Firearm Glossary

Term Definition
sling

sling: is a type of strap or harness designed to allow an operator carry a firearm (usually a long gun such as a rifle, carbine, shotgun, or submachine gun) on his/her person and/or aid in greater hit probability with that firearm.

slide bite

slide bite or Snake bite: A phenomenon often grouped with hammer bite—in this case the web of the shooting hand is cut or abraded by the rearward motion of the semi-automatic pistol's slide, not by the gun's hammer. This most often occurs with small pistols like the Walther PPK and Walther TPH that have an abbreviated grip tang. This problem is exacerbated by the sharp machining found on many firearms.

sleeving

sleeving: A method of using new tubes to replace a worn-out gun barrel.

slamfire

slamfire: a premature, unintended discharge of a firearm that occurs as a round is being loaded into the chamber.

single-shot

single-shot: A firearm that holds only a single round of ammunition, and must be reloaded after each shot.

single-action

single-action: Usually referring to a pistol or revolver, single-action is when the hammer is pulled back manually by the shooter (cocking it), after which the trigger is operated to fire the shot. See also double-action.

silencer

silencer, suppressor, sound suppressor, sound moderator, or "hush puppy": A device attached to or part of the barrel of a firearm to reduce the amount of noise and flash generated by firing the weapon.

short-barreled rifle

short-barreled rifle: a legal designation in the United States, referring to a shoulder-fired, rifled firearm with a barrel length of less than 16" (40.6 cm) or overall length of less than 26" (66.0 cm).

shooting range

shooting range: a specialized facility designed for firearms practice.

semi-wadcutter

semi-wadcutter: A type of all-purpose bullet commonly used in revolvers that combines features of the wadcutter target bullet and traditional round nosed revolver bullets, and is used in both revolver and pistol cartridges for hunting, target shooting, and plinking. The basic SWC design consists of a roughly conical nose, truncated with a flat point, sitting on a cylinder. The flat nose punches a clean hole in the target, rather than tearing it like a round nose bullet would, and the sharp shoulder enlarges the hole neatly, allowing easy and accurate scoring of the target. The SWC design offers better external ballistics than the wadcutter, as its conical nose produces less drag than the flat cylinder.

selective fire

selective fire: A firearm that fires semi–automatically and at least one automatic mode by means of a selector depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in this mode. The most common limits are two or three rounds per pull of the trigger.

sawed-off shotgun/short-barreled shotgun

sawed-off shotgun/short-barreled shotgun: a type of shotgun with a shorter gun barrel and often a shorter or deleted stock.

safety

safety: A mechanism used to help prevent the accidental discharge of a firearm, helping to ensure safer handling. Safeties can generally be divided into sub-types such as internal safeties (which typically do not receive input from the user) and external safeties (which typically allow the user to give input, for example, toggling a lever from "on" to "off" or something similar). Sometimes these are called "passive" and "active" safeties (or "automatic" and "manual"), respectively.

sabot

sabot: a device used in a firearm to fire a projectile, such as a bullet, that is smaller than the bore diameter.

round

round: a single cartridge.

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