Letter S

The Definition of Saturday Night Special

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Saturday Night Special

A slang term for a small inexpensive handgun. Saturday night specials have been defined as compact, inexpensive, small-caliber handguns with perceived low quality; however, there is no official definition of "Saturday night special" under federal law, though some states define "Saturday night specials" or "junk guns" by means of composition or materials strength. Low cost and high availability make these weapons attractive to many buyers despite their shortcomings.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Gas Vent

A passage built into a firearm to allow the safe conduct of unexpected gas, as from a pierced primer, to minimize damage both to the gun and to the shooter.

Hammer

The part of the gun that strikes either the firing pin or the round directly when the trigger is pulled then detonates the primer of the load and discharges the gun. Hammers may be external or internal. On a striker fired gun (a gun without a physical hammer) the firing pin is considered the hammer since it releases directly when the trigger is pulled.

Mauser Action

The premier bolt action, whose design by Paul Mauser coalesced in 1898, and from which were derived the Springfield 1903, the Winchester Model 70 and many others.

Makarov

The Soviet Union's standard military and police side arm from 1951 to 1991 replacing the Tokarev TT-33 semi-automatic pistol and the Nagant M1895 revolver. Designed by Nikolay Fyodorovich Makarov, it is a blowback operated semiautomatic pistol which fires the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge, and holds 8 rounds in the magazine.

Annulus

A tiny circular recess at the base of a cartridge case surrounding the primer pocket. Recoil from fired cartridges invariably impress a discernable ring on the breech or bolt face of a firearm, providing some evidence of the amount of use it has seen.

SxS

Abbreviation for Side-By-Side.

Adjustable Stock

The stock is the wooden, polymer, or metal handle of a long gun that extends from the trigger back to where the gun is braced against the shoulder. An adjustable stock is one that can be easily lengthened or shortened to fit shooters of different sizes.

Eye Relief

The distance that equates the exit pupil size of a rifle scope's ocular lens to the entrance pupil of the user, in order to achieve the largest, unvignetted view. This distance must be sufficient to ensure that the ocular rim of the scope does not lacerate the shooter's eyebrow upon recoil. And, the scope should be positioned so that eye relief is suitable when the rifle is comfortably mounted.

Detonate

To explode with great violence. It is generally associated with high explosives e.g. TNT, dynamite, etc., and not with the relatively slow-burning smokeless gunpowders that are classed as propellants.

Full Stock

A rifle or carbine with a one-piece stock extending to the muzzle. Sometimes called a Mannlicher stock, although such a term is confusing because Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles are built with both full and half stocks. Traditional in Europe for close-range woodland hunting, but not noted for extreme, long-range accuracy.

Quad Barrelled

A gun, typically artillery, with four barrels, such as the ZPU

Feed Ramp

An inclined, polished area on a repeating firearm, just behind the chamber, that helps guide a cartridge into the chamber when pushed forward by the closing bolt or slide.

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.

Inertia Firing Pin

A firing pin which moves freely forward and backward in the breechblock.

Explosive

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

Muzzleloader

The earliest type of gun, now also popular as modern-made replicas, in which blackpowder and projectile(s) are separately loaded in through the muzzle. The term is often applied to cap-and-ball revolvers where the loading is done not actually through the muzzle but through the open ends of the cylinder's chambers.

Live Fire Exercise

Any exercise in which a realistic scenario for the use of specific equipment is simulated. In the popular lexicon this is applied primarily to tests of weapons or weapon systems that are associated with the various branches of a nation's armed forces, although the term can be applied to the civilian arena as well.

Plinking

Informal shooting at any of a variety of inanimate targets.

Wildcat Cartridge

A wildcat cartridge, or wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic (such as the power, size or efficiency) of an existing commercial cartridge. Developing and using wildcat cartridges does not generally serve a purpose in military or law enforcement; it is more a hobby for serious shooting, hunting, gunsmithing and handloading enthusiasts, particularly in the United States. There are potentially endless amounts of different kinds of wildcat cartridges: one source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges for which they produce equipment such as chamber reamers.