Gun Terms For The New Gun Owner, Part 2
So, a little bit ago I wrote up an article about what each gun owner needs to know on the most basic level. This time around, I wanted to take it to the next level, and just go down the list of stuff I feel is important for every gun owner to know, so they can feel proficient with their firearm at the range, and not feel like a “newbie.”
The action of a firearm, basically means what type of gun it is. Bolt action? Semi-auto? Lever action? Pump action? Basically, this refers to the parts of a gun that load and unload the cartridges and spent casings.
When the firearm is loaded with the action closed, it's in battery. Firearms, by default, should only go bang when “in battery.” So, when the slide on your handgun is all the way forward, it's in battery. When the bolt on any rifle is fully forward, it's in battery. Etc. A gun can fire partially in battery, and some defected firearms can fire totally out of battery. These guns need to see a gunsmith because they're dangerous. Any number of things can go wrong with the gun or the shooter to prevent a gun from going into battery. Something as simple as a weak grip can prevent the gun from going into battery—which is just one of the reasons why proper shooting mechanics need to be followed.
This is the scientific study of bullet performance. So, if you hear terms like muzzle velocity, bullet drop, coefficient, and the like, these are the ballistics of that specific bullet. There are devices that are used to detect what the ballistics are, to help you become a better shooter. It really pays to know the ballistics on your long-distance setup. To become an accurate long-distance shot, you need to know how much a bullet will drop at so many yards so you can adjust your sights accordingly, as well as other things.
You hear us talking about this from time to time, and it's basically just the very back of the grip on your gun. Some backstraps can be adjusted or swapped out for more comfortable ones, others cannot.
Originally referring to 1911s, but now referring to all handguns, this is the uppermost part of the grip, just below the slide. You'll hear Eve speak of having a grip high on the beavertail, it means that the web between your thumb and trigger finger need to be as high up on the frame of the gun as possible. This helps with felt recoil, and to prevent limp-wristing the gun, which can cause a malfunction. Another function, which many people don't realize, is that it protects your hand from the hammer and slide.
The operation of some types of guns. It simply means that the gun functions off of the explosion created in the chamber of the gun. When the gunpowder ignites, it creates a small explosion causing the bullet to leave the barrel. That explosion forces the slide back and the recoil spring pulls it back to the front loading a round and putting the gun back into battery in the process. Please note that this is not to be confused with a recoil-operated system, which we'll cover in one of the next articles.
Think of a carbine as a rifle with a short barrel. Please note that the shortest barrel a rifle can have is 16 inches. Anything lower than that needs to be registered as an NFA item (which we'll cover in one of the next articles).
Please stay tuned as we continue to cover gun terminology for new gun owners. And, if you have any questions as to what a specific term is, make sure you ask so I can be sure to cover it for you. Also, please make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to make sure you stay on top of these informative articles.