COMMONLY MISUSED FIREARMS RELATED TERMS and the correct definitions
(Gun) Expert According to the dictionary, an expert is a person who has a specialized skill in a particular field, however the term is colloquially used to mean someone who "knows everything" or, at least, has vastly more knowledge than the average person in any given field of endeavor. The term is grossly overused by a huge number of people, most of the time for no real reason, that think they know everything there is to know about any given subject.
Malfunction By defintion, malfunction simply means failure to function properly. Misfire The hammer drops on a loaded gun but the cartridge never fires. Even though a misfire is a type of malfunction, "misfire" and "malfunction" are not interchangeable. Jam The gun has jammed up somehow and won't operate properly. The term does mean the same thing as "misfire." According to some definitions, a jam is a malfuction that requires tools to fix. Hangfire The hammer drops, there is a perceptible delay, then the cartridge fires. The term does not mean the same thing as "misfire" even though the two have similarities. Double Feed When a cartridge has tried to feed into the chamber of a semi-automatic before the cartridge or empty case currently in the chamber has ejected. The term does not mean the same thing as "misfire."
Bullet The actual projectile; the piece of lead or other material that leaves the barrel of the gun and goes to the target. The bullet is one of the components of a cartridge. Cartridge The entire assembled component containing the case, primer, powder charge, and bullet. Also called a round or round of ammo. The term is not interchangeable with "bullet."
Clip A small metal device that holds ammo so it can be loaded into a magazine, although because the term has been used incorrectly for so long, it is now considered correct by many people to use the term when referring to a magazine. In my personal opinion, there is no certain number of years of incorrect usage that suddenly makes an incorrect term correct. Charger or Stripper Clip A device similar to a clip, but has a slightly different function. A stripper clip/charger differs from a clip in that is not retained in the gun after the ammunition is loaded into the magazine. Magazine The housing or container, usually detachable, that holds the ammo in a semi-automatic firearm. Drop the Clip or Dropped the Clip Semantically, this phrase means, "I can't find my en-bloc loading device because I dropped it in the mud!" Clip is incorrect, if referring to a magazine. A more correct phrase is "ejected the magazine."
Double Action Gun (DA) A gun that can be fired by pressing the trigger, or by cocking the hammer then pressing the trigger. Many people refer to this type of gun as a DA/SA, however, this is not necessary, because by definition, double action means a gun with both trigger actions. Double Action Trigger A trigger that cocks the hammer and releases it. By this definition, DA guns and DAO guns both have a double action trigger, however, according to a few people, this is improper usage. Double Action Only Gun (DAO) A gun that is fully uncocked and can only be fired by pressing the trigger through a full trigger stroke. Single Action Gun (SA) A gun that can only be fired if the hammer is cocked before the trigger is pressed. Variant Any gun that isn't one of the three preceding types. Double Action Only Glock By definition, Glocks aren't DAO. In standard carry mode, a Glock is partially cocked. The Glock company term for this is Safe Action. Many people argue that Glocks are DAO because the trigger is the same every time, however "the trigger is the same every time" is not the definition of a DAO gun. See above for the definition of that term. A Glock is an example of a variant. Semi-automatic Revolver A made up term. There is such a thing as a self-cocking revolver, but that is never what anyone means when they use the term semi-automatic revolver. The term is sometimes seen in newspaper articles, and is fair evidence that the article writer knows little about guns. Assault Weapon Another made up term. The closest real term is assault rifle, which has a specific meaning. Assault Rifle According to the U.S. Army, the actual definition of this is, a selective-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power.
Pull/Press/Depress/Squeeze/Engage/Activate Various terms used to mean the activation or manipulation of the trigger. As with most other existing theories, there is some argument among the "experts" as to which one is correct, or as to whether it makes any difference which term you use.
Automatic or Auto Even though this term can mean a semi-automatic gun, it's a little more precise, and less confusing, to use the term auto-loader or self-loader. Fully Automatic or Full Auto A gun that continues to fire as long as you hold the trigger or until it runs out of ammo.
Decocker A lever on a gun that allows the hammer to disengage without striking the firing pin. The decocker can be used as a safety on some guns because it disables the trigger, but "decocker" and "safety" are not interchangeable terms. Additionally, the decocker does not disable the trigger on all models, but only on guns that have a two-stage decocker, such as some Beretta or S&W models. Two Stage Decocker A decocking lever that does not automatically reset. After you activate the decocker, you must manually deactivate it before the gun will fire. Single Stage Decocker A decocking lever that automatically resets after activation. Safety A device that disables the trigger, blocks the firing pin, or both, so the gun cannot be fired.
Accidental Discharge The unintentional discharge of a firearm due to circumstances beyond the control of the user. Negligent Discharge The unintentional discharge of a firearm due to a negligent action by the user. This is the term that should be used when refrering to the vast majority of unintentional discharges with firearms. Unintentional Discharge A generic term that can refer to any firing of a gun that was not intentional, regardless of whether it was accidental or negligent. Go Off A term that too often implies that a gun can just suddenly fire for no reason. Guns don't just suddenly fire for no reason. While it is possible to have a true accidental discharge, almost all unintentional discharges are negligent, not accidental. See other terms in the section for more information.
Arsenal A government establishment where military equipment or munitions are manufactured or stored. This is commonly misused as anti-gun rhetoric when referring to the personal collection of someone who owns more than one gun or more than a few rounds of ammo, however the term itself actually refers to the building as described here, not to the guns themselves.
Artillery A large bore weapon designed to be operated by a crew of several people. Colloquially used as slang to refer to any firearm.
Caliber The diameter of the bullet in the cartridge, or the diameter of the bore of the gun. As an aside, the correct term for the mechanical piece on a car's brake system is "caliper" with a P.
Kill To cause death. Murder The unjustified killing of a human. Contrary to what many whining liberals will tell you, sometimes killing is justified, and there are laws and precedents to back that up.
High Capacity Magazine Any magazine that holds more rounds than the standard magazine that comes with a given model of handgun. For instance, a 33 round magazine is a high capacity magazine for a Sig 226. A 15 round magazine is not, since some Sig 226s come from the factory with 15 round magazines.
Lethality The ability of an item to eventually cause death. This is not interchangeable with "stopping power" or "effectiveness." Stopping Power (Effectiveness) A colloquial term meaning the ability of an item to stop an adversary, regardless of whether death occurs. Stopping an Adversary This means rendering a attacker incapable of further hostile action, regardless of whether death occurs. Contrary to extremely popular belief, the term is not interchangeable with "killing."
Gun Registration An extremely overused, and normally misused term. Most states in the U.S. do not require gun registration, and there is no national registration.
The Second Amendment Gives Us The Right To Own Firearms The second amendment guarantees our right to own firearms. It does not give us that right. That's why the rights protected by the Bill of Rights have been called "self-evident." The Second Amendment Applies to the Militia The second amendment applies to the people. That's why it says, "...the right of the people..." The ability to maintain a well regulated Militia is the reason.
Tactical An extremely overused, but not necessarily misused term. The basic definition of "tactic" is simply the procedure used to perform a given task. The word tactical has, in the last few years, become a standard to describe everything you can think of; tactical knives, tactical flashlights, tactical belts, etc. By definition, any item on the planet can be called tactical, because every that exists was manufactured to fulfill some specific task. In common usage, the term means something that is designed for fighting or self defense. For instance, a shotgun with an 18 inch barrel set up for home defense is a tactical shotgun, as opposed to a shotgun with a 28 inch barrel set up for sporting clays or hunting, which is considered a sporting or hunting gun.
Unload To remove the cartridges from a gun or magazine. Not interchangeable with "clear." Clear To remove the magazine and cartridges from a gun, and to leave it locked open in an un-fireable condition.
Unloaded When a gun has no cartridges in the magazine or chamber. The term is incorrectly used because people too often assume a gun isn't loaded without actually checking it first. Cleared When a gun has been locked open, unloaded, visually checked, and left in a locked open, un-fireable condition.
The Liberal Media I'm going to catch flak for this, but this term is used to mean "any news source that prints or reports anything that I disagree with." Many news agencies are in fact liberal, but the term is grossly overused.
Pointing the Gun in a Safe Direction A phrase that has no real meaning to most people. A better phrase is "in a direction where the gun is not pointed at anything you don't want to shoot or destroy," or more simply, "never point a gun at anything you don't want to destroy."
Robbery The taking of property through the use of excessive/deadly force, or the taking of property while putting a person in fear for his or her life. When you come home and find your house has been broken into and your lawnmower stolen, you have been burglarized, not robbed. When a guy grabs your wallet at the grocery store counter and runs off with it, that is larceny. Putting a gun in your face or a knife to your throat and forcing you to give up your wallet, THAT'S robbery.
The Gun Show Loophole A fictional dilemma. At gun shows, the same laws apply to guns sales that apply to any other gun sales within the same state. Gun dealers are required to process the same paperwork at a gun show that they process when selling from their store. Sales between individuals are also governed by whatever law applies to person-to-person sales in that state.
The Glock 7 or the Ceramic Gun That Can't Be Seen in a Metal Detector A fictional gun. It doesn't exist and never did. That guy who tells you he owns or knows someone who owns one, and is serious, is an idiot that knows nothing about guns, or he thinks YOU are an idiot and know nothing about guns.
Tactical Reload A reload style that was invented at Gunsite in the 70s to prevent dropping a finicky early style 1911 magazine in the sand. It was not invented for, nor intended to be used during a gunfight.
Bill Drill According a personal conversation I had with Bill Wilson several years ago, the original Bill Drill was a set of three distinct shooting drills, one for pure accuracy, one for speed and accuracy, and the final for fastest possible speed and relative accuracy, on a target at a specific distance. Because of the inane human penchant for wanting to focus on the most impressive parts of shooting, the majority of people use the term to refer to six shots fired on a target as fast as possible, regardless of accuracy. The El Presidente The original drill consisted of ALL of the following: three targets at 10 meters, a suitable service pistol, full charge ammo, and a concealment garment. You started facing away from the targets, turned, engaged each target with two rounds each, then reloaded and engaged each target again with two shots. In order to pass the drill, you had to get all 12 shots in the A-zone, and it had to be done in under 10 seconds. It has now become common, due to that same inane penchant mentioned above, to refer to any 12 shots on three targets as an El Presidente, regardless of how closely the drill resembles a proper El Presidente, and to score based on the shooters preferred scoring method, rather than the more difficult pass/fail scoring as I mentioned.
Civilian A person who is not in the armed forces. Colloquially used to refer to someone who is not a cop, fireman, or member of a private group.
I'm a nationally/regionally/state ranked shooter. This statement, in and of itself, doesn't mean anything. When someone tells you this in a bragging manner, or uses it to prove he really knows what he is talking about, ask him HOW he is nationally ranked. For instance, at the first major match I ever attended, I won the third place expert trophy. However, the catch is, there were only three experts. So even though I was third place expert, I was last in that category. The term nationally ranked doesn't necessarily mean nationally ranked really high. You could be the single worst shooter on the planet, but if you've competed in a national tournament, you're nationally ranked.
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