top of page

ACTION: Movable mechanical parts of a firearm.

AIRGUN: Not a firearm but a gun that uses compressed air or CO2 to propel a projectile. Examples: BB gun, pellet gun, CO2 gun.

AMMUNITION: This generally refers to the assembled components of complete cartridges or shells i.e., a case or shell holding a primer, a charge of propellant (gunpowder) and a projectile (bullets in the case of handguns and rifles, multiple pellets or single slugs in shotguns). 

ANTIQUE: By federal definition, a firearm manufactured prior to 1899.

ASSAULT RIFLE: By U.S. Army definition, a selective-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power. If applied to any semi-automatic firearm regardless of its cosmetic similarity to a true assault rifle, the term is incorrect.

AUTOMATIC: A firearm designed to feed cartridges, fire them, eject their empty cases and repeat this cycle as long as the trigger is depressed and cartridges remain in the feed system. Examples: machine guns, submachine guns, selective-fire rifles, including true assault rifles.

AUTOMATIC PISTOL: A term used often to describe what is actually a semi-automatic pistol. It is, technically, a misnomer but a near-century of misuse its use confuses only the novice. Short for auto-loading semi-automatic pistol.

BALL: Originally a spherical projectile, now generally a fully jacketed bullet of cylindrical profile with round or pointed nose. Most commonly used in military terminology.

BALLISTICS: Science of the characteristics of projectiles in motion.

BARREL: Part of the firearm through which the discharged bullet passes moving from breach to muzzle.

BORE: The inside of the barrel through which the discharged bullet passes. Size is determined by measuring the distance between the lands of a rifled barrel or maximum inside diameter of a smoothbore (shotgun) barrel.

BREECH: Rear portion of the barrel which includes the chamber.

BULLET: (aka PROJECTILE) (the missile only) The part of the cartridge that separates, exits from the muzzle and impacts on the target. The projectile expelled from a gun. It is not synonymous with cartridge. Bullets can be of many materials, shapes, weights and constructions such as solid lead, lead with a jacket of harder metal, round-nosed, flat-nosed, hollow-pointed, etc.

CARTRIDGE: A complete unit of ammunition which is comprised of the cartridge case, primer, propellant, and bullet - a loaded round of ammunition.

CALIBER: Refers to a firearm's (land or grove) or bullet's diametrical size - usually expressed in thousands of an inch or metric equivalent. Sometimes includes other information to indicated powder charge (e.g., .38-40) or year of adoption (e.g., .30-06) or special designation (e.g., .38 Special). The nominal diameter of a projectile of a rifled firearm or the diameter between lands in a rifled barrel.

CENTERFIRE: Cartridge case which contains its primer in the rear center portion; usually reloadable; a firearm designed to fire centerfire ammunition.

CHAMBER: Inside portion of the breech formed to accommodate the cartridge.

CLIP: Device to hold cartridges for insertion into a magazine. See "MAGAZINE".  A clip does not have a spring or a follower. 

CYLINDER: Revolving mechanical part of a revolver which houses multiple chambers.


DOUBLE ACTION: (DA) Function of trigger pull that requires two actions to discharge a firearm. The first action is the compressing of the hammer/firing pin (main) spring by physically moving the trigger rearward. The second action is the continued rearward movement of the trigger to the point of causing the release of the hammer/firing pin.

FIREARM: Any gun from which a projectile(s) is discharged by means of a rapidly burning propellant.

FRAME: The non-moveable mechanical portion of a firearm into or upon which all other parts are attached.


HAMMER: Moveable mechanical part of the action which, when released, drives the firing pin into the primer.

HANDGUN: AKA Pistol. A firearm designed to be operated with one hand or both hands and without the aid of extraneous support. (additional information under pistol)

INSTINCT COMBAT SHOOTING: The act of operating a pistol/handgun by focusing on the target and instinctively coordinating the hand and mind to cause the handgun/pistol to discharge at a time and point that ensures interception of the target with the projectile.

INSTINCT SHOOTING: (a.k.a. point shooting): Focusing on the target and instinctively shooting any long gun without the aid or use of mechanical sights.

MAGAZINE: Part of a gun which holds cartridges in such a way as to facilitate the chambering of these cartridges during operational functioning. A spring-loaded container for cartridges that may be an integral part of the gun`s mechanism or may be detachable. Box magazines are most commonly located under the receiver with the cartridges stacked vertically. Tube or tubular magazines run through the stock or under the barrel with the cartridges lying horizontally. Drum magazines hold their cartridges in a circular mode. A magazine can also mean a secure storage place for ammunition or explosives.

MAGNUM: A term indicating a relatively heavily loaded metallic cartridge or shotshell and, by extension, a gun safely constructed to fire it.

MUZZLE: The end of the barrel from which the discharged projectile exits.

MUZZLELOADER: The earliest type of gun, now also popular as modern-made replicas, in which blackpowder and projectile(s) are separately loaded in through the muzzle. The term is often applied to cap-and-ball revolvers where the loading is done not actually through the muzzle but through the open ends of the cylinder`s chambers.

PISTOL: AKA handgun - A firearm designed to be operated with one or both hands and without the aid of extraneous support. Commonly used modern pistols are revolvers and semi-automatics.

PISTOL GRIP: The handle of a handgun or protrusion on the buttstock or fore-end of a shoulder-operated gun that resembles the grip or handle of a handgun. A "semi-pistol grip" is one less pronounced than normal; a "vertical pistol grip" is more pronounced than normal.

POINT BLANK RANGE: Distance so close that appreciable projectile deviation of line of flight is negligible.


PRIMER: Detonating mixture structured to ignite propellant when struck a sharp blow as from a firing pin.

RECOIL: The kinetic energy reaction of the expanding burning propellant as it pushes the projectile through the bore. This is also evidenced by the rearward thrust of the firearm against the shooters hand/body.


REVOLVER: A gun, usually a pistol, with a multi-chambered revolving cylinder that rotates to successively align each chamber with a single barrel and firing pin.

RIFLING: Parallel spiral groves cut into the bore to impart spin on the projectile. This spin aids in stabilizing the bullet in flight which greatly improves accuracy. This rifling so marks the bullet as it passes through the bore. These engravings (fingerprints) are unique to that particular bore and bullet.

RIMFIRE: Cartridge case which contains its primer in the rear rim portion. A firearm designed to fire rimfire ammunition. Not reloadable. .22 LR (Long Rifle); .22 Short; and .22 Long are all rimfire cartridges and are of the most common and oldest cartridges in current use. Rifles and pistols have all been chambered for this round of ammunition.

ROUND: Synonym for a cartridge.

SAFETY: Any device or mechanism which locks or blocks the trigger, hammer and/or sear to prevent unintentional discharge.  Safeties are either active or passive.

SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: A catchy phrase having no legal or technical meaning, often meant to imply a gun was “cheaply” made.

SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN (RIFLE): Term for federally restricted "short-barreled shotgun/rifle" (SBR, SBS) i.e. a conventional shotgun with barrel less than 18" (rifle less than 16") or overall length less than 26".

SEAR: Mechanical part of the action of a firearm which functions between the trigger and the hammer; acts as a release when the trigger is fully depressed.

SELECT-FIRE: A firearm's ability to be fired fully automatically, semi-automatically or, in some cases, in burst-fire mode at the option of the firer.

SEMI-AUTOMATIC PISTOL: aka: autoloader, auto pistol, semi-auto. Usually incorporates the chamber as part of the barrel; requires the manually pulling and releasing of the trigger for each shot. After each shot the recoil "automatically" pushes the slide rearward, ejecting the spent cartridge case, cocking the hammer/firing pin and, on the return forward movement, striping a fresh cartridge from the magazine for insertion into the chamber. This action/reaction does not disengage the sear, which can only be done by releasing the trigger. Fully automatic firearms such as machine guns or submachine guns will continue to fire until either the trigger is released or the magazine is emptied.

SHOTGUN: A shoulder fired long-gun with a smooth (normally not rifled) barrel. Shotgun size and power are designated by gauge – not by caliber (see sidebar). Some shotgun types are: SxS (side by side – a double barrel shotgun with the barrels arranged side by side) O/U (over/under – a double barrel shotgun with the barrels arranged one on top of the other) Pump action (one must operate the pump to expel fired shells, load a fresh shell from the magazine and cock the hammer / firing pin), Auto-loading (the force of firing a shell ejects the spent shell and “automatically” recharges the chamber with a fresh shell from the magazine while cocking the hammer/firing pin), Bolt action (a bolt is used to extract, charge the chamber and cock the hammer/firing pin).

SHOTSHELL: The “cartridge” for a shotgun. It is also called a "shell," and its body may be of metal, plastic or paper with a metal head. Small shotshells are also made for rifles and handguns and are often used for vermin control.

SILENCER: A device for attachment to a gun's muzzle for suppressing/reducing (not silencing) the report. Proper term is "suppressor".

SINGLE ACTION: Only one action is required to fire the firearm: pressing the trigger rearward to release the hammer/firing pin.

SLIDE: On semi-automatic or automatic firearms, the movable mechanical device which functions to extract spent cases and insert loaded cartridges.

SNUB-NOSE: Slang term usually meaning any short barreled revolver.

STOCK: Portion of the firearm which is held in the hand.

SUBMACHINE GUN: An automatic firearm, firing pistol ammunition, intended for close-range combat.

TACHYPSYCIA: Skewed Time Perception, Time-deception phenomena. A condition that occurs when, under extreme stress, events appear to happen in slow motion. Events, of course, do not slow down but, the mind seems to speed up due to the brain's ability to digest information much faster than the body can act / react. Many people who have been in serious auto accidents or gun fights have experienced this condition.

TRAJECTORY: The parabolical path of a projectile in flight from muzzle to impact.

TRIGGER: Moveable mechanical device designed to be operated by the index finger for double action or single action mode depending on type of firearm.

TUNNEL-VISION: Peripheral-optic distortion / dysfunction phenomena. A condition that can occur during high concentration where one sees (is aware of) only the center of his/her attention. This temporary occurrence renders the victim oblivious to surrounding events.

WEAPON: Webster defines it as "an instrument of offensive or defensive combat." Thus an automobile, baseball bat, bottle, chair, firearm, fist, hammer, pen, knife or shovel is a "weapon," if so used. Properly used as an adjective to describe usage. Weapon is not synonymous with gun or firearm, although often misused by “wannabies” and non professionals.


.22 Long Rifle (.22LR) This is a rimfire cartridge and has been very popular for over 100 years

.25 ACP - ACP means Automatic Colt Pistol

.380 ACP – outdated defense caliber – subpar performance 9mm (once popular European police cartridge); 9 x 17 mm

.38 Special (early police revolver cartridge – minimum revolver defense cartridge) officially ".38 S&W Special"

.357 Magnum (popular revolver cartridge for police and self-protection)

9mm - correct designation: 9 x 19, also referred to as 9mm Parabellum, 9mm Para, 9mm Luger.  The world's most popular law enforcement and personal defense cartridge.

.40 S&W - former popular law enforcement and personal defense pistol cartridge

.44 Magnum (powerful hunting and self-defense round)

.45 ACP (Old (1911) and still popular police and self-defense pistol round)


.223 aka 5.56mm. cartridge designed for the M-16/M4 – and other – military  and sporting semi-auto and full-auto rifles

.270 Winchester - popular hunting cartridge

.30-06 (originally a military cartridge – now a very popular hunting round)

.308 Winchester (aka 7.62 NATO. a military round (AR 10) and one of the most accurate high power hunting and target rounds)

.30-30 (most popular deer hunting cartridge)

.470 Nitro Express - early “elephant” cartridge usually found in SxS double barreled rifles

.458 Winchester Magnum. very powerful hunting cartridge – used for big game


12 gauge (.729 bore diameter)

16 ga. (.662)

20 ga. (.615)

28 ga. (.550)

.410 bore (.410) called the "Four-Ten", it is actually about a 67 gauge, but has always been referred to as the “Four-Ten”.




Formulations: Heat, Strength and the Law

Because human pepper sprays are not government-regulated, manufacturers can make unchecked, exaggerated claims implying their sprays are more effective than they are. 

The truth is that SABRE® is the only pepper spray manufacturer that controls and guarantees formula strength! Our exclusive HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) Guarantee means our pepper sprays never fail due to inconsistent heat levels. No other brand can make the same claim.

So don't be fooled by misleading numbers. Know that the following claims could be deceiving:

- OC Percentage
Some brands hope you believe a higher OC percentage means a more effective spray. But this number only measures the amount of pepper, not the heat strength or effectiveness.

Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
Some brands advertise the SHU of the raw pepper, not of the pepper spray formulation. Also, SHUs are based on a taste test and therefore a highly subjective measure.


Major capsaicinoids are the true heat measure and can only be guaranteed through High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) testing - and, again, we're the only brand that does. While browsing our wide selection of HPLC guaranteed self-defense solutions, you'll see three different types of products: SABRE® Red Pepper Spray, SABRE® Red Pepper Gel and SABRE® 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray. Please note that individual state laws prohibit shipment of certain products.


- SABRE® Red Pepper Spray
1.33% major capsaicinoids! Strongest available single ingredient pepper spray contains UV marking dye.

SABRE® Red Pepper Gel
Essentially eliminates wind blow-back. Safe for indoor and outdoor use with no effect on bystanders.

SABRE® 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray
Comprised of pepper spray, CS military tear gas and UV marking dye. Maximum stopping power unmatched by any single ingredient defense spray!

Find out which pepper spray formulation is best for you!

- See more at:



Don’t Leave Home Without It.

SABRE® pepper spray offers a superior shelf life, police strength formulas, an exclusive HPLC guarantee and more. Maximize your safety with our industry-leading pepper spray trusted by law enforcement worldwide.


Why Choose SABRE® Products?


Exclusive HPLC Guarantee.

SABRE® is the only pepper spray manufacturer to have an on-site testing facility to eliminate the 30% failures other brands experience by guaranteeing our heat specifications for max

- See more at: https://www.SABRE®


All-Natural Red Peppers 

Many people ask if our consumer pepper sprays match the strength in our police pepper sprays. We are proud to say yes! All of our pepper sprays use all-natural active ingredients to give you maximum stopping power. 


So which formulation should you use?

Choose SABRE® 3-IN-1 if you're looking for:
- Enhanced facial burning (thanks to CS tear gas)
- Pepper spray that's legal in all states except HI, MI, NY & WI

Choose SABRE® Red if you prefer:
- An all-natural pepper spray
- Maximum strength single-ingredient pepper spray available
- Fewer state-to-state restrictions

SABRE® Red Pepper Gel products are ideal for:
- College students and seniors
- Anyone looking for reduced wind blow-back
- Those concerned about effects on bystanders

Whichever formulation you decide upon, remember to keep a safe distance from any threats. SABRE®® pepper sprays and gels give you protection at a distance - up to 10 and even 25 feet away! Follow the instructions and watch the free video you receive with your purchase.

© 2024 Advantage Firearms Education & Training

Concealed Carry St. Louis, Firearms Training St. Louis
Yelp button.png

Glossary of Terms

bottom of page