around a central hingepin. The cylinder revolves as the handgun is cocked, , either to the left or to the right depending on the gun maker's design, bringing each successive cartridge into position, and locked into alignment with the barrel for firing.

Shotgun

A smooth bore long gun that shoots a group of pellets called shot instead of bullets. Depending on the bore size and the size of the pellets there may be from less than 10 to two hundred or more pellets in a single shotgun cartridge. Shotguns are designed for shooting moving targets (such as flying birds or running rabbits) at close range.

C&R

Abbreviation for Curio and Relic

Blown Pattern

A shotgun pattern with erratic shot distribution, generally caused by gas escaping past the wads and getting into the shot.

Rear Sight

The rear sight is placed at the end of the barrel nearest the shooter. It may be in the shape of a square notch, a U, a V, a ring, or simply two dots designed to be visually placed on either side of the front sight while shooting.

Sectional Density

The relationship between a bullet's weight and its diameter. A long bullet, such as the original 7.62x54R loading for the Mosin Nagant 91/30, will have a high sectional density and consequently greater penetration than a shorter bullet of similar construction. A shorter bullet with less sectional density will have relatively less penetration, but greater knockdown power.

Single Action

An action type that when the trigger is pulled, the only thing the trigger does is drop the hammer (or striker). This applies to both revolvers, semi-automatic and automatic guns. On a single action revolver, the gun must be manually cocked before it can be fired. With semi-automatic and automatic guns that are single action, the only thing the trigger does is drop the hammer, striker or firing pin onto the cartridge. Then the firearm is cocked again when from the recoil of the fired round. A firearm that the gun is cocked and the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled is a double action gun.

Model 70 Type Safety

A small lever mounted to the cocking piece of a Winchester Model 70 rifle, rotating on a vertical axis from front (Fire), halfway back (Safe, but allowing bolt movement), and fully back (Bolt and firing pin locked Safe). While, like the Mauser, commendable for locking the firing pin instead of just the trigger, its fore and aft movement is both easier to operate and it allows lower mounting of telescopic sights, reducing parallax between the line of sight and the line of the bore and increasing the range of distances for which the scope may be reliably sighted-in.

WC

Abbreviation for wadcutter.

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.

Damascus Barrels

Barrel tubes built up by twisting alternate strips of iron and steel around a fixed rod (mandrel) and forge-welding them together in varying combinations according to the intended quality and the skill of the maker. The rod was withdrawn, the interior reamed and the exterior filed until the finished tube was achieved. Damascus barrels may be recognized by any of a variety of twist or spiral patterns visible in the surface of the steel. Before the 20th century, barrels were typically built in this manner because gunmakers did not have the technology to drill a deep hole the full length of a bar of steel without coming out the side.

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.

Grip Safety

A passive, external safety typically located on the backstrap, which must be fully depressed to release the trigger. Most 1911-pattern pistols feature a grip safety.

Slamfire

A premature, unintended discharge of a firearm that occurs as a round is being loaded into the chamber.

POA

Abbreviation for Point of Aim

Double-Barreled Shotgun

A shotgun with two barrels, usually of the same gauge or bore. The two types of double-barreled shotguns are over/under (abbreviated as O/U or OU), in which the two barrels are stacked on top of each other, and side-by-side (abbreviated as SxS), in which the two barrels sit beside each other. See photo at right for example of side-by-side double-barreled shotgun. For double-barreled guns that use one shotgun barrel and one rifle barrel, see combination gun.