Five Gun Terms That People Get Wrong

It can happen to even the most ardent gun enthusiast. There are not only a myriad of different types of weapons, but an even greater number of parts and accessories that go along with them. It’s understandable when not quite getting the name right, but there are many common terms in the gun culture that are simply not being used correctly.

What follows are five common terms that often get confused and not used correctly. In many cases, the confusion is natural because the terms often deal with the same part or area of the gun itself, but there are still important enough differences where the terminology can be off.

AR-15 Accessories

Ammunition or Bullets

Another term that is misused to a great degree, especially because a bullet describes a specific part of the ammunition that you use for the gun. The actual bullet is the projectile that exits the barrel of the gun and enters the target. The term ammunition describes bullet, powder, primer and cartridge casing that you load into the gun.

Recoil or Kick

This is arguably the most confused term that even gun enthusiasts often get wrong. While the term “kick” is a colloquial one that is not really incorrect when describing the recoil of a weapon, the correct term is “recoil” which describes the actual force that is felt when the bullet exits the barrel. Basically, the gun does not “kick” you as it has no legs or feet to accomplish the task.

Handle or Grip

While the grip is technically a handle in the general sense, the part of the gun that you are actually holding is called a grip. In addition, the term grip describes how you hold the gun as well. The term “handle” is used somewhat differently in terms of safely operating a gun or how a gun performs as in, “do you know how to handle a gun”.

Clip or Magazine

This is a fairly common misused term as well. A clip is what holds the ammunition inside the magazine while the magazine holds the clip and ammunition together and is loaded into the gun. A clip is generally made of less expensive metal and simply holds the ammunition in place inside the box-like magazine. A good way to remember the difference is the old phrase, “The clip feeds the magazine as the magazine feeds the gun.”


The term “thingy” is what we all use to try and describe something that we have no idea what it is called. However, if you buy and use guns then it is important to know all the major terms for the parts of your weapon. This is because you will need to know how to use it properly and the people around you need to know that you are fully competent when operating a firearm. How would you feel standing next to someone on the firing range that called the trigger a “thingy” instead? You would probably want to move well away from that person or more likely take that gun away from them.

Understanding the proper terms used with guns gives you a greater understanding and more respect from those who also are a part of the gun culture.


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