Letter S

The Definition of Safety

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Safety

A device, incorporated into the design of most firearms actions that, when engaged, should prevent the discharge of the firearm. Some safeties are more positive than others. A safety device is not a perfect substitute for the general principles of responsible gun handling. Never point a gun in a direction you do not intend to shoot


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Kentucky Rifle

Usually referred to as a Kentucky Long Rifle or simply Longrifle, the Kentucky Rifle is a flintlock rifle with a long barrel and short, crooked stock. It is widely believed to be a largely unique development of American rifles that was uncommon in European rifles of the same period. The Kentucky Long Rifleis an early example of a firearm using rifling, (spiral grooves in the bore). This gave the projectile, commonly a round lead ball, a spiraling motion, increasing the stability of the trajectory. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war, and later the American Revolution in the eighteenth century.

Quadrail

Sometimes spelled Quad Rail. First conceived and sold by Knights Armament Company in the mid 90s when Reed Knight saw soldiers duct taping flashlights to their handguards in news footage of Panama, the quad rail has become almost a standard item found on most military rifles. Quad rails allow easy attachment of accessories which aid tactical shooters, such as lights, infrared lasers, foregrips, sling attachment points, and secondary sighting systems. However, nowadays, any full length forearms on an AR, with or without rails may also be refered to as a Quadrail.

Explosive

Any substance (TNT, etc.) that, through chemical reaction, detonates or violently changes to gas with accompanying heat and pressure.

Sight Picture

What the shooter sees when looking through the sights at the target.

Underhammer

A type of lock in which the hammer pivots in a vertical arc, striking the nipple on the underside of the barrel. Since the nipple's flash channel goes straight into the powder at the breech end of the barrel, ignition time is very fast. For this reason, and because it gets the hammer out of the way, underhammer locks are commonly used on muzzleloading benchrest rifles which are used for target shooting, and where accuracy is the goal.

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.

Ogive

A type of curve represented by the curved section of a bullet between its bearing surface and its tip.

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."

Dry Fire

To pull the trigger and release the hammer of a firearm without having a cartridge in the chamber.

Out of Battery

A semi-automatic is said to be out of battery when the slide fails to come all the way forward again after the gun has fired. This condition can be created by a misfeed, a dirty gun, weak springs, the shooter's thumbs brushing against the slide, riding the slide, or any of several other causes.

Pepperbox

An early form of muzzle-loading revolver wherein, instead of the current practice of having one barrel mated to a multi-chambered rotating cylinder, multiple joined barrels revolve together around a central axis.

Half grip

Round knob, semi pistol grip.

Cast Off

An offset of a gun stock to the right, so that the line of sight aligns comfortably with the right eye while the butt of the stock rests comfortably on the right shoulder. Almost all right-handed shooters benefit from a little castoff and most custom built guns are made this way. The only question is how much. The castoff of a gun is about right when, with the gun comfortably mounted, the front bead lines up with the center of the standing breech.
A stock offset to the left, for shooting from the left shoulder is said to be

Musketoon

A musket shortened for cavalry use.

Button Rifling

Rifling that is formed by pulling a die made with reverse image of the rifling (the 'button') down the pre-drilled bore of a firearm barrel.

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.

Gas Port

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

Sniper Rifle

A specialized, highly accurate rifle, fitted with an optical sight used by military snipers to engage personnel and hard targets at long range.

High Kneeling

A shooting position in which one or both knees are touching the ground, but the shooter is otherwise erect.

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