Definitive overview of common firearm terminology

Welcome to the guns vocabulary from Solid Arms. Solid Arms is dedicated to assisting all of its customers, especially those who are new to using firearms, in locating the best weapons, ammo, and accessories for their unique requirements. We are aware that a person unfamiliar with the world of firearms may find the names and terminology used to describe the products we sell to be bewildering. We developed this weapons glossary for that reason. The terms that are most frequently used to describe the products mentioned on this website are explained here. We believe that by utilizing this dictionary, you will be better able to locate the precise goods and accessories for your particular requirements.




The physical Mechanism that manipulates cartridges or seals the breech. The phrase describes how ammunition cartridges are loaded, locked, and removed from that system. Single Action, Double Action, SA/DA, Double Action Only, etc. are a few examples.


The AK-47 is typically meant when the phrase is used as it is above. The term “AK-47” refers to the Avtomat Kalashnikova, a gas-operated 7.62x39mm rifle invented by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the Soviet Union in 1947.

the combination of a projectile and its propellant in one unit.

Many people mistakenly think that “AR” stands for “automatic rifle,” however this is untrue. The name “AR,” which originally stood for “Armalite Rifle,” is most frequently used to describe a rifle in the AR-15 design.

Automatic Rifle

A self-loading rifle with automatic firing, meaning that it can load, fire, and eject several rounds with a single trigger pull. Additionally known as a “machine gun.” The National Firearms Act strictly regulates certain firearms (NFA).



The study of a projectile’s trajectory, behavior, and effects after it leaves its shell.


A tube, most often made of metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid gas expansion is released to shoot a projectile out the other end at a high rate of speed.


A specific kind of shotgun round designed for bird and waterfowl hunting. It is specifically the smallest shotgun load made out of small shot, which is normally made of lead or steel.

A cartridge for a gun that only has gunpowder and no shot or bullet. The blank creates a loud report and a light when it is fired. Frequently used for the beginning of races, special effects in movies, reenactments, and training.

A method of preservation wherein steel is only partially shielded against rust. Its name refers to the ensuing blue-black finish/appearance.

Bolt Action

A style of firearm operation in which the little handle on the bolt is used to manually open and close the breech. By turning the handle, the firing pin is cocked, the bolt is unlocked, the breech is opened, the spent shell casing is removed and ejected, and a fresh round (if any are available) is inserted into the breech before the bolt is closed.


The interior of a firearm barrel. The caliber, or outside diameter of the ammunition used in the firearm, is determined by the bore diameter.

Bore Sight

Matching the bore axis with the target and then moving the sights, whether they be open sights or some other kind of optic, to line up with the same location on the target as the bore axis. When sighting in a new sight, this can be done with the human eye or a laser and typically saves time.


A kind of shotgun round designated for medium-sized animal hunting (such as Buck deer). Law enforcement, the military, and civilians using it for self-defense are other common users. Compared to birdshot, it has fewer shots but a wider diameter.


The generally cylinder and pointed projectile section of an ammunition cartridge that is discharged from the gun’s barrel.

A gun setup in which the action and magazine are both placed behind the trigger. Bullpup weapons enable the employment of conventional length barrels in small containers for simpler transportation and use in constrained spaces when space is at a premium.
The area of an ammunition cartridge that houses the projectile, primer, and gunpowder. In general, casings are made of metal, most frequently brass, steel, and aluminum. The shells for shotguns are constructed of plastic.
Which ammo a gun can fire depends on the size of the inside of the barrel. Examples include: .45 (inches in fractions) and 9mm (in millimeters).

A service rifle that has been shortened and is typically used by cavalry. In the current era, the carbine does not have a fixed stock but rather a variable position stock that allows for larger, more typical stock lengths when extended. This makes the carbine compact when being stored or used in small spaces.


A complete unit made up of a bullet, gunpowder, shell, and primer. It is commonly referred to as a “round” when counting.

The area of the gun where the cartridge is placed before being fired. Guns like rifles and pistols only have one chamber, but revolvers have several chambers in their cylinders but none in the barrel.

The muzzle end of a shotgun barrel with a tapered design. In order to increase performance, chokes are typically utilized in hunting and target applications.


Frequently substituted improperly for magazines. A clip serves to keep cartridges together and is either put into the gun itself or used to reload magazines (stripper clip) (en-bloc clip). A magazine is constructed altogether differently and more intricately. A full cylinder of ammunition or half a cylinder’s worth of ammunition can be swiftly loaded into a revolver using “Moon Clips” and “Half-Moon Clips,” which are chopped metal pieces.


Drawing a gun’s hammer back by hand against its spring causes the hammer to be armed for release when the trigger is pressed.

Concealed Carry

The ability to carry a weapon of choice, such as a pistol, knife, taser, or pepper spray, is known as concealed carry. A CCP or CWP license, which is required to carry in some states, may also be required.


This is the part of a revolver where the many chambers are located. The chamber and barrel are lined up as the cylinder revolves.

Charging Handle

Device on a firearm that, when used, cocks or moves the striker or hammer into the ready position.



Sound levels are measured in decibels. Sound is measured using decibels (db) (decibels). The louder the noise, the higher the decibel rating; the quieter the noise, the lower the decibel rating.

Direct Impingement

A style of gas operation for a firearm in which the gas from a discharged round is sent straight to the slide assembly or bolt carrier to cycle the action.

Discharge / Ammo

To use a firearm. A phrase used to explain how the firing pin contacting the primer causes the bullet to be fired from the gun’s muzzle.

Double Action (DA)

Refers to a long trigger pull that fires either a revolver or a handgun by cocking and releasing the hammer. The weapon can also be fired with a quick trigger pull after the hammer has been manually cocked.

Double-Barreled Shotgun

A two-barreled shotgun with the same gauge or bore on both barrels. A twin barreled shotgun can be set up in two different ways: over/under (O/U) and side by side (SXS or S/S).

Double Stack
A bigger semi-automatic magazine with a tapered top that only enables one round to be put into the gun’s chamber at a time. The cartridges are held in two vertical lines, staggered side by side.
Double Tap

A term used to describe a shooting technique that typically involves firing two shots quickly one after the other to neutralize a threat.

Dummy Round

A tool used for weapon functionality testing and training. There are many different calibers of dummy rounds available, allowing the user to train with the gun of their choice in the convenience of their own home.



A technique for height adjustment that, when combined with windage, enables the operator to accurately shift a reticle in alignment with a bullet’s trajectory. Typically in 14 MOA increments.


The component of a gun used to empty the chamber of used ammo casings.

Eye Relief

The component of a gun used to empty the chamber of used ammo casings.


Fiber Optic Sights

An optical fiber that gathers and concentrates light along its fibers so the user may see clearly and in bright light. Typically, these sights are formed of hair-thin (or thinner) glass or plastic strips.

Field Strip

A phrase used to describe disassembling a gun for routine maintenance and repair. In most cases, the user is not required to use any tools, though they can be required for further disassembly.


A mechanical tool used to remove a bullet from a cartridge of ammunition. Any form of weapon that fits into one of these categories, such as rifles, shotguns, handguns, revolvers, or anything else, is referred to as a firearm in general.

Fireing Pin

A mechanical tool used to remove a bullet from a cartridge of ammunition. Any form of weapon that fits into one of these categories, such as rifles, shotguns, handguns, revolvers, or anything else, is referred to as a firearm in general.

Flash Suppressor

A piece of equipment connected to a gun’s muzzle that reduces the temperature or amount of gas released when firing. These are typically utilized to avoid flash blindness in low-light conditions or to hide one’s location during combat operations.

Focal Plane (1st & 2nd)

A piece of equipment connected to a gun’s muzzle that reduces the temperature or amount of gas released when firing. These are typically utilized to avoid flash blindness in low-light conditions or to hide one’s location during combat operations.


A measurement of an object’s velocity as it moves through the air toward its destination is expressed in feet per second (FPS). The weight of the bullet, its trajectory, the length of the barrel, and the propellant’s rate of burning will all affect velocity.

Forward Assist

A mechanical button that enables the user to fully engage the bolt and properly seat the round, typically found on AR-style weapons.


Undesirable material building up on flat surfaces. Powder, lubricant remnants, or bullet substance like lead or copper can all make up the fouling material.



A measurement used to describe the mass of bullets and powder in the production of ammunition.

Gun Trust

An official agreement known as a “gun trust” enables the trustees to purchase, hold, ship, transport, receive, deliver, and transfer controlled weapons, which are typically Title II NFA items.

Gun Powder

The element of ammunition used in weapons as a propellant. In the present era, this is often smokeless, though certain rifles still employ black powder.


A gunsmith is someone who has obtained the necessary certifications to legally modify or alter firearms without endangering the user. To improve the firearm’s functionality for the user, gunsmiths might modify certain sections of the weapon.


Hair Triger

A word used to define a trigger’s weight when compared to its factory settings. Some triggers contain a setting that enables the weight to be lowered to accommodate the user’s needs.


A gun’s mechanical component that makes contact with the firing pin (which in turn impacts that cartridge primer, causing the gun to be fired). Hammers might be exterior, internal, bobbing, or cloaked, among other variations.

Hang Fire

A sudden and unusual lag between pulling the trigger on a gun and the propellant igniting. This may be brought on by defective primers, firing pin light strikes, or other cartridge-related issues.

Holographic Sight

A particular kind of red dot sight that projects a reticle using mirrors and lasers. While enlarged, their reticle will stay at the predetermined MOA, stay in focus even when seeing past the reticle, and continue to function even if the front glass is destroyed.

Hollow Point

A particular kind of bullet intended to expand more after striking its target. The concave nose of a hollow point sometimes has material inserted inside it to aid in maximum expansion. It typically penetrates a target just partially and generally causes greater internal harm.


Iron Sights

Iron sights normally consist of two component sights made of metal blades: a front sight that is a post, bead, or ring, and a rear sight that is set perpendicular to the line of sight and has some type of notch (open sight) or aperture (closed sight).

IWB Holster

A holster that fits within a pair of pants’ waistbands and is typically used for concealed carry. can be adjusted for height and cant angle and is typically constructed of leather, kydex, or synthetic materials.



A sort of firearm error in which the bullet jams in the chamber or cannot be loaded properly.


Called “Jacketed Hollow Point.” refers to a complete cartridge that is loaded with a lead hollow point bullet that is protected by a copper jacket. Usually chosen for situations requiring little penetration, such as self-defense or game hunting.



A phrase used to describe the sensation of recoil or the rearward momentum of a weapon action when it fires. The recoil impulse of a firearm operation is referred to as a “kick” in colloquial language.

The plastic is thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride, which provides it stiffness and enables it to be molded into a variety of shapes. This enables highly robust custom holsters that are made for particular firearms.


Length of Pull

The distance of a shotgun or rifle’s trigger from the back of the stock. The length of the pull is crucial because it enables the user to properly adjust the pistol to their body so that they can shoot it appropriately.

Lever Action

A specific kind of firearm action where the trigger guard area is surrounded by a lever that, when activated, loads brand-new rounds into the barrel’s chamber.


Machine Gun

A fully automatic weapon that can shoot continuously without having to pull the trigger again. These need a tax stamp in accordance with the NFA and can be rifles, pistols, or shotguns. Individuals are only permitted to own machine guns made before 1986, according to the NFA.


A repeating firearm’s internal or external magazine serves as a storage and feeding mechanism for ammo. It depends on the rifle whether the magazine is fixed or detachable. The magazine works by relocating the cartridges it contains so that they can be loaded into the chamber by the action of the gun.


a word used to describe a cartridge that, when compared to a typical cartridge of the same diameter, has a heavier projectile or a load that travels at a higher velocity.


a unit of measurement for setting shot groups for rifle sight reticles.


A unit of measurement for setting shot groups for rifle sight reticles.


The bullet’s point of contact on a target is measured in minutes of angle, or MOA. The circle of impact, or MOA, in which the bullet will strike, will be present. For instance, at 100 yards, 1 MOA is equal to 1″.


A shortened name for “Modern Sporting Rifle.” The term “modern sports rifle” refers to modern-style rifles with features that go beyond what is typically considered a sporting rifle, such as rifles and pistols with the AR and AK patterns as well as other cutting-edge designs.


A name for the point at the end of a gun’s barrel where the projectile leaves the weapon.

Muzzle Velocity

The rate at which a bullet leaves a gun’s muzzle. Usually expressed in FPS.



The area of the cartridge used for ammunition where the bullet is held.


The National Firearms Act, sometimes known as the NFA, is a piece of legislation that Congress established to control the ownership, sale, and transfer of specific firearms and accessories. These firearms and accessories are categorized as Title 2 or Class 3 and include suppressors, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and any other weapons. Depending on the item, a tax stamp of $200 or $5 is required.


Open Carry

Carrying a visible handgun or other weapon.

OWB Holster

A holster that hangs outside the pants’ waistline. When dangerous game is available, it can be used for trekking and hunting as well as for official business or competition. can be produced using a range of materials.


Picatinny Rail

A bracket that provides a standardized mounting platform for weapons.


A firearm design that can be shot and handled in one hand. A semi-automatic handgun is typically meant when the word “pistol” is used.

Pistol Grip

A grip on a rifle or shotgun that is similar to the grip that is often found on a handgun. These are found most frequently most frequently on AR-style and AK-style pistols and rifles.


The phrase “plinking” describes casually firing at targets on a shooting range. Plinking is a term used to describe a shooting technique frequently connected to 22LR and other low-caliber ammunition.

Point Blank

Shooting something at close range without much use of the sights is referred to as “point blank.” A close range target is being shot at while the gun is literally pointed in that direction.

Pump Action

A firearm that can fire repeatedly and uses a sliding mechanism to expel one round and load another. This movement fits with how the gun’s barrel functions.




The firearm’s backward movement as a result of the propellant in the cartridge igniting as a result of Newton’s third law of motion.

Red Dot Sight

A sighting device used with pistols, rifles, and shotguns is known as a red dot sight. Red Dot Sights, which are used in place of conventional sighting systems like iron sights, use a red dot projected on a glass or polymer lens.

Reflector (Reflex) Sight

A kind of red dot sight in which a red dot is reflected to the eye by the front lens after being projected from the back of the sight.


Revolvers are a sort of firearm that fires a series of shots, usually between 5 and 10, depending on the firearm, using a rotating cylinder.


A rifled barreled firearm fired from the shoulder. utilized primarily for shooting from a distance.


The spiral grooves in a gun’s barrel are referred to as rifling. The bullet may rotate thanks to the lands and grooves. The term “rifling” is used to describe various barrel configurations, such as those with a 1:9 twist, which causes the bullet to revolve once every nine inches.


A single cartridge made up of the casing, powder, primer, and bullet. These can range in caliber from.17 to more than.50 cal.


A word used to characterize the rate of fire associated with a particular type of firearm is rounds per minute (RPM). To calculate the number of bullets fired in a specific amount of time, fully automatic rifles are frequently described using the term “rounds per minute.”



A system that guards the shooter and stops the gun from firing. These can be built into the trigger or the backstrap or internal, manual, or integrated.

Saturday Night Special

When referring to a particular kind of firearm, the expression “Saturday night special” is derogatory. The term is used as an insult to describe specific weapons that are of poorer grade and are frequently utilized in crimes.

Sawed-off shotgun

A shotgun with a barrel that is typically less than 18 inches long and/or an overall length of under 26 inches. Under the NFA, these are regarded as controlled items.


The ATF refers to specific types of rifles with barrel lengths under 16″ and stocks as “Short Barreled Rifles” (SBR). SBRs are subject to NFA regulation and require a $200 tax stamp to acquire and own.


A telescopic sight with a magnification feature to aid the shooter in determining their target. These can be used for hunting, target shooting, or tactical purposes and come in transparent glass, night vision, or thermal varieties.

The word “semi automatic” is used to designate a certain kind of firearm mechanism. Guns that only require one trigger pull to fire are known as semi-auto guns. The user must let go of the trigger after pulling it and the bullet has exited the barrel in order to reset the system. They can now shoot the weapon once it has been reset.

Shotgun shells, often known as shells, are a type of ammunition. Shells or shotshells are constructed of a plastic shell casing attached to a metal base that also includes a primer. Shot or BBs with wadding inside are placed inside shot shells to hold them in place. The gauge of shells is measured.


A shoulder-fired weapon that typically has a long barrel and shoots shot or small BBs. The barrels, which typically have smooth bores without rifling, can be utilized for a variety of purposes. Their effective range is not particularly large.


A silencer is a device that muffles a firearm’s sound signature to levels that are safe for human hearing. With the right ammunition (subsonic), silencers attached to a firearm’s muzzle device can reduce sound signatures to the point where hearing protection is not necessary.

Single Action

A gun that must be manually cocked before it can fire, typically a pistol.

Single Shot

Single Shot describes a particular kind of firearm’s operation. Single-shot guns only fire one round before needing to reload. Single-shot weapons are frequently used for target practice with novice shooters to learn the fundamentals of gun safety as well as for hunting.

Smokeless Powder

Any of a group of explosive propellants that mostly contain gelatinized nitrocellulose and emit relatively little smoke when they explode. used in the majority of contemporary ammo.

Snub-nosed Revolver / Snubby

A handgun with a barrel length of 3″ or less is referred described as a “snub-nosed revolver.” For covert carry, certain revolvers feature shorter barrels and hammers with bobs.

Speed Loader

A mechanism that cuts down on the amount of time needed to reload a weapon. These can be adjusted to fit the size and quantity of cartridges required by particular revolvers.


The process of modifying a firearm to make it a sporting model from its original design is known as sporterizing. mostly used to make military-style weapons more appropriate for civilian sporting use and lawful in some places.

Squip Load

When a cartridge is shot but insufficient propellant is present, the bullet does not leave the muzzle and becomes caught in the barrel, resulting in a malfunction of the firearm.

Straw Purchase

The phrase “straw purchase” refers to the act of buying a gun for someone who is not permitted to do so, such as a felon with a criminal record. When a person who is legally able to purchase firearms comes across someone who is not, the person who cannot buy firearms has the person who is legally able to buy the firearm for him and pays them for the transaction.

Stripper Clip

A kind of speed loader that loads magazines more easily by holding numerous cartridges in a row. This is well-liked by the military because it expedites reloading compared to manually loading each round.


A suppressor is a device that muffles a firearm’s sound signature to levels that are safe for human hearing. With the right ammunition (subsonic), suppressors that are attached to a gun’s muzzle device can reduce the sound signature to the point that hearing protection is not necessary.


Tax Stamp

An official federal stamp issued under the National Firearms Act that can be used to buy prohibited firearms and accessories, including SBRs, SBSs, AOWs, suppressors, and fully automatic weapons. Possession of the stamp serves as evidence that the necessary tax has been paid and the buyer is now authorized to own the product.


A type of ammunition called a tracer round enables the user to watch the projectile as it is shot. A pyrotechnic charge is built into the base of the tracer. As soon as the round is discharged, the charge burns, illuminating the bullet as it exits the barrel and moves toward the ground.


The route that a projectile travels after being shot before striking a target.


The firearm’s trigger is the component that, when depressed, fires the weapon. The firearm’s shooting mechanism is activated by the trigger, which functions as a lever.

Tritium Sights

Iron sights with tritium embedded in them can be seen in dim or no light thanks to phosphor’s radioactive glow caused by tritium’s radioactive decay. These sights will ultimately become dim and will require replacement.





A type of ammunition called wadcutter is made to make tidy, clean holes in paper targets. A flat bullet designed specifically for cutting tight holes in paper targets for measurement is called a wadcutter. Due to the lack of muzzle velocity, they are frequently used in snub-nosed revolvers for self-defense. The flat nose increases the cartridge’s lethality.

Waiting Period

State legal requirement that stipulates a person must wait a certain amount of time before taking custody of a firearm. To give the buyer some time to think things over, this period is frequently referred to as a “cooldown period.”


The sighting picture for firearms is adjusted by a process known as windage. When measuring the correct sight alignment, the horizontal axis is referred to as windage. If the shooter is a little to the left or right of center, windage enables them to correct their point of aim.