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9 Most Misused Gun Terms

by Kyle Wintersteen   |  July 22nd, 2014 164

Magazine-Clip“Assault weapon.” Sixteen-round “clip.” A box of “bullets.” When it comes to firearms, there’s no shortage of misused terminology. Sometimes the error is committed innocently, a simple mistake owing to the shooter’s ignorance. A common example is the interchangeable use of “clip” and “magazine.” However, other misused terms are more harmful. They aren’t just inaccurate; their frequent use can negatively affect the public perception of firearms. Referring to a semi-automatic carbine as an “assault rifle” — a term that implies a fully automatic action designed for purely offensive purposes — is the biggest offender. More on that later.

Anti-gun groups, politicians and biased members of the media often use such terms incorrectly — sometimes due to lack of knowledge but often with malicious intent. So, if we as gun owners don’t accurately apply firearms terminology, who will? How can aspiring shooters, genuine journalists or the public at-large hope to receive reliable information? Here are some of the most commonly misused and confused gun terms.

Clip vs. Magazine
You know that boxy rectangular thingy that holds cartridges and slides into the bottom of your semi-auto pistol? It’s not a clip — no matter how often the term is misused. It’s a magazine.

A magazine holds shells under spring pressure in preparation for feeding into the firearm’s chamber. Examples include box, tubular, drum and rotary magazines. Some are fixed to the firearm while others are removable.

A cartridge “clip” has no spring and does not feed shells directly into the chamber. Rather, clips hold cartridges in the correct sequence for “charging” a specific firearm’s magazine. Stripper clips allow rounds to be “stripped” into the magazine. Other types are fed along with the shells into the magazine — the M1 Garand famously operates in this fashion. Once all rounds have been fired, the clip is ejected or otherwise released from the firearm.

In essence, clips feed magazines. Magazines feed firearms.

Assault Rifles vs. Assault Weapons vs. Semi-Automatic Rifles
The term “assault rifle” is perhaps the most commonly misused gun term, and certainly it’s one of the most damaging to the public’s perception of firearms. Most often, the media, anti-gun groups and all-too-many gun owners incorrectly use it to describe an AR-15 rifle.

As noted by David Kopel in an article in the “Journal of Contemporary Law,” the U.S. Department of Defense defines assault rifles as “selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between sub-machine gun and rifle cartridges.” The AR-15 and other civilian carbines errantly called assault rifles do no such thing. They are semi-automatic, non-battlefield firearms.

To add further clarity, “AR” also does not stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle” — as is occasionally implied — but rather ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950’s.

However, anti-gun groups have been hugely successful applying the false label to convince Americans that AR-15’s and other semi-auto rifle platforms are a fully automatic, public threat. Much of the mainstream media now uses the “assault rifle” label broadly and without question.

To further capitalize, anti-gun groups completely invented the term “assault weapons” to broadly cover everything from home-defense shotguns to standard-capacity handguns — anything they wish to ban.

In fact, according to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson, writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles’ so as to allow an attack on as many additional firearms as possible on the basis of undefined ‘evil’ appearance.”

So, while the term “assault rifle” is frequently misused, the term “assault weapon” doesn’t even really exist.

accuracy_precision_1Accuracy vs. Precision
These seemingly synonymous terms are often used interchangeably, but they describe two distinct aspects of shots on target. Accuracy is a measurement of the shooter’s ability to consistently hit a given target; precision is essentially the tightness of his groups.

That’s the same thing, you say? Perhaps further examples are in order. The best illustration of the differences I’ve come across is courtesy of an unlikely source: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA’s article “Accuracy vs. Precision” was written with surveyors in mind, but its examples include four, four-shot groups by a rifleman (who we shall assume has a perfectly zeroed firearm and is aiming for the center of the target).

In example No. 1, the rifleman’s four shots are scattered all across the target. This is neither precise nor accurate.

In example No. 2, the rifleman places a tight four-shot group in the upper left of the target. This is precise (the shots are close together) but not accurate (the shots are far off-center).

In example No. 3, the rifleman lands a fairly wide four-shot group near the center of the target. He is accurate (his shots are near the intended target) but not precise (it’s a wide group).

In example No. 4, the rifleman delivers a nice, tight, four-shot group directly to the bullseye. This is both accurate (he hit the center of the target) and precise (all four shots were close together).

So, while a rifle that consistently produces tight groups is often described as “accurate,” it’s more properly an indication of good precision.

Pistol vs. Handgun
There is some gray area with this one. Some use the term “handgun” to describe any hand-held firearm, but only use “pistol” in reference to semi-automatic handguns — not revolvers. I’m of the school that believes pistol and handgun may be used interchangeably. Here’s why.

One authoritative source, The NRA Firearms Sourcebook, defines a pistol as “a generic term for a hand-held firearm. Often used more specifically to refer to a single-shot, revolver or semi-automatic handgun.”

Then there’s the historical record. Though there’s debate over whence the term “pistol” arose, by the late 16th century it was commonly used to describe any hand-held gun. It even appeared in works by William Shakespeare. Then along came Samuel Colt, who described his cylinder-firearm invention as a “revolving pistol.”

“Pistol” was an established part of the vernacular long before the semi-auto handgun. Therefore it’s safe to say all handguns are pistols, and all pistols are handguns.

North-American-Arms-22-Mag73116-1ePocket Pistol vs. Sub-Compact Pistol
Every sub-compact pistol is a pocket pistol, but not all pocket pistols are subcompacts. Let me explain.

A sub-compact pistol is simply a small, concealed-carry-friendly version of a particular full-size model. For example, the Springfield XD 9mm Subcompact is a 3-inch barrel version of the full-size 9mm XD with 5-inch barrel. There are no standard dimensions per se that constitute a subcompact, and thus sizes vary among manufacturers.

“Pocket pistol,” on the other hand, is a generic, somewhat slangy term for any small handgun suitable for concealed carry in a pocket or otherwise. The Ruger LC9, for instance, is a pocket pistol. However, it is not a subcompact. It is a stand-alone pistol, not a smaller version of a full-size gun.

Cartridge vs. Bullet vs. Caliber
Given the vast differences between the terms “bullet,” “cartridge” and “caliber,” it’s amazing anyone with a modicum of experience would confuse them. And yet how many of us have been in a gun store when someone walked in looking for “a box of .30-’06 bullets” when he obviously wanted actual cartridges?

A “bullet” is merely the projectile that exits the barrel. Specifically, it’s a non-spherical chunk of lead, copper or other material intended for use in a rifled barrel. The bullet’s “caliber” is a numerical approximation of the bullet’s diameter, often expressed in millimeters or hundredths of an inch.

“Bullet” should not be used interchangeably with the term “cartridge” — a bullet is a mere component of it. Cartridges consist of the case, primer, propellant and projectile. In the case of rifles and handguns, the bullet is seated in the cartridge case. Cartridge is also an accurate term for any shotshell.

Extractor vs. Ejector
There are two main errors with these terms: using them interchangeably or the false assumption that the extractor also ejects spent shells. Designs vary, so some generalities are in order.

In most firearms, the extractor hooks onto the head of a chambered cartridge and pulls it rearward as the action is cycled. The extractor alone does not eject the spent casing — that’s the job of the ejector.

In many semi-automatic firearms, the ejector typically looks like a small blade positioned opposite the ejection port. In a nutshell, the extractor pulls the shell rearward until it contacts the ejector, which flings it out the port.

There are exceptions. Some double-barrel shotguns, for instance, are “extractors-only.” They are equipped to slightly extract spent shells from the chamber, easing removal by the shooter’s fingers. Other double-barrel shotguns have ejectors that spring spent shells from the gun — no need for extractors.

Shells vs. Shotshells
The confusion with the term “shells” perhaps stems from its similarity to the word “shotshells.” I’ve run across folks under the impression that “shells” only refer to shotgun cartridges (shotshells). In reality, “shells” is an accurate — albeit somewhat colloquial — descriptor for any handgun, rifle or shotgun cartridge or cartridge case.

Shotshell, on the other hand, refers to a round of shotgun ammunition — most accurately one that contains pellets rather than a slug or other projectile.

suppressorSuppressor vs. Silencer
Here’s a differentiation that tends to get people fired up. Many firearm experts believe that the term “silencer” has no correct usage — rather, it’s an inaccurate slang term for “suppressor.” Suppressors aren’t silencers, they argue, because they don’t actually “silence” the firearm. Guns that fire silently exist only in Hollywood. Suppressors merely moderate escaping gases, greatly reducing but not eliminating noise.

The NRA Firearms Sourcebook makes the distinction clear, defining a suppressor as “a device attached to the muzzle of a firearm to reduce the noise of discharge. Sometimes incorrectly called a ‘silencer.’”

I believe that’s the most accurate definition. However, here’s where things get muddy: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms uses the term “silencer” in its official paperwork.

So, I suppose, either term is accurate. Still, I advise sticking with “suppressor” and avoiding use of the word “silencer.”

What do you think is the most misused gun term? Vote and comment below to spread the word about common mistakes in gun terminology:

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  • Daniel

    What about round being called a CAP? Example: “I’m going to pop a cap in your…”

    • Carl Craig

      That is a slang term that comes from toy cap guns. The term I hear is “we’re going to go bust caps”. Which refers to shooting.

      • louie

        Carl you have it wrong–it is from the cap and ball era.

        • louie

          Dan, wrong again. If it were so gangsta why then would Frank Hamer have said, regarding Bonnie Parker, I never busted no cap on no woman before (then he would just slowly smile).

          • Mickey

            Robert Johnson in the 1936 song “32/20 Blues” refers to rounds for his firearm as “caps”. So the slang goes back at least that far. He also calls his “pistol” his “Gatling Gun”, later “gat”. So new isn’t always new.

  • Dave

    You just have to love the English language. Ahem….

    Pistols and revolvers are handguns. Pistols’ firing chambers are integrated with the handguns barrel as one part (Derringer pistol, black powder pistol, and other handguns that use ready-to-fire cartridges inserted directly into the barrel’s integrated firing chamber, or breech). Revolvers’ firing chambers are rotating devices that deliver a ready-to-fire cartridge to align with the handguns barrel prior to ignition. Each cartridge-holding chamber in a revolver’s cylinder is a chamber.

    Ejectors or extractors are synonyms. They act on a spent cartridge’s casing and
    pull it from the gun’s chamber, normally after firing. If the cartridge has not
    been fired, the ejector or extractor pulls out not a casing, but a cartridge (or shotshell – see below). When that spent casing hits the ground with other spent casings, it stops becoming a casing and morphs into what is now, collectively, brass. Pick up a single piece of brass and it can morph back into a casing. Throw it back down and it becomes brass. Rarely, the pile of casings will be referred to as casings. The spent casings remain collectively brass until they are integrated once more with bullet, primer and powder into what is now an assembled, ready-to-fire

    Individual shotshells, either loaded or spent, are shotshells. Shotshells in a big pile, loaded or spent are also shotshells. Shotshells are rarely, if ever, referred to as cartridges; that term is almost always reserved for ready-to-fire assembled “rounds” to be used in handguns or rifles or artillery, not shotguns. Shotshells are sometimes referred to as simply shells (as are the massive cartridges used in artillery), and far less frequently as rounds. It goes without saying that shotguns shoot shot and rifles shoot bullets, but shotguns, whether using shotshells filled with shot, or a shotshell dispensing a single heavy bullet, “slug”, are never called rifles.

    Some “Gun Muffler” manufacturers prefer “silencer” to suppressor. I like gun muffler or “can”. Can comes from the sport motorcycling culture and originated as describing the muffler on sport motorcycles. It is now the globally accepted term for the muffler on sport motorcycles. The term is gaining wide acceptance in the shooting community, a fine example of slang evolving into vernacular.

    Pocket pistol is any small handgun (pistol or revolver) small enough for pocket carry. One should never overthink this term.

    The terms accuracy and precision do in fact confuse the heck out of everybody. I like simply “group”. But the term has to be applied to the rifle and the one using it, or the device holding it when it goes off, by reference. And the two can never be considered individually, as it makes absolutely no sense to do so. “How does the gun group at 100 yards?”. Answer: “Well with the same loads, when I shoot it, it
    groups 2 MOA. When Jim shoots it, it groups one-half MOA. When Tom shoots it,
    it groups one-quarter MOA. When we clamped it in the vise and shot it we couldn’t do any better than Tom did.” Ah. Nice rifle.

    • Dan

      An extractor pulls out a “Brass Casing” from the chamber in a rearward motion. The EJECTOR pushes the “Brass Casing” in a perpendicular direction to the chamber , and out of the breech allowing another fresh “Cartridge” to be chambered.

      • Dave

        Right you are. My bad.

    • Westfallen

      I do not love the English language it has shot me with my own gun

  • GomeznSA

    Voted for ‘clip’ vs ‘magazine’ in the poll, it is aggravating since it tends to point out the lack of knowledge of gun owners, which fuels the hoplophobes mantra that gun owners are a bunch of illiterate red necks (one of the ‘nicer’ they call anyone who disagrees with them). Now if the question had been ‘which term is INTENTIONALLY misused’ the assault weapons/rifle should be the hands down ‘winner’. That is why it is so important for the non-hoplophobes to use technically correct terminology, by us using ‘their’ terms we are giving up too much ground in the ‘debate’ they all claim to want to have.

    • Gabriel Hazeem

      don’t say that to anyone in the marines, as most of them say clip

      • Icyou

        Five years in the Marines and anyone who said clip usually got kicked in the chest

        • waffen SS

          you little lying badass

        • Kyllein MacKellerann

          Or lower down.

          • JosephUSMC

            Been a marine since 2001, no longer in active service since 2014. I told this new kid to use a clip and he kicked me in the knee. I’ve been in PT for a few months

          • Kyllein MacKellerann

            One hopes the meat-pile who kicked you recovers too.

      • Semper Fi Custom Works

        I served 10 years in the USMC, and the only Marines I EVER heard using the term’clip’ were Vietnam era or earlier. After the M1 Garand was taken out of use, PMIs began using the correct term of ‘magazine’, and do to this day.

        • Sarge

          I’m a Vietnam Veteran (USMC) and we never used the term “clip” while using the M-14 or M-16.

          • Kyllein MacKellerann

            In Viet Nam, the only clips I ran into were the ones for the SKS or its Chinese cousin. They use clips. Everything else uses a magazine or loose bullets. Some AK’s used clips in a sort of fast reloader that clipped to the magazine and allowed you to push ten rounds in from an SKS clip.
            One problem is that the term “Magazine” can refer to: A metal box that attaches to a weapon and holds said weapon’s ammunition OR the part of a weapon wherein ammunition is stored that is not detachable, such as the SKS Magazine which was a semi permanent part of the carbine. A magazine can also be a building or structure where ammunition is stored. It can also be an internal and not removable part of a weapon, such as the “Magazine” in a K98-k rifle.
            Generally, calling it a magazine is the safest name unless you are referring to those idiotic spring things* used in revolvers to speed reloads or allow rimless cartridges to be used in a revolver. The storage area there is the cylinder and not a magazine.
            *Damn near lost a fingernail trying to swap out rounds in one. They do NOT need to be that snug; I have some plastic ones that are easy to reload and last forever.
            Okay, now I go back to my beer…

      • Lakekover

        There not useing the M1, stop saying CLIP, it’s a mag

      • Hunter Lee Elliott

        I am a former Marine and we always used the term magazine unless we were referring to a stripper clip.

      • Devil Dog

        I’m a Marine and never did we call it a magazine! Sorry but you are incorrect on that one.

  • Glenn Haldane

    A cartridge case is not a shell. Even calling a shotgun cartridge a shotshell is incorrect. ‘Shell’ is not a term that is in any way relevant to small arms. A shell is an artillery projectile containing explosive. Let’s be as precise as we can.

  • BobInMo

    I work part time at a gun counter for a major retailer and 9/10 customers use the term “clip” when asking about magazines. When the few intelligent ones use the proper term I actually thank them!

  • louie

    On the bullet versus cartridge issue, do realize it is common in grammar to refer to a thing by a part of that thing (the term is synecdoche), so nothing wrong with asking for a box of bullets. And to insist otherwise is a little goofy (do note we also refer to them as rounds–when there is nothing round about them at all, except their past part). Same thing with insisting that pistol is only for a semiautomatic. It is generic for all. All handguns are pistols, of which there are three basic types: single shot; revolvers; and automatics (automatic itself a shorthand slang term that quickly became common by the 1920s and 1930s to refer to any “automatically” (magazine) fed pistol. Lighten up grammar gurus; more often than not your insistence on a term is fallacious; lighten up.

    • Hunter Lee Elliott

      Until some idiots orders a box of bullets from Midway and gets exactly that and has no idea why he was shipped a reloading components. Use the correct term and don’t be an idiot.

      • General Tso

        Imagine being Arnold Schwarzenegger… he always gets boxes of boolets (yes, they’re real; cast bullets)

  • Daniel E. Watters

    Hiram Percy Maxim, the original designer and manufacturer of firearm sound suppressors, coined the term “silencer” to describe his invention. He even used it in his business name. Maxim Silencers is still in operation, but it now makes sound suppression devices only for industrial applications.

  • unhyphenated1

    I read an article recently that discussed “clip vs. magazine”. While it did agree with your assessment, it also points out that in military manuals description of the model 1911A1, the thingy that holds the cartridges is called a ‘clip’.
    Also, if you go to the S&W website, ‘handguns’ are separated into ‘revolvers’ and ‘pistols’ i.e. semi-automatics.

  • Northerner

    i voted for clip vs magazine, it just bugs the crap out of me when people use the term but i was guilty also a long time ago till i learned better. im also a gearhead and its the same thing as motor vs engine, a motor is an electrical device and an engine is a mechanical device. just know what your talking about people and use the right term!

  • Momo

    I believe the silencer and suppressor are one and the same. The only difference is, according to federal law, silencers are illegal. Call a silencer a suppressor and it becomes legal.

    • Wolfsbane

      Try that out on the ATF as they’re dragging you off to jail for having one without obtaining a tax stamp for a silencer. Be sure get a video so we can watch and laugh.

  • John

    Assault Rifles vs. Assault Weapons vs.Semi-Automatic Rifles all the other terminology miss use is just do to ignorance or just being lazy in using the correct terms. Given the
    definition of assault and the English language it can’t be use to describe an object,
    it can only apply to an action of humans. There for I don’t accnolage the
    use of the ajative assault to describe a firearm because it is incapable of acting on it’s own. Only the action of an individual that might use the firearm can be capable of assault.

    • John

      Thought I should correct the misuse of the English language!!
      Assault Rifles vs. Assault Weapons vs.Semi-Automatic Rifles all the other terminology misuse is just do to ignorance or just being lazy in using the correct terms. Given the definition of assault and the English language it can’t be used to describe an object, it can only apply to an action of humans. Therefore I don’t acknowledge the use of the adjective assault to describe a firearm because it is incapable of acting on it’s own. Only the action of an individual that might use the firearm can be capable of assault.


        But yet, the meaning of a word changes base on what society decide it is, for example awful or terrific has changed meaning. I, for one, enjoy calling my AR 15, an assault rifle even if snooty “experts” hate the term. If they don’t like it, they can bite me where my Glock is concealed.

        • RJB

          Which makes you part of the problem, your giving the Libtard nation (gun haters) more ammo for their cause.

          • Doc Holliday


        • Captain Bob

          It’s NOT an “assault rifle” UNTIL you asault someone with it. Anything can be an “assault weapon” if it’s used to do the deed. Calling your gun an “assault rifle” does make it sound like you plan on using it in that manner. i.e. you’re not helping us by calling it that.

          • Wolfsbane

            You don’t assault people with an assault rifle. You assault positions with them.

            It’s from the Anglicized version of the German developed Stoßtrupptaktik tactic developed the Germans during WW1. The tactic uses decentralized concentrated fire as a means to facilitate a movement in progress. The tactic required a movement away from the traditional long barreled infantry rifle to short barreled cavalry carbines and later to large capacity firearms like submachine guns and pistols.

            The tactic was further developed in WW2 and spawned the assault rifle. An m that combined the length f a carbine with a capacity approaching submachine guns but with more powerful cartridges. The firearms they used took their name from the tactics, sturmgewehr. Or in English, “storm rifle” as in “to storm “assault” an enemy position,

  • Bowserb

    PLEASE…Send this article to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN! Fox, AP, Reuters, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and all the other news agencies you can think of. Maybe one will read it. Worth a try?

    • Openminded

      None of those, they’re all liberal controlled except for Fox and New York Times. Maybe those two will read it, but all other news has so much bias. It’s like they’re trying to brainwash us into mindlessly believing their propaganda. Next thing you know, we’ll be

  • Rosen Otter

    I’d say the most misused term is ‘tactical’.

  • sam sullenberger

    The number one misused term is “Gun Violence”. My guns are peaceful, and sit quietly in their safe, never engaging in any acts of violence. They are incapable of any act. If somehow some depraved person got them and committed an act of violence, as he may with any weapon, they would be the responsible party.

    • Anne Davis

      I completely agree. This term aggravates me every time I hear it! Just to clarify you last phase “they” should be “he” as the human is the responsible party.

      • Guesty

        The singular “they” has been used by Chaucer, Shakespeare, and George Bernard Shaw, among others. It dates back to Middle English, before the flintlock rifle was invented. Respect your language, unless you want us to all speak Spanish or Cherokee or some other not-American invader language!

        • TongueFirmlyInCheek

          Guesty, you’re absolutely right. I might not agree, or even understand you, when you get to the “not-American invader language” bit, and I am probably dead-set against your mildly Xenophobic undertones, but, as far as usage of the singular “they” is concerned, we are of a mind. Anne, you need to focus on the bigger issue of gun control, and stop being aggravated by points of language. Otherwise, you’ll be a clear and present danger to every capable English teacher, writer and copy-editor in the land!

    • Wolfsbane

      I agree. There’s no violence involved with the use of guns. It’s all physics and chemistry. They’re the great equalizer.

      • wisdom teeth

        I know. I can kill somebody with a spoon or a gun. And nobody talks about spoon-caused massacres. People just ignore all the massacres that happen with cutlery because they just want to destroy the country by coming into our homes and stealing our hard-earned guns

    • Phil P

      I am in agreement here. I am a police officer and when I visit my parents, both senior citizens, they expect me to leave my sidearm in my car because they are against ‘gun violence’. I must wear it on my ankle when I visit so they don’t see it and get upset.

      • Zipp

        It’s unfortunate that they don’t understand the fact that you are a trained professional. They only see you as their son.

        • XPO117

          Not to nitpick, but being a trained professional is not the only justification for carrying a firearm. With the poster’s parents, it’s not a lack of understanding on their part, but a choice to not have firearms around their presence, occupation has nothing to do with it.

          • Susan P

            Many police departments require all officers to carry 24/7 at any time they leave their own homes. The thinking is that a sworn officer of the law is technically NEVER off duty. If a crime is being committed in front of the officer, the officer MUST act. In this case it is not a choice for the officer to make; it is a duty.

            A police Sargent I knew was asked by his wife to go to the neighborhood dairy store and pick up milk for the next morning. This was in the mid-1970s and milk was sold in glass bottles and the store provided wire carriers that held about 6 quarts. The time was near 10:30 p.m. and the store closed at 11:00 p.m. Police shift change also took place at 11:00 p.m. and this store was more than a mile across the city from the police station where shift change took place. The Sargent didn’t think it necessary to take a side arm as he only had a couple of blocks to walk on a quick trip. As he walked into the store he realized he had walked into the middle of an armed robbery in progress. He swung his milk carrier with 6 empty glass milk bottles in it and struck one of the robbers. The robbers ran out of the store and the Sgt. told the store clerk to call it in and gave chase on foot. Police were able to apprehend the men a short time later.

            The police chief suspended the Sargent from his job for 5 days without pay for his failure to be armed. Then on Police Week the following Spring, the State gave the Sargent a Medal for Actions Above and Beyond for his quick thinking in foiling the robbery in spite of not being armed.

            When you are a sworn officer of the law, carry is frequently NOT a choice, but part of the job; even if the trip is to church on Sunday morning with the spouse and children.

      • OldEnuff2KnoBetr

        Good call. You just never know when one of the old farts might get lippy on ya.

      • Susan P

        Perhaps a bit of education of the parents is called for. I was a police officer in the 1970s and my dept required that I carry 24/7 if I left my home. My Mom was visiting from another state and objected to the snub nose .38 I tucked into an inside waistband holster just before leaving the house for a shopping trip. I patiently explained that I could NOT leave the firearm at home or I would risk a suspension from my job. I further explained that I was a well trained adult and this was a part of my responsibility to my community. She still didn’t like it, but she never again mentioned her “aversion” to firearms. Perhaps it would be better to get them to accept your reasons to carry instead of continuing to attempt to hide if from them.

      • patriot 86

        Nice job’ since you are a peace officer let me get your take on what’s going on with the police getting military vehicles to go after constitutionalists ‘ are you in favor of disarming the law abiding citizen and what do you think is the percentage of cops who will fire on their own townspeople if obama orders them too.

        • Casey Smith

          I’ve been a LEO for about twelve years, and I live right next to a bunch of constitutionalists. I’ve tried to befriend them, because I love the constitution and I’m an avid hunter, but they take potshots at me whenever I drive by. If Obama wants to go after them, he’s welcome to it, but I’d use an armored van and lots of kevlar. They are all excellent shots!

          • FistFuck

            You are a damn liar troll Casey Smith!

          • Kyllein MacKellerann

            And you, sir, are a Troll.

          • SigGuy

            How in the world are you making a mutually exclusive comparison between “constitutionalists” and you being LEO? Where’s the conflict? If you are a constitution loving LEO, then you admire, respect, and appreciate responsible citizens being well armed. What exactly is their beef with you, or your beef with them?

        • Susan P

          As a former LEO I can tell you that most police officers are Constitutionalists themselves. They take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies; both foreign and domestic” and most are avowed Oath Keepers. The majority will disobey a direct order before they will violate the Constitution. The rest don’t deserve to wear the badge.

      • Dale Winston

        I respect that you’re a trained officer, but when your parents say wearing a gun makes them uncomfortable, maybe just take it off for a bit? When I visit my folks, they ask me to take my shoes off. I don’t stuff my shoes in my pockets while they aren’t looking. It’s just the common courtesy that true Americans are known for.

        • Wisenheimer

          He’s not dragging his gun across their carpets after stepping in pee in the men’s room. He’s carrying as part of his job.and because he’d like to protect his parents if he ever has to. (Just like the woman in Luby’s in 1991 wanted to but couldn’t because she left her gun in the car.)

      • Kyllein MacKellerann

        Have you ever considered explaining that as a Police Officer, you wear a big fat target on your back 24-7 and if they want their son to stay alive, they’ll understand why you go around armed.

      • peddler

        If you have to carry to visit you parents. Maybe you are the one with a problem.

      • Guest

        Phil, thank you for your service to your community. So sorry you have to hear the comments from the uninformed. If I was an officer I would always have one on me. I’m not and I still have one on me 80% of the time.I deal with drug addicts, prostitutes, paroles, etc. If we stop helping in our communities these folks would be surprised to see how much crime would really be in their streets. My parents don’t care for mine but I just conceal and enjoy the family time. They all know I’ll be the first to save them from anything. Keep up the good work.

    • patriot 86

      yup mine are non violent as well except to varmints and deer .

      • George L.

        Mine went off in my pants. I can never forgive it for that…

    • Undertaker

      Well, it is true that suicide rates drop significantly when some gun control laws are implemented. And Australia had pretty high rates of gun violence until gun control laws were passed. They didn’t ban guns, just bought back certain types (handguns/pistols and automatic rifles, mostly). Gun death rates dropped from 685 (in 1979) a year to 188 a year (in 2011). And the US’s rate of gun violence is much higher than any other developed nation. I love guns as much as the next person, but maybe we should relax about gun control so people won’t treat us like crazy gun-hoarding maniacs.

      • Doctor Scott

        My wife said the same kinds of things because she wanted to get rid of my guns when my daughter shot herself with one. You are being oppressed if you let the governemnt take away your guns. In australia they’re a socialist country and they’re gradually stealing all the people’s rights. I’ve met tons of australians and they all say they hate the government and want to go to the US. It’s because we’re actually a free nation, despite Obama’s attempts to make us less free

      • Susan P

        Are you making that up as you type? I have a friend who lives in New South Wales and she had an inoperable shotgun that had belonged to her Grandfather. It was the only memento of his that she had and it was used as a wall decoration. The police in Australia demanded that she turn it in when individual ownership of firearms was BANNED. She asked what would happen if she kept it on the wall instead and they told her if she tried she would be jailed. A few years later her husband died and I spoke to her on the phone. She was terrified at that time because a “new” crime wave was hitting Australia hard. Gangs of armed people were invading home while the family was at the dinner table, stealing anything they saw that they liked, raping the women in front of their male family members and then killing everyone in the house to avoid leaving witnesses. I did some research on illegal firearms in Australia at that time and found estimates of more than a million semi-auto rifles (AK-47s) had been smuggled into Australia on the black market after the ban was in place. Use you head for something other than a hat rack; those black market guns were in the hands of criminals.

        Nothing good ever came from preventing people from defending themselves.

      • Rational Peace Officer

        The per capita homicide rate in the USA doesn’t even score in the top 100 countries, per the FBI. But don’t let fact interfere with emotional drivel.

    • Dk

      I believe y’all spend way too much time on this shit. Kinda pathetic. As long as people are safe, why would you care what anyone calls anything? “This dude asked for a box of bullets today. What an idiot, bro.” Give me a break. How lame to care about something so innocent. Would rather be ignorant than some arrogant douche.

    • tb tactical

      After reading you comment I thought I would put your hypothesis to the test. I took an AR15 and an AK47 removed their slings for ease if movement and put them in a boxing ring to duke it out. I have now scientifically proved that firearms are not violent. You see they just sat there and looked at eack other.

  • Paladin

    A note on the silencer vs. suppressor bit, the original Maxim sound moderator was called the Maxim Silencer, thus the term silencer predates the term suppressor, even though suppressor may be a more accurate description of the effect of such a device.

  • Rickus Rockus

    I am a shotgun instructor and avid duck hunter. It drives me CRAZY when someone asks for bullets for their shotgun! Grown men that have hunted for years do this! That is as bad as someone saying they put STRING on their fishing rod and reel. It is LINE not string!

    • jim

      i agree,but you don’t re-line your reel you re-string it! lol

      • Sarge

        Jim…you “Respool your fishing line” lol.

  • Fieldkorn

    If “assault weapon” is the catch phrase for anti-gun extremists than “clip” verses “magazine” and “suppressor” verses “silencer” are what gets the goat of hardcore gun cranks. In truth, Clip and Magazine are routinely and fairly attributed interchangeable words. Even the “NRA Firearms Factbook” second edition (page 89) says as much. As for silencer verses suppressor, the author correctly notes how the ATF deals with the subject and I have frequently seen manufacturers of the devices use the term both ways with their on-line catalogs. It’s all very similar to what crossbow owners say is a “bolt” when the absolute correct term is still “arrow.” Firearms manufacturers and even owners don’t help the cause when they refer to such firearms as the old Browning A5 as the “Browning Auto 12″ or the .410 as a gauge when it’s actually a caliber. Oh, and just how often have you heard a deer hunter use the term “horns” when he or she really means “antlers?” And what’s this about the use of the word “magnum?” What makes the 7mm Remington a magnum but not the .30-06 or the .223 or, well, any other caliber? And only until recently when the marketing gurus at Remington and the National Shooting Sports Foundation began labeling “black rifles” as “Modern Sporting Rifles” these firearms were simply lumped together as ARs. As for “pistol,” I only have to refer to the “NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting” which states “Today, the term ‘revolver’ universally refers to a type of pistol with a rotating cylinder.” Okay, then, what makes one shooting piece a “weapon” and the next a “weapon?” Confused? Don’t be; just remember: You say “toe-mah-toe” and I say “toe-may-toe.”

    • Phil P

      My dad carried a .45 caliber semi-auto handgun during WW 2, and he is damn certain that the thing that holds the projectiles inside the grip is a ‘clip’. He has a M of H and a few Purple Hearts so I just thank him for correcting me.

      • matthew

        Good man. Even if he’s wrong, he’s earned it, and that’s the right thing to do.

  • John

    “Tactical” undefined in terms of clothing and firearms. Denotes a “wannabe”. However, millions of GIs were specifically taught that the things that held cartridges in the firearms they carried were called “clips”. Normally usage is accepted as a means of making an addition to a definition. There is no discernible harm done by referring to that piece of gear as a clip. Note:
    from Webster’s New World College Dictionary-
    magazine noun

    1.a place of storage, as a warehouse, storehouse, or
    military supply depot
    2. a space in which ammunition and explosives are stored,
    as a building or room in a fort, or a section of a warship
    3. a supply chamber, as a space in or container on a rifle
    or pistol from which cartridges are fed, or a space in or container on a
    camera from which a protected roll of film is fed
    4. the things kept therein………………………….

  • Skip McGarvey

    My term I hate is KICK, A mule and your wife kicks, a gun recoils.

    • Joseph wand

      Haha that reminds me of when a mule kicked my wife and she kicked back. it was the most beautiful day of my life

  • TruthNLogic

    I had to vote for Assault Rifle vs. Assault Weapon vs. Semi-automatic rifle. The deceitful misuse of the term Assault Rifle and the use of a made-up phrase like Assault Weapon, a phrase deliberately crafted to mislead an uninformed segment of the populace, all in an effort to erode the rights of free people has got to be the worst possible misuse of terms. The widespread use and dissemination of this deception by the press, whose ethics require the reporting of the news without distorting the facts, only adds to the evils created by the deceit propagated by the misuse of these terms.

    • eric thees

      An Assault weapon is any weapon a criminal uses to assault someone it could be a baseball bat. For the rest of us law abiding citizens they are Defense Weapons.

  • petru sova

    I would suggest the gun writer pay attention to history and recently Mark Keefe of the National Rifle Association. The two words Clip and Magazine are 100 per cent interchangeable had have been for over 100 years. Army manuals describing the original 1911 pistol in 1911 state that it had a 7 round clip. Today Magazine has come to mean a fixed feeding device like a tubular magazine in a .22 rim fire or a tubular magazine in a pump or auto shotgun. Clip had come to mean a detachable feeding device weather it has a spring or not.

    • Theodore

      Thanks for the distinction, this is the most helpful thing I’ve read on the subject. So I guess this means when I reload my M1 Garand I am stuffing the clip into the magazine? That is funny.

      • petru sova

        It might indeed be somewhat humorous but it is an accurate description.

    • G Alexander

      Army manuals can’t be wrong. Sometimes a ship’s ‘clip’ explodes (remember, ‘100% interchangeable’). You even contradict yourself by defining each term differently in your post.

    • Noble Solider

      They are not interchangable AT ALL! You read a magazine, you shoot with a clip. That is not interchangeable. If they were intrechangable, you could use both and they would always mean the same Exact thing. But they don’t. What if I was talking to a buy and I asked him to give me a magazine? He ‘d give me a Vogue or a Hot Topic or whatever this generation thinks they’re entitled too, not an actual CLIp. If you walk into a gun store and you start using clip and magazine, people will think you want to read. If you use magazine you might get shot, too. But more importantly it will be confusing because they are not interrchangeble. Thank you for your time in reading this.

  • steelshooter

    I believe it is “assault rife” the media call almost everything an assault rifle. An assault rifle is one that can be fired in full automatic mode.

    • Kyllein MacKellerann

      And an assault weapon is that lump between your ears. Another assault weapon is on the end of your arm.
      The Anti-‘s don’t care, they just want their Hoplophobia out and in the air.

  • BubbysGrampa

    the first “assault weapon” in a real sense was probably the trapdoor Springfield, but our LSM seems bent on scaring the crap out of the general public over us ‘gun-nuts’ who use clips to put bullets in our automatic AK-47s and AR-15s

    • Captain Bob

      Actually, the first “assault weapon” was the stone that Cain used to kill Abel.

  • Al

    News media saying auto for semi-auto!

  • Michael

    The uniformed press calls semi-auto guns “auto”. Implying that they are fully automatic. I never hear the term semi used.

  • DerMann

    Maxim Silencers were first made during the early 20th century – making suppressors for everything from civilian .22LR rifles to the M1903 Springfield. To this day they produce silencers for various other industrial applications. While it’s not technically as correct as suppressor, silencer is not a modern contrivance nor is it purely slang. That being said, I do prefer suppressor, but I don’t think it’s fair to say linguistically that the term silencer is purely slang.

    • ABeagleKnots

      “Silencer” is a historical trademark for sound suppressors, which is arguably misleading (except tht the misleading is by Hollywood, not the term) and has a legitimate use as a nickname for suppressors. Much like “escalator” is a former trademark, now a proper generic term for moving staircases.

      • Llama

        Suppressor is a nickname for silencer. When you invent something, you get to name it. Maxim named it the silencer. Its a silencer. Legally, its a silencer. I love it when people say its not a silencer, its a suppressor. Those are the people you know dont own one, or know anything about them. like you.

  • Tobey Blanton

    I don’t care whether people call it a clip or a mag…..the important thing is we are talking about my favorite subject, firearms !!! The silencer thing is pretty important…..silencer brings up visions of mobsters and hit men to the people not in the know…..suppressor sounds more loveable ………

  • ABeagleKnots

    “Packing Heat” is the most abused phrase. I have never seen it used by a objective source, only by those hostile to the right to carry.

    • Undertaker

      I know! It’s like they want us to think that guns make fire and burn down houses. It’s as if we’re automatically carrying a bomb in our pockets, or a lighter or some kind of flammable material. Kerosene or something. It’s like we’re carrying kerosene in our pockets. They’ll start blaming arson cases on us next. I had a friend who owns guns and the local (anti-gun) police tried to get him arrested for arson just because he had guns. They said it was because they found DNA evidence, but he would never have hurt anybody. But he was “packing heat”, so he had to go to jail. He changed after jail, too. They hurt him in there for being a gun owner and white and American. It’s amazing what kind of racism happens to a white guy in prison. And it’s never even called racism because you can do anything to a white guy nowadays, especially if they were a heat-packer! If I didn’t love the US so much I would move to Canada and live among the maple-syrup-suckers who have no gun laws by the way

  • ABeagleKnots

    “Packing Heat” is the most abused phrase. I have never seen it used by a objective source, only by those hostile to the right to carry.

  • Philip McMillen

    The local news loves to use the term “high caliber” when referring to anything bigger than a .22. Thereis no such term. There are high powered and low powered firearms and large caliber and small caliber ones but no high caliber. They usually use it to describe so-called “assault rifles” which the media must believe fire high powered cartridges, which, of course they don’t. The media sometimes uses the “high caliber” tag to refer to handguns used in crimes. I wonder if any of them know that the average deer rifle is much more powerful than the ARs or AKs they seem to fear so much.

  • adverse

    Some days it gives me a headache. My pistol has a magazine, my shotgun has a tubular magazine, my revolver has chambers, all I really need to know, is the sucker loaded?

    • Tony

      You mean….. Does it carry to full or partial capacity, it’s matching caliber loads of ammunition?

      Lol im an asshole, i know….

  • Hauptmann

    It irks me when I hear someone refer to a semi auto as a “revolver”. I’ve even heard attorneys say this in court.

  • Curt

    Seriously….? This is not worth the 60 seconds it took me to read it. Assault Rifle vs Assault Weapon…? Who the heck cares if someone inadvertently missuses the terms. I’m an engineer and I hear people misuse engineering technical terms all day long. I don’t get my panties in a wad or hold it over their head as if I am superior. My suggestion is to grow up and realize nobody knows everything. I misused the word clip and magazine for years as a youth. Does that make me an idiot or firearms stupid? If so, then I’m sure I can find a topic I can make you look like an idiot. Put your big boy pants on please. Then, go practice your aim.

    • EasyCharles

      It doesn’t make you stupid it just means you’re siding with Obama and the libtards. They’re getting inside your head and if you stop caring bout the proper right true terms, they will have more bullets to shoot us with. I mean cartridges. Dammit I always screw that one up

      • Wisenheimer

        You were correct the first time but you should have said “bullets to shoot at us with”. The bullet is the only part of the cartridge we get hit with (unless we’re close enough for GSR)..

  • Shane Adams

    Gun vs rifle. If somebody calls a rifle a gun they are wrong. There is a distinct difference between a rifle and a gun. A gun is a general term used to describe all firearms. But a rifle is a spacifice firearm called such do to the lands and groves in a barrel of such

  • 243WIN

    Ive had too many people mistake firearms for weapons. That is a huge concern to me as i own lots of firearms.

  • bigjpop

    You forgot “30 clip magazine” “ghost gun” and “illegally produced firearm.” Terms we are all too familiar with here in California. By “30 clip magazine” the anti-gunners are referring to 30 round magazines which are already banned in California, yet they all think people just run down to the local gun store and buy 30 round magazines. By “ghost gun” and “illegally produced firearm” the anti-gunners mean legally produced home-made firearms which have no serial number or registration (which is currently legal in most states). It’s important to know the anti-gunners lexicon so we can fight them in the legislatures and in the court of public opionion.

  • Tacitus X

    A pistol is a handgun with an integrated firing chamber and barrel. A revolver is therefore not a pistol since it has a revolving cylinder with multiple chambers.

  • david broxson

    great article

  • RonCade

    At the risk of being called a wise guy or something similar, “Other” gets my vote. The most misused gun term is The Second Amendment. Every gun control “law” is an illegal infringement on our ordained right to keep and bear a gun. It is a lengthy writing to prove all gun laws are illegal so everyone should read each complete thought in The Constitution. The axioms are abundant throughout the reading. We all should live with a high level of fear until every one of these oppressive laws are repealed. We in the U.S.A. are not free with any of these laws in effect. Cheers! Long live The Republic.

    • Mr. Octopus

      You’re right! People never respect The Second Amendment. And we aren’t free! The Founding Fathers said we should be able to have as many muzzle-loading muskets as we want! And we are oppressed until they let us have them. The Second Amendment is very clear that we should be able to stockpile muskets in case the government attacks us. We are living in a state of fear until we are allowed to prepare for imminent government attack! God Bless the United States of America and Fight This Oppression

      • Wisenheimer

        The term “musket” is not present in the Second Amendment. Your “humor” needs a little work.

      • Equality7-2521

        It would absolutely FLOOR you to learn that, at the time that the Constitution was written, some *private* *citizens* owned RIFLES which were more accurate than what the military used for weapons. Still others owned SHIPS with CANNONS aboard. Yeah, the Second Amendment, if interpreted *correctly* allows for “We, the People” to arm ourselves with ANYTHING we damn well please.

        We CERTAINLY don’t need your ignorant rantings.

  • Wolfsbane

    This is bullshit. I was hearing semiautomatic rifles that resembled their military weapon counterparts referred to as assault rifles in the late 1970s when I was in elementary school by my friends and other people who were into guns. Both by adults and kids.

    “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles’ so as to allow an attack on as many additional firearms as possible on the basis of undefined ‘evil’ appearance.”

    • 777Warrior

      I don’t even approve of the term weapon. A sword is a weapon because it is only used for assaults. Guns are used for lots of things that aren’t hurting people. You can go hunting or shoot bottles and keep them in a cabinet and they will never become a weapon

  • NickG

    In the UK military the term gun only pertains to a shotgun or a machine gun. Describing pistols or rifles or assault rifles as guns, is seen as naff. A machine gun team – usually 2 man – is referred to as a ‘gun group’.

    Collectively the term small arms or weapons would be used. Though of course weapon can refer to pretty much anything in the military arsenal.

    Clips are things girls put in their hair. Though when I was in the cadets in the 70s we were issued 303 No4 rifles and the 10 round magazines of these battle rifles were loaded from two, five round clips.

  • miker

    ONLY criminals and soldiers have weapons…we only have guns…some of our guns were weapons, my M1 was a weapon in WWII, then went to Korea and continued as a weapon, then, was rebarreled, reimported to my fav gunshop and sold to me for $300 as a GUN, not a weapon, Most of us have never owned a weapon which could be anything, please do object for the record when you are accused of ‘possession of a weapon’ by saying something like, ‘What makes you think my gun is a weapon, where is the victim?’ You might want to also say ‘Objection your Honor, ADA may not testify for the record without firsthand knowledge, I move everything she just said be stricken from the record, is it stricken your honor?’ …look it up in Blacks…Weapon…victim…warrant…witness…ect
    Learn legalise…it may save your hyde…

    • 777Warrior

      You are right. Weapon is an inherently hurtful term that makes it sound as if all gun (underlined) owners, just gun owners, are trying to hurt people. A weapon is something that was made to kill people or could be used to kill a person. Guns were made not to kill but to bring enjoyment to owners who care about them and want to protect their families. They try to pull wool over your face with Lawspeak (It’s like Newspeak, just watch when the government uses Lawspeak or Newspeak instead of American English) and make you look like a murderer so libtards can screw you over in favor of all the blacks (not racist) and Hispanic-Asians who are using the guns in their gangs. I’m sorry but I have never hurt more than one or two persons with a gun in my life, and you want to paint me as a WEAPON owner? Once you’re in the court before a jury of your “peers”, it’s all about taking your guns and getting you in prison for daring to exercise your free rights as a citizen.

  • Bob

    According to Wikipedia, an assault rifle must have selective firing, so in terms an assault rifle can be fired in single, burst, or automatic. A worst mistake is people who mis-used the term automatic, semi-automatic and manual fire guns without knowing the difference between them.

  • Kyllein MacKellerann

    I voted the “Assault Rifle etc” because it is the most misused term I’ve heard. Simple fact: the Anti-Firearm people don’t know the difference, even if it has been explained to them. Call it deliberate ignorance.
    FACT: The original Assault Weapon is nestled between your ears; the second most original assault weapon is at the end of your arm. Firearms are a distant fifth or sixth; and it’s FIREARMS, not Guns. GUNS the large bore weapons found on ships, sized in multiples of inches, not fractions of an inch. Also called Naval Rifles/ Cannon
    (Had to get that off my chest)

  • Lydell Brown

    Lol “Assault Weapon” that’s pretty redundant.

    • 777Warrior

      Yeah, if you believe the media. We all know the media has an agenda. They would call guns assaultguns or murderguns if they could get away with it (maybe they will!). They think by putting those words together, they’ll get us to think of guns as inherently evil. Only people are evil because we have more sin than other animals. But a gun is not sinful, it is only metal and plastic and wood and animal fur.

  • MildBill

    I think the term “silencer” is totally inaccurate. . . Nothing I have seen silences a live round going off even if it is a subsonic round below 1150 FPS (I think), and definitely not any supersonic rounds. . . The term “suppressor” should never be used as a stand alone description and should be superseded by “noise” or “flash” suppressor, which are two totally different functions.. . The term “clip” used instead of mag or magazine should be used as a early warning device for others not to be around those folks with live ammo !

  • a-a-ron

    How about .45 LC? There is no 45 long colt or 45 short colt just 45 Colt.

  • brian

    guns….smooth bore ? Rifles…lands and grooves..etc.. now everything is a gun.

  • Juli Weatherhead

    I enjoy introducing “newbies” to shooting. Yesterday, I took an experienced shooter, and his younger brother clay shooting. I showed him all the parts of my shotguns, proper terminology, use etc. He began shooting clays, and did really well. Had a great time. In October, my wife and I took a young couple out to shoot clays. They were new to it. She (who was 9 months pregnant!) had been a college b-ball player, he was a college rugby player. They picked it up quick. (athletes seem to). Then in November (when her baby was barely 3 weeks old), we had a clay target shoot, for our church group. It was a best out of 5 competion. This new couple won. He shot 5/5, she shot 3/5. I believe that we, as shooters, need to expose the sport to others, not keep it all to ourselves. This includes teaching proper ettiquette, safety, and terminology. Mike Weatherhead, Safford AZ

  • Mazakdude

    I would also like to “caliber” to the list of misused terms. For example a .38 caliber bullet. The bullet is Hebert .354-.357. The groove diameter is generally the same as the bullet ar maybe just a smidge different. The bore diameter is considerably smaller. It is the cartridge case that is closest to .38 at .379. Perhaps the caliber designation is related to the parent case the .38 long colt.

    • Mazakdude

      Disregard the Herbert. Don’t know where that came from.

  • Robert

    You people continue to whine about people ‘mis-using’ terms…(it happens in every industry), stop making a big deal about it. Why don’t we make a bigger deal about real data that supports owning a firearm. It’s embarrassing to be around pro-gun people who correct every minute point. We will lose if we keep arguing irrelevant information.

  • Michael R

    In Suppressor Vs. Silencer, I refer to what the creator called it. The “Maxim Silencer”.

  • Hunter Lee Elliott

    Well, they almost got it right. The correct term for silencer is silencer. American inventor Hiram Percy Maxim, the son of Maxim gun inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, invented the silencer and his company was the Maxim Silencer Company. If you invent it, you get to name it. Also, the ATF considers pistols are not revolvers.

  • Dan Marchildon

    How about “gun deaths?” Not that it really matters how someone is killed plus is the gun the reason someone was killed or would the victim have ben killed even if no gun was present. I argued this with an anti-gun friend who yammers about the percentage of domestic violence cases where a spouse was killed by someone with a gun. I always ask – if no gun was present would the spouse still have been killed? Was alcohol involved? That usual gets them to sputter and shut up.

  • Jeff Frichette

    The internal diameter or bore of a gun barrel is actually the definition of “caliber”.

  • 777Warrior

    I would say most of gun terms get misused when the clearly librel-biased media (not against them, just saying) gets its hands on them. “Assault rifle”, “assault weapon”, “pistol”, “weapon”, “assault with a deadly weapon”, “armed and dangerous”, and even the words “guns violence” (just a history lesson for you, the idea of gun violence didn’t exist until the media made up the Columbine conspiracy. Guns never hurt anybody except in the case of defending your country, which isn’t even murder). Guns have never hurt anybody. Guns do NOT kill people. A gun is sitting there by itself and cannot kill anyone unless a human person picks it up and shoots somebody with it. If there were no guns, true, nobody would shoot anybody, but if there were no people, nobody would shoot anybody either. Just try to outlaw people! Oh wait, I forgot that our inefficient libral-controlled (not that it’s bad, it’s just the way it is) government is trying to do just that.

    • Goldie Lookin’ Chain

      Guns don’t kill people, rappers do

      • 777Warrior

        That’s not fair, I’m a rap hobbyist. I’ve got a lot of good mixtapes with songs that DEFENd guns instead of promoting liberal ideas or gun control

  • Master Chef

    I think the absolute worstly appropriated gun-owner slur is tactical. They’re trying to make our weapons sound tactical so when we use them, we’re all planning mass murders. But I never use any tactics twice, burglars have broken into my house and my only tactic was “shoot him!” but it was actually a cat

  • Long Rifle

    Another misused term is “.45 Long Colt”…..there “ain’t” no such animal…..there’s .45 Colt, .45 Schofield, .45 ACP & .45 GAP………..

  • Monte Wright

    If you say “I support the Second Amendment,” followed by the word “but…” then you dont support the Second Amendment and are, in fact, part of the (uneducated/illogical) problem.
    There is no such thing as “resonable gun-control”. Its another liberal’s, made-up term just like “assult-weapon” which didnt exist before 1989.

  • dk

    Point blank range is the most misused term.

  • Wisenheimer

    Gun Safety, Gun Ban and Gun Control come to mind as some of the most misused terms.

  • slobotnavich

    One paragraph in this piece comments on the term suppressor vs silencer. When I was assigned to the so-called Studies and Observations Group (SOG) in ’67-68, we had an arms room with a huge selection of silenced SMGs, pistols, and one rather bizarre turn-bolt .32 ACP pistol with a six-shot magazine in the grip. The last was so quiet that if you fired it at a small party with perhaps 6-8 guests I doubt that anybody would even look up. The Mk. IV Sten also had a remarkably quiet silencer, the main noise from it being the bolt clattering back and forth. The old M3 “Greasegun” also could be equipped with a silenced barrel which was very effective, as could the so-called Swedish K many of us carried. Obviously, revolvers cannot be effectively silenced because of the barrel-cylinder gap, which allows a highly audible bark to escape even with the barrel capped with a silencing device. The only silencer I ever disassembled was from the Swedish K (officially called the M45B SMG); in contained several hundred fine wire-mesh discs with a 9mm hole cut in the center through which the bullets could pass. Once uncapping the device we couldn’t get the wire-mesh discs back into the tube of the silencer and quietly returned the weapon to the arms room. Obviously, to function effectively a silenced weapon requires sub-sonic ammunition, since above 1,090 fps (at sea level) the sonic crack of the bullet makes a highly audible and disconcerting crack as it passes.

  • Reggie C

    I got a kick out of Extractor vs. ejector, then it goes on to say the extractor alone does not remove the “casing”. It’s supposed to be “case”. Casing is what surrounds hot dogs and sausages. I believe this is a very misused term.

  • Reggie C

    I noticed my first comment on the discussion did not appear to make it, so I’ll try again.
    I had wrote that I got a kick out of the extractor vs ejector when Mr. Wintersteen writes that it is not the extractor alone that removes the casing. “Casing”, isn’t that what is used in the making of hotdogs and sausages. The term is “case”. This term is misused a lot on tv cop shows, but I would not expect it from one who is writing an article about misused term.

  • snapshot

    here are my pet peeves. the term “pistol” when someone is talking about a revolver. and look at my “gun” .when i hear that it reminds me of the drill sergeant – “here is my rifle, here is my gun, this ones for killing , this ones for fun”

  • BillyM

    Clips and Magazines can be used synonymously. One early manufactures of removable magazines even called them “clips”. When the word is used, it sticks. Yes there are different kinds of “magazines” but in the final shots, does it matter?

  • exboyracer

    I bet you guys call an empennage a tail — what idiots!

  • Osage1956 .

    Call me a “purist” if you want, but the most misused term I am aware of is referring to any hand- or shoulder-held firearm as a “gun”. A gun is an artillery piece. I’ve still got the faint imprint of the toe of a boot near the southernmost point of my spine for calling my rifle a “gun”.

  • Robert Hatfield

    In the section Cartridge vs. Bullet vs. Caliber shouldn’t caliber be expressed in millimeters or thousandths of an inch as opposed to hundredths of an inch? I really enjoyed this topic. Thank you so much for clarification on some of the items I have had wrong for the past 2 scores.

  • Tony

    THEE most misused term is “Gun”!!! “Guns” are usually found in forts/citadels and onboard a gallion/war vessel…… A “gun” is another term for a Cannon… A piece of heavy artillery!
    The proper term is Firearm and/or Small arm.

    P.s: yes, the above does imply that the term “handgun” refers to a hand-held cannon….


  • bigish

    A pedantic and elitist piece–ironic considering most of the attacks on gun owners comes from pedants and elitists.

  • jaundon

    THe use of the word “silencer” is a bit more complicated than you mentioned. While I agree that “silencer” is a misnomer, it does provide a nice bit of disambiguation from “flash suppressors”. Given that there are two things on a firearm to suppress (the muzzle flash and the noise), “silencer” at least specifies your intent nicely.

  • saipan

    True pistol is single shot handgun such as those of the past. From Czech word pistala (meaning flute or clarinet which it resembles) Also invented in Bohemia during Husite wars in middle ages. Just like houfnice (houf = crowd of people) used in those day as a giant shotgun, now called howitzer.

  • saipan

    We hear words like “gunman” but never a knifeman, even if he killed 50 women with a knife like Robert Pickton and others. Most homicide in Canada don’t involve any firearms, ‘though most households have some firearms.

  • peddler

    BS. Just something else to cry about. Get a life.

  • Lonnie

    Using the term “gun” to describe a rifle! Gun usually denotes a handgun or SMOOTHBORE weapon!

  • David Bock

    Hiram Maxim referred to his invention as a silencer. Suppressor is a more modern term.

  • George L Smith III

    Anti-gun activists and politicians like to use the term “assault rifle” when defining semi-automatic rifles because the term is ambiguous and it instills FEAR in the minds of the uninformed.
    The progressive liberal news media LIE to the public by showing videos of fully automatic military firearms while discussing semi-automatic rifles, yet another scare tactic.
    The word “assault” is a verb implying an action, not a style of firearm.. take away the term assault and the fear of the item is diminished AND the action by politicians has changed from protecting you to removing your rights..

    Some laws are an assault on our freedoms doe’s that make the pen used is an assault pen?

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