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


Rate of Fire

The frequency at which a firearm can fire its projectiles.

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

DST

Abbreviation for Double-Set Trigger

Mauser Safety

A small lever mounted to the cocking piece of a Mauser 98 action (and its copies such as the Springfield 1903), rotating on a longitudinal axis from left (Fire), up to the top (Safe, but allowing bolt movement), and over to the right (Bolt and firing pin locked Safe). While commendable for locking the firing pin instead of just the trigger, its up-and-over arc of operation requires a scope to be mounted awkwardly high. Paul Mauser is not to be blamed; when his safety was developed, telescopic sights were in such infancy as not to be worthy of mainstream consideration.

Holdopen Toplever

A catch built into the receiver of a break-open gun to keep the toplever in its extreme right position when the barrels are removed. This device makes it slightly easier to remount the barrels. As the barrels are mounted and the breech closed, the barrels contact some kind of release pin (marked with the arrow) and the toplever automatically returns to the center locked position. Because, however, it requires a separate act to find and to depress this tiny tab to re-center the toplever on a broken-down gun, this feature may be irritating when trying to put a gun away in its case.

Headstamp

Markings impressed into the base of a cartridge case, normally identifying the maker's name, the cartridge calibre designation, and sometimes the date.

Riot Gun

A popular term for a short barreled repeating shotgun as frequently used in law enforcement and personal protection.

Elevation

The setting on the sights of a firearm that controls the vertical placement and the altitude above mean sea level. This is important for long range precision shooting because the air density changes with elevation and affects the path of the bullet.

Key Fastener

A horizontal wedge, press-fit through the forend of a vintage gun, through a lump attached to the underside of the barrel and out the other side of the forend. To secure the forend in position. Also called a crosspin or a wedge fastener.

Parallax

This occurs in telescopic sights when the primary image of the objective lens does not coincide with the reticle.Telescopic sights often have parallax adjustments to minimize this effect.

Sight Alignment

The manner in which the sights are lined up properly in front of the shooter's eye, to form a straight path to the target.

Bayonet Lug

A mounting point on a small arm that allows a bayonet or other accessory to be attached.

Delayed Blowback

A self-loading firearm whose breechblock and barrel are not positively locked together, but which incorporates a mechanism which initially restricts the breechblock from moving when fired, delaying its opening.

Backstop

Anything that will safely stop a bullet and prevent it from hitting anything else after the target is struck.

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.

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.

Snub-Nose

Slang word for short barreled revolver.

VCCLEA

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It is an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement that became law in 1994. Of the sections of the bill, it included the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

Misfire

The condition of a cartridge not firing when an attempt to fire it is made. It can be caused by either a defective cartridge or a defective firearm. The term is frequently misused to indicate a Negligent Discharge of a firearm.