Aaron Spuler is a firearms enthusiast and recreational shooter. Follow more or his work at The Weapon Blog
What’s with all the Lingo?
If you’re new, you probably already noticed that there’s a bunch of weird words tied in with gun ownership. It basically feels like another language.
I don’t blame you. With the teens these days saying random things like BRB or WYM, it can get confusing trying to remember all of these acronyms.
Which is why I present you this nice and short list with the top 15 firearm terms.
Let’s get right on to it, shall we?
- AR-15: ArmaLite Rifle-15. A lightweight semi-automatic rifle made in different types of models. The name comes from the firearm’s original manufacturer: ArmaLite, Inc.
- Assault Rifle: A selective-fire rifle used by the police force or military. Can be semi- or fully automatic. Fires reduced power ammunition and is usually fed from a big box magazine.
- Assault Weapon: A political term that can be defined in a variety of ways depending on which source you look up.
- Automatic: A firearm that fires multiple bullets as long as you keep holding down on the trigger (can also be referred to as a “machine gun”). Difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic gun: Semi-automatics fire only a singular bullet every time you pull/hold down the trigger.
- BP: Black Powder. Previously known as gunpowder. It produces a lot of smoke when ignited and is less powerful than the modern smokeless powder.
- Bullet: Projectile that the gun shoots out. Usually made from material like lead or copper.
- Caliber: The bullet’s diameter. Measures as fractions of an inch. It also tells you what size of ammunition that the firearm can fire. Used for rifles and handguns.
- Firearm: No, stop it. Don’t give me that look. Of course I’m adding this to the list. Typically, this is a device that shoots a projectile with an explosive charge. So, rifles and pistols go underneath this definition but not air guns.
- Firing Pin: This needle shaped thing strikes the primer and helps ignite the powder, causing the bullet to shoot out.
- Gauge: Like a caliber, but for shotguns. It’s the width inside a shotgun’s barrel.
- Magazine: Holds cartridges under spring pressure until they are ready to be fed into the gun’s chamber.
- M.O.A.: Minute of Angle. Measures the accuracy of a rifle and can also be used as a measurement when you shoot long distance. Can also describe the size of a red dot’s reticle size. Yes, yes. I know that’s a lot of definitions. But if you’re confused to which definition someone is referring to, just use context or simply ask.
- Safety: Mechanism used to prevent a trigger from being pulled. Helps prevent the gun from being fired. (But don’t always rely on the safety when using a firearm.)
- Shells: Slang term for a round’s leftover casing. Also used to describe a shotgun’s ammunition.
- Waiting Period: The legally mandated time interval where you buy a firearm and then received it. Between seven to twenty-five days.
This article by Richard Douglas originally appeared here.
Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.
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