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Gun Glossary - Letter G
Index of Firearm & Gun Terminology

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Letter - G Page Updated: 03 December 2002

GAS BLOCK: A device that replaces the front sight post and gas vent on an AR-15 rifle.  Typically found on Flat Top and long range variants, some include provisions for detachable sight posts.

GAS CHECKS: A gilding metal cup which is used to protect the base of a cast lead alloy bullet from the effects of burning powder gases.

GAS OPERATION:  A method of operating an automatic or semi-automatic firearm by diverting some of the propelling gas behind the bullet into a cylinder where it drives a piston.  This piston is connected to the firearm's bolt and, under gas pressure, extracts the empty case and loads a fresh round.   Alternatively, the gas can be channeled so as to strike the bolt or bolt carrier directly and thus move it. 

GAS OPERATED:  A type of firearm design commonly found on semi-automatic rifles, where propellant gas is used in a manor that cycles the action.  The most common type of gas operated firearms are the AR-15 / M-16 family of rifles.

GAS TUBE:  Component of a gas operated rifle that conveys the propellant gasses from the barrel or gas check to the bolt carrier group.   Some sophisticated systems include adjustable gas systems for match accuracy, single fire and for different load variations.

GATLING, RICHARD JORDAN  MD: 19th century physician and prolific inventor of farming equipment and firearms.  Inventor of the Gatling Gun and the screw propeller for ships.

Dr. Gatling
Doctor Gatling

Richard Jordan Gatling was born on 1818 and died in 1903 in Hertford, North Carolina. When he was a young boy he helped his father invent machines for sewing and ginning cotton.  Gatling was an inventor and a doctor.  He made medicine to treat himself with smallpox. He mostly invented things for farming. He was the president of the American Association of Inventors. In 1839, Gatling invented a screw propeller for ships, and a hemp breaking device, and a steam plow. His greatest contribution was the Gatling Gun (see below) that was used in the Spanish-American and the American Civil War. 

Technical Specifications

Weight: 594 pounds

Range: 1000 yards

Caliber: .30 caliber

Cyclic Rate: 1000-1200 rounds per minute

Bullet Weight: 220 grains

Muzzle Velocity: 2,000 fps ( fps = feet per second )

This Gatling Gun is a hand cranked weapon, with six (6) to ten (10) revolving barrels that go around a center shaft.  The Gatling Gun fired .58 caliber bullets. Gatling sold 12 guns to Benjamin F. Butler for $1000 a piece. Butler used these guns on the Pittsburgh front in 1864.   The Gatling Gun can fire 1000 rounds per minute. The first version of the Gatling Gun was made in 1861.  It looked like a huge rifle that could be mounted on a tripod or on a cannon. 

But instead of a single barrel it has 6 to 10 barrels that revolve in a circular motion when fired. As the operator turned the crank the barrels revolved past the mechanism and shot 1000 rounds per minute. Gatling guns were made in several different calibers between .45 in (1 cm) and 1 in (2.5 cm). This gun can shoot 16 rounds per minute. A carousel-like magazine holding 240rounds above the turning barrels supplied ammunition and each round dropped into a barrel in turn and empty cartridges automatically ejected.   Gatling improved his gun so it could shot 1200 rounds per minute.  Cartridges were fed by gravity through a hopper mounted cartridge on the top of the gun. 

GATLING GUN: The Gatling gun was a hand-crank-operated weapon with six to ten barrels revolving around a central shaft. The cartridges were fed to the gun by gravity through a hopper mounted on the top of the gun. Six cam-operated bolts alternately wedged, fired, and dropped the bullets, which were contained in steel chambers. Gatling used the six barrels to partially cool the gun during firing. Since the gun was capable of firing 600 rounds a minute, each barrel fired 100
rounds per minute.  When it was introduced in 1862, the Gatling gun was so far ahead of its time that the U.S. military didn't even know how to make use of this type of powerful, high rate of fire, multibarreled gun.  But today, more than 130 years later, the Gatling is a force to be reckoned with!  After being declared obsolete in 1911, it staged an impressive comeback as the Vulcan in the 1950s, terrified the Vietcong in the jungles of Vietnam, and contributed to the swift defeat of Iraqi troops in the liberation of Kuwait (see GUNSHIP ).  The Gatling gun, with modern applications ranging all the way from AC-130 Gunships, to air defense & saturation fire, to antitank gun systems as well as portable infantry weapons, will no doubt play a vital military role well into the 21st century.

The Gatling Gun
in the American Civil War

Model 1883 Gatling on U.S. Army pattern metal carriage

"The Gatling gun saw only limited use in the Civil War, but the conflict tested this weapon, perhaps the first successful machine gun used in warfare. Invented by Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the Civil War model served as the precursor of more successful models. 

"The Gatling gun was a hand-crank-operated weapon with six barrels revolving around a central shaft. The cartridges were fed to the gun by gravity through a hopper mounted on the top of the gun. Six cam-operated bolts alternately wedged, fired, and dropped the bullets, which were contained in steel chambers. Gatling used the six barrels to partially cool the gun during firing. Since the gun was capable of firing 600 rounds a minute, each barrel fired 100 rounds per minute. 

"The gun had a number of problems, however. The bores were tapered, and often the barrels and chambers did not exactly align, affecting accuracy and velocity. The chamber system itself, in which a paper cartridge was contained inside a capped steel chamber, was both expensive and fragile. While the gun showed much promise and fired the standard .58-caliber ammunition, it had so many drawbacks and was so radical in design and purpose that Gatling was unable to interest the U.S. government. The army purchased none of his guns, but Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, after a field test, purchased 12 for $1,000 each. They were used on the Petersburg front in 1864 and were apparently considered successful. That, however, was the only service the guns saw. 

"In January, 1865 Gatling's improved model 1865 gun was tested by the Ordnance Department.  Among other things, this weapon used rimfire copper-cased cartridges instead of the steel-chambered paper variety. Though this model did not see service, it was adopted officially in 1866. Having at least received government approval, Gatling began to sell his guns throughout the world; they achieved lasting fame in the post-war years. 

--- taken verbatim from the Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. 
Particia L. Faust (ed). ISBN 0-06-181261-7 

This is a fine example of the An Original Model 1883 Gatling Gun in caliber 45/70 that was manufactured in 1886. The Gatling Gun and the Caisson are simply incredible.  This Gatling Gun was recovered from the Presidio in San Francisco and is for sale at Spotted Dog Firearms at telephone  1-602-538-2769 or contact Steve Hill via e-mail at [email protected].

The Gatling Gun in the Spanish American War
U.S. Navy Gatling Gun Crew circa. 1899


The Gatling gun, one of the earliest forms of functional machines guns, was used during the Spanish American War, both on land and at sea. The use of the Gatling gun during the War is most well-known from its use in the assault on San Juan Hill. 


The first Gatling gun was invented and built by R.J. Gatling, a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1862. The gun was test-fired many times for representatives of the U.S. government and for representatives of foreign governments. On May 9, 1865, the weapon was patented. The gun was subject to a variety of problems, including jamming, and was modified at Cooper's Firearms Manufactory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and subsequently at Colt's Armory in Hartford, Connecticut. Orders for the gun were placed by the governments of Russia, Hungary, Turkey and others. 

The basic idea of the gun is that there are series of barrels, generally ten, which revolve inside of a supporting frame. As the barrels revolve, a mechanism automatically inserts rounds being fed from a vertical magazine mounted atop the gun. As the barrels continue to revolve, each barrel is cocked, fired and the shell casing removed in one single revolution. The barrels are revolved through the use of a crank mounted on the weapon. 

The Gatling gun went through a series of improvements, with the Model 1895 being the model used by the U.S. Army in the Spanish American War. The Army purchased eighteen of these guns on May 20, 1898.  Thirty-one more were delivered to the Army, just over two weeks after the war ended. 

The Gatling Gun Detachment of General Shafter's 5th Corps in Cuba was commanded by Lt. John Henry Parker. His detachment was an ad hoc group. His men were not adequately armed. No spare parts or tools for repair were provided to them. The men who formed the detachment were not even given adequate training, and received their training while serving on the skirmish line. 

The most famous use of the Gatling gun was at San Juan Hill. Here, as the infantry ascended San Juan Hill, "a peculiar drumming noise was heard." Some thought it was Spanish machine guns. Theodore Roosevelt, on the adjacent Kettle Hill, yelled to his men "Its the Gatlings, men, our Gatlings!". He was right, Parker's Gatling's were in use. Parker himself later recorded the following account of the event: 

"The guns were pushed right up in the hottest place there was in the battle-field...and put into
action at the most critical point of the battle... [the guns] so successfully subdued the Spanish fire that from that time to the capture of the practically impregnable position was only eight-and-one-half minutes. The expenditure of ammunition during this time, in which a continuous fire was kept up from three guns, was 6,000 rounds per gun..."

This action represented the first time that the U.S. Army used close-support machine guns in an attack against an enemy position. The event would have ramifications for years to come. 


Gatling guns were still new to the army and adequate training was not done. The gun had improved over the years, but still was prone to jamming. Earlier versions of the gun were place on a fixed carriage but, by the time of the Spanish American War, this was corrected, placing the gun on a swivel mount, so it could rake enemy positions. 

The tremendous fire power of the Gatling gun was undeniable, and did come into play at a very crucial moment during the San Juan Hill assaults.

 1888-1974 Canadian born, American Firearms Inventor. Civil Service employee John C. Garand was in a class all by himself, much like the weapons he created. Garand was Chief Civilian Engineer at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. Garand invented a semiautomatic .30 caliber rifle, known as the M-1 or "the Garand," which was adopted in 1936 after grueling tests by the Army. It was gas-operated, weighed under 10 pounds, and was loaded by an 8-round clip. It fired more than twice as fast as the Army's previous standard-issue rifle and was praised by Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., as "a magnificent weapon" and "the most deadly rifle in the world." For the M-1 and numerous other technical innovations related to weaponry, Garand received no monetary award other than his modest Civil Service salary. A bill introduced in Congress to grant him $100,000 did not pass. He was, however, awarded a Medal for Meritorious Service in 1941 and a U.S. Government Medal for Merit in 1944.

GARAND: Common name given to the U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1.  Invented by John C. Garand, a civilian employee of the U.S. Army's Springfield Armory.  Adopted in 1936, it became the first semiautomatic rifle adopted as the general issue weapon for any military force.  It was the main U.S. military rifle during World War Two, and remained so until the early 1960s (although it was officially superseded in 1957 by a derivative, the M14).  The Garand is gas-operated, feeds from an 8 shot magazine, and is loaded with an en bloc clip.  During WW2, General George S. Patton referred to the M1 in a letter to Springfield Armory as "the greatest implement of battle ever devised."  Note that the M1 Carbine is a completely different design and fires a different cartridge.

M1 Garand
The Legendary M-1 Garand Rifle
By James L. Thompson
As Published in World War II Magazine, January 1999

No single small arm is more closely identified with the U.S. World War II infantryman than the
rifle sometimes called "the last true butt stroker." The M-1 Garand's sturdy, 10-pound stock-
unlike those of its successors-was heavy enough to deliver a lethal blow to an adversary. At the
finest rifle ranges in the world the M-1 Garand still competes in and regularly wins high-powered, military-format matches at ranges up to 1,000 yards. The only rifle that regularly
outscores John Garand's design is its direct progeny, the M-14. 

The M-1 was not always the splendid rifle that today's competitive shooters covet. Like most
military firearms, it evolved and continuously improved. The idea of equipping all American
infantrymen with arms intended to enhance their mobility, firepower and, thus, their chance of
survival originated before the end of World War I. Indeed, the now rare semiautomatic Pedersen Device for the M1903 Mark I Springfield rifle, also known as the .30-caliber model of 1918, would probably have become standard had World War I lasted another agonizing year. 

During the first year of President Franklin P. Roosevelt's administration, improving military arms became a priority. The principles underpinning the changes were straightforward. In World War I, the European powers had become bogged down in trench warfare, and every major power was determined not to let that happen again. The Germans kept their old rifle as support, merely shortening and streamlining some of its features. The French and the British updated various weapons and in reduced new medium automatics, sometimes incorporating armor In the United States, tighter machine guns and other automatic weapons were developed. The rifle, too, would have to be improved, because machine guns and other modem weapons would still be supporting riflemen. 

Bayonet Drill with M1 Garand Caliber .30 Rifle

By late 1933, the only designs under discussion were more conventional than the
primer-actuated and specialized ammunition models, and by early 1934, the decision had been made to produce a gas-operated Garand rifle. It was determined that the new rifle would be chambered for the standard .30-caliber rifle model of 1906. The military still held vast stocks of the ammunition, and none of the new toads had shown sufficient advantage over the old cartridge to justify retooling for an entirety different case. 

The M-1 Garand entered prototype production in 1936, and until late 1940 the "gas trap"
configuration was the only type produced. Like other appealing gadgets, though, the gas trap
proved an impractical means of operating a firearm. It seemed so easy and simple, yet by the
end of the 1940s, England, Belgium, the Soviet Union, Germany and other nations had tried the system and found it seriously wanting. The far more traditional "gas port" system proved to be mote effective than the gas trap. 

Many other operational problems were discovered in the early M-1 Garand, but solutions were
usually already available. Beginning as early as 1941, the faulty rifles from early production
were rebuilt, improved with welds and cuts in appropriate areas and returned to service. Today, original gas trap M-1s are extremely rare. 

Even with the new operating system in place a year before the Pearl Harbor attack, the rifle
continued to evolve and improve. This process continued until the rifle left military production at
Beretta, Italy, in the 1970s. 

At early competitions, M-1 users experienced erratic operation, mediocre-to-poor accuracy and lousy scores. The word "boondoggle" was applied to the entire program by the press, and in some quarters the new rifle was widely regarded as a flop, especially since its $90-$ 102 price was almost three times that of the barracks darlings of the 1930s, the M-1 1903 and 1903A1 Springfield bolt-action rifles. In 1940, virtually no one not intimately involved with the rifle's development could reasonably believe that a few years later the M-1 Garand would be hailed as the finest infantry weapon ever conceived. But that is indeed what happened, and every GI who carried the rifle should be thankful that designers continued to work on the M-1 Garand instead of abandoning the design. 

About 3.8 million M-1 rifles were produced during World War II, and the rifle was continually
improved throughout Springfield Armory production as the procurement cost decreased. Those produced by Winchester remained primitive, however, since that company did not update its production lines. 

Heavily milled parts were eventually replaced with stamped spring steel components that, while in some cases not as good-looking, were actually far stronger. The receiver grew heftier, and base materials changed to more resilient spring/tool steels. 'While only Winchester and
Springfield actually built complete rifles during the war, practically every arms manufacturer in
the country with the tooling to do so made parts for the M-1 rifle, especially replacement barrels. 

The original "flush nut" rear-sight mechanism, which usually required a small tool to set or
tighten, loosened under sustained fire and was replaced in production by 1942. By the end of
W.W.II, the Garand was a reliable, sturdy rifle. After the war, the wartime rifles, competing
against heavily rebuilt M1903 Springfields, proved to be the most accurate U.S. military rifles in history. 

At the end of W.W.II, the M-1 story was just beginning. Although production had been
interrupted by the end of the war, some problems were addressed almost immediately at
rebuilding centers and in the armory system. Men had been injured and killed by operating-rod
separations of some versions, and new parts and modifications were introduced to remedy the problem. 

Wartime experience had also established that heavy greases, especially those containing lithium and graphite, were the best lubricants for the rifles' systems, and several were adapted for use on the M-1. Eventually, shooters began to realize that such lubricants were superior for all fast-shooting firearms. 

Many modifications-including a new, much 'sturdier rear sight-were made so that the rifles would be true precision firearms. Among other findings, armorers discovered that relieving the wood around the barrel and inside the stock and hand-guards, and then firmly bedding the receiver in fiberglass, epoxy or other liquid ceramic compounds, made the rifle shoot straighter and operate cooler. These developments were more or less perfected in the 1960s, after the rifle was out of U.S. military production. Work still continues today on the weapon in the shops of many of America's finest accuracy-oriented gunsmiths, mainly for civilian shooters. 

Certain eccentricities of the M- l's design had been addressed long before World War II ended.  The Japanese, who had captured both gas trap and gas port rifles by 1942 and who began to build reproductions, saw immediately what American engineers also perceived-that a larger box magazine entering the bottom of the receiver could replace the eight-round, self-ejecting clip. In addition to decreasing the rifle's down time, and therefore increasing true firepower, a box magazine would eliminate the 'twang" generated as the clip was ejected when spent-a noise that could alert an enemy to the shooter's position. It would also eliminate the ugliest symptom for some shooters using the Garand, the renowned "M-1" thumb." This was an affliction resulting from the fully sprung bolt's smashing the thumb under many hundreds of pounds of pressure as the follower was depressed to close the rifle. Unless the shooter's hand was properly positioned, his thumb could end up bruised or even broken. 

Long after the M-1 Garand left U.S. military production in 1956, it was used in Reserve and
National Guard units. Those outfits were using the Garand as late as 1975, since many did not
adopt the M-l4 but went directly to the M-16. 

Gunsmiths sought to make the M-1 smaller and lighter, as well as to introduce a fully automatic
version. Remington actually built many selective-fire prototypes in the late 1940s. The T-26 rifle, sometimes erroneously called "the Tanker" (the "T" stood for "Trial," not Tanker), was a
shortened version designed for airborne forces late in the war, but it was found unsuitable
because of excessive muzzle blast and poor accuracy. The 1,000 trial rifles were reconverted
from their modified form at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and returned to service as
standard rifles shortly after the war. Although the T-26 never entered production, the
selective-fire, large-magazine concept led to a shortened, lightened spin-off of the M-1, called
the T-44 during trials, ultimately becoming the M-14. 

The M-1 had more history to write and more wars ahead of it. Beretta began producing M-1
Garands before 1950, having already participated, as had the venerable Belgian EN. firm, in
rebuilding rifles for the United States and European armies. 

The Korean War brought about the reintroduction of the rifle into U.S. production, first at
Springfield Armory, then at Harrington and Richardson, and finally at a former truck and tractor
producer, International Harvester. The postwar M-1 is are the strongest and best of all, but they
are still not without fault. 

International Harvester should never have been involved in the program in the first place, and
the company experienced many difficulties in building the rifle, requiring several bailouts by the
Springfield Armory. But as with the Winchester production during W.W.II, this bizarre
history-amounting to a scandal-created a number of small variants and flukes of interest to

Harrington and Richardson, on the other hand, regularly produced a blueprint-perfect product,
on time and below budget, and was entrusted with much of the research that led to the later
M-14. In fact, Harrington and Richardson was also involved in M 14 production throughout the
life of that rifle, Into the late 1960s, the company built rifles and produced components,
particularly U.S. Navy rebuilds for match shooting and shore parties, models that used the new
7.62 mm cartridge. 

By the end of the gun's military production, at least 6.3 million Garand rifles had been produced.  The M-1 has also been built by the Illinois Springfield Armory and other civilian companies. It has been estimated that perhaps 2 million M-1 rifles now belong to civilian owners, collectors and shooters, who view their Garands with awe, nostalgia and perhaps a certain amount of chauvinism. 

World War Ii vets fondly remember the combined firepower brought to bear via the coupling of
the M-1 and the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) in American W.W.II fire teams, where a group of three to six men would carry at least one BAR and the rest M-1s, ensuring that every weapon carried by the team was either selective-fire or semiautomatic. In contrast, an entire Axis platoon might be armed with one or two automatic rifles, a few submachine guns and all the rest bolt-action rifles, with a maximum magazine capacity of five rounds. 

In the final analysis, the advantages of the M-1 have far outweighed any drawbacks. Although
the M_1 greatly increased the expenditure of ammunition among infantry units, this demand was usually met by the United States' well-developed supply system. And, as for the M-1s 11-plus pounds, one of the greatest tributes to the rifle was' that a weight-conscious American airborne general-the late Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin- carried one throughout the war, eschewing the fancier, lighter, more gentlemanly arms to which general officers are privy. 

One criticism was of the rifle ill-deserved: 

While many recruits thought the Garand kicked like a mule, the M-1 in fact generates far less
recoil than any of its contemporaries and, in rhythm, shoots far faster than any other
full-powered military rifle. 

U.S. Third Army commander General George S. Patton praised John Garands M-1 rifle as the
"best battle implement ever devised." The M-1 was designed to train men how to shoot and to
save American lives in desperate fights. Mission accomplished! 

For the M1 Technical Specifications of the M1 - See M1 GARAND in the Gun Glossary - Letter M.

The bore size of a shotgun.  In this case bore refers to the inner diameter of the barrel.  Gauge is determined by counting the number of round lead balls of bore diameter that equals one pound or 16 ounces.  No not kidding.  It is an old and antiquated method of measure that most people do not know about.  Thus 12-gauge or 12 bore means that 12 pure lead balls of such a diameter will weigh one pound.  The sole exception to this is the .410 shotgun, which has a diameter of .41 inches (i.e., .41 caliber and is actually 68 Gauge).  Note: Sometimes GAUGE is spelled GAGE.

GAUGE, SHOTGUN: The unit of measure of the bore diameter of a shotgun.  The gauge is the number of lead balls, of the diameter of the gun bore, that make a pound.  While most ammunition is described in terms of caliber, shotgun ammunition (called a Shell or Shotgun Shell) is described in terms of gauge, and the direction of the scale is reversed. So the lower the gauge, the bigger the bore diameter and the more powerful the shell.  A 12-gauge shell is larger and more powerful than a 20-gauge shell.

Gauge, Bore and Shot Stuff

.410 Gauge - To put gauge in a general context, a 410 shotgun fires a tiny shell that usually contains pellets the size of grains of sand.  They are used as bird-hunting or as varmint guns and will not reliably disable anything much larger.  The .410 barrel diameter is the only shotgun bore measured in inches, like caliber, and a 410 is actually .41 inches in diameter.

20 & 16 Gauge - 20 and 16-gauge shotguns are relatively common "lightweight" shotguns suitable for a wide range of hunting and sporting competition applications. 20 Gauge is more common these days than 16 gauge and a 20 gauge is a fine starter gun as well as a nice light sporter for all applications.  Many women and smaller shooters use the 20 gauge but don't let the size fool you, I have knocked down more skeet and game birds with a 20 gauge than with any other shotgun.

12 Gauge -The 12-gauge shotgun is by far the most common, and its loads contain  sufficient power to serve in both hunting and defensive roles. The 12-gauge is a favorite shotgun choice among most of the law enforcement and military units in the United States.  There are several different loads available and the load needs to suit the application.  You would not hunts ducks with 00 Buck loads and one would not use 7 shot for self-defense or law enforcement application.  

10 & 4 Gauge - "Extremely heavy" gauge shotguns, such as a 10-gauge or even 4-gauge, have been developed for big-game hunting, but be wary - the kick from these enormous shells can rock even accomplished shooters, and such firearms should only be discharged after proper training from a qualified instructor.

The standard diameters of shotgun bores of various gauges are as follows:

Gauge Inches Actual Size
4 gauge .935 inch 4 Gauge
8 gauge .835 inch 8 Gauge
10 gauge .775 inch 10 Gauge
12 gauge .730 inch

12 Guage

16 gauge .670 inch 16 Guage
20 gauge .615 inch 20 Guage
28 gauge .550 inch 28 Guage
.410 bore .410 inch 410 Guage
67 gauge .410 inch 67 Guage


Abbreviation for Gun Control Act.  a.k.a. GCA 68. See below.

GECO: Geco is the abbreviation of Gustav Genschow & Co., subsidiary of the Dynamit Nobel - RWS Company and a former manufacturer of pistol and revolver cartridges. 

GHOST RING SIGHT: A type of rear sight used on rifles or shotguns. It features a thin-rimmed, large-opening rear aperture (as opposed to a small aperture "target" or "peep" sight) mounted on the firearm's receiver. Used together with a flat topped front blade sight it allows extremely fast target acquisition while still allowing precise aiming under all kinds of lighting conditions.  Abbreviated GRS.

GILDING METAL: A copper-zinc alloy used for bullet jackets and gas checks.

GLASER AMMUNITION: Glaser Safety Slug - Frangible ammunition designed to prevent over penetration and for enhanced safety in training and close quarters shooting environments.  


GLASER SAFETY SLUG, Inc. developed the first frangible bullet in 1974 to provide reduced ricochet and over-penetration danger with improved stopping power over conventional bullets.  In 1987, GLASER developed the round-nose frangible bullet offering guaranteed feeding reliability.  In 1988 GLASER introduced the compressed core bullet to maximize bullet weight and the number of bullet fragments. This precision formed bullet also produces target grade accuracy, seldom found in a personal defense bullet.  In 1994 GLASER improved fragmentation reliability to below 1000 feet per second through the use of soft, rather than hard plastic in the bullet tip. 

A form of commercially available frangible ammunition. See above. 

GRAIN: A unit of weight measure. 437.5 grains equal one ounce; 7,000 grains equal one pound.  The smallest unit of the British and U.S. system of weights. One pound avoirdupois equals 7,000 grains.

GRATICULEThe cross-wires or other aiming mark in the field of view of a telescopic sight.  In the United State this has been called a Reticule, however technically a Reticule must have a method for determining range where the Graticule is a standard cross hair.

GRIP:  The grip is the position where the user holds the handgun during use.  Often these are made of wood, rubber, or synthetic materials and can be custom designed to fit the user's hand. The grip is generally an integral part of the frame.

GRIP, PISTOL: A pistil like grip that protrudes under the trigger group or receiver on many firearms like the AR-15 or M-16. The pistol grip of a rifle or shotgun is used to hold it securely and aids in aiming and control.

GRIP, PROPER: Grip of the shooting hand on the pistol provides the shooter with a firm hold on the weapon that prevents shifting during recoil and a natural alignment of the sights without moving the head or wrist from their normal attitudes.

GRIP SAFETY: A safety device built into the grip of the firearm.  Grip safeties were originally designed in the 1880s. To discharge a handgun equipped with a grip safety, the safety lever, located on the front or back side of the grip, must be compressed. When holding the handgun in a normal shooting position, the fingers or palm (depending on the design) of the shooter's hand compresses the safety lever, thus unlocking the trigger. If the shooter releases the lever, the locking mechanism automatically reengages. One of the most popular handgun designs which contained a grip safety was the Colt 1911A1. This gun design was the standard pistol used by the U.S. Army through much of the 20th century.


Grip safeties are passive devices and do not hinder the use of the handgun by adults. The most common hand gun that employs a grip safety is the 1911A1-patern semi-automatic pistol designed by John Mosses Browning and initially manufactured by Colt.  The device is integral or built into the firearm, there are no add on grip safeties.  Grip Safeties are intended as drop safeties and to keep the firearm from discharging if the trigger is bumped or pulled when the grip is not being held.  When the gun is not being held by the grip, the grip safety reduces the risk of unintended discharge.

Grip safeties have been promoted by some as a means of childproofing handguns.  In theory, children do not have the strength, coordination, or hand size to compress the safety lever and pull the trigger at the same time.  For young children with small, weak hands, this theory may be accurate.  With the use of two hands, however, some children may be able to discharge a handgun with a grip safety and accidental discharges of 1911-patern pistols have been made by small children who apparently held the grip up against part of their body or another object while pulling the trigger.  For adolescents, a grip safety does not limit the use of the handgun.

Suffice it to say that the Grip Safety should not be used as a childproofing device.  Keep all firearms in a safe manor that prevents access to children and unauthorized adults.

The recessed portion of rifling.

GROOVES: Spiral cuts in the bore of a firearm which cause the bullet to spin as it moves through the barrel.  Swaged impressions or cuts spiraled through a bore to rotate projectiles.

GROUP - GROUP SIZE: The distribution of bullets on a target fired with a single aiming point and sight setting. Group size is expressed as the distance between centers of the farthest holes and is most easily determined by measuring the extreme spread from outside to outside and subtracting one bullet diameter.

GRS:  Abbreviation for Ghost Ring Sight.

GUN: A device that discharges shot, shells, or bullets from a straight tube. A gun using the explosion of GUNPOWDER or some other explosive substance to propel the projectile is called a firearm; types include ARTILLERY (large firearms), MORTAR, and SMALL ARMS. Certain other guns use compressed air produced by a spring-operated plunger (e.g., BB gun) or a lever-and-pump system (e.g., air rifle) to propel the projectile.

GUN 2: The British restrict the term in portable arms to shotguns.  In the USA it is properly used for rifles, shotguns, handguns and airguns as well as cannon.

GUN - From Dictionary Dot Com

gun (gn) noun

  1. A weapon consisting of a metal tube from which a projectile is fired at high velocity into a relatively flat trajectory.
  2. A cannon with a long barrel and a relatively low angle of fire.
  3. A portable firearm, such as a rifle or revolver.
  4. A device resembling a firearm or cannon, as in its ability to project something, such as grease, under pressure or at great speed.
  5. A discharge of a firearm or cannon as a signal or salute.
  6. One, such as a hunter, who carries or uses a gun.
    1. A person skilled in the use of a gun.
    2. A professional killer: a hired gun.
  8. The throttle of an engine, as of an automobile.
verb: gunned, gun·ning, guns
  1. To shoot (a person): a bank robber who was gunned down by the police.
  2. To open the throttle of (an engine) so as to accelerate: gunned the engine and sped off.
  3. Maine. To hunt (game).

Government limitation of the purchase and ownership of firearms. The availability of guns is controlled by nations and localities throughout the world. In the U.S. the right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution, but has been variously interpreted. Some states and localities have enacted strict licensing and other control measures, and federal legislation (1968) prohibited the sale of rifles by mail. Gun control has continued to be widely debated, however, and often opposed, notably by the NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION. The growing number of gun-related crimes propelled congressional passage (1993) of the Brady bill (named for James Brady, the press secretary seriously wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on Pres. Reagan) after years of controversy. It requires a five-day waiting period and background check before a handgun purchase. Provisions of the bill have been challenged in court. The 1994 federal crime bill banned the manufacture, sale, and possession of certain assault weapons.

GUN CONTROL ACT of 1968:  a.k.a. GCA 68 - The set of federal regulations that govern the sale and possession of firearms. It, among other things:

  • Prohibits the sale of handguns to anyone under 21 years of age.

  • Prohibits the sale of rifles and shotguns to anyone under 18 years of age.

  • Prohibits the mail order sale of firearms to individuals.

  • Prohibits the sale of handguns to non residents of the state of purchase.

  • Prohibits the sale of rifles and shotguns to non residents of a state unless their home state borders the state of purchase, and their home state has past legislation allowing them to do so.

  • Prohibits the sale of firearms to anyone under indictment or convicted of a crime that is punishable by more than one year in jail, and certain other offenses.

  • Requires that dealers record the sale and identity of the purchaser of all ammunition that is usable in pistols in a record book.

  • Requires that dealers record the sale and identity of the purchaser of all firearms on a federal form and in a record book.

  • Requires the licensing of anyone engaged in the sale or manufacture for sale of firearms and ammunition.

GUNSHIP: Any of a group specially modified or purpose built vessels and air craft that are employed in the fire support role or as mobile barrage batteries. From the first time man strapped a cannon to the deck of a ship to modern day, the Gunship has played a pivotal role in armed combat. In the modern military the term "Gunship" typically refers to specially prepared air craft that bristle with guns and armament and that act in direct support of ground combatants and Special Forces.

GUNSHIP: (AC-130) The AC-130 Gunship is a special purpose gunnery and observation platform that is integrated into a four (4) turbo prop engine C-130 Hercules aircraft. The AC-130 is employed by USSOCOM - United States Special Operations Command (Airborne). Specifically by the AFSOC or Air Force Special Operations Command in support of SOF - Special Operations Forces and National Command directives world wide.


The AC-130 utilizes the Western Design 25mm Ammunition Storage and Handling System (ASHS). It is the worlds largest Linear Linkless Feed System, storing 3000 rounds of ammunition to feed the GAU-12/U five barrel Gatling cannon at a rate of 1800 shots per minute. Mated with Delco's Trainable Gun Mount System, it provides a firepower and lethality enhancement heretofore unknown in the Spectre series of aircraft.  The AC-130 Gunship is also know as the "Spectre Gunship".  More information on the Gunship and the ASHS system is below.

ASHS represents an advancement in the state-of-the-art of ammunition handling system technology by providing high-density storage in a two-bay configuration for 3300 lbs. of ammunition within the lightweight, highly-efficient structure of linear linkless design. ASHS is hydraulically-powered and is tied mechanically to the gun through a flexible drive shaft. System control is provided through electronic commands from a remote crew station on the Gunship. ASHS versatility is demonstrated by its acceptance of linked or bulk ammunition during loading, its ability to download spent cases while uploading new rounds, and its capability to distinguish between live rounds and spent cases at the end of firing a burst for reverse clearing of the weapon, providing safety for both crew and gun.

1. The Effective Use of Firearms & Weapons. 2. The Science of the Flight of Projectiles. 3.  Specifically; The Study of Guns.

GUNNERY NETWORK: - A web site dedicated to Gunnery; The Effective Use of Firearms.  The Science of the Flight of Projectiles. Specifically; The Study of Guns.  The Gunnery Network is owned and operated by Network-Viking Web Productions and Network Viking LTD.  Marvin Stenhammar, Director.  This Gun Glossary is a part of Gunnery Network.  Gunnery Network is non commercial.

GUN POWDER: Chemical substances of various compositions, particle sizes, shapes and colors that, on ignition, serve as a propellant. Ignited smokeless powder emits minimal quantities of smoke from a gun's muzzle; the older black powder emits relatively large quantities of whitish smoke. 2. A mixture of chemical compounds which, when ignited by the primer, burns rapidly to generate a gas. The production of gas dramatically increases the pressure inside the cartridge. Once the pressure reaches a threshold (determined by the way the cartridge is manufactured), the bullet is discharged from the casing. Wide variations exist in the size and shape of gunpowder particles, each providing different performance characteristics.   Also know as POWDER.

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