Talk the Talk of the Modern Shooter!

by Vern Evans

While most new gun owners can be overwhelmed with learning how to shoot, they have to also learn the lingo. Rare is the industry that has odder and more off-reference lingo than the gun world. They can range from obscure movie references to slang based on how the word sounds. To help you navigate this unofficial language, I have put together a small guide. You should print this off and take it with you when you go to the range. And just like when visiting a foreign country, you can grab your handy translation guide to see what people are saying. Along with some of the odder terms, I have also included standard terms that sometimes are misunderstood. So, let’s start speaking gun.

Gun Lingo for the Modern Shooter

ACP

This is short for Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge. This is most seen in .45 ACP. It is also seen in .380 ACP, which is different from 38 Special. Make sure you are sure what ammo your gun needs.

AR

No, AR does not mean assault rifle. AR is an abbreviation for Armalite, which is the company that essentially developed the M-16/AR-15 rifle. Please promptly correct and humiliate anyone who says otherwise.

Automatic

These are full-auto guns. Or more precisely, guns that operate continuously as long as there is ammunition in the belt or magazine and pressure is on the trigger. These guns are restricted and expensive. Standard civilian-purchased guns do not have this capacity contrary to what the media may suggest.

Boomstick

This is a slang term for a shotgun. It comes from the 1992 movie “Army of Darkness.” As with most lingo like this, it is worth your time to watch the movie or specific scene to see what launched the term. You will thank me later.

Carbine

This is a very common term in our world. It is officially a rifle that has a shorter barrel (generally 22 inches or less) and consequently is lighter weight than the average weapon. About 99% of these guns also have collapsable stocks to help keep them compact.

Clip

Ok. This one is important. A clip is a device for holding cartridges together, usually to facilitate loading. The term clip is often used incorrectly to denote a magazine. However, magazines have feeding springs and clips do not. If you put rounds into it, then insert it into the gun so it can feed your gun – it is a magazine. Please understand this in order to keep the internet gun police at bay. They are notorious for finger-pointing and having a seizure over these terms being confused.  

Double Action

A term describing those pistol and revolver mechanisms where the hammer may be cocked, either by the trigger or by manually pulling it to the rear. In some pistols, the action cocks the hammer after the first shot is fired using the trigger cocking mode.

Fudd

This term is a reference to Elmer Fudd, the cartoon-hunting nemesis of Bugs Bunny. These are gun owners who support traditional hunting guns but favor gun control for other guns such as handguns or tactical rifles. The term has also evolved to include any older shooter that does not support modern shooting methods or gear.

Gat

This is a slang word for your gun. Primarily your pistol.  It is short for “Gatling Gun” and was originally applied to double-action revolvers that could be fired by merely pulling the trigger unlike old school revolvers that required manual hammer cocking between shots.

Minute of angle

I have included this term because it is used in describing rifles’ accuracy. It is the sixtieth part of a degree (1/60), which comes out to approximately one inch per 100 yards of distance. So, a rifle that is capable of shooting 1 MOA or less is considered good.

Roscoe

Like Gat, this is a slang word for a pistol. This term is also an age identifier as it is primarily used by older and salty shooters that aren’t interested in your new-fangled crap.

Strapped

This is a reference to having your gun on you. You should stay strapped. It originated in the Old West when a person usually had their pistol in a holster which was strapped around their leg.

Tacticools

This is the opposite of Fudd. These are shooters who spend the majority of their budget on the newest gear and guns yet lack the ability to even shoot proficiently. These people are also active on social media with countless videos of them wearing all their new gear and shooting as fast as possible. Rare is the person in this category that will show their targets, however.  

Tupperware

This is a term that references pretty much any polymer-framed pistol. It originated in the early ’80s because Gen 1 Glocks came in a watertight package similar to Tupperware. The term has simply expanded now. 

There are hundreds of terms in the gun world. If you are new to firearms, I encourage you to ask questions. We were all in your shoes at one point.

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