Here are six commonly misused gun terms, and what to say instead
One thing that nobody ever likes, is to look dumb for not knowing the lingo in any hobby. The gun industry, while generally filled with a nice bunch of people, has a few bad apples with a primary life mission of correcting people who use wrong terminology when it comes to guns.
I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it to the best of your ability, which includes using the right words when talking to others who share your affection for whatever it is you’re talking about.
That being said, if after reading this you still want to use the incorrect words, do whatever floats your boat.
One thing I wanted to do, was compile a list of popular misused gun terms, and the more acceptable words you can use, instead, to help you out a bit. This list is meant for everyone both new to guns, and those of you who have been around for a while.
Is it a clip or magazine?
I volunteer my time at a local gunshop a couple days per week, just to get out of the house and have some adult conversation. Whenever someone comes in and asks me for a clip, I have to admit that I do get a little confused and ask for clarification.
On modern firearms, the part where the ammo is actually held and fed into the gun is not actually called a “clip.” The proper word for that thing, is called a magazine.
Where it can get a bit confusing, is when you realize that there are gun parts that utilize a clip, and it does have to do with ammo.There are things called “stripper clips,” and some older rifles made use of a clip.
But, your AR-15s, Glocks, 1911s, and almost all other firearms use a magazine of some sort, whether internal or external. “Magazine” is the correct terminology to use when talking about it.
Is it a bullet or cartridge?
Okay, so when you go to the store and buy a box of ammo, each individual thing inside of that box is technically called a cartridge. Calling it a “bullet,” while everyone should know what you’re talking about, is technically wrong.
The cartridge is the whole thing from the primer and the case, to the bullet and the powder.
Again, that’s the part that you hope to hit your target or assailant with, when you put the squeeze on the trigger.
When we speak about ammunition on our humble little website, we actually use the term “self-defense cartridge” or just “cartridge” because that is the proper term for it. There will be many more articles about ammo and self-defense cartridges in the future.
Assault Rifle As An AR-15?
Something misconstrued by many on the left, and those new to the gun world because they listen to them, is the term “assault rifle.” That type of rifle is something used by the military, and is generally not something made available to the public on a mass scale.
To expand on this a bit more, an “assault rifle” is something that is usually a selective fire weapon, meaning that it can shoot semi-automatic, or automatic depending on which setting is selected (hence the term, selective fire).
If I were you, I’d just nix that term from my vocab completely, if you use it. Instead, refer to them as “rifles,” AR-15, or AK-47.
Suppressor, Silencer, or Can?
Personally speaking, I hate the word “can.” A “can” is an object that holds food or something else to be used at a later time. A suppressor, on the other hand, is an object used to muffle sound.
However, more people are calling them “cans,” which, even though it drives me nuts, is apparently an acceptable description for a “suppressor.”
What a suppressor does not do, however, is “silence” a firearm. Because there are physics behind the explosion of the gun powder in your cartridge that have nothing to do with the suppressor itself, it cannot silence everything. The action of the firearm, for example, cannot be silenced.
It can be quieted with different ammunition, but never totally silent. Therefore, many folks scoff at the term “silencer” when talking about a suppressor.
Calling it a silencer in some company is unsafe, while calling it a suppressor is always safe.
Is it a pistol, a handgun, or revolver?
This one can be tough, and I find that it really depends upon the age of the person doing the talking. The revolver is obvious, and refers to a “wheel gun” that makes use of a rotating cylinder to fire each round.
A pistol, on the other hand, generally refers to any handgun that is considered to be semi-automatic. (please note that I say “generally,” because there are exceptions to every rule)
A pistol can also be something that looks entirely like a rifle, but qualifies as a pistol from the ATF.
And, once again speaking generally, a handgun can be used to talk about all of the above.
What’s the diff between semi-auto and automatic?
A semi-automatic firearm is one that shoots one round per trigger function. In other words, when a round is in the chamber, and the trigger is pulled to the rearward position, the gun goes “bang.”
On the other end of the spectrum is a firearm which shoots many rounds with one function of the trigger. Or, when there is a round in the chamber and the trigger is pulled to the rearward position, the gun goes “bang bang bang bang bang” until the trigger is released, like the one in the following video:
Which of these 6 misused gun terms have you heard before? Are there any that I missed? Which ones have you used in the past? Please fill me in below, in the comments section. When you’re done with that, make sure you have liked the Down Range Daily Facebook Page so you never miss a shot.