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Posted:  7/1/2009 10:46 AM #17294

Joined: 6/8/2009
Posts: 48
Last Post: 11/19/2009
Subject: Firearms Style Guide
Every day in the media I see incorrect reporting on firearms types, incorrect usage of terms (ie clip instead of magazine, bullet instead of cartridge, etc.) and I know that this frustrates many gun writers and serves to misinform the general public regarding firearms.
What I'd like to do is to compile a comprehensive Firearms Style Guide.  There already exist firearms lexicons and dictionaries, but no comprehensive style guide exists that instructs on the proper use of abbreviations, terms, and writing style when addressing firearms.  Beginning with our existing Gun Terms articles, I'd like to expand upon that using this thread for discussion of the proper use of terms and punctuation when writing about firearms.  As the project progresses, I'm going to try to take the unfinished document and transition it to a wiki page with tabs for tracking changes as well as discussion.
The end result of this project will (hopefully) be a fully indexed and searchable open source document of not just gun terms, but their proper use in writing style as well as the proper use of punctuation such as hyphens and abbreviations.  Don't feel that this style guide needs to be limited to just firearms either.  Knife terms and other tangentially related subjects such as survival and preparedness are also welcome for inclusion within the style guide.
So: post all of your thoughts, rants, pet peeves, and ideas on proper gun terms, usage, punctuation, grammar, and abbreviations below!

Posted:  7/1/2009 2:48 PM #17301

Joined: 6/28/2005
Posts: 1337
Last Post: 1/28/2015
When writing about bullets types, you should first write out the type of bullet you are talking about. For example, the first time you write ‘full metal jacket bullet’, you want to completely write it out, followed by a parenthesis with the abbreviation of the bullet. So your sentence would look like this,

“Wolf makes a 55-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet.”

Then, for the rest of your article you can write FMJ when referring to the full metal jacket bullet.

CTD Forum Moderator

Posted:  7/1/2009 3:57 PM #17302

Joined: 6/8/2009
Posts: 36
Last Post: 10/6/2010
Distinctions should always be made when referring to a particular make of firearm. This is particularly important for crime reporting.
For example, many blotters may refer to an "AK-47" being used in a crime.  When writing about types of firearms the model should always be part of the initial description, e.g. "semiautomatic AK-47 SAR-1," or, if the model is not known, "AK-47 style rifle."  "Military style" is acceptable, but caution should always be exercised when using the term "assault rifle."  Assault rifles are select fire (fully automatic machine guns) and usually short barreled with a collapsable or folding stock. 
"Assault weapon" is a catch-all term that is politically nuanced and is not appropriate for use in professional writing except when referring to political or legislative actions.  From the AP Stylebook, "Popularly, assault almost always implies physical contact and sudden, intense violence." Using these guidelines, almost any item used as a weapon in sudden, intense violence could be considered an "assault weapon."  Therefore the term "assault weapon" encompasses virtually any weapon, and is not useful as a descriptive term in professional writing.
Semiautomatic is not hyphenated. Fully-automatic and full-auto are always hyphenated.

Posted:  7/2/2009 3:28 PM #17306

Joined: 3/26/2008
Posts: 4268
Last Post: 9/11/2012
Clip          =  something that holds rounds together inserting into a magazine
Magazine = "ammunition feeding device," as in the thing that holds all of the rounds to be fed directly into the chamber
Shells = shotgun shells ONLY...NOT .22 rimfire or centerfire rifle/pistol rounds
AR = "Armalite Rifle," not "Assault Rifle"
Bushmaster XM-15 = This is an AR-Type rifle!! (for some reason, many people seem to think it's something different)
Grains = when referring to loaded ammunition, "grain" is almost always referring to the weight of the bullet (Federal 55gr. FMJ .223 ammo = 55 grain bullet). When referring to reloading ammunition, you need to specify whether you're talking about bullet weight or the weight of the powder charge (I load my .45 ammo with 4.7 grains of Bullseye powder and use 200 grain bullets).
MOA - Minute Of Angle (a measure of angular displacement equal to 1/60 of one degree, usually used when discussing group sizes - 1 MOA is roughly 1" at 100 yds)
Quad Rail, Forearm, Forend, Handguard, etc... = all referring to the same item, though there are MANY different variations and types. They're all, essentially, a barrel shroud
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Posted:  9/28/2011 6:12 PM #28309

Joined: 5/16/2011
Posts: 409
Last Post: 7/11/2012
I offered to write such a book for Writer's Digest, they answered that they already had someone writing one. That was over a year ago, aint seen it yet, and nobody COULD write it the way I can, anyway. One day I will market such a book myself, on Amazon.

Posted:  7/10/2013 12:17 AM #38374

Joined: 7/9/2013
Posts: 4
Last Post: 8/17/2013
Anybody creates one of these I would like to be on the notification list. As a "newbee" just cannot say how useful this would be. A downloadable copy would really be appealing. Just sayin!   EOTR

Posted:  7/10/2013 9:38 AM #38378
CTD Blogger

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 10828
Last Post: 8/20/2014
Subject: ‘The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun’
Link to a free Kindle download!! (From “How does one make that first trip to the range, gun store, or even a friend’s house to check out a gun or two without looking like a total doofus? Like all new things, learning how to handle guns can be intimidating. How do new shooters take the first step now that Miss Manners’ Super Duper Guide to Shooting Etiquette is out of print? Let’s face it. If people are new to shooting, or just haven’t immersed themselves in the gun culture, guns and shooting can be intimidating. Loud noises, armed people and gun stores can be scary. Never fear! The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition will make new shooters comfortable, knowledgeable and safe in no time. And readers will have a few laughs in the process.

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