1911 Pattern - Firearms made to comply with the dimensions and operational characteristics of the M1911A1.
3-Gun - Competition consisting of stages for handgun, shotgun and rifle. (3gunnation.com)
6 O'clock Hold - This describes the positioning of the top of the sights or center of a reticle in relation to the target. The position of the sighting object is just below the desired point of impact. Compare to Dead On Hold.
A - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Accuracy - Placing groups on the point of aim.
Action - The mechanism attached to the barrel which unlocks, extracts, ejects, loads, locks, and fires a round. In some cases the same as a receiver.
Action Types - This describes the "action" necessary to remove the casing from a fired round and then load the next round. Typical are: Break, Bolt, Pump, Lever, Self Loading aka Semi-Automatic, Fully Automatic. Note the distinction between Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic refers to number of rounds that are fired with each pull of the trigger. Semi-Automatic firearms fire once for each trigger pull. Fully Automatic will fire a set burst or all available in its magazine with a single pull of the trigger. Fully Automatic firearms are regulated at a higher level of scrutiny and cost. In the case of a muzzle loader the "action" only describes loading and firing a round.
AECA - Arms Export Control Act of 1976
AOW - Any Other Weapon (see the National Firearms Act)
Assault Rifle - English Oxford Dictionary: A rapid-fire, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use.
The Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) of 1994 broadly categorized classes of rifles, handguns and shotguns as "assault weapons", making them illegal to manufacture for a 10 year period. When the AWB expired in 2004 these categories of firearms became legal to produce again.
Since 1934 civilian ownership of automatic firearms has been heavily regulated after the National Firearms Act. Consequentially the definition is highly subjective and subject to alteration when used in statutes. Usage of the term falls into one of four intensions:
1) evoke a negative emotional response
2) highlight a lack of knowledge of the subject of firearms by the writer.
3) refer to an automatic, magazine-fed rifle used in military service.
4) refer to an automatic, magazine-fed rifle manufactured before 1986 owned by a civilian with the requisite Tax Stamp and overseen by the BATFE.
Automatic - more than one round is fired with each pull of the trigger. AKA Full Auto, Fully Automatic. See related terms: "Select Fire" and "Semi-Automatic".
B - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Ballistics - The data related to a projectile during its' trajectory. Usually considers velocity, energy and changes in trajectory at known distances. Internal ballistics refers to the bullet before leaving the muzzle. External ballistics refers to the flight from muzzle to impact, and terminal ballistics refers to impact.
Ballistic Coefficient - a number determined by a bullets weight, length, diameter, nose and tail design that indicate the potential effect of air resistance on stability and velocity.
Barrel - The tube that contains the pressure of the fired round that the bullet or shot goes through.
BATFE - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives aka ATF at www.atf.gov.
bbl - Abbreviation for barrel.
Black Powder - A propellant made of Saltpetre (potassium nitrate), charcoal (carbon) and sulphur.
Blued or Bluing - a process of treating metal to prevent rust. Usually results in a dark blue color.
Boat Tail - A bullet design that taper the end to improve ballistic performance.
Bolt - The movable mechanism within a receiver that supports the cartridge and contains the firing pin.
Bolt Face - The forward end of a bolt that supports the cartridge when it is fired. Also references the stationary surface through which the firing pin moves in break action firearms.
Bore - The opening through which a projectile(s) travels through a barrel.
Bore Axis - The imaginary line extending from the center of the bore of a barrel.
Breech - The rear of the barrel that holds a cartridge. Also referenced as the chamber.
Bullet - The projectile that exits the muzzle of a barrel. Measured in diameter to specify caliber and weight usually expressed in grains.
Bullet Drop - The measure of the effect of gravity on a projectile usually measured at set distances along its trajectory.
Bull Pup - A design that places the fire control forward of the receiver, making a shorter overall firearm.
C - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Canted Position - Used by cross eye dominate shooters to angle a handgun's sights in front of the dominate eye.
Carry Condition - Usually referring to the state of readiness of a M1911A1.
CAS - Cowboy Action Shooting
Casing - In cartridge ammunition it holds the primer, propellant, and bullet in place. Typically made from reusable brass, or single use steel or aluminum.
C.I.P. - Commission Internationale Permanente is a European association responsible for setting standards related to firearms and ammunition. They use different testing standards than SAAMI, thus creating different results for the same cartridge. Differences in length problems can occur between the two standards but are typically compensated for by the firearms manufacturers.
CMP - Civilian Marksmanship Program initially chartered as part of the 1903 War Department Appropriations Act.
CQB - Close Quarters Battle
Cross Eye Dominate - A condition where the shooters dominate eye is on the opposite side from their strong hand.
D - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
DAR (NSDAR) - Daughters of the American Revolution (National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution) NSDAR was organized October 11, 1890. It is a service based organization for women descendants of people involved in United States independence.
Dead On Hold - The position of the sighting object (open sights or scope) such that it covers the intended point of impact. Typically used when using scopes.
DGI - Direct Gas Impingement, standard operating system of AR-15 and clones. Bleeds off gas from the barrel through a gas port through a tube back to the receiver to assist moving the block. Compare to a Gas Piston that uses a rod operated by a gas piston. AK-47 design uses a gas piston.
Double Feed - Problem situation with auto-loading firearms occurs with the fired casing is not extracted from the chamber and the next round is striped off the magazine and jambs into the spent casing.
Dovetail - A channel or slot cut wider at the base than at the surface. Used on slides or barrels to mount sights. Used on small caliber firearm receivers to mount scopes. 3/8" (9.5mm) and 11mm are common for this purpose.
Dual Action Only (DAO) - The pull of the trigger accomplishes the tensioning and release of the hammer or striker. There is no "cocked" position.
Dual Action/Single Action (DA/SA) - The trigger can be used in either mode. Dual Action where the trigger both tensions and releases the hammer or striker, or Single Action where the hammer or striker has to be "cocked" and the trigger pull only releases the hammer or striker.
E - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
EDC - Everyday Carry. A firearm carried on a regular basis. Usually referencing concealed carry but may also refer to duty or open carry.
F - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
FFP - First Focal Plane. A variable magnification optic that has the reticle mounted in front of the magnification lenses. The reticle markings increase in size along with the target object as the scope is zoomed in. The reticle markings are constant in relation to the target at all magnification levels at a given distance. Compare with SFP.
FFL - Federal Firearms License. A required license mandated by the Gun Control Act of 1968 to engage in a business of manufacture or sales of firearms.
FTE - Failure To Eject occurs when the spent casing does not clear the ejection port and is caught up with the next round being loaded or the slide.
FTF - Failure To Fire occurs when the primer has been struck but it does not initiate the powder. Wait 30 seconds maintaining control of your firearm before manually cycling the firearm to remove the dud.
FTL - Failure To Load occurs when the incoming round does not feed into the chamber. This can be caused by problems with the magazine, feed ramp or the ammunition itself.
Focus - The physical and mental attention to the target sighting process.
Forcing Cone - The area of a rifled barrel between the rifling and the head space for the bullet.
Form 4473 - ATF form used to initiate a NICS background check.
Free Float Barrel - Usually in reference to rifles it describes a configuration where the barrel attachment to the receiver is the only support the barrel has. This prevents any pressure from the stock being applied in non uniform ways which would affect accuracy.
G - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
GCA - Gun Control Act of 1968. Title II amended the NFA to correct a constitutional problem with self-incrimination.
GOA - Gun Owners of America founded in 1975 with the goal to preserve and defend the Second Amendment.
Grain (gr) - Unit of measure for mass equivalent to 1/7000 of a U.S. or British Imperial pound. (Avoirdupois)
Green Tip - Ammunition with a steel core designed to provide more penetration.
Grooves - The lowered portion of rifling.
H - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
I - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
IDPA - International Defensive Pistol Association
ISO - International Organization for Standardization began operations in 1947.
Isosceles Stance - A standing two hand stance for shooting handguns presenting a full frontal profile.
IPSC - International Practical Shooting Confederation formed in 1976.
J- A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Jag - A round plastic or brass tip for pushing patches through barrels. Sized by caliber and usually with a point to help hold the patch.
K - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
L - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Lands - The raised part of rifling.
Length Of Pull (LOP) - The measure of the distance between the trigger and the butt stock of a shoulder fired firearm.
Limp Wrist - Allowing the handgun to move so much after a round is fired that the momentum of the slide is expended before it has reached its full rearward position. This is shown by a casing not being ejected, or a round not being stripped from the magazine and loaded into the chamber. Use a tighter grip and keep your wrists locked. Allow the recoil to be absorbed by your shoulders.
Line of Sight - The extended straight line along a firearms sights or through an attached scope.
Long Action/Short Action - Bolt action rifles with multiple chambering often will be built in two versions. A standard or long receiver to accommodate .30-06 Sprg or .270 Win cartridges and a shorter receiver to accommodate .308 Win or .243 Win cartridges. Where box magazines are used they are not interchangeable between the long and short versions. The same rifle in short action will be approximately 1/2" shorter.
LOP - Length Of Pull, the distance from the butt plate to the trigger for shoulder fired firearms.
M- A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
MAG - Magnum, generally a higher pressure load based upon an existing bullet or casing where the casing is modified to accommodate the higher load.
MOA - Minute of Arc aka Minute of Angle describes the distance of an arc segment at a know distance. The distance is close to 1" at 100 yards and is used when adjusting the reticle of a scope to zero at a know distance.
N - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization provides standardization agreements for its members including ammunition.
NCOWS - National Congress of Old West Shootists (www.ncows.org)
Necked Down - A process of using a parent case to create a round with a smaller diameter bullet than the original. Examples include the .308 Winchester and .243 Winchester, .40 S&W and .357 SIG.
Necked Up - a process of using a parent case to create a round with a larger diameter than the original.
NiB Nickel Boron - a chemical coating process to protect metal.
NIB - New In Box. Term used in the sale of a firearm indicating the firearm has not been used.
NICS - The National Instant Criminal Background Check System was mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993. It was launched five years later by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. FFL holders are required to use the system to determine if a potential buyer is prohibited from purchasing a firearm.
NFA - National Firearms Act 1934. Tax and registration regulations on shot guns and rifles with barrels less than 18". Machineguns and silencers became subject to NFA regulations. Classification of certain firearms as "any other weapon".
NICS - National Instant Criminal Background Check is administered by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). It became operational in 1998 with Improvement Amendments in 2007 and additional guidance via Executive Memorandum on January 16, 2013. Contact the NICS Customer Service Center at (877) 444-6427 for assistance if your background check is delayed or denied.
NPOA - Natural Point Of Aim is the concept of positioning your body such that shot to shot recovery is enhanced because you fall back to a natural resting position.
NRA - National Rifle Association founded in 1871 promotes firearm ownership, safety, and training. It also has a lobbying organization for Second Amendment legislative issues.
NSSF - National Shooting Sports Foundation chartered in 1961 to promote hunting and shooting sports.
O - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
OODA Loop - A decision cycle. Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. Developed by Air Force Colonel John Boyd.
Out of battery detonation - The detonation of a cartridge when it is out of the chamber of a barrel.
P - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Picatinny Rail aka MIL-STD-1913 rail - A bracket or series of notches that allow attachment of accessories to firearms. Developed in the 1990's after the Weaver rail was established. It is not identical and some devices designed for Picatinny rails will not seat on Weaver rails.
Point of Aim - The visual indication of where a firearm is aimed.
Point of Impact - The actual impact of the projectile. Ideally the same as the point of aim.
Powder - The propellant that produces energy when burned to send a bullet through a barrel. Gun Powder comes in many formulas. Starting with black powder the propellant has evolved to become "smokeless" and "clean burning".
Precision - Repeating shots for small groups.
Press Check - The act of pressing a slide back enough to verify the status of the chamber. Usually accomplished with the off-hand thumb and fingers reaching from under the frame, in front of the trigger guard. Avoid passing the hand in front of the muzzle.
Primer - The mechanism that ignites the propellant. Pressed into the base of center fire cartridge ammunition. Typically contains a chemical that produces a flame when compressed. In rim fire cartridges it is deposited into the inside of the rim where it will be activated by when the firing pin crushes the rim.
Project Appleseed - An activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RVWA). It teaches traditional rifle marksmanship and the historical events of April 19, 1775.
Q - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
R - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Red Dot - a reflector sight that gives a point of aim as an illuminated red dot.
Respiratory Pause - The rhythmic cycle in breathing when your lungs are empty and the shot is taken. An empty lung position is more repeatable than any other time in the breathing cycle.
Reticle - a net of fine lines or fibers appearing through the eyepiece of a sighting device.
Rifling - Spiral groves formed in a barrel to impart spin on the projectile. Usually formed in one of three methods: Cut, Button or Hammer Forged.
RWVA - Revolutionary War Veterans Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to teaching American heritage and history as well as traditional rifle marksmanship skills.
S - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
SAA - Single Action Army
SAAMI - The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute was founded in 1926 and is an association of ammunition and firearms manufacturers. They create standards and coordinate technical data. Refer to SAAMI article in the April 2012 issue of Shooting Illustrated. Also refer to www.saami.org
SAR - Sons of the American Revolution
SFP - Second Focal Plane. A variable magnification optic that has the reticle mounted behind magnification lenses. The reticle markings remain constant regardless of the magnification or distance to the target. Compare to FFP.
SR - Sons of the Revolution is a fraternal organization founded in 1876.
SASS - Single Action Shooting Society (www.sassnet.com)
SBR - Short Barrel Rifle, Rifle barrel less than 16" subject to NFA regulations.
Sear - The mechanical device or interface of parts that allows the release of the firing mechanism (hammer or striker) by means of a trigger.
Select Fire - A switch used to set the fire control mechanism to either semi-automatic or automatic.
Semi-Automatic - The fire control mode where a single round is fired, ejected and the next round loaded into the chamber for each pull of the trigger.
Sight Alignment - Lining up the front and rear sights. Center the front sight in the rear sights with equal space on either side of the front sight.
Sight Picture - The aligned sights are moved onto the target.
Sight Radius - The distance between the front and rear sights. Longer sight radius should yield better accuracy.
Smooth Bore - Reference to a barrel that does not have rifling. Typical for shotguns and muzzle loading rifles.
SYG - Stand Your Ground. The principle holds that Citizens do not have a duty to retreat before using force, even deadly force in self-defense. Legislators, especially at the State level may restrict or forbid the use of this self-defense principle.
T - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
TOF - Time Of Flight. The time the projectile exits the muzzle until it strikes a target or impacts the Earth. Variable involved with ballistic calculations.
Trajectory - The path of a projectile.
Trigger Reset - Allowing the trigger to travel forward only as far as it is needed to reset the sear for the next shot.
Trigger Squeeze - The act of pulling the trigger reward in a smooth consistent manner until the shot is released. The act of pulling the trigger should ideally be a separate motion from holding the firearm in position while the shot is being taken.
Twist Rate - The measure of a revolution usually expressed in inches of the rifling in a barrel. Usually made as a right hand twist looking down the barrel the twist would spin from the 12 o'clock toward the 3 o'clock position.
U - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
USPSA - United States Practical Shooting Association. US Region of the IPSC.
V - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
W - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
WASA - Western Action Shootist Association
WCF - Winchester Center Fire
WSM - Winchester Short Magnum, a family of cartridges based on the .404 Jeffery.
WSSM - Winchester Super Short Magnum
Weaver Rail - Developed by William Weaver it became the first standardized scope mounts for rifles. Devices with one locking cross bar will usually also fit on Picatinny rails.
Weaver Stance - Developed by Jack Weaver as a two hand standing position for shooting handguns. Features the weak side foot forward and the torso turned to present a slimmer profile.
Wylde - References to Wylde chambers are designs by Bill Wylde. They are hybrid chambers designed for accuracy. As an example the .223 Wylde blends the dimensions of the 5.56 NATO specification and the .223 Remington specification.
X - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Y - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Z - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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