Gun Glossary

Gun Glossary of common pieces and parts that make up what is a gun

Accelerator – device found in semi-automatic firearms, that results in quickly speeding up the action.

Accuracy – the consistent precision of a firearm to shoot straight .

Action – the behavior of a firearms functionality.

types of action – bolt action, break action, lever action, pump action, semi-automatic, single shot

Ammunition – one or more loaded cartridges.

Automatic Ejector (AE) – responsible for removing the brass casing or shell of the bullet after firing from the chamber.

Backstop – structure placed behind the target, with the purpose of stopping the projectile. often made from rubber in front of a metal plate.

Barrel – part of the firearm the projectile travels through, after gasses create immense pressure to force one the projectile down the bore.

Bolt action – most commonly found on rifles, lever that injects the cartridge into the chamber. By pulling the bolt back the firing pin gets locked, as the bolt slides forward to the firing position the firing pin is unlocked. Upon firing the bolt slides back the cartridge hits the ejector automatically then restarts the process.

Bore – interior of the barrel.

Brass – 2 parts copper, 1 part zinc. The material in which the cartridge casing is metal.

Breech – part of the gun where the firing chamber is located, back end of the firearm.

Butt – end of the gun stock, part of the gun that rest on the shoulder.

Caliber (cal)- measurement for the internal bore diameter of a rifled-barreled firearm. the decimal part of an inch.

Carbine – rifle or shotgun with a short barrel.

Cartridge – a single round of ammunition including a case, charge and projectile.

Casing – the term given to the commonly brass material of the cartridge. Shotguns (see Shell).

Chamber – housing for the cartridge before firing.

Choke – slots at the end of a shotgun barrel that have an affect on the spread.

Clip – device that contains rounds of ammunition that slides into the magazine of the firearm, serving to speed up the feed of loading the cartridges into the chamber.

Cocked – pulling back the external hammer.

Comb – top of a rifle’s stock, meant for the positioning of the cheek.

Cylinder – part on a revolver than houses the cartridges before firing.

Double Action – typically on revolvers, the external hammer may be pulled back manually or by pulling the trigger will pull back the hammer and will advance the cylinder.

Drum Magazine – magazine of a firearm that is shaped like that of a drum.

Dry Fire – the act of cocking and firing without having a cartridge in the chamber.

Ejectors – fitting in the breech designed to kick out the empty cartridge or shell.

Elevation – knob used to raise or lower the point of impact.

Erosion – wear in the barrel from the repetitive intense heat caused from firing the cartridge. Over time all firearms experience this.

Extractor – similar to ejector, fitting in the breech for cartridge or shell to be taken out manually.

Firearm – complex device for firing a projectile at a target, handgun, shotgun, rifle; made from many different manufacturers around the world.

Firing Pin – rounded narrow piece that upon pulling the trigger slides forward and activates the primer of a cartridge.

Flash Suppressor – muzzle attachment design to cover the bright firing caused by the projectile.

Gauge – bore size of a shotgun.

Gas Vent – tiny vents built into a firearm to release the potentially harmful gases that impact the firearm and the shooter

Grains – equal to 1/7000, unit of measurement for bullets and also powder charge.

Grip – area of the gunstock designed for the rear hand of the shooter on a rifle.

Gunpowder – commonly a mix of sulfate, charcoal and potassium nitrate, used as the propellant in firearms, modern firearms use smokeless powder.

Hammer – strikes the firing pin toward the primer, found on handguns.

Iron Sights – serves as a guide to help hit the target, one is placed at the muzzle and one on the breech.

Jacket – the exterior casing of the bullet.

Keyhole – the mark in the paper as a result of using smaller diameter bullet than the firearms barrel. Causing the projectile to wobble toward the target.

Kick – after firing, the jolt that the firearm gives to the person firing. (Same as recoil)

Lever Action – mechanism that both exacts a used cartridge and inserts a fresh one.

Machine Gun – firearm that repeats firing cartridges in an automatic manner until the magazine empties or the trigger is released.

Magazine – can be a part of the firearm mechanism or can be detachable. Contains the cartridges, spring operates the feeding of the cartridge into the chamber.

Magnum – cartridge that is heavier than normal.

Muzzle – located at the end of the barrel, where the projectile exits the firearm.

Muzzle Brake – part of the muzzle that has grooves, or vents to release the forward moving gases, also helps to reduce the amount of recoil

Pitch – angle of the butt of a gun in relation to the line of sight.

Primer – located on the base of the cartridge, made of lead styphnate, upon the firing pin impact it detonates and causes the propelling of the projectile.

Pump Action – handgrip that is also used to eject a fired round and reload a fresh round.

Pull – length of the stock

Receiver – the housing unit that holds the mechanism of the firearm.

Recoil – the kick back of the firearm after firing. the bigger the cartridge, the bigger recoil.

Revolvers – single action or double action.

Rifling – grooves inside the barrel that cause the

Round – single cartridge.

Sabot – part on a cartridge that allows for a firearm to use a smaller caliber bullet that the chamber suggests.

Safety – device that will lock the trigger when on to prevent the firearm from firing.

Scope – typically placed on rifles, takes precedence over the iron sights. Helps to magnify target and aim using the reticle or crosshairs.

Select Fire – the firearm operator can choose between automatic, semi-automatic, or burst fire.

Semi-Automatic – an autoloading feature that select firearms have which does not require any manual loading or extracting.

Shell – more complex, that meets the eye. Inside the casing, starting from the bottom up is the primer, brass, the powder that burns to create the gases required to propel the shell through the barrel towards the target, the wad which holds and separates the shot from the powder, and the shot (small projectiles made from various metals).

Silencer – attachment to the end of the muzzle that tremendously reduces suppressing the sound of the shot.

Single Shot – this action requires the external hammer to be cocked back before every time firing.

Slamfire – accidental discharge of a firearm that results from a round being loaded into the chamber.

Smoothbore – firearm with rifling in the barrel, commonly found on shotguns.

Stock – the part of the firearm that is held or, grips on a handgun.

Submachine Gun – automatic rifle that uses smaller caliber ammunition, designed for close-range targeting.

Trigger – device on the firearm that starts the process of the firing pin igniting the primer and propelling the projectile through the barrel and toward the target.

Zero In – set up of a firearms sights to the point of impact on the target