Speaking The Language | Gun Terminology For The Newbie

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August 30, 2017 / Comments (3)

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As you enter the world of guns, you hear gun terminology you are not aware of. So if you want to talk their language, it is necessary to know the different gun terms they are using.

Gun Terminology: Understanding the Basic Terms

The gun world is made up of some of the friendliest people you could ever meet. Often times, they are willing to help a newbie out just because they can and a lot of the time, it helps everyone feel safer. However, there are those in any niche who are more offensive than they are helpful. You never know who's who at the range, so here's a list of gun terminology for the newbie (and the not so newbie) gun owners out there. It's always better for us all to be on the same page without being harsh about it.


1. Magazine

Magazine | Speaking The Language | Gun Terminology For The Newbie
Calling it a clip is wrong. The magazine or mag is the part of your semi-auto (and in some cases, full auto) pistol/rifle/shotgun that holds the ammunition. It is spring loaded. And after each spent casing is ejected, the spring pushes the rest of the rounds upward, enabling one round to have access to the chamber.

2. Semi-automatic

Semi-automatic | Speaking The Language | Gun Terminology For The Newbie
This is not to be confused with “automatic” or “auto”. This term simply refers to the type of gun or gun action. It means that each time the trigger is squeezed, one (and only one) projectile shoots out of the barrel. The next round slides upward for access to the chamber as the spent casing is ejected and the bolt carrier pushes it in. The gun is now ready to fire again but requires the operator to squeeze the trigger again.

3. Full-auto

Full-auto | Speaking The Language | Gun Terminology For The Newbie
This type of gun also called a machine gun or “automatic,” will fire many shots with each pull of the trigger. The gun automatically and continuously fires until you release the trigger.

In order to purchase this type of gun, you need to go through the BATFE for some paperwork. Contrary to what the liberal media pushes, you cannot just go down to your local gun shop and buy one without going through the proper channels first.

4. Malfunction

This refers to one of the few different ways a gun stops working, for whatever reason. The common types of gun malfunction include failure to feed or eject and delayed or incomplete discharge.

5. Clear

Clear | Speaking The Language | Gun Terminology For The Newbie
You'll hear this term at the range a lot. Range Safety Officers or RSO yell out commands to inform shooters what to do next.

When you hear the term “clear your weapon”, it means the shooters on the line need to make sure the magazine is out and there are no rounds in the chamber anymore. And most the time, the range rules will require you to openly show that the weapon is, in fact, cleared.

6. Straight finger

This is a common sense rule that says “keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire.” This rule can greatly reduce the incidence of negligent discharges, which is why it is necessary to follow it.

7. Hang fire

This refers to a firearm malfunction. If for some reason, after you pulled the trigger, the gun does not go bang, do not clear it right away. You MUST wait at least 30 seconds to make sure the round isn't a hang fire. This is very important for your own safety and also for the safety of the people around you.


Looking for more gun terminology? Watch this video from Iraqveteran8888 and learn the different gun slang terms most gun veterans and enthusiasts are using!

We encounter different types of people in the gun world. There are some who are always willing to help a new gun owner out, but there also those high and mighty know-it-alls who pick on people for using the wrong terminology when speaking about guns. Therefore, it is better to know and understand the different gun terms or slangs they are using. Ignorance may be bliss, but having knowledge is power.

Sound off Gun Carriers! What is your favorite gun terminology? Let us know in the comments below. Then, make sure you subscribe to the Gun Carrier YouTube channel.    

UP NEXT: 9 Mistakes New Gun Owners Make And How To Avoid Them

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3 Responses to :
Speaking The Language | Gun Terminology For The Newbie

  1. JOHN VAUGHN says:

    I have a hangfire I must clear my weapon to see what the malfunction is with this semi- automatic maybe some thing is wrong with my magazine. lol

  2. Darlene says:

    I appreciate the info. I’m a newbie. Just acquired my very first shotgun. I shot bird, buck and slug shots just to learn the different kicks thanks to My retired police officer friend and trainer. It felt great to exercise my God-given rights. Ps: he called it a magazine. Looking forward to more info from you guys. Maybe gun cleaning?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sure I’ll stand there and wait thirty seconds to get shot by an attacker.

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