How To Deal With Gun Terminology Snobs

Half-Cocked: Gun Terminology Gone BadWe’re not going to get wrapped up too much in the specifics of proper gun terminology. It can be intimidating and quite frankly, it’s not all that important as long as people know what you’re trying to say. But we will try to be accurate most of the time so you have the full picture.

Right off the bat, we’re going to run into a problematic situation. You see, some gun folks are so darn persnickety about using the correct words that someone, somewhere, is bound to correct you on your use of a gun word. Maybe you’ll walk into a gun store and ask if they carry extra clips for your Springfield XD handgun. Or perhaps you’ll refer to your Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight as a “pistol”. Do they know what you mean? Yes. Is it really necessary to cop an attitude and correct you? No.

Here’s one way to deal with that kind of thing should you walk into a gun store and get the terminology treatment…

You: Hi! I have a question…

Surly Gun Store Clerk: (Ignores you and continues talking to the gun shop groupies behind the counter)

You: Ummm, hello! I was wondering if you could help me out?

Clerk: Yeah, what?

You: I need to see if you have some extra clips for my new Glock.

Clerk: (Slowly turns to friends and does a full-body eye roll…) No, sorry, we don’t.

You: Aren’t these Glock clips here in the display case?

Clerk: Nope, those are magazines.

You: Well, do you have any that fit a Glock 17?

Clerk: Yeah.

You: Bless your heart… Now will you be a dear and sell me some of those MAGAZINES?

See what you did there? Here in the south, the phrase “bless your heart” loosely translates into something along the lines of “you’re really a clueless jerk, aren’t you?” The beauty is that you can say it with a bit of an accent and dripping with more sweetness than an extra large Chick-Fil-A iced tea. It’s a beautiful solution to many of life’s challenges. While we’re on magazines, let’s define “magazine” and “clip.”

Gun Terminology Alert!

Magazines and Clips

You know how you can spot a high school prom couple at an exclusive restaurant? Like when the pimply mannish boy requests A-1 Steak Sauce with his Chateaubriand?  Well, there’s a similar thing in shooting – when people carelessly throw around words like clip.

Clips and magazines are both legitimate shooting related objects. While sometimes subtle, there are differences.

A clip is a device used to hold cartridges for the purpose of storage, packing, and easy loading into a magazine. Clips were a big deal back when the world had anger issues expressed by frequent large-scale wars. Five or ten rounds of ammo might be attached to a clip, which would allow a soldier to slide the rounds into the magazine of his rifle or handgun quickly and easily. Clips are still used today. Some .223 or 5.56 ammunition comes on clips to make it easier to load lots of rounds into a magazine at once.

A magazine is the container that holds cartridges for the purpose of feeding them into the chamber of a firearm. Magazines can be built into the gun, as with many rifles, or they can be removable, as with most semi-automatic pistols and AR type rifles. That thing that falls out the bottom of a Glock? That’s a magazine.

Confused? No problem. We’ve got a near fail-safe tip for you. These days you’re pretty safe referring to most things that hold bullets as a magazine. More often than not, you’ll be correct referring to it that way.

Read more about guns and shooting, in plain English, in our newest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition.

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Half-Cocked: Why more girls need to work in gun stores…

Why more women need to work in gun stores...

Why more women need to work in gun stores...

Top 10 Tips For A Successful Gun Store Visit

Shopping with the President can help

Shopping with the President can help

While many gun stores are going full-auto retail and implementing 20th century ideas like greeting customers, being polite, and hiring helpful sales staff, you’re going to run into the occasional old school shop run by Clem, Bodean, and Clem’s other brother Clem. Here are a few helpful tips to get you through the experience with a bare minimum of angst and/or gunfire.

1. Don’t acknowledge anyone when you walk in the door. If this makes you really uncomfortable, you can give the briefest hint of a nod in the general direction of Clem, Bodean, and Clem. Don’t work yourself into a hissy about being rude – they won’t acknowledge you either. Under no circumstance should you brightly say “Hello! How are you today? Boy, it sure is hot outside isn’t it!”

2. Stuff your right cheek full of Red Man. Not Copenhagen – that’s for sissies and you’ll be exposed as a rookie poseur right away. If you have not done The Red Man before, practice in advance as uncontrollable nausea can result. If it’s a nice store with real floors, bring the styrofoam coffee cup you used at breakfast for your porta-spitoon. If the shop has a coffee maker, you can top off with a little joe while you browse. Careful, that’s week old coffee there.

3. Don’t remove your John Deere hat when entering the store. You are wearing one aren’t you?

4. If you want to look at a particular gun in the case, but are unfamiliar with the make and model, use the mouth full of Red Man to your advantage. Throw a little extra self-imposed unintelligibility into your request to see the gun. It’s OK, Clem will assume you know what you’re talking about as you have a wad of Red Man ‘sploding your cheek and a John Deere hat. After some practice, your request should sound something like this: “Cun ahhh hole thus mrggumpghphtt rahfull?” (Or ‘puhstull‘ as required)

5. When handing a rifle, aim it at the ceiling and look knowingly over the sights or through the scope as appropriate. Although you may be tempted, don’t try to gain street cred by saying something like “I kilt a buck with one like this last month.” You may be holding something like a Ruger 10/22 or Winchester 9410 and exposed as a rookie poseur. Just nod your head a lot, make grumbly noises, and hand it back when you’re done.

6. Keep your finger off the trigger. Yeah, we know, it’s meant for pullin’, but resist if you can. It’s especially bad form with rifles.

7. Whenever you look at a price tag, shake your head a bit and say “They sure are proud of this one, aren’t they?”

8. Make sure you don’t inadvertently aim at Clem or Bodean. It’s bad form and one or both will almost certainly return the favor.

9. If you do end up buying a gun, and still don’t know what type of ammo you need to go with it, just add some more Red Man and say something like “Gimme 3 boxes too.” Keeping it generic will make Clem assume you know what you’re talking about.

10. Last but certainly not least, don’t dress like a Mall Ninja for the occasion. It’s not as cool as you think.

As an extra bonus tip, if you want some extra-special service, see if you can accompany the President on his next visit to a gun store.

Obama Makes Unscheduled Stop At Colorado Gun Store

Marine One Visits Gun Store

Marine One Visits Local Gun Store

Creede, Colorado – Today, President Obama made a brief detour from his Town Hall stump tour to visit a small Colorado gun store. The President seemed downright giddy upon exiting Marine One outside locally owned Zeke’s Gun and Pawn Shop in Creede, Colorado.

When asked about the unscheduled stop, the President replied “I, ah, keep on hearing from folks, that, ah, guns are going to be, ah, banned.That’s what a gun ban is you know, ah, banning guns! So I, ah, gave orders to the guy up front wearing a, ah, military uniform, and asked him if he could, ah, land Marine One out there in the, ah, street. I, ah, figure that I own that, ah, street now that I, ah, won. Plus, I just like cruising around in this, ah, awesome helicopter. It’s pretty awesome, you know, and Michelle really digs it.”

When questioned why he chose to stop at a gun shop of all places, Obama expressed concern about future availability of guns under his administration. “Rahm Emanuel and I have been, ah, talking, and we’re pretty sure that we won’t be able to buy the really cool guns anymore after we, ah, ban them.So I want to get mine now. Do you know if I need some sort of, ah, permit or anything? I’m pretty sure I don’t because I, ah, won. I’m the new President you know.”

The brief stop in Creede surprised some Washington insiders.According to Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, “I wish the President had just shopped locally. At this critical juncture, we really need the President close by in order to sign the trash we are ramming through Congress in an expedient manner.”

“You know, Reid has no idea what he is talking about.” responded President Obama. “We tried to make this a short outing back in, ah, Washington, but, you know, there aren’t any gun stores in Washington D.C.It’s a little puzzling because my administration believes in Second Amendment rights, so I am not quite sure what that’s all about.That’s exactly why we need to implement this emergency stimulus package right away.Look how many gun industry jobs have already been lost right here in the nation’s capitol.”

obama finger pistol

Secret Service agents were noticeably on edge.According to Rock Steele, spokesperson for the Presidential security detail, “There were guns everywhere.A number of threats, I mean customers, were also in the store and we were pretty sure one of them would go postal at any minute with all those guns lying around. It was pretty tense there for a while. We had to shoot a few locals to be on the safe side.”

The President spent about 30 minutes in Zeke’s Gun and Pawn before leaving with his new purchase and boarding Marine One. Owner and Operator, Zeke Varminter, commented that the President showed quite a bit of interest in the military style rifles and had lots of questions.“Yep, he picked one of those AR type rifles up off the counter, pointed it at one of the Secret Service agents, and said ‘Hey look, I can do this! I’m the President you know!’” According to Zeke, the President was offered free safety and range training, but declined. “I have utmost respect for hardworking American citizens,” said Obama, “but clearly they don’t understand politicians.We’re expert in everything.”

As of press time, the President had not made further comment about his purchase, although there were some reports of sporadic gunfire coming from the vicinity of The White House indoor bowling alley.

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