Letter S

The Definition of Sight Picture

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Sight Picture

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


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Pistol

Synonymous with "handgun." A gun that is generally held in one hand. It may be of the single-shot, multi-barrel, repeating or semi-automatic variety and includes revolvers.

Ballistic Fingerprint

A fired case has marks upon it that it picked up from the extractor, ejector, and breechface of the gun when the shot went off. A bullet fired through a rifled barrel also has rifling marks unique to the barrel that launched it. A record of these marks, when stored in a central database, is called a ballistic fingerprint. Some states require this record to be made by law, so that individual guns can be located from bullets or casings found at the scene of a crime.

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.

Throat

The beginning of the bore of a rifled firearm. The transition between the chamber and the rifling. The area most vulnerable to erosion from high velocity cartridges.

Nipple

A small metal tube extending through the breech of a percussion firearm through which the flame passes from the percussion cap to fire the powder charge.

MOA

Abbreviation for Minute Of Angle

Monoblock Barrels

A method of building a pair of barrels where the entire breech end of both barrels and the lumps together are machined from one solid piece of steel. The barrel tubes are then fitted separately into this monoblock and the ribs attached. Often identifiable by a distinctive ring around the barrels about three inches in front of the breech end. The favored jointing method of the Beretta company. An incorrect euphemism for sleeved barrels.

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.

Point of Impact

The point where the projectile from a firearm hits.

Gauge

System of measurement for the internal bore diameter of a smooth-bore firearm based on the diameter of each of that number of spherical lead balls whose total weight equals one pound. The internal diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun barrel is therefore equal to the diameter of a lead ball weighing 1/12 pound, which happens to be .729" (Or in British: Bore.) The Gauge/Bore system is also used, by convention, to describe the internal barrel diameter of large-bore, 19th century, English, single-shot and double-barrel rifles.

Firepower

A volume of fire delivered by a military unit. Incorrectly used by the media to mean the ability of a small arm to be discharged many times without reloading.

Frame

The common part of a handgun to which the action, barrel and grip are connected.

Iron Sights

The mechanical sighting system which usually comes with the firearm made of metal with no optics.

ACP

The abbreviation for Automatic Colt Pistol. It is commonly used to designate specific calibers, particularly those which were originally designed by John Moses Browning for the Colt Firearms Company which are a type of rimless pistol cartridge designed mainly for use in semi-automatic pistols. The most common ACP calibers are .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP and .45 ACP.

Sabot

An oversized, lightweight housing that allows a sub-calibre projectile to be fired in a larger-diameter bore, usually in the interest of increased velocity. The sabot falls away from the actual projectile upon exiting the muzzle. For example, a hunter could use his .30-30 deer rifle to shoot small game with .22 centerfire bullets.

Autoloader

A firearm that automatically loads the next cartridge to be fired into the chamber either upon the pull of the trigger in an open bolt design or upon the firing of the previous round in a close bolt design.
Autoloader should not be confused with Automatic or Semi-Automatic since the term Autoloader only applies to how the next round is chambered not how many rounds can be fired per trigger pull. All Automatic and Semi-Automatic firearms are autoloaders. Revolvers, bolt action, lever action and pump action firearms are not autoloaders.

Turk's Head

A tip for a cleaning rod, a jag, with spirally-radial wires for vigorously scrubbing a gun's bore.

OTM

Abbreviation for Open Tip Match.

Pinfire

An early form of complete, self-contained cartridge. It included bullet, powder and ignition primer, all in one package. The primer was located towards the base of the cartridge, but completely internally. The pin, shaped like a little finishing nail, pointed on the inside end and resting on the internal primer, projected radially about a quarter-inch to the outside of the base of the cartridge. When loaded, a pinfire gun showed the tips of the pins exposed through small slots in the tops of the breech faces of the barrels. To fire, hammers fell on the pins, driving them (through the wall of the cartridge) into the internal primer.

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