gun terms, where do they come from?


PDA






breakingcontact
November 12, 2012, 12:06 AM
I first noticed lots of guys talking about the "purchase" on a grip or stock.

While looking at M&P 22 pistol reviews, I keep hearing it called an "understudy" pistol.

I understand the term and agree it is appropriate, but how are so many people using the same term?

This coming from the gun makers? The gun rags?

Also, add your favorite phrases that you hear kicked around.

If you enjoyed reading about "gun terms, where do they come from?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
holdencm9
November 12, 2012, 12:28 AM
Well "purchase" isn't a gun term, it is actually a word. One of the definitions is "A grip applied manually or mechanically to move something or prevent it from slipping."

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/purchase

I haven't heard "understudy" gun but I guess it makes sense...it is a gun that operates identically to a service caliber, affording a much better training equivalent than say, a Buck Mark or Ruger 22/45. I like the term.

You'd be surprised how quickly clever terms like that catch on. Just look at the advent of "memes" to get an idea of how ideas spread like wildfire online.

breakingcontact
November 12, 2012, 12:30 AM
Just seems like ill hear a term to describe a gun or piece of gear...then everyone is using that term.

Guess its part of everything being a "tactical system" now.

303tom
November 12, 2012, 02:38 PM
And there are some they use that I just can`t stand, such as shotty, sounds like some kid that needs to go to the potty, just saying..................

vito
November 12, 2012, 02:49 PM
Some gun terms cleary express a point in an abbreviated way and are useful, some seem primarily to make the user feel like an insider. Whatever. I have to end now and take my ordnance delivery system to the range for some tactical simulation exercises.

SDC
November 12, 2012, 02:57 PM
Languages evolve around gun terms the same way they do around everything else; a word that seems to fit the concept it's being applied to best will probably spread and become more common; this is why a web "page" is called a "page", or the empty space at the rear of most vehicles is called a "trunk". Where it tends to get confusing in regards to firearms is where a term or description is borrowed from another language, and then it spreads without people realizing the original meaning of the borrowed word (like "stock"). The field of language that looks at word meanings is called etymology, and it's pretty interesting how closely some of these things are tied to accidents of history.

Nushif
November 12, 2012, 02:58 PM
I've personally always wondered why very few people seem to buy guns. Most people tend to "purchase a firearm."

While I get the notion of using words that seem to indicate more education I don't usually see the same pattern in the rest of the speech. It's kinda interesting at times. 8) I get it, words mean things, but at times I wonder whether that's a club we use or something we actually mean.

allaroundhunter
November 12, 2012, 03:01 PM
Nushif, that isn't exactly the "purchase" that he was asking about, but you do hear it often in the sense that you used.

However, I very oftentimes hear "buy" or "bought" just as often if not more than "purchase" when it comes to speaking about requisitioning a new firearm.

Warp
November 12, 2012, 03:29 PM
There are phrases that came from gun terms I like


Flash in the pan.

Bite the bullet.

Don't go off half cocked.

Give 'em both barrels.

Loaded for bear.

BLB68
November 12, 2012, 03:37 PM
I like to procure armament myself. =P

Nushif
November 12, 2012, 03:40 PM
Nushif, that isn't exactly the "purchase" that he was asking about[..]

Oh, I know, but that did come to mind.

However, I very oftentimes hear "buy" or "bought" just as often if not more than "purchase" when it comes to speaking about requisitioning a new firearm.

See, in writing I see purchase a lot more than buy. Spoken, people tend to not stilt their language as much, as far as I can tell.

Warp
November 12, 2012, 03:43 PM
An advantage to the word purchase is that it can be used as a noun or a verb. Example: You can title a thread "Your latest purchase". That is a lot shorter and more simple than "the last gun I bought". And it's less specific...maybe your latest purchase was ammo, or an optic, or magazines...

Then, once the thread title has the word purchase in it, people are more likely to use that word themselves when they post.

barstoolguru
November 12, 2012, 04:01 PM
Itís the American language; it can be twisted and raped and no one says anything for fear of being called stupid

Nushif
November 12, 2012, 04:10 PM
Then, once the thread title has the word purchase in it, people are more likely to use that word themselves when they post.

Quite likely!

aarondhgraham
November 12, 2012, 04:12 PM
If one more person corrects me when I use the word pistol instead of revolver,,,
I might have to go postal on them.

Same thing about magazine and clip.

My Uncle was 3-years in Europe during WW-II,,,
He called it a clip that went into his pistol,,,
Nowadays someone woulda got smacked,,,
Had they told him that he was incorrect.

Too many people trying to make themselves feel important.

Ordinance delivery system my aching back. :barf:

Aarond

.

allaroundhunter
November 12, 2012, 04:13 PM
See, in writing I see purchase a lot more than buy. Spoken, people tend to not stilt their language as much, as far as I can tell.

Maybe us Texans are just less edumacated....purchase is a big word, you know?... :p

Warp
November 12, 2012, 04:14 PM
Clips and magazines are two different things.

Complete cartridges/rounds of ammunition are just merely bullets.

My 20 round AR magazines are not "high capacity", they are regular/standard capacity.

http://www.bogley.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=40202&d=1294173620

allaroundhunter
November 12, 2012, 04:20 PM
What confuses people about the differences is that most pictures show clips with ammunition in them and assume that the clip remains with the ammunition when it is inserted into the firearm. However, most clips do not remain in the firearm once the ammunition that they hold has been loaded (an exception is the M1 Garand's en bloc clip).

breakingcontact
November 12, 2012, 06:34 PM
Most of what's been discussed here is just guys saying what their buddies saying. I'm talking mostly about the internet gun advice givers. The YouTube gurus. Where does the original phrase originate?

Here's another one..."indexing". Yes I get what it means. But could it be said any more? "This right here...gives you a place to index your finger".

rcmodel
November 12, 2012, 06:38 PM
My Uncle was 3-years in Europe during WW-II,,,
He called it a clip that went into his pistol,,,But if he ran out of ammo and yelled for someone to throw him a clip?

He would have gotten smacked in the face with 8 rounds of 30-06 ammo in a M1 Garand clip I betcha!

rc

JERRY
November 12, 2012, 06:47 PM
booger hooks and bang switches are the arm chair jargons i hear the most.

Warp
November 12, 2012, 06:48 PM
With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Use a term somebody doesn't like...boom, you're an arm chair commando. Use a word that's too "fancy", like the word purchased...you're just trying to sound smart.

lulz

cfullgraf
November 12, 2012, 06:51 PM
Same thing about magazine and clip.



If I had to guess, guns used clips before detachable magazines.

Hence, the term clip almost has become generic for "device holding ammunition for inserting into a firearm".

Switching gears, I also like "lock, stock, and barrel".

JERRY
November 12, 2012, 06:51 PM
yeah, we must stay in the middle as to not sound neanderthal nor poindexter.

allaroundhunter
November 12, 2012, 07:01 PM
Here's another one..."indexing". Yes I get what it means. But could it be said any more? "This right here...gives you a place to index your finger".

What is wrong with the word "indexing"? It is an easily understood and taught part of firearm safety, and making one word to describe it is a whole lot easier than having to say "Put your index finger along the frame above the trigger guard" every time someone has their booger hooker near the boom switch when it shouldn't be.

Nushif
November 12, 2012, 07:10 PM
Use a word that's too "fancy", like the word purchased...you're just trying to sound smart.

Funny how you assume value judgement.

There are people on this earth (I kid you not) who can discuss something without assigning a value judgement.

Yes, someone using purchase in written form and buy in spoken word is stilting their language. There's nothing wrong with it, since writing is a bit more of a deliberate act, but it is true.

breakingcontact
November 12, 2012, 08:21 PM
I like booger hook and bang switch because that's what the drill sergeants would use and they were hilarious...in their own special mean way.

1911fan
November 12, 2012, 10:13 PM
Slang evolves just like its parent language, frequently right alongside.

Novelist Ramond Chandler (think Bogart as Phil Marlowe in The Big Sleep) being British, didn't know any American slang so he invented his own.

What frosts MY coconuts is the patois used in most local sportscasts :fire:, but that's another post.

Use what you're comfortable with, ask if you don't understand something.

ed

P.S.

The term "trunk" comes from the fact that early automobiles literally had a trunk attached neat the back bumper. A similiar space on stagecoaches was refered to as the "boot", a term out British cousins still use for the storage space at the rear of an auto.

ed

Schofield3
November 12, 2012, 10:33 PM
Clips and magazines are two different things.

Thank you Warp, man that bugs the hell outta me when all you hear is clips this and clip that, definitely a pet peeve of mine.

It's a magazine!

holdencm9
November 13, 2012, 10:59 AM
Index: "Something that serves to guide, point out, or otherwise facilitate reference"

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/index

AKA why it is called a pointer finger as well as index finger. I don't think "indexing" is such a stretch. It makes short work of a describing how to keep your finger out of the trigger guard.

The "purchase" the OP was asking is not the "purchase" versus "buy" but I think that was acknowledged. In any case, I don't think you are a wise guy, arm-chair commando, or language nerd to use either term in either instance. I like "purchase" though because when describing how good of a grip you can get on a grip, one grip being better because the texture is more grippy, I'll be like, get a grip! Use better words!

Much better to say "Can obtain much better purchase on this grip due to the more textured material."

9mmepiphany
November 13, 2012, 05:20 PM
Here's another one..."indexing". Yes I get what it means. But could it be said any more? "This right here...gives you a place to index your finger".
It sounds like you might have the meaning, or intent, confused in the usage...at least, as you have used it above.

Index isn't used in place of the verb to place...as in "gives you a place to put your finger.

To index refers to the tactile feedback you receive when correctly locating the finger on the gun

Warp
November 13, 2012, 05:24 PM
It sounds like you might have the meaning, or intent, confused in the usage...at least, as you have used it above.

Index isn't used in place of the verb to place...as in "gives you a place to put your finger.

To index refers to the tactile feedback you receive when correctly locating the finger on the gun

This exactly. For example, on my pistols I index my finger along the edge of the frame. I can feel that my finger is where I want it by feeling the rounded edge (Glocks) at the bottom/side of the frame.

On my AR I index my finger with the bottom edge of the mag release.

Having something to index makes it repeatable and consistent. I also have indexing points for acquiring the same cheek weld and sight alignment on rifles

holdencm9
November 13, 2012, 05:50 PM
Having something to index makes it repeatable and consistent. I also have indexing points for acquiring the same cheek weld and sight alignment on rifles

Good point. Kind of like the little bump on your "F" and "J" keys.

Warp
November 13, 2012, 05:50 PM
Good point. Kind of like the little bump on your "F" and "J" keys.

Precisely

TrueTexan
November 13, 2012, 06:28 PM
Well what gets me is when I'm told I have a revolver and not a pistol. A revolver is a pistol just as much as my 1911. Also is it a weapon or a gun? I vividly remember an army Sargent chewing my butt out in ROTC when I called my M1 a gun. Remember "this is my weapon this is my gun. This is for killing, this is for fun. Pointing at your rifle and then the nether regions. :)

Warp
November 13, 2012, 06:36 PM
There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.

I still have no clue why they don't want you to call your gun a gun.

And I do not consider a revolver to be a pistol...but I would never call anybody on that.

breakingcontact
November 13, 2012, 07:16 PM
You can call your revolver a pistol and your M16 a rifle.

9mmepiphany
November 13, 2012, 07:32 PM
Well what gets me is when I'm told I have a revolver and not a pistol. A revolver is a pistol just as much as my 1911.
While technically true, it goes back to the original words used for the different types of handguns.

Revolver is a contracted form of Revolving pistol.

Pistol is the contracted form of Semi-automatic pistol. Calling it an automatic would be confusing, because we use that term as a contracted form of Full/Fully Automatic or Select Fire gun. Calling is a semi-auto was popular for a time, but is still long, plus it is a term that is more commonly used for rifles.

It is the same as using the designation of AK-47, which is commonly used in place of Semi-Automatic clone/version/modification of the AK-47

Haxby
November 13, 2012, 07:48 PM
Raymond Chandler wasn't British.

threefortyduster
November 13, 2012, 09:21 PM
Also is it a weapon or a gun?
I nearly never call a gun/firearm a weapon. To me, until it's used as a weapon, its a firearm or gun. I have not had to use my guns as a weapon (nothing has ever attacked me, but I have hunted), so to me, they're just firearms. It also seems to take a lot of the evil out of guns when I talk to someone who's not pro-gun or slightly anti if I refer to it as a firearm. It seems that if you run around calling it a weapon, and people think it's purely for attacks.

Sometimes you can really change the tone of an argument or conversation just by using a slightly different, albeit correct, term. Firearm sounds much nicer than weapon, no?

mljdeckard
November 13, 2012, 09:23 PM
I have a background in guns and show business. I have NEVER, nor have I ever heard of anyone else refer to a gun as an understudy.

allaroundhunter
November 13, 2012, 09:23 PM
All guns are weapons but not all weapons are guns. The intent or use of a gun does not determine whether it is a weapon, it is one inherently.

However, it is the connotation associated with "weapon" that leads many to see anything classified as one as a bad thing.

Warp
November 13, 2012, 09:25 PM
All guns are weapons but not all weapons are guns. The intent or use of a gun does not determine whether it is a weapon, it is one inherently.

However, it is the connotation associated with "weapon" that leads many to see anything classified as one as a bad thing.

Every gun is a weapon as much as every knife is a weapon.

Is my butter knife a weapon?

breakingcontact
November 13, 2012, 10:03 PM
Good point about weapon vs firearm. I come to guns through the military not hunting. It would be a disservice for me to turn off any new gun people by calling a firearm a weapon.

All squares are rectangles and what not...

KAS1981
November 13, 2012, 10:26 PM
Gun dorks like to say "press" a lot.

Press the trigger. Front sight press. Press check.

9mmepiphany
November 13, 2012, 10:48 PM
Gun dorks like to say "press" a lot.

Press the trigger. Front sight press. Press check.
When referring to trigger management:
1. Press is a more accurate term and less prone to misinterpretation than Pull or Squeeze. The first causes folks to not move the trigger straight back, the second causes folks to tighten the whole hand...both lead to poor shot placement. It is a training solution.
2. Front Sight, Press describes the process and is related to the above.

Press Check was the term coined to describe the preferred chamber check method, back in the 60's, for the 1911. It is used incorrectly when used to describe other methods

allaroundhunter
November 13, 2012, 11:00 PM
Gun dorks like to say "press" a lot.

Press the trigger. Front sight press. Press check.

It's funny how these "gun dorks" are the ones who churn out some of the best shooters...

1911fan
November 14, 2012, 01:27 AM
Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago and raised in Nebraska until he was twelve, when his family moved to London. Seven years later, he became a British subject. Although he moved back to San Franciso when he was twenty-four, he remained a British subject until well over sixty, at which time he reclaimed his American citizenship.

Looks like we're BOTH right.

ed

Haxby
November 14, 2012, 02:48 AM
Yeah, he was sorta British. It never occurred to me that he over 50 years old when The Big Sleep was published.

cfullgraf
November 14, 2012, 10:17 AM
While technically true, it goes back to the original words used for the different types of handguns.

Revolver is a contracted form of Revolving pistol.

Pistol is the contracted form of Semi-automatic pistol.

I had always thought the term "revolver" referred to handgun with a revolving cylinder and a "pistol" referred to a semi-auto handgun.

A check of Wikapedia, and you can take that with a grain of salt, says a pistol is a subset of handguns with the chamber integral with the barrel. This would include semi-autos, single shot, and revolving pepper box.

Wikapedia says a revolver is a single barrel handgun with a rotating cylinder of chambers separate from the barrel.

In this case, Wikapedia supports what i had believed for more than 30 years, although covering a wider scope.

Check here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistol

But sometimes, there is not a distinction. The British do not. See here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handgun

JohnBT
November 14, 2012, 10:33 AM
"What confuses people about the differences"

We're not confused, we don't care. If clip was good enough for my father who served in the Pacific in WWII, it's good enough.


I do have an objection to 'understudy pistol'. An understudy in the theater world must be completely prepared to step in if the star can't go on, and also must be capable of doing the real job, not just the practicing and rehearsing.

"A person who learns another's role in order to be able to act as a replacement at short notice."

benEzra
November 14, 2012, 11:11 AM
One meaning of "purchase" has always been "surety of grip or footing".

An "understudy" is a term from theater. Per wikipedia, "an understudy is a performer who learns the lines and blocking/choreography of a regular actor or actress in a play."

These are just allusions to terms from the broader language and culture, not necessarily gun related.

Warp
November 14, 2012, 01:17 PM
"What confuses people about the differences"

We're not confused, we don't care. If clip was good enough for my father who served in the Pacific in WWII, it's good enough.


I do have an objection to 'understudy pistol'. An understudy in the theater world must be completely prepared to step in if the star can't go on, and also must be capable of doing the real job, not just the practicing and rehearsing.

"A person who learns another's role in order to be able to act as a replacement at short notice."

Understudy is every bit as accurate (when describing a .22lr version of a centerfire) as clip is (when describing a magazine). Actually...understudy is even better/more accurate. In the case of clip vs magazine, using the wrong one is actually using the wrong one.

9mmepiphany
November 14, 2012, 02:02 PM
We're not confused, we don't care.
If this statement is true, it shouldn't bother you when people correct you ;)

chicharrones
November 14, 2012, 08:55 PM
I've read the term "purchase" in gun magazines for at least 20 years. I'm sure it was used in gun magazines before that. The weird thing is, I never have seen "purchase" used in that way in any other type of writing. To me, the use of that word still sounds like it is meant to be above my class in society.

All the other gun specific terms that I can think of actually make sense to me, so far. :cool:

9mmepiphany
November 14, 2012, 09:11 PM
I've read the term "purchase" in gun magazines for at least 20 years. I'm sure it was used in gun magazines before that. The weird thing is, I never have seen "purchase" used in that way in any other type of writing. To me, the use of that word still sounds like it is meant to be above my class in society.

All the other gun specific terms that I can think of actually make sense to me, so far. :cool:
The most common interchangeable word is foothold or traction and is usually used in conjunction with the adjective increased or the verb to establish. It's meaning is more about maintaining...it is more permanent, while the other words are usually transitory

I've seen it used in reference to rock climbing and free climbing...as well as marketing and starting a small business

Warp
November 14, 2012, 09:13 PM
It shows up in cars/vehicle/racing discussions and writings sometimes as well, and I am sure I've read about purchase referring to the souls of shoes/boots

chicharrones
November 15, 2012, 12:56 AM
I've never been a climber, so I missed out on that. Shoes with cleats I've worn in sports, and I never thought of them purchasing the turf before. :D

9mmepiphany
November 15, 2012, 01:25 AM
I've never been a climber, so I missed out on that. Shoes with cleats I've worn in sports, and I never thought of them purchasing the turf before. :D
You're using/understanding the word incorrectly.

They wouldn't purchase, they would give you purchase on the turf...it is more of a gerund, than a verb

Correct usage would be something like, "These cleats give me better purchase on this slippery turf and allow me to change direction more efficiently"

twofifty
November 15, 2012, 02:03 AM
So then, understudy pistol = BUG ?

;-)

Warp
November 15, 2012, 02:05 AM
So then, understudy pistol = BUG ?
;-)

No, I don't think so.

Sidekick perhaps. I'd say co-star, but that seems to be giving the BUG a little too much credit.

chicharrones
November 15, 2012, 09:34 AM
You're using/understanding the word incorrectly.

They wouldn't purchase, they would give you purchase on the turf...it is more of a gerund, than a verb

Correct usage would be something like, "These cleats give me better purchase on this slippery turf and allow me to change direction more efficiently"

Even though I misused the word, I understand the word when someone else uses it. I was making the observation that in my years playing sports, reading a few issues of Sports Illustrated, or watching sports on TV, the term "purchased" hasn't been used like that (to the best of my knowledge).

The word may be used by climbing magazines and some car magazines, yet I've never seen the word used in main stream motorcycle* magazines or hot hod* magazines.

*I will admit that I haven't read those magazines on a regular basis in about ten years, so things may have changed.

chicharrones
November 15, 2012, 09:39 AM
While on the topic, the other word usage that I mostly see related to firearms is "on my person" or "on your person". I know what it means, but I swear I keep looking for a sidekick near the person making that statement.

"I'm Fred and I keep my pistol on my person at all times when out in public. I'd like you to meet my person. His name is Jake and he has been my person for 5 years now. Jake carries my pistol very efficiently and is very quick to hand it to me in time of need."

:D

beatledog7
November 15, 2012, 10:26 AM
Forgive me if this is here but I've missed it. Using search brings up 495 threads.

Does anyone know the origin of term "racking the slide"?

holdencm9
November 15, 2012, 10:43 AM
I've read the term "purchase" in gun magazines for at least 20 years. I'm sure it was used in gun magazines before that. The weird thing is, I never have seen "purchase" used in that way in any other type of writing. To me, the use of that word still sounds like it is meant to be above my class in society.

"Purchase" is also pretty common in engineering. "A device such as a tackle or lever, used to obtain mechanical advantage." Of course, if you don't know what mechanical advantage is, then it won't make any sense anyway.

While on the topic, the other word usage that I mostly see related to firearms is "on my person" or "on your person". I know what it means, but I swear I keep looking for a sidekick near the person making that statement.

Ha! Yes. On my what? Who? Where is this person you speak of?

Does anyone know the origin of term "racking the slide"?

Interesting question. I have no idea, but in my engineering thought process, racking or wracking is a type of action of a frame basically shifting or falling over due to horizontal force, as in, a roof shifting parallel to the ground, so I envision this shear mechanism as the same thing as a slide moving back and forth atop a pistol's frame. Isn't it funny how your brain makes weird associations like that?

9mmepiphany
November 15, 2012, 01:30 PM
While on the topic, the other word usage that I mostly see related to firearms is "on my person" or "on your person". I know what it means, but I swear I keep looking for a sidekick near the person making that statement.
It's most common usage is as a legal term that comes from English Common Law. It is meant to differentiate possession between the general and the personal

Does anyone know the origin of term "racking the slide"?
It is a term stolen from larger weapons and applied tangentially. I remember first hearing it in reference to WW I machineguns (racking a round into a Maxim) and it refers to:

2. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions

That is, in layman's terms, a lever (cocking handle) is pulled back and it's rearward motion is transferred to the bolt which would rotate to unlock.

Racking an action means to pull the handle back, clear the chamber and feed the next round...this is similar and related to both Cocking an action or Chambering a round of ammunition, but it isn't the same.

Racking the Slide takes that lateral movement and applies it to a semi-automatic pistol, even though very few still use a rotating bolt...the two that come immediately to mind are the AutoMag and the Beretta Cougar

beatledog7
November 15, 2012, 02:24 PM
So it's related to the rack in a rack and pinion steering system. Gotcha.

Flopsweat
November 16, 2012, 11:00 AM
I'll admit to having used the term "purchase" in teaching proper grip. Best ever use of the term was in Raising Arizona:

"The doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place, where my seed could find no purchase."

If you enjoyed reading about "gun terms, where do they come from?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!