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"Pistol/Handgun/Firearm" vs "Weapon"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Jumping Frog, Mar 5, 2010.

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  1. Jumping Frog

    Jumping Frog Member

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    Here is a topic: I've noticed for years that there is a fundamental difference between a civilian pro-2A guy and an ex-military pro-2A guy.

    Veterans usually refer to their firearm as their "weapon". Enough encounters with a drill sergeant after calling a rifle your "gun" seems to drill that into place pretty quickly.

    Most civilians I know will refer to it as their "rifle", or their "handgun", or their "firearm", but definitely object to the use of the word "weapon".

    Instead of trying to come up with a bad explanation of my own, I am interested in hearing everyone's opinion. Why?
     
  2. THE_POPE

    THE_POPE Member

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    I will try to respond in an intelligent way....

    For some reason, as I am not L/E, or military of back-ground, I find myself thinking the term "gun " gives me the feeling that I am using a crude term, I try not to use it, but use the term "firearm" instead, just seems more polite, to me.

    I don't particularly object to the "gun" moniker for a firearm, I guess it simply appears to me that " gun-nut " comes to mind when I use it.

    My opinion, nothing else.

    Ime Out....fer shure...:cool:
     
  3. danprkr

    danprkr Member

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    I know in TX it's a Concealed Handgun License. I think it has to do with the legal definition that the law gives it. You can carry a concealed handgun, but not any other concealed weapon. For instance a knife that is over X ( where X = some unremembered lengthy ) long. I think that may be part of it. At least in my case it was just a way to get into a habit of referring to it by the proper in my state legal term so that I wouldn't have some LEO going bananas. Turns out it was probably a waste of time. Most LEOs that I've interacted with on the subject fall into one of two categories. Either they know the law, and don't care about the terminology I use, or don't know the law well enough to not go bananas regardless of the terms used.
     
  4. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    I am in the military, and I also dislike the word "gun". Tough I don't mind firearm, handgun, rifle, pistol, etc. THE POPE had it right when he said "gun" just sounds crude. I would also and "piece" and "packing heat" to the list of terms that just sound bad.
     
  5. figment

    figment Member

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    guns are those things mounted to the decks of ships that lob 1k lbs +miles downrange
     
  6. Spencer5883

    Spencer5883 Member

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    I am the same as Pope. I rarely use the term gun. Sometimes I use the word "unit" or "rig" or "piece" in a kind of code at school or in public when talking to my friends and there are unknown (whether Pro or Anti) people near by.

    I even refer to my non hunting guns as weapons and I never have or most likely will join the military. Could be from listening to my uncle though, he's been in the Army for most of his life.
     
  7. Wile E Coyote

    Wile E Coyote Member

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    It is perfectly acceptable to call a rifle a rifle in the armed forces. In my time 'in', it was even okay to call an m60 a gun since as you can guess, it is a 'machine gun'. Most folks however, play it safe and called them all weapons, having experienced the wrath you already noted. Weapon seems to imply a more professional application of the firearm. To a military member, gun sounded too much like yer pappy's old scattergun slung over yer shoulder.

    Edit: Technically Figment has it right about the proper use of 'gun'. Ships have guns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  8. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    NRA goes to great lengths to not use the term weapon. They emphasize using gun, firearm, pistol, etc., in their training and caution, "Never use the term weapon."
     
  9. allank

    allank Member

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    I once read somewhere that it is a firearm until you need to use it against someone at which point it becomes a weapon.
     
  10. miamiboy

    miamiboy Member

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    and that's why local media looooves to use it. *sigh*
     
  11. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I THINK, that in the military, there is a culture and presumption of stupidity. For many generations, the military was a repository for people who couldn't work anywhere else, sometimes literally right out of prison into the army. During my first stretch, there were still some old guys who were obviously going through the motions and coasting to retirement who could barely read. Because of this, army culture was intended to take men who were otherwise unable to even fundamentally take care of themselves and train them to live. How to dress, hygiene, courtesy, technical language. (Those of us in the army have seen 'technical' vocabulary that doesn't exist anywhere else.) It's not so much being correct as 'making stuff up'. But if it comes from your leadership and the training command, it is correct. Period. They technicalize the language of war to prove that they aren't cavemen.

    I took a tactical rifle class in between range sessions a couple of years ago from an SF E-7 with all the resume checkmarks. We were doing rifle drills, he was yelling at some of my soldiers; "Keep your gun up when your head is up!" or something to that effect, and one of the E-6s joked to him; "You mean RIFLE, don't you?" He pulled us around during the break and explained; "You people don't have the mental capacity to have me using all of your RAM to worry about saying the correct words. I want you doing the correct ACTIONS. Rifle, gun, clip, magazine, whatever. When you are fighting, and your buddy yells he needs a clip, are you going to hold it and tease him until he says magazine? I could care less how you say it, I am concerned about how you DO IT."

    I have a mind that likes to file things under correctness and technical areas, but I have grown to realize that there is a difference between someone who knows how to speak correctly and technically when the forum calls for it, and someone who doesn't understand the distinctions at all. I can hang with my redneck buddies I grew up with and let the technical specs slide, but if I were writing a report or giving a class, I would speak correctly.
     
  12. Curator

    Curator Member

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    X-military myself but I have learned to use the "correct" word when discribing a sporting firearm: rifle, pistol, shotgun, revolver, etc. This is to denote their use in shooting sports as a piece of sporting equipment, distinct from their use as a "weapon" for self defense or military use. A baseball bat or golf club can be used as a weapon but is ordinarily used as sporting equipment. Most firearms are used for sporting purposes as well. If you attend an NRA Basic Firearms course you will not hear firearms referred to as "weapons" because the only uses they will be demonstrating are their use in shooting sports. In the NRA Personal protection classes they demonstrate firearms used as weapons and referr to them in that way.
     
  13. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Pistol = Semi-auto or general term used for all handguns (corrupted).
    Handgun = General term for all hand held firearms
    Firearm = General term used for all small arms hand held and shoulder held.
    Revolver = Any and all wheel guns.
    Rifle = Any Shoulder held firearm.
    Gun or Guns. General term used for all fire arms...Ship mounted and shore batteries. Also relates to Shotguns = Shoulder held firearms that fire a number of projectiles at once. Known as "scatter guns"
     
  14. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    A weapon is used to inflict harm on a human. A firearm can be used to target shoot or hunt game. I have no desire to harm anyone- love to shoot targets or game. That being said I'll "do what I have to do" if pressed.
     
  15. Jumping Frog

    Jumping Frog Member

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    I totally get it from the military perspective, calling it a weapon. I am more interested in the thought process that goes into avoiding the term "weapon", as demonstrated by NRA training.
     
  16. wishin

    wishin Member

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    There was a time when I would not use the word "gun" without "grease" in front of it. These days, after 40 years of post military "de-brainwashing", I use whatever word comes to mind.
     
  17. franconialocal

    franconialocal Member

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    Generally in New Hampshire as far as the laws are concerned a weapon is not just a firearm, but blackjacks, switchblades, brass knuckles, swords, sword-canes, and on and on.....

    So to designate what type of weapon it is (e.g. firearm, pistol, rifle, etc.) is just generally more accurate.
     
  18. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

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    pea shooter
     
  19. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't think I particularly avoid the term "weapon" (and I think avoiding it like the plague is rather silly), but I do think that "weapon" is a far more general term than "firearm". My pepper spray is a weapon; so is a knife used defensively (or any other edged weapon), impact weapons, and so on.

    "Firearm" has a much more specific meaning, and in most civilian contexts, will be preferable to "weapon" only because it is more specific, not because I feel "weapon" is somehow distasteful (I don't).

    I don't use the term "gun" as a noun all that often, partly because it reminds me too much of clueless media/entertainment usage and sounds sloppy.
     
  20. -eaux-

    -eaux- Member

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    this is my rifle, this is my gun. this is for fighting, this is for fun.:neener:

    a gun is a huge long smooth-bore cannon that lobs shells over the horizon from the deck of a warship.
    a gun is that .30 caliber high-velocity rifled-barreled longarm that i just shot that deer with.
    a gun is that 12 gauge i just shot those doves/squirrels/ducks with.
    a gun is that single-action .22lr revolver i just shot those coke cans with.
    a gun is that red ryder my boy just shot the same can with.

    words are words.
    to argue denotation vs. connotation is like trying to see who can hold their breath the longest to see who passes out first.
     
  21. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    I don't speak for the NRA, but this is my understaning of the issue after going through NRA instructor training a few years back.

    The NRA stresses to avoid the term "weapon" in a civilian setting because of the perceived negative conotation associated with the word "weapon."

    The NRA wants to present as positive an image of firearms and firearms ownership as possible and believes (rightly or wrongly) that using the term "weapon" has negative conotations.

    By using the words, "firearm," "handgun", "pistol," "revolver," "rifle", "gun," etc., the NRA believes this stresses the normal, recreational, "non people killing" (my words) attributes of guns instead of stressing the "people killing" (my words again) aspects of firearms.

    The NRA also points out that while any firearm can be pressed into service as a weapon if need, including such things as specialized .22 target pistols, many firearms are made with a different primary purpose, such as target shooting, competition, etc, and the use of "weapon" on those instances carries unneeded negative associations.

    So, while any firearm can be used as a "weapon", most firearms are not made for that intended use, and should not be refered to as such in normal conversation. Note the NRA is less strict on this terminology issue in their Police training programs.

    It comes down to what the NRA sees as a PR issue. You can agree or disagree, but you should at least be able to understand their reasoning.
     
  22. thorn-

    thorn- Member

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    I don't find the term "weapon" to have a negative connotation. I own several weapons, and have learned to use them so that I can defend myself. It's a word with some implied strength and/or force, but I don't find those words to be that negative either. It's all about context.

    But when speaking of a particular weapon, "rifle" and "handgun" are certainly more descriptive. I do smirk a bit when people discuss their gun being a "tool", however... it's amusingly Politically Correct, whether intended or not.

    thorn
     
  23. Patriotme

    Patriotme Member

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    I use all of the terms. They all apply.
     
  24. bds

    bds Member

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    I tell people I have very expensive hole punchers (each hole costs me 10-30 cents depending on caliber/bullet).
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  25. wgaynor

    wgaynor Member

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    Ex Military here. I call them pretty much anything. As long as it goes bang when I pull the trigger, I don't care what it's called.
     
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