duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color
duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color

Firearm Terminology To Know

Navigating the world of firearms can be intimidating, especially for beginners. With a myriad of terms to understand, your first foray into firearms can feel more like a language lesson. To help you decode this language, we’ve compiled an easy-to-understand glossary of essential firearm terminology.

Types of Firearms


Small firearms designed to be held and operated with one hand. They’re divided into two primary types:

  • Pistols: A type of handgun where the chamber is integrated into the barrel. Most common types include semi-automatic pistols and single-shot pistols.
  • Revolvers: Another type of handgun characterized by a rotating cylinder carrying multiple chambers. When the trigger is pulled, the cylinder rotates to align the next chamber with the barrel.

Long Guns

Firearms that are braced against the shoulder when fired. These are generally larger and have longer barrels.Examples include:

  • Rifles: Long guns designed with a rifled barrel, which spins the bullet to improve accuracy over long distances.
  • Shotguns: Fire long guns that discharge shells filled with small projectiles known as shot. Their barrels are typically smooth.

Components of a Firearm


The tube through which a bullet or projectile is fired. The interior of a rifle’s barrel is rifled with spiraling grooves that spin the bullet for increased accuracy.


The mechanism that handles the loading, firing, and extraction of cartridges. Actions can be semi-automatic, bolt-action, pump-action, among others.


The lever pressed by the finger to discharge a firearm.


A device used for storing and feeding ammunition into the firearm’s action. In some firearms, it’s detachable. Make sure you don’t make the common rookie mistake of using the terms clip and magazine interchangeably. A clip holds cartridges together to load into a magazine.


The portion of the firearm held against the body. In long guns, it aids in aiming by providing a point of contact with the shooter’s shoulder.

Firearm Ammunition


The projectile expelled from a firearm’s barrel. This is often mistakenly used interchangeably with the term “cartridge.”


A single unit of ammunition consisting of the case, primer, propellant (powder), and bullet.


This term refers to the internal diameter of a firearm’s barrel or the diameter of a bullet. It’s often measured in hundredths or thousandths of an inch or in millimeters.


A term used to denote the diameter of a shotgun barrel. The smaller the gauge, the larger the barrel’s diameter.

Firearm Safety


A device that prevents the firearm from firing accidentally. Always remember – treat every gun as if it’s loaded, even when you know it’s not.

Muzzle Discipline

Refers to always keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction.

Trigger Discipline

vRefers to keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

Learn More About Guns At The Hub

Learning firearm terminology is the first step in becoming a knowledgeable gun owner. This glossary will serve as a handy reference as you delve deeper into the world of firearms. Remember, safe and responsible gun ownership starts with understanding. So, familiarize yourself with these terms, and step confidently into your gun-owning journey.

Whether you’re interested in handguns, long guns, or just general knowledge, our team at The Hub is here to help.

Contact us for more information, guidance, and a wide range of firearms tailored to your needs.
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