Basic Gun Terminology

Ladies, are you often confused about the terms use in the firearm work? Here is a resource to help you understand the foreign language of the gun world.


Abbreviation for automatic colt pistol.

A firearm’s working mechanism (typically the receiver or frame and breech bolt) that facilitates its firing and loading/unloading. There are a variety of types of actions from single to automatic.

Abbreviated form of ammunition.

A complete assembly consisting of a case, a charge (gunpowder) and a projectile. Also known as fixed ammunition.

Firearm that continuously feeds cartridges, fires their bullets and ejects their empty cases.

The part of a pistol that is exposed at the rear of the grip.

The study of projectile motion and effects. In the case of guns, it refers to all factors that affect the bullet, including the velocity, trajectory, size of load, rifling, and more. Each weapon has its own unique “ballistic signature,” which leaves markings on the bullets. This allows police laboratories to determine whether two bullets were fired from the same weapon.

Benchrest (Shooting)

A competition where participants fire from a fixed shooting position in an attempt to place consecutive shots into the smallest possible grouping on a paper target. Typically it involves groups of at least 10 shots and at different target distances.

Bird Shot
Refers to shotgun projectiles that have a diameter less than .24″.

The earliest form of firearm propellant. Except for its use in antique guns, it has been replaced by higher pressure, smokeless powder.

Blank Cartridge
A cartridge containing a charge but no projectile. It is used for starter’s guns or for special uses such as in movies or theatre productions.

A gun’s blue or black metal finish that is the result of an acid bath. The coloration and protectant applied to barrels and other exposed metal parts on guns. 

A bullet with a tapered end to improve its long-range efficiency.

Body Armor
Vest type jacket worn by law enforcement or military personnel. It is usually made of light-weight, bullet resistive material such as Kevlar.

The interior of a firearm’s barrel excluding the chamber. The hole through the center of the barrel, through which the bullet travels. The bore may be smooth (shotguns and muskets) or rifled (rifles and handguns).

The rear part of a gun’s bore.

Buck Shot
Refers to shotgun projectiles that have a diameter 24″ or greater.

The projectile expelled from a gun, which is distinct from a cartridge. Bullets come in a variety of types and are usually composed of lead or lead that is shielded with a harder metal.

Describes the bottom part of a pistol grip and the rear or shoulder portion of a rifle or shotgun.

The diameter of a projectile for a rifled firearm or the interior diameter of a rifled barrel. In the U.S., the diameter is expressed in hundreds of an inch.

A single, complete round of ammunition consisting of a case, charge (propellant) and projectile (bullet).

Case, Casing
The material that surrounds and holds the charge (cartridge propellant) and/or projectile. It is typically made of brass.

The area of a firearm that holds a cartridge immediately prior to its being fired.

Charging Handle
A handle that cycles a semi or fully automatic firearm without discharging.

The diamond-shaped tool patterns that are cut into firearm grips.

A constriction at or near a shotgun muzzle. It is designed to control shot dispersion.

Popularly refers to a container that holds a group of cartridges, which may either be transferred or inserted into a firearm.

The hammer-like device on early firearms that set the weapon into firing position.

Cocking (a gun)
Pulling back a gun’s hammer into its firing position.

The portion of the stock where a shooter rests his or her cheek.

The sighting lines in a telescopic sight.

A drum-shaped component of a revolver that houses its ammunition.

An accessory, usually added to a rifle’s stock, to absorb the shock of recoil.

A very short-barreled (one or two shot) pocket pistol named after its inventor, Henry Derringer.

To fire a weapon.

A firearm that is fired either by manually cocking the weapon and then pulling the trigger or by using trigger action to both cock and fire the weapon.

Double-barreled Shotgun
A shotgun with two separate barrels allowing for two discharges before reloading.

Double-Set Trigger
A device consisting of one trigger which cocks and gun while the partner fires it.

Dry Firing
Discharging an unloaded firearm in order to become familiar with its operation.

A popular term for a cartridge that fails to fire after its primer is struck by the firearm’s firing pin. See “Hangfire.”

A mechanism that throws cases free of a firearm.

Expert Marksman
A highly-skilled shooter, capable of hitting any target falling within weapon range.

Exploding Bullet
A bullet with an explosive component that explodes under striking (ironically this feature severely reduces its ability to penetrate a target).

To move a live cartridge from a firearm’s magazine to its chamber.

Technically, any pistol, rifle, or shotgun that uses gunpowder to launch projectiles.

Firing Pin
The breech component that strikes the primer, igniting the cartridge.

Floor Plate
The bottom plate of a cartridge magazine that’s removable.

Floating Barrel
A barrel bedded to avoid contact with a gun’s stock.

The potion of a stock located under a firearm’s barrel.

Refers to a shotgun barrels bore size. The larger the number the smaller the bore. The gauge actually describes the number of lead balls the diameter of the bore that it would take to make a pound (e.g., a lead ball that would exactly fit the barrel of a 20-gauge shotgun would weigh 1/20 pound).

A unit of measure used for bullets or powder. One grain is equal to 1/7000 pound; equals a troy gain or 64.799 milligrams. A grain is not the same as a “granule” or piece of powder.

The part of the gun’s handle held by the hand that works the trigger.

Grip Safety
A locking device located on the grip, which unless depressed, prevents a discharge.

In the U.S., term may be applied to airguns, cannons, pistols, rifles and shotguns.

Gun Control
Typically refers to either existing or proposed laws involving firearm sales and ownership.

Gun Lock
The firearm mechanism responsible for exploding the primer (charge).

Gun Powder
Any powdered substance that can be ignited and is suited for propelling projectiles.

Gun Smith
A person skilled in making and repairing guns.

The firearm component that causes the firing pin to ignite a cartridge primer.

Hammer block
A safety device that separates the hammer from the firing pin until discharged.

A firearm with a frame design that conceals its firing pin and hammer.

A cartridge that has a delayed discharge due either to defective primer or a defective blow from a firing pin.

The base of a bullet or firearm stock.

A fairly recently coined term for persons with an irrational fear of weapons. Apparently pejorative, it comes from the Greek words for tool or weapon and fear.

A layer of material, metal or synthetic, which encloses the (typically lead) core of a bullet. 

The elongated hole caused when an unstable projectile strikes a target sideways.

See “Recoil.”

(Pronounced with a long “e”) Aiming in front of a moving target to compensate for the distance it will travel while the bullet or shot are on the way.

Remnants in a firearm bore that is left by fired bullets.

A firearm with a cartridge in its firing chamber.

Loading Gate
A hinged or spring loaded cover that, when opened, allows a firearm to be loaded or inloaded.

Machine Gun
A rifled firearm capable of automatically feeding, firing and ejecting high-powered cartridges. Typically only military ownership and use is permitted.

Refers to either a permanent or detachable, spring-loaded container for cartridges. It is often considered the same as a clip. One distinction is that, externally, a magazine appears to complete the firearm’s form, while a clip is an ammunition insert (or transfer device) that does not affect external appearance.

A strong spring – an energy storage device that operates the striker or hammer of a firearm.

When cartridge fails to fire due to it or a firearm being defective.

A cartridge’s open end that accepts a bullet.

A barrel’s open end that is a projectile’s exit.

Negligent Discharge
A term that is used to refer to unintended discharge of a firearm that causes bodily injury, property damage, etc. Gun advocates and proponents debate whether it should be synonymous with accidental discharge.

The forward point of a bullet.

NRA (National Rifle Association)
This organization is an advocate of the public’s right to own guns, provides training related to safe gun use, and sponsors firearm competitions on a national basis.

Partition Bullet
A two-chambered, jacketed bullet. The front portion expands on impact and the rear piece remains intact to ensure penetration.

Refers either to cloth used to clean a gun’s bore or a piece of leather or cloth that is wrapped around a bullet (round ball) before a ram rod is used to load it into a muzzle-loaded gun.

Any variety of gun, including revolvers, which may be readily held and fired in one hand.

Pistol Grip
The protrusion on the handgun, or on the buttstock or front portion of a shoulder-operated gun, that allows the weapon to be comfortably held by a hand.

Describes the very common practice of firing at various inanimate targets such as cans, bottles, etc.

The part of a cartridge that is ignited to propel a bullet.

Refers to the source that propels a projectile such as ignited powder charge in a firearm or, in pellet guns, compressed air or CO2.

Pump Action
An action that functions via a slide that moves parallel to the barrel. Rear motion acts as an ejector and forward motion loads and secures the weapon for firing.

The reactive, often violent, backwards force that occurs after a firearm has been fired.

A previously used cartridge that has been reassembled with a new charge and projectile.

Typically a pistol with a multi-chambered cylinder that rotates to line-up each chamber with a single barrel and firing pin.

Rim Fire.

A raised surface, that is located along the top of a gun barrel and is used as a sight.

A projectile that’s diverted in another direction after initial impact.

A shoulder gun having a barrel with a rifled bore.

Rifled Slug
A cylinder-shaped projectile designed to be fired by a shotgun.

Refers to cutting spiral grooves into a gun’s bore. This results in a projectile being spun when shot, creating a more accurate (stable) flight.

A cartridge with a rim that contains primer.

See “Cartridge.” Still used and refers to a bullet out of deference to the fact that they were round until the mid 18 century.

A firearm accessory designed to prevent discharge by locking the firing mechanism.

The part of a firearm that keeps a hammer cocked until the trigger is pulled.

A firearm that, with each pull of a trigger, fires, ejects and reloads a single cartridge.ets.

A shoulder gun with smooth-bored barrel(s) that is designed to fire shells filled with multiple projectiles which vary in size. The projectiles spray out when shot, resulting in a weapon that is effective at close-range.

A misnomer for an illegal firearm accessory that, when attached to a muzzle, substantially reduces the noise made by the discharge.

A gun mechanism that requires ammunition to be manually loaded in the gun’s chamber before each discharge.

A competition where participants, armed with shotguns, test their ability to hit fragile clay targets that are launched into the air at different angles, planes, and heights.

See “Pump Action.”

The strap attached to a rifle to aid in carrying the weapon.

Sling Swivel
The metal part that attaches a sling to a rifle.

Small Arms
Firearms designed for use by an individual or individuals.

Typically refers to a revolver with an unusually short barrel.

Soft Point
A bullet with a metal jacket but an exposed nose which allows it to expand upon hitting a target.

Attempting to hit a target by rapidly firing a large amount of ammunition.

A cartridge with a missing or inadequate powder charge, that fires the bullet only partway down the barrel.

The firearm component to which a barreled action is attached. It allows a firearm to be held and used.

The portion of a receiver that extends behind the hammer and fits into a stock.

Telescopic Sight
A small arms sight that uses optical lenses that provides a magnified view.

The manually operated firearm component that causes its discharge.

Trigger Locks
Devices such as blocks or covers which deny access to a pistol’s trigger.

A measure of a projectile’s speed in the direction it has been fired.

Refers to an object’s use, rather than nature; so a weapon is any item that is used in offensive or defensive combat.

Weaver Stance
A special shooting style where pistols are gripped with both hands to minimize the effects of recoil, increasing accuracy.

The farthest distance at which a projectile accurately hits its target or the practice of properly aligning a firearm’s sights.

Now that you know the terminology, take a look at some concealed carry purses with dedicated space for your handgun.


  • Diana West

Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling

NRA Rules for Gun Safety

Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling

 Basic Firearm Safety Rules for Safe Gun Handling

Rule 1: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

This is the single most important rule of gun safety. This rule means that a gun must always be pointed so that even if it were unintentionally discharged, it would not cause injury or damage. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending upon the circumstances. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times.




Rule 2: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

A pistol cannot fire if it is unloaded. Your trigger finger should always be straight, alongside the frame and out of the trigger guard, until you have made the decision to shoot. Unintentional discharges can be caused when the trigger of a loaded gun is press by a finger left in the trigger guard instead of being positioned straight along the side of the gun’s frame.




Rule 3: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

A pistol cannot fire if it is unloaded. A firearm that is not being used should always be unloaded. For example, a firearm that is stored in a gun safe should be unloaded unless it is a personal protection firearm that may need to be accessed quickly for defensive purposes. As a general rule, whenever you pick up a firearm, you must immediately point it in a safe direction, with the trigger finger off the trigger open the action, and visually and physically inspect the chamber to determine if the gun is loaded or not.




Common major causes of firearm accidents are.

    • Ignorance (lack of knowledge) regarding rules of safe gun handling and of the proper and safe way to operate a pistol.
    • Carelessness (poor or improper attitude) leading to a failure to apply the rules of safe gun handling. 

Knowing these rules, following them, and insisting other follow them at all times will help keep you and your family safe. But, gun safety goes well beyond the "Big Three." Here are eight other gun safety tips that you should know...and pass on to everyone in your family.

This short video Introduction to Range Safety and Etiquette - Firearm Safety is a great introduction to firearms safety rules and etiquette at the indoor range and for experienced shooters a great reminder.  

Need a concealed carry purse to carry your firearm? Take a look at some very popular styles!

  • Diana West

Top 3 Places to Purchase a Concealed Carry Purse

It's in the Bag Boutique

Ladies, are you in need of a concealed carry purse? Do you know where to find the best selection and price? Here are the top 3 places to purchase a concealed carry handbag, purse, crossbody, hobo, shoulder style, and tote bag with a separate dedicated pocket for a handgun.

Where to Buy the Best Concealed Carry Purses

Number 1 - It's in the Bag Boutique

It's in the Bag Boutique

Don’t know what style concealment gun purse you are looking for? It's in the Bag Boutique offers one of the widest selections of concealed carry purses, women's holsters and women's range bags. Some of the brands you will find are Coronado Leather, Gun Tote'n Mamas and Montana West, just to name a few. You will also love their new line of ultra stylish Miss Conceal purses. These conceal carry purses offer a sophisticated look that's perfect for the modern woman with a classic sense of style. With contemporary, practical and always popular designs like the shoulder bag, hobo, messenger and even small tote and crossbodies, they make it easy to keep your handgun close without calling attention to yourself for anything other than having a great sense of style. 

Looking for Cute Leather Concealed Carry Purses?

Number 2 - Amazon Online Shopping Retailer


Amazon offer many styles of designer concealed carry purses out on the market as well. This large retailer offers the program “Amazon Prime” in which members receive unlimited fast shipping, such as FREE Two-Day shipping. The membership fee for Amazon Prime is only $99 per year. Whether your budget is limited or not, Amazon consistently works toward maintaining competitive prices on everything they carry. Sellers are constantly in competition against one another to offer the lowest price so their product is positioned in the “buy box”. Before purchasing, you can check out the many reviews on each purse left by other customers. This large retailer is very appealing to many women. 

Searching for a Concealed Carry Purse that Fits Your Firearm?

Number 3 - Ebay 


Ebay has a huge selection of concealed carry purses. You can find lots of styles of concealed carry purses on eBay, whether you have something specific in mind or you're just looking around. It all starts with registration. Just provide your name and email address and create a user ID and password. There are lots of ways to buy on eBay. The two most popular ways are the auction-style listings where you bid against other members, or the Buy It Now listings for buying something right away at a set price. Many women prefer the set price. Once you've found a concealment purse you're interested in, read the description carefully to find out which payment methods the seller accepts. Most accept PayPal because it's fast and convenient. And it's especially good for you, because PayPal protects your eBay purchases against fraud and other problems.


There you have it ladies. Using one of the popular avenues should enable you to find just the conceal and carry purse that fits your firearm and one that you absolutely fall in love with.




  • Diana West

What Are the Top 10 Guns Women Purchased in 2016?

Guns for Women

Are you a women in search of the right gun for your safety and protection?

Unfortunately, in the world today, we know there is the possibility of others causing harm to our families.  Violent crimes are reported on a daily basis.  Will there ever be an end to this way of life?

Best Concealed Carry Guns for Small Hands

Women do not want or need to become victims.  Women are realizing there may be times we will need to defend ourselves.  Preparation is the key. Many women today want to take control and responsibility for their own safety.

Best Handguns for Women

Because there are so many excellent guns on the market to choose from, it can be an over whelming task for many women. Women need to take in account their hand size, trigger finger length, hand strength and upper body strength when making their selections. We all know that there is no one right gun for all women, but knowing what women across the country are buying can help. Take a look at this list helps to narrow down the possibilities. This list was complied from a survey of 1100 women and from The Well Armed Woman holster sales of 2016.


Number 1 - Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield


 Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield

Number 2 - Glock 43

Glock 43

Number 3 - Sig Sauer P238

Number 4 - Ruger LC9s

Ruger LC9s

Number 5 - Glock 42


Number 6 - Ruger LCP

Ruger LCP


Number 7 - Sig Sauer P938

Sig Sauer P938


Number 8 - Springfield XDS

Springfield XDS

Number 9 - Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380

Number 10 - Glock 19

Glock 19

  • Diana West

Gun Owners Share Why They Carry a Firearm

I carry a gun. I will not be a victim.

Why Do Some Men and Women Choose to Carry a Gun?

Gun owners, especially females, are regularly presented with this particular question.

Here are some of their responses.

  1. I carry a firearm to protect myself from possible harm. I’m empowered. I am equal as any man. I am a girl.
  2. I carry everywhere I go because in the world with the evil that’s in it… you never know when your life may be in danger.
  3. The average police response time -10 mins. Average time of interaction between criminal and victim -90 seconds. This is what I own a gun.
  4. There’s a secret compartment in my purse where I carry my gun. I will never be a victim again.
  5. I legally carry a firearm on me all the time because it’s my responsibility to protect my kids if the situation comes up.
  6. I’m a women and I carry a gun because I refuse to be a victim.
  7. I took the personal oath of being a gun owner and an American to protect those around me. I would sacrifice my life to save a stranger in the time of danger.
  8. My ccw license came in finally. I feel so much safer being able to legally carry a firearm on me.
  9. You rely on cops and good faith to protect your family. I rely on my guns and dogs to protect mine.
  10. I carry not because I am evil… but because I have lived long enough to know that evil in the world

Find more anonymous gun owner confessions on The Blaze click here. To shop for a concealed carry purse, handbag or gun holster purse be sure to visit IT'S in the BAG Boutique. Your one stop place to stay protected and fashionable.

Tell me why you carry a gun?

How do you carry?

Ladies, here are some popular concealed carry purses!

  • Diana West

How to Attain a Concealed Carry Handgun Permit?

NRA Basic Pistol Class

Do you wish to carry your firearm legally? Here is what you need to do.

How to Find Out the Requirements for a Concealed Carry Weapon Permit in Your State

First, contact your county, city or state to find out whether it is legal to carry in your state and what requirements your state has. Here is a quick reference from the NRA of states that grants permits to law-abiding citizen to carry concealed firearms after completion of a specified requirements. 

How to Sign Up to take the NRA Concealed Carry Course

Next, register for the NRA Basic of Pistol Shooting. This class is broken into (2) phases.  The first half is on-line and the second is instructor led on-range. The online portion of the class enables you to go at your own pace and learn from the comfort of your own home. The following skills and tools will be taught:
  • Essential gun safety rules
  • Different types of pistols and which one is best for you
  • The basics of ammunition
  • The fundamentals of pistol shooting
  • Different shooting positions
  • The most common shooting errors
  • Proper gun cleaning and maintenance
  • How to maintain your skills

Then, after completion of the online course, an NRA certified instructor teaches/reviews the basic skills and attitude for owning and operating a handgun safely. This class will be completed at a gun range where your actually shooting skills will be explored and  perfected.

Congratulation!! You will received a certificate to turn into your state for your certification as well as the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook for future reference. You are now able to carry your firearm legally!

How to Conceal Your Firearm if You are a Woman

Are you a woman looking to conceal you firearm? For many women a concealed carry purse is the practical and versatile way to carry their firearm. Concealed carry purses feature an easily accessed, hidden compartment so that your firearm is securely isolated and concealed from public. This separate pocket prevents your firearm from being exposed when you open up the main compartment of your purse.  Take a look at some popular concealed carry purses.

The Renee TwoTone Studded Tote by Miss Conceal

The Renee Two Tone Studded Tote

The Tooled American Cowhide Purse by Gun Tote'n Mamas

 The Tooled American Cowhide Purse by Gun Tote'n MamasThe Tooled American CowhidePurse by Gun Tote'n Mamas


The American Hobo by Coronado Leather

The Mahogany American Hobo by Coronado LeatherThe Mahogany American Hobo by Coronado Leather

Looking for a concealed carry purse? It's in the Bag Boutique has a vast variety of concealed carry purse such as totes, hobos, satchels, crossbody bags, shoulder bags and more.

  • Diana West