Letter S

The Definition of Slide

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The upper portion of a semi-automatic pistol that houses the barrel and contains the breechblock and portions of the firing mechanism. Ejecting the spent case as it moves to the rear and loading a fresh cartridge into the chamber as it moves forward again. As its name states, it slides along tracks in the top of the frame during the recoil process providing the linkage between the breechblock and barrel.

19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

Hammer Bite

The action of an external hammer pinching or poking the web of the operator's shooting hand between the thumb and fore-finger when the gun is fired.

Airsoft (Air Soft)

A type of airgun that shoots spherical non-metallic pellets.

Limp Wristing

A floppy, limp wrist while shooting.

Interrupted Thread

A screw with about half of its threading removed in longitudinal sections. Often used at the breech end of a takedown firearm's barrel. When the barrel's interrupted female threads are inserted into the receiver's complementary interrupted male threads, only a partial rotation is necessary for assembly rather than many full turns.

Caseless Ammunition

A type of small arms ammunition that eliminates the cartridge case that typically holds the primer, propellant, and projectile together as a unit.

Polygonal Rifling

A type of gun barrel rifling where the traditional lands and grooves are replaced by "hills and valleys" in a rounded polygonal pattern, usually a hexagon or octagon. Polygons with a larger number of edges provide a better gas seal in relatively large diameter polygonally rifled bores.

Monte Carlo Stock

A rifle or shotgun stock that has a Monte Carlo style comb

Expanding Bullet

An expanding bullet is a bullet designed to expand on impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger diameter wound. The two typical designs are the hollow point bullet and the soft point bullet. See also Dum-Dum Bullet


German for Hand-Cocking or Cocker/De-Cocker. A type of action on a break-open gun or rifle where, in place of a traditional top tang safety, a somewhat more robust tab is fitted. Normally such a gun is carried in the field loaded, but with the action not cocked, an exceedingly safe condition. Then, when ready to fire, the shooter, instead of pushing a safety tab forward, pushes this larger tab forward, cocking the mainspring, making the gun ready to fire. Then, if the shot is not taken, he may simply slide this tab rearwards again, de-cocking the gun and returning it to the still-loaded, but very safe position.

Direct Impingement

A type of gas operation for a firearm that directs gas from a fired cartridge directly to the bolt carrier or slide assembly to cycle the action.

Cold Clean Bore

The first shot from a rifle that has been cleaned, and not fired recently may go to a different point of impact, for the same point of aim than a rifle that has been fired recently. This first shot is referred to as a shot from a cold, clean, bore.


A small single-shot or multi-barreled pocket pistol. Derringers (spelled with two Rs) are called that because of the original desinger and anmufactuturer of that type of gun, Henry Deringer. To get around copyright infringment other designers and manufacturers spell the name with two Rs.

Ejector Star

On a revolver, the collective ejector, manually operated through the center of an opened cylinder, when activated, clears all chambers at once.

Turn-Bolt Action

A bolt action which is locked by pressing the bolt handle in and down, thereby turning its locking lugs into the receiver.

Trigger Pull Weight

The ammount pressure needed (measured in pounds) for the trigger finger must put on the trigger before the gun will fire. Trigger pull weight is measured by the number of pounds and ounces of pressure required to pull the trigger past the break.

Sectional Density

The relationship between a bullet's weight and its diameter. A long bullet, such as the original 7.62x54R loading for the Mosin Nagant 91/30, will have a high sectional density and consequently greater penetration than a shorter bullet of similar construction. A shorter bullet with less sectional density will have relatively less penetration, but greater knockdown power.

Muzzle Brake

An attachment to or integral part of the barrel that redirects some of the pressurized gas that propelled the bullet out the muzzle to the sides and possibly rearwards from the direction of the bullet travel. This reduces the recoil of the firearm.


The device that aids the eye in aiming the barrel of a firearm in the proper direction to hit a target.They can be a mechanical, optical, or electronic device. Iron sights or sometimes as open sights, consist of specially-shaped pieces of metal placed at each end of the barrel. The sight closest to the muzzle end of the gun is called the front sight, while the one farthest from the muzzle (and nearest to the shooter) is called the rear sight.

Bore Snake

A bore snake is a tool used to clean the inside (bore) of the barrel of a gun. It resembles a short section of rope with a smaller, weighted cord attached to one end to help feed the bore snake through the barrel. A bore snake often has one or more integrated brushes to help clean the barrel, and may also be used to apply lubricant. It is an alternative to using a cleaning rod and patches to clean the barrel of a gun. Bore snakes are made in different sizes for different calibers and gauges of guns.