Friday, November 6, 2015

Gun Slang

Every hobby has its own nomenclature and gun collecting is no exception. I decided to put together a list of terms that non-gun owners (or folks new to the gun hobby) might find confusing. Some of these were included in my Firearms Dictionary, some are new

Here they are in no particular order:

  • Saturday Night Special - any affordable, small handgun that can be easily purchased by those with little means. See my write up here
  • Hog-leg - any long barreled revolver
  • Buntline Special - a long barreled revolver, usually a single action, see my write up here
  • The Pig - a nickname given to the M-60 Machine Gun by those that had to carry it 

  • Gauge - street slang for a shotgun, which is usually designated by gauge rather than bore diameter. A gauge is how many lead balls that fit the bore it takes to make 1 pound. A lead ball sized to fit a 12 gauge barrel weighs 1/12th of a pound.
  • Can - another name for a suppressor/silencer.
  • Mouse Gun - any small pistol firing a minor cartridge, usually a .22 LR or .25ACP.
  • Four-Five - a 45 ACP pistol
  • Beaver-tail - An extension added to the grip or grip safety of a semi-auto pistol to prevent the slide from making contact with the shooter's hand

  • Sullivan - a concealed handgun, named after New York's "Sullivan Law" that forbids carrying a gun.
  • Piece - a handgun
  • Big Iron - a big bore handgun
  • Five-Oh - Could be in reference to the Police (from the TV Show Hawaii Five 0, which got its name from Hawaii being the 50th state) or a .50 caliber gun
  • Smoke Wagon - a single action revolver shooting black powder loads (black powder is notorious for the smoke in generates). Also a copy of the 1873 Colt SAA made by Uberti.

  • Trench-broom - The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, it was intended for use in the trenches of WWI, but the war ended before the gun was adopted.
  • Chicago Typewriter - The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, favored by Chicago mobsters during prohibition.
  • Tommy Gun - Short for Thompson, as in Thompson Sub-Machine Gun
  • Chopper - Usually referring to the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, but could also be used to describe an AK-47, Mac-10, UZI or other semi-auto firearm.

  • Smython - This is a Smith & Wesson revolver that has been retro-fitted with a Colt Python barrel (Smith Python)

  • Couger - A Ruger revolver retrofitted with a Colt Python barrel (Colt Ruger)
  • Ma Deuce - The U.S. Army's M2 Machine Gun, it fires a .50 BMG cartridge...

  • Repeater - Used early on to differentiate between single shots and guns that could fire more than once without reloading. 
  • Jungle Clamp - This is when a person clamps two magazines together, usually inverted from one another and held together with duct tape, the more refined guerrillas use a special clamp. 
  • Elsie Pea - This was a new is a cute way of naming your Ruger L.C.P .380 pistol (which stands for Lightweight Compact Pistol)

  • Peacemaker - The Colt Single Action Army model of 1873, one of the guns that "won the west" and possibly the coolest nickname ever bestowed upon a firearm.
  • Plow Handle - Used to describe the grip frame of a Single Action revolver (like the Colt above) because the shape resembled the handle from a plow.
  •  Street Sweeper - usually refers to a model of shotgun made by Cobray which in turn was a copy of the Armsel Striker (aka Striker 12 or the Protecta). The term is sometimes applied to any shotgun

  • Smooth Bore - A nickname for a shotgun, by BATF definition shotguns have no rifling...unless of course it is rifled for which case it is still a shotgun...sort of...
  • Mare's Leg - A  Winchester model 1892 lever action rifle cut down to act as a pistol

  •  Zip Gun - an improvised/home made gun

  • Persuader - A pistol gripped shotgun marketed by Mossberg

  • Nina - The Spanish word for little girl, used to describe a pistol chambered in 9 mm (this was new to me, but I found it online and decided to include it)
  • Tack Driver - Used to describe an accurate gun, that presumably could hit the head of a tack driving it into the wood.
  • Ball Ammo - Once upon a time, the projectiles issued to the troops by the US Military were indeed round, lead balls, today they use the term "ball" to describe a full metal jacket bullet. 
  • Charlie the Bastard - The nickname given to the Boys Anti-Tank rifle by Australian Soldiers.
  • Lemon Squeezer - older S&W designed revolver with a grip safety similar to that of a 1911 pistol.

  • Snub Nose/Snubby - a revolver with a barrel shorter than 3", like the one above.
  • Remlin - the nickname for current production Marlin rifles which are now produced in Remington's factories
  • Elephant Gun - A term used to describe large caliber rifles, like those used to hunt Elephants in Africa.
  • Yellow Boy - Not used much today, it came from the Native American's nickname for the 1866 Winchester which had a receiver made of brass, hence the yellow reference.

  • Six Gun or Six Shooter - A nick name for a full size revolver which almost universally had six chambers in the cylinder.
  • Wheel Gun - Another name for a revolver.
  • Mohaska -  Another term used by Native Americans, it is believed to have originated with the Sioux. It means "White Cloud" or "White Thunder" probably in reference to the white smoke generated by black powder guns. It was used in the movie The Untouchables in the scene where Elliott Ness first met Malone.
  • Belly Gun - a small gun designed to be carried concealed
  • Fitz Special - a factory customized Colt revolver with the front of the trigger guard removed and a bobbed hammer.

  • Scatter Gun - a shotgun
  • Street Howitzer - A shotgun
  • Roscoe - Author Damon Runyan used this term to describe a pistol, it has since become part of the Hollywood gun lexicon, usually the snub nose revolver carried by a detective.
  • Mack or MAC - Short for MAC-10 or MAC-11 a machine pistol created by Military Armament Corp. Curiously the name MAC-10 was never used by the manufacturer.

  • Heater - a gun, usually a hand gun
  • Coach Gun - A double barreled shotgun with short barrels, often used for security on stage coaches in the old west

  • Side by Side - Referring to a double barreled shotgun in which the barrels are mounted horizontally.
  • Over-Under - Although not really slang, this refers to a double barreled shotgun in which the barrels are stacked one on top of the other.
  • New York Reload - a back-up handgun.
  • Strap - Commonly used today to describe a concealed hand gun "strapped" in a holster. It was also the internal nickname given to the Colt 1873 Single Action Army pistol because of the top strap covering the cylinder.
  • Grease Gun - a nickname for the M3 Sub-Machine gun, it looked suspiciously like a grease gun for lubing machinery

These ones I don't really care for...
  • Gat - Currently used by gang bangers and wanna be gangsters to describe a pistol. Supposedly short for "Gatling Gun", which is a gravity fed, mechanically operated, rotating barreled gun. Which has nothing what-so-ever to do with a modern pistol....
  • Mossy - short for Mossberg, I live in a place where everyone's lawn is mossy....I don't want a mossy gun
  • Smithy - It's a Smith & Wesson, c'mon doesn't Wesson get some credit? After all Smith left the company and sold his interest in 1874, while the Wesson family held on until the 1950's.
  • Springer - A springer is a dog, a motorcycle or a trashy TV talk show host, not a gun. While I find the lack of creativity in someone naming their gun company after a famous U.S. Armory deplorable, we should call it by its full name: Springfield Armory.
  •  Shottie - c'mon...its a shotgun, call it a shotgun please

The pictures above were found freely on the world wide web and are used under the guidelines of Fair Use, per Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Where possible the source has been credited.
If you own the copyright to any of these images and wish them to be credited or removed, please contact me immediately.

Curt Rich 
Amazing Top Ten List
Leroy's ramblings  
Traction Control
American Special Ops

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