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


Trap

A game of competitive clay pigeon shooting on a formally designed layout. In plan view, one launching machine is located 16 yards in front of a straight line, firing rising targets perpendicular to and away from that line. Five competitors shoot five individual targets at each of five stations along that line. Although each target is presented at slightly randomized vectors, trap emphasizes generally a single type of shot, outgoing and rising, and targets are broken at generally longer ranges than Skeet.

Wound Trauma Incapacitation

The correct technical term for the ability of a projectile to incapacitate an animal or human shot with a firearm. Incorrectly called Stopping Power.

Scope Blocks

A pair of small dovetailed steel bases, screwed usually one to the barrel and one to the front receiver ring of a rifle, to accept mounts for target scopes such as the Unertl where the scope is allowed to move forward in the rings under the recoil of the rifle and which typically carry the windage and elevation adjustments in the mount.

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.

Varmint Gun

Usually a rifle, but not always. A small-caliber firearm or high-powered air gun primarily used for hunting non-native or non-game animals such as rats, squirrels, gophers, jackrabbits, marmots, groundhogs, porcupine, opossum, coyote, skunks, weasels, and other animals considered to be nuisance vermin destructive to native or domestic plants and animals.

Match Grade

A higher quality item used to increase accuracy, generally used for competition in a match. Match grade ammo and barrels are the most common improvements made to a firearm to improve accuracy for competition.

Falling Block

A type of action used primarily for single shot rifles whereby some kind of lever actuates a breechblock, moving it downwards in a vertical recess to expose the chamber. May have visible or enclosed hammer. For any given barrel length, it allows a shorter overall rifle length compared to a bolt action because no space is taken up by the forward-and-back cycling of the bolt. Most of the better British makers produced them in limited numbers around the turn of the last century, the Farquharson being the most iconic. Perhaps the best-known falling block action today is the Ruger No.1.

Cordite

A family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance. The hot gases produced by burning gunpowder or cordite generate sufficient pressure to propel a bullet or shell to its target, but not enough to destroy the barrel of the firearm, or gun.

Trigger Safety

An external, passive safety which can be found on the face of some trigger designs (most notably found on Glock firearms). It is intended to prevent the trigger from being pulled by objects which find their way into the trigger guard area.

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.

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.

Creep

Sloppy movement (slack) of a trigger before the actual point of let-off.

Break Action

A firearm whose barrels are hinged, and rotate perpendicular to the bore axis to expose the breech and allow loading and unloading of ammunition.

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.

Shot

In shotgunning, multiple pellets contained in the shell and sent downrange when the shotgun is fired.

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.

Energy

The amount of work done by a bullet, expressed in foot pounds.

Globe Sight

A front sight assembly, primarily for target rifles, consisting of a tube, housing interchangeable beads and blades. The tube guards against imperfect aiming due to sight pictures influenced by reflections.

Gas Port

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

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