A to Z Gun Terminology Guide: All You Need to Know about Firearms

By James Barton â€¢  Updated: 08/02/20 â€¢  10 min read

The recent financial, health and social conditions are full of uncertainty. And the latest world pandemic made everything worse. People lost their jobs, others got sick or lost their businesses because of this virus.

And so, mayhem can unleash. Fear can conquer many people and make them prepare better for the times that are yet to come. You need to develop your urban survival skills, stock up on house and food essentials, clothes, and learn everything you need to protect yourself and your family.

The thing is, life is unpredictable. You do not know what could happen next, but you live your daily life. Get up, go to work, eat, go shopping, cook, exercise, relax, sleep, and repeat. We have already seen how people react and behave in a national emergency: they rush to stores to stock up on food or house essentials and to take all the means necessary to ensure the protection of their families.

According to a study by the best custom essay, natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, tsunamis, and so on will be more and more frequent. They will destabilize society and you will need to care for yourself.

43% of Americans report living in a gun household, because having a firearm is your right. If you are an experienced gun owner or just a newbie that is looking to deeper understand this domain, here is the A to Z Gun Terminology Guide that will teach you all you need to know about firearms.

ACP – abbreviation; Automatic Colt Pistol is used to designate specific calibers, the most familiar being .45 ACP

Accidental Discharge – the event of a gun firing at a time not intended by the user. It can be caused by a mechanical malfunction, the incorrect usage of the firearm, or the negligence of the user. According to some research experts from Do my assignment, over 150.000 deaths in America are caused by unintentional discharge yearly.

Action – the dynamic structure of a firearm. It presents the cartridge for firing and then removes the worn-out casing to introduce a new cartridge

Ammo – is a slang word that stands for “Ammunition”

Ammunition – the material fired, scattered, dropped, or detonated from any weapon. The components of firearm ammunition are a case, a primer, gunpowder, bullets, slug or pellets

Automatic – a gun capable of automatically cycling the shooting process, without manual operation

AR-15 – a widely owned semi-automatic rifle (ArmaLite Rifle 15)

Armor-Piercing Ammunition – ammunition that is designed to penetrate the armor or armor-plated targets such as cars, trunks or other vehicles

Assault Rifle – a lightweight rifle developed from the sub-machine gun, which may be set to fire automatically or semi-automatically

Assault Weapon – this term does not have a specific definition and it is used differently by different jurisdictions; they are semi-automatic firearms

Ball – once the precursor of bullets, a spherical object that now has a cylindrical profile

Ballistics – the field of mechanics concerned with the launching, flight behavior, and impact effects of bullets

Barrel – that metal tube that provides direction to the bullet and through which the bullet or the projectile travels

Battery – when you say that “a firearm is in battery”, it means that it is fully loaded

Backstop – a feature of the shooting range that prevents the bullet from traveling and hitting anything beyond the target

Bipod – a two-legged stand that is attached to the barrel of a rifle; they are mostly used in hunting or shooting

Bird Shot – bullet with the diameter not over .25 inches

Blank Cartridge – a cartridge that does not have a projectile, but only powder and primer

Bluing – the process in which some metal parts of the gun turn blue after they have been treated with an oxidizing chemical for protection

Boat-tails – a bullet feature that is specific to some calibers of rifle ammunition, intended to improve the accuracy and trajectory of medium to long-range ammunition

Bolt – The structure of some weapons that holds the cartridge in place during the firing process

Bottlenecked – a type of cartridge whose bullet diameter is much smaller than the body diameter of the casing in which it rests

Brick – a pack of ammunition; its size is similar to that of a brick

Buckshot – ammunition much larger than birdshot, used in home defense

Bullet – a component of firearm ammunition that is expelled from a gun barrel

Caliber – the width of the bullet measured in inches

Cartridge – a single, complete round of ammunition which includes the bullet, primer, case, and powder

Charger – a speed loading device that holds multiple cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm’s magazine

Choke – a narrowing at or near the mouth of a weapon barrel that affects shot diffusion

Clay Pigeon – clay pigeon replace live pigeons who were once used and considered targets

Cock – to make your weapon ready for shooting while charging it

De-cocker – This function on double-action autoloading firearms has a lever that mechanically lowers the hammer without firing the gun

Derringer – Henry Derringer was a gunsmith and invented the derringer pistol, which nowadays is the name of any handgun that is small-sized

Double-Action – the double-action of a weapon performs two actions: it charges and fires the gun; it was originally used only for revolvers, but it is now common in rifles too

Double-set Trigger – it operates using its own firing mechanism when cocked, to multiply the force of a pull on the main trigger

Dud – a cartridge that fails to fire

Ejector – a mechanism for the ejection of ammunition

Eyes and Ears – these terms refer to the protective equipment you need when shooting: earplugs, earmuffs, and shooting eyeglasses

Firearm – a gun designed to be carried and used by an individual; here are included handguns such as pistols, revolvers, and derringers and long guns such as rifles, shotguns, personal defensive weapons and so on

Fixed Ammunition – the projectile is permanently attached to a case that contains the primer and the propellant

Flat Point – a bullet that is made with a flat nose, and not a rounded one; suitable for revolver and pistol ammunition

FMJ – abbreviation; Full Metal Jacket describes a core bullet completely surrounded by a metal jacket

GAP – abbreviation; Glock Auto Pistol, an ammunition type

Gauge – it describes the bore size of the barrel on a firearm

Grip – that part of the firearm you hold in your hand when you want to trigger

Gunpowder – the black powder in the gun that creates the explosion that propels the projectile

Hair Trigger – a sensitive trigger that breaks upon a light touch

Hoplophobe – someone who has an irrational fear of guns

Hollow Point – a type of expanding bullet used for controlled penetration; they are used for greater accuracy in target shooting

Internal Safety – a safety mechanism that is placed within the gun, that is not accessible to users and that can prevent unintentional discharge

Jacket – the material that surrounds the nucleus of the projectile

Laser Grip – a gun accessory that contains a pressure-activated laser pointer, which enables the user to see where the firearm is pointed

Less Lethal – weapons that do not use metal bullets, but tear gas or rubber bullets

Machine Gun – this is a term that describes a specific type of firearms, those who are designed to fire rifle bullets fast and consistent; Machine Guns are fully automatic, but not all fully automatic weapons can be named Machine Guns

Magazine – the part of a firearm where the ammunition is stored

Marksman – a person who is skilled in precision shooting using projectile weapons

Misfire – the case in which the cartridge does not fire when an attempt to fire is made; it is due to an ammunition malfunction

Mouse Gun – small-sized guns with a small caliber that can fit into your hand

Muzzle – the open end of a barrel of a firearm

Nose – a type of a bullet or a rifle gun

NRA – abbreviation; National Rifle Association

Ogive – the particular point on the bullet where the curve reaches full bullet diameter

Partition Bullet – two bullets fused together; the front part is responsible with penetration, while the back part does not explode so that it can further penetrate the armor plating

Powder – propellant which is burned to produce hot gases that discharge the bullet

Primer – the chemical that lights the powder up, so that it will push the bullet through the barrel

Pyrodex – a trading name for a black powder substitute, the only such safe substitute known at this time

Racking the Slide – this process loads a cartridge in the chamber and prepared the semi-automatic gun to be fired

Reactive Target – targets that are active when you shoot them (they can make up noise, fall over, etc)

Recoil – the backward movement a gun does when it is discharged

Red Dot – the optical sight of a gun that uses an illuminated dot, usually red, as an aiming point

Revolver – a handgun that has a revolving cylinder with multiple chambers for bullets

Ricochet – when you shot at something and your bullet strikes a surface on its way to your target, which makes it move away of its initial target and trajectory

Rifle – a long-barreled firearm designed for accurate shooting

R.F. – abbreviation; Rimfire, a type of firearm cartridge

Round – a slang word for cartridge

Round Gun – a slang word for a revolver

Sear – the part of the trigger mechanism that holds the hammer back until you press the trigger to discharge the weapon

Semi-automatic – one whose action mechanism automatically loads a following round of cartridge into the chamber and prepares it for subsequent firing

Shotgun – a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder

Sight Radius – the distance between the rear sight and the front sight

Spray and Pray – the practice of rapidly firing as many shots as possible, hoping that one will hit the target, one of the well-known phrases at researches of law coursework help.

Thumb Safety – an external, manual safety which is typically disengaged with the firing-hand thumb

Trigger – the part of the frame that causes the gun to fire when depressed

VFPS – abbreviation; velocity feet-per-second, a measurement of the projectile’s speed as it is leaving the barrel of the firearm

Zero – the goal of adjusting the sight so that the projectile might be placed at a predictable position


The firearm world is full of slang words and technical terms, but knowing them all can help you better communicate with your family and friends during survival times. It is important to maintain a high level of firearms safety within your home to prevent accidents from happening. But besides this, you should start practicing shooting and learning about different types of firearms, cartridges, bullets, and so on.

James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.