An Overview of Firearm-related Terms

firearms laid out on the table outdoors.

In 2018, over 45% of Americans owned one or more firearms. The reasons vary, ranging from self-protection to hobby collection. Either way, if you’re a beginner, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed not only with the choices but with the different terms. Knowing what they mean can help you choose the best weapon. Most of all, it can train you to become a responsible gun owner.

What’s the Difference between a Firearm and a Handgun?

The U.S. Code defines a firearm as any weapon that can expel a projectile (or a series of missiles) using an explosion. It can also refer to a firearm silencer, muffler, or any destructive device.

It went on to define “destructive device” as including but not limited to bombs, grenades, missiles with explosives, rockets with a propellant charge of not less than 4 ounces, and mines. It, therefore, means that rifles, shotguns, and handguns are firearms.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) then defined each of these. For example, a rifle is a gun that a person has to fire from the shoulder. It releases a single projectile for each trigger pull. A shotgun is similar to a rifle since you need to fire it from the shoulder as well. There are significant differences, however. One, it can have one or more barrels. It can also release more than one projectile. Most of all, the ammunition travels through a smooth bore than a rifled barrel. In other words, there are no grooves. A handgun is a firearm that you can handle with only a hand. Under these are the revolvers and the pistols.

What’s the Difference between a Scope and a Sight?

A sight is a device that allows the user to aim at a target with higher accuracy or preciseness. There are two popular options. These include the holographic sights such as Eotech Optics for sale.

Woman shooting in shooting rangeThese sights are better than red dot since they less interference from parallax. It refers to the differences in the supposed position of an object when viewed at different angles. Your angle might not be entirely correct, but the device can still point accurately at the target. A scope is a sight that has magnification. It is ideal when the target is far from the shooter such as during hunting.

What’s the Difference between a Hollow Point and a Full Metal Jacket?

Bullets can come in different forms and sizes. For example, they can be either a hollow point or a full metal jacket. A full metal jacket refers to soft lead bullets with a metal casing. When you add a “puncture” at the tip, then it becomes a hollow point.

The designs can be simple, but their impact can significantly differ. A full metal jacket doesn’t “disintegrate,” so it retains much of its energy once you fire it. It can create an entry and exit wound. It can also be an over-penetrating round, which means it can hit or pass through drywalls or, worse, other bodies.

The hole in the hollow point can reduce the energy as it travels from the gun. Once it hits an object such as a body, the bullet can break apart. It can prevent an over-penetrating round, but the internal damage can also be more severe.

Hopefully, these comparisons will make looking for the right gun easier and faster. It will lead you to a weapon you can carry with a certain level of security and accountability.