Guns and Shooting – A Primer (part 1)

Guns and Shooting – A Primer (part 1)

The topic of the different firearms and the various ways to properly shoot them is so broad that it’s hard to know where to start. I think the best starting point is firearms. What is a firearm? Is a BB gun or a pellet gun a firearm? Here is a definition used by the federal government:

The term “firearm” is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3), to include (A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon….

So, a BB gun is not a firearm because it uses compressed air or a spring to shoot the BB. Interestingly the law’s definition is not actually correct. No modern firearms use an explosive to propel the projectile. Did you know that? While black powder is an explosive, the modern smokeless powders used for the last hundred years are actually classified and regulated as propellants. This brings up another important point. When a round is fired the gunpowder does not detonate, it burns. It burns so quickly that it has a special name called “deflagration” to describe it. When it burns it release huge volumes of gas that push the bullet out of the barrel. I don’t figure you are reading this to get a dissertation on internal ballistics so I found this short 3 minute video that gives a nice overview:

It is a device that propels a device by that action of powder that constitutes a firearm.

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