Firearms / Vocbulary flashcards |

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  • Barricade position

    A position behind cover


    Normally used for bird hunting or practice; this shell has a load of small diameter lead or steel shot pellets; used for training purposes

    Breath control

    Important in the aiming process. Breathing while trying to aim causes the handgun to move vertically along with the rise and fall of your chest


    Portion of the cartridge that becomes a projectile when in flight


    The measurement used to identify different cartridge (projectile) sizes


    The metal, plastic, or paper container that holds all parts of a round of ammunition: primer, powder charge, and bullet


    An object or group of objects that creates a visual barrier between an officer and a threat but may not stop a projectile


    Anything that creates a bullet-resistant barrier between an officer and a threat


    Shotgun only: The part of the case mouth that bends inward to grip the bullet; with shotgun shells, the term applies to the closure at the case mouth

    Double action only

    A firearm in which every round fires double action with the hammer at rest against the rear of the slide

    Double aught buckshot

    2 3/4-inch shell with nine .33 caliber lead pellets or a 3-inch magnum shell with twelve .32 caliber pellets; penetrates solid wood doors, drywall, and wood walls at close range

    Double feed

    A weapon malfunction which is caused by a failure to extract the round in the chamber and a new round being fed from the magazine well

    Double single

    A pistol in which the hammer must be manually cocked and the first round fires double action but the subsequent rounds fire single action

    Duty life

    The recommended time that ammunition can be expected to be reliable

    Failure to eject

    Stovepipe: a weapon malfunction that occurs when a fired round does not completely eject

    Failure to extract

    Double feed: a weapon malfunction that occurs when a spent casing remains in the chamber while a new cartridge enters the chamber

    Failure to feed

    A weapon malfunction that occurs when the cartridge fails to feed into the chamber

    Failure to fire

    A weapon malfunction that occurs when the trigger is pulled, but the round fails to detonate

    Follow through

    The maintenance of sight alignment before, during, and after firing a round

    Frozen cylinder

    A cylinder that does not rotate


    A measurement of shotgun bores derived from the number of bore-sized balls of lead per pound


    A revolver or semiautomatic pistol


    Markings found on the head of ammunition that indicate the caliber or gauge and identify the manufacturer


    A condition that prevents a weapon from operating normally

    Point shooting

    A technique used when a shooter cannot use the sights on the weapon or he or she has no time to align the sight properly; the firearm is viewed as an extension of the arm and pointed at the target


    Propellant used in most firearms; produces a large volume of gas when ignited


    Small metal cup containing the detonating mixture used to ignite the propellant or powder charge

    Respiratory pause

    The extended pause between breaths, which is the optimum time to fire the shot(s)

    Rifled slug

    Single, hollow lead bullet that weighs from 7/8 to 1 1/8 ounce; is .72 caliber and penetrates most materials but not solid steel


    The edge on the base of a cartridge case that stops the progress of the case into the chamber


    Complete ammunition cartridge that contains all parts of ammunition; a military term meaning one single cartridge

    Shelf life

    The recommended time that ammunition can be expected to be reliable, from manufacture time to issue time

    Shooting hand

    The dominant or strong hand that is used to fire a gun


    Shotgun: spherical pellets of various sizes, usually made of lead

    Sight alignment

    The relationship of the front sight and rear sight with the shooter's eye

    Sight picture

    The relationship between the eye, front sight, rear sight, and target

    Single action

    A firearm in which the hammer must be cocked before the weapon can be fired

    Squib load

    A weapon malfunction that occurs when a lack of powder or a partial burn of powder causes the primer to ignite

    Stacked feed

    A weapon malfunction that occurs when a round is in the chamber and the action is closed


    The posture a shooter assumes while firing a shot

    Support hand

    The hand that assists the shooting hand

    Tactical load

    Technique used to reload in a tactical situation

    Trigger control

    Results when the trigger finger pulls the trigger straight back with increasing yet constant and steady pressure until the firearm discharges


    Shotgun: The only part not found in any other center fire cartridge; this is used to seal/confine gases; can be made of plastic or compressed cardboard


    provides a path for the fired bullet; its chamber holds the cartridge


    contains the firing pin, spring, and extractor (internal part)

    Bolt Lock Lever

    holds the bolt to the rear when the charging handle is pulled to the rear and the lower portion is depressed; releases the bolt when the upper portion is depressed

    Buffer / Buffer Spring

    enables the bolt to return after firing (internal part)


    the end of the stock


    supports the cartridge at rest and during firing (internal part)

    Charging Handle

    enables manipulation of the bolt to chamber a round

    Ejection Port

    opening that permits the shell to exit the weapon (internal part)


    expels the shell from the ejection port (internal part of the bolt)


    grips and pulls the shell from the chamber

    Forestock / Hand Guard

    used to support the rifle with the support hand; acts as a heat shield from the barrel

    Forward Assist

    a button assuring that the bolt is locked

    Lower Receiver Group

    contains the magazine release, magazine well, trigger housing, and trigger components


    contains ammunition ready to be chambered

    Magazine Release

    permits removal of the magazine from the firearm

    Magazine Well

    housing for the magazine (internal part)

    Muzzle Flash Suppressor

    attachment on the barrel's forward end that reduces the flash as burning powder escapes when the bullet exits the barrel


    blocks the hammer from striking the firing pin; prevents firing (located on the left side of the weapon)

    sights (front and rear)

    used to align the firearm to the bullet's point of impact

    Sling Swivels

    metal loops affixed to the rifle/carbine to which a carrying strap attaches


    part that enables shoulder support during firing

    Take Down Pins

    enables separation of the upper receiver from the lower receiver and allows for fieldstripping and cleaning


    enables the firearm to fire when pulled

    Trigger Group

    section consisting of the trigger, trigger springs, safety, and all firing mechanism parts

    Trigger Guard

    part of the frame that protects the trigger

    Upper Receiver Group

    houses the bolt assembly group

    Slide Release (Action)

    mechanical device that, when activated, releases the slide


    long cylinder-shaped tube through which the projectile travels from the chamber


    cylindrical steel part containing the firing pin and extractor, which closes the breech end of the barrel for firing

    Bolt Carrier

    flat steel part that fits onto the action bars and on which the bolt sits

    Ejection Port

    opening on the side or bottom of the receiver; spent casings are ejected from it and live rounds are loaded into this port


    piece of spring steel mounted on the inside left of the receiver; when the action pulls a shell to the rear, it compresses and then releases the ___ as the bolt goes past it


    metal hook-shaped part mounted on the bolt; the hook engages the rim of the cartridge so that when the action is brought to the rear, the ___ removes the shell from the chamber.

    Fore-end (Slide)

    wooden or polymer grip near the magazine

    Front Sight (Bead Sight)

    bead or raised post on the front of the barrel used to bring the firearm into alignment for accuracy

    Loading Port

    bottom opening on the receiver that live rounds are fed into or removed from the magazine tube

    Magazine Cap

    located on the magazine tube's end and keeps the barrel in place

    Magazine Tube

    located under the barrel and holds rounds


    barrel's front end

    Rear Sight

    secondary aligning device located on the receiver or barrel that aligns with the front sight bead or post to bring the shotgun into alignment for accuracy


    holds the trigger group and bolt assembly


    mechanical device that prevents a shooter from pulling the trigger and discharging the shotgun

    Shell Carrier

    slightly rounded steel part that blocks the loading port; catches rounds released from the magazine and raises them into alignment with the chamber

    Shell Latches (stops)

    two pieces of steel mounted on each side of the inside of the receiver at the magazine's rear; they help hold the cartridges in the magazine and release them one at a time when the action operates. They are also used to manually unload the shotgun.


    part of the weapon attached to the receiver; a shooter places the ___ on his or her shoulder when firing


    rear area of the stock that the shooter mounts against the shoulder for firing; normally covered with a metal or plastic ___ plate or a recoil pad


    stock's top edge where the shooter's cheek rests


    "small of the stock," just behind the receiver; the shooter uses the ___ and his or her shooting hand for control when firing or carrying it


    top corner of the butt

    Recoil Pad

    a butt plate, usually rubber, that reduces the effect of the shotgun's recoil or "kick"


    the bottom part of the butt


    when pulled, this releases the sear (a part that holds the hammer in the cocked position) and activates the firing pin

    Trigger Guard

    part of the frame that protects the trigger

    Accessory Rail

    provides space for lighting and sighting devices

    Back Strap

    portion of the grip that is placed in the palm of the shooting hand


    holds the internal parts, as well as the slide assembly, and provides a way to grip the pistol


    holds the internal parts, as well as the slide assembly, and provides a way to grip the pistol

    Front Sight

    located on the slide's front; used to bring the firearm into alignment for accuracy

    Front Strap

    portion of the grip that allows the fingers of the shooting hand to rest

    Grip Panel

    made of polymer designed to allow the shooter to easily grip and control the weapon

    Magazine Catch

    releases the magazine from the frame (magazine well)

    Magazine Floor Plate

    base of the magazine

    Muzzle Barrel

    provides a path for the fired bullet and is chambered to hold the cartridge

    Rear Sight

    located on the rear of the slide that aligns with the front sight to bring the firearm into alignment for accuracy


    houses the firing pin, safety, drop safety, sights, and extractor

    Slide Cover Plate

    allows access of the firing pin assembly

    Slide Lock

    device that allows quick and simple field stripping of the pistol

    Slide Stop Lever

    device that locks the slide in the open position

    Thumb Rest

    place for the thumb to rest while gripping the pistol


    activates the pistol's operation

    Trigger Guard

    part of the frame that protects the trigger

    Trigger Safety

    allows the trigger to move when pressed

    Recoil Guide

    directs the recoil spring

    Recoil Spring

    pushes the slide forward


    portion of the grip that is placed in the palm of the shooting hand


    provides a path for the fired bullet

    Center Pin

    on a Smith & Wesson revolver, it is the spring-loaded part that holds the cylinder closed


    attaches the cylinder to the frame so the cylinder can swing in and out of the frame opening; Colt uses the term crane; Smith & Wesson uses the term YOKE (internal part)


    houses the extractor rod and contains the chambers that hold the cartridges

    Cylinder Release Latch

    disengages the cylinder from the frame

    Cylinder Stop

    locks the cylinder


    star-shaped device attached to the extractor rod that fits inside the cylinder that the rounds rest on (internal part)

    Extractor Rod

    when depressed, it causes the extractor to push the cartridge from the cylinder


    internal structure that holds the parts of the revolver and provides a way of gripping the firearm

    Front Sight

    located on the end of the barrel near the muzzle; it is designed for the swift location of the target and for bringing the firearm into alignment for accuracy


    made of wood, plastic, or rubber; designed to allow the shooter to grip the firearm easily for control


    when the trigger is pulled, this part falls forward to activate the primer

    Hammer Nose

    part of the hammer or frame that protrudes through the frame and strikes the primer (internal part)


    part of the hammer or frame that protrudes through the frame and strikes the primer (internal part)

    Firing Pin

    part of the hammer or frame that protrudes through the frame and strikes the primer (internal part)

    Hammer Spur

    part of the hammer used for cocking the weapon to single-action mode


    part of a revolver that turns the cylinder as the gun is cocked, thus aligning a cartridge with the hammer or firing pin (internal part)

    Rear Sight

    located on the rear of the frame; it can be adjustable or fixed

    Top Strap

    part of the frame that houses the rear sight, positioned over cylinder


    activates the revolver's operation in both single and double action

    Trigger Guard

    part of the frame that protects the trigger

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