9 Most Misused Gun Terms

by Kyle Wintersteen  |  published on March 10, 2015

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“Assault weapon.” Sixteen-round “clip.” A box of “bullets.” When it comes to firearms, there’s no shortage of misused terminology. Sometimes the error is committed innocently, a simple mistake owing to the shooter’s ignorance. A common example is the interchangeable use of “clip” and “magazine.” However, other misused terms are more harmful. They aren’t just inaccurate; their frequent use can negatively affect the public perception of firearms. Referring to a semi-automatic carbine as an “assault rifle” — a term that implies a fully automatic action designed for purely offensive purposes — is the biggest offender. More on that later.

Anti-gun groups, politicians and biased members of the media often use such terms incorrectly — sometimes due to lack of knowledge but often with malicious intent. So, if we as gun owners don’t accurately apply firearms terminology, who will? How can aspiring shooters, genuine journalists or the public at-large hope to receive reliable information? Here are some of the most commonly misused and confused gun terms.

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