From the bottom upward: The Peacemaker, the Yellowboy, and the Gun that Won the West, three of the most well-known colloquial gun names.
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By Joe Engesser

Sometimes a gun’s nickname is a term of endearment. Other times they stem from fear or detraction. Slang gun names can be derived from a weapon’s appearance, its sound when it fires, a defining attribute, its impact on the battlefield, or sometimes as a clever play on the firearm’s official designation. However they originated, the most memorable gun nicknames include an element of truth and help cement a weapon’s legacy.

In an effort to narrow our list, we’ll try to avoid overly broad-brush terms like smoke wagon and boomstick, as well as artillery slang like Stovepipe, Thumper, and Screaming Mimi, and instead keep our focus on firearms. Here are our selections for the most famous gun nicknames, presented in alphabetical order.

The BAR

Slang gun names and military culture go hand-in-hand, and the BAR acronym was as catchy as it was obvious. Developed near the end of WW1, the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle was quickly adopted by the US Military and became a signature weapon for American infantry in WW2 and beyond. The gun’s nickname sprang from the weapon’s initials, “B-A-R”, a term that was easy to remember and soon became the rifle’s most common unofficial designation.

The BAR, an acronym for the Browning Automatic Rifle.

The Belgian Rattlesnake

The brainchild of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Isaac Newton Lewis, the light machine gun design that bore his name was initially rejected by the United States. Lewis set off across the Atlantic to produce his gun in Europe instead, where it was first adopted by Belgium and Britain.

With the outbreak of WW1, the invading Germans faced fierce resistance from the Belgian Army and their limited but strategically deployed Lewis guns. The distinctive “tacka-tacka-tacka“ rattling of the weapon and the hit-and-run tactics employed by the Belgian forces earned the gun the fitting appellation of “Belgian Rattlesnake” from the Kaiser’s troops.

As one of the lightest machine guns of the period, the Lewis Gun could be maneuvered to strike without warning, like its rattlesnake namesake, then quickly moved to another position.

The Broomhandle

The Mauser C96 self-loading pistol’s “Broomhandle” moniker quickly caught on in the early 20th century, a reference to the handgun’s unique round wooden grip. The gun’s nickname soon became a catch-all term for the entire series of C96 pistol models manufactured by Mauser and its subsequent foreign copycats. Mauser eventually embraced the popular nickname and even used it in official promotion campaigns in the Western market.

Broomhandle Mauser
The Broomhandle C96 pistol’s unique silhouette has made it a favorite of Hollywood over the decades, featured onscreen in period dramas like Peaky Blinders and serving as the basis for Han Solo’s DL-44 Heavy Blaster, perhaps the preeminent Star Wars gun.

The Brown Bess

One of the most famous gun nicknames in firearms history, the Brown Bess was used to denote the typical British infantry muskets that served from 1722 through the early 1830s. In 1785, English author Francis Grose published an index of informal words titled ‘Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ and his entry for the Bess reads, “‘Brown Bess. A soldier’s firelock. To hug Brown Bess; to carry a firelock, or serve as a private soldier.”

The Brown Bess nickname appears to be derived from the slang “Bess,” which was an 18th-century reference to women of ill repute. The term “brown” simply meant drab, ordinary, and plain beyond just the subject’s color, as seen in the colloquial for the “Brown Bill” polearm, a farming tool often fielded by lowly infantry conscripts. This denotation was applied to the Brown Bess musket in the same way.

The oldest informal gun name on our list, the Brown Bess was a muzzleloading flintlock smoothbore musket that served as the British infantry standard for more than a century.

The Burp Gun

Dubbed the “Burp Gun” for the sound it made during extended fire, the PPSh-41 submachinegun was widely fielded by the Red Army in WW2. The burp gun fired 900 rounds a minute, nearly double the rate of the German MP40 it faced down in the streets of Stalingrad. The PPSh-41 was comparatively easy to produce, and a copy of the gun called the Type 50 was later adopted by Chinese and North Korean troops.

“Once we heard that sound—‘Burp! Burp!’—it was a frightening sound,” recalled British veteran Gerry Farmer, who served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in the Korean War. “It meant the Chinese were there. I think the sound of the burp gun and what it represented was more frightening than the rounds that came out of the weapon.”

The Burp Gun, a nickname for the USSR’s go-to infantry submachine gun in WW2.

The Devil’s Paintbrush

You don’t earn a gun nickname like “The Devil’s Paintbrush” without making a terrible impression. While Gatling guns had demonstrated the utility of high-volume fire on the battlefield, the Maxim design, the world’s first true recoil-based machine gun, perfected the strategy to a brutal degree.

With its cheaper cost of production and absence of a manual crank, the Maxim gun supplanted its Gatling gun forerunner and saw widespread adoption in Europe. The defensive advantage offered by the Maxim gun’s overwhelming firepower contributed to the trench warfare stalemates and high death tolls of WW1, and it’s easy to see why the “Devil’s Paintbrush” epithet caught on with the soldiers who faced this deadly efficient weapon.

On the list of coolest weapon names, The Devil’s Paintbrush ranks near the top.

The Figure 8

Patented in 1856, this Savage & North black powder revolver is as distinct as it is rare. Its informal gun name stems from the figure 8 shape made by the cocking lever and trigger guard. Using the operator’s middle finger, the ring-style cocking lever is pulled after each successive shot to advance the six-shot cylinder, automatically cocking the hammer.

The Savage & North “Figure 8”, a gun nickname derived from the revolver’s unique trigger guard and cocking lever.

The Grapevine Carbine

The Civil War saw the development of numerous breach loading carbines, including the unique-looking Gwyn & Campbell. This .52 caliber gun was nicknamed for its long hammer and serpentine-shaped trigger guard, qualities especially evident in the scarcer Type I Cosmopolitan Arms Co model. The “grapevine” nickname was less commonly applied to the Gwyn & Campbell Type II carbine, which saw service with numerous Union Cavalry units.

The “Grapevine Carbine”, a memorable slang gun name for one of the Civil War’s most distinctive breechloaders.

The Grease Gun

Another memorable weapon nickname bestowed by everyday troops, the M3 “Grease Gun” earned its title due to a close physical resemblance to hand-powered grease dispensers, a common auto mechanic’s tool of the period. In an effort to produce a cheaper and lighter alternative to the Thompson, inventor George Hyde developed a firearm that was stamped, riveted, and welded, taking on a crude, tube gun shape. The Grease Gun is an example of a gun nickname becoming more commonly known than its official designation.

The M3 submachine gun, or Grease Gun, was a .45 caliber, nine-pound SMG optimized for speed and ease of production.

The Gun that Won the West

Here’s a colloquial gun name almost everyone knows thanks to films like ‘Winchester ‘73’ and other popular Western movies, shows, and novels. The title “Gun that Won the West” didn’t officially emerge until early 20th-century advertising campaigns, a brainchild of Edwin Pugsley, a Winchester engineer who helped produce famous firearms like the Winchester Model 21 shotgun.

The sentiment behind the now-famous saying was grounded in the frontier era, as the Winchester 1873 rifle was a lightweight, reliable gun that was affordable to most settlers at a time when the Old West was filled with a danger for every treasure and opportunity.

 

The Gun that Won the West, a rifle that truly lived up to its famous nickname.

Hitler’s Buzzsaw

Another gun nickname based on a blistering rate of fire, the MG42 machine gun was an imposing weapon to say the least. Called the most feared German gun on the WW2 battlefield, Hitler’s Buzzsaw was an upgrade from the already devastating MG-34. The MG42 machine gun’s high cyclic rate (about 1,200 rounds per minute) gave it a distinct and intimidating sound, very alien to Allied troops trained around slower-firing weapons. At that speed, individual gunshots are replaced with a steady, disturbing roar, earning the MG42 a terrifying reputation.

Also called “Hitler’s Zipper”, the MG42 was dreaded by the Allied infantry who faced it during WW2.

The Humpback

Known as “The Humpback” due to its trademark squared receiver, the Browning Automatic 5 is a versatile workhorse scattergun for all types of fowling and target shooting. John Browning’s 1903 recoil-operated design was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun and continues to be fielded by the modern sportsman today. Though often referred to as the Auto-5 or A-5, with period advertisements stressing how the firearm provided “Five shots under your fingers,” the Humpback nickname is what stuck the most.

Browning A5 Automatic 5 shotgun
With its distinctive high rear end, the Humpback has one of the most recognizable profiles of any sporting arm.

The Kentucky Rifle

This classic gun nickname for the American Long Rifle was coined from a song about the 1815 Battle of New Orleans titled ‘Hunters of Kentucky.’ Pioneered by German and Swiss gunsmiths who immigrated to the Colonies, the American Long Rifle combined numerous features from the Germanic Jäger rifle and English hunting designs that allowed backwoodsmen to shoot accurately up to 200 yards when hunting in the western wilds of Colonial America. Famed frontiersmen like Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and Michael Stoner relied on the rifle during their long hunts and during the eventual settlement of the Kentucky wilderness, where the rifle gained both its nickname and its legend.

 

But Jackson he was wide awake, and wasn’t scared at trifles, for well he knew what aim we take with our Kentucky rifles.” – The Hunters of Kentucky.

The Lemon Squeezer

Widely dubbed “The Lemon Squeezer,” the Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless, or Smith & Wesson New Departure revolver, earned its nickname from the grip safety on its backstrap which required a firm squeeze to operate, much like everyone’s favorite citrus juicing tool. This feature was touted by Smith & Wesson when the double action top-break revolver was introduced in 1888, advertised as making the gun “nearly impossible” for a child to fire.

During the era of the Smith & Wessoin New Departure revolver, the term “lemon squeeze” was sometimes more broadly applied to any revolver with a similar grip safety feature.

Ma Deuce

The M2 Heavy Machine Gun, a U.S. military mainstay since the 1930s, gained one of the most memorable service weapon nicknames around. “Ma Deuce” clearly plays on the M and 2 in the M2 designation, much like how the HU1 Helicopter was dubbed the “Huey.” It’s not hard to imagine the formal “Model” or “Mod” in Model 2 being shortened to “Ma,” a possible reference to the weapon’s other favored nickname, “The Mother of All Machine Guns.” Deuce has long been a slang for “two” in English, from the nickname of a second child to the gaming terms used for the two side of a dice and the number two card in each suit in a 52-card deck. Combined together, and you have an affectionate handle for a gun that became a second mother to the troops who relied on Browning’s .50 caliber behemoth to protect themselves and their company.

 

As Keith Ford from Brownell’s puts it, “When Ma Deuce speaks, everybody listens.”

The Monkey Tail Carbine

Ordnance officers might get to choose official service weapon names, but the everyday infantrymen are always going to come up with a clever title that sticks. The single-shot capping breechloading rifles and carbines manufactured by Westley Richards were dubbed the “Monkey Tail” by the Boers in South Africa, a gun nickname that came from the lift up lever that was hinged to the rear of the barrel used to open and close the breech, thought to resemble a simian’s tail. A similar carbine design was offered in America by A.H. Waters of Millbury, Massachusetts, as pictured below.

Both the Westley Richards single-shot and the U.S. Joslyn Model 1855 carbine were nicknamed “Monkey Tail” based on the shape of their loading levers.

Old Slabside

The designation “Model of 1911 U.S. Army Caliber 45” is quite a mouthful, and it didn’t take long for soldiers to offer a laundry list of unofficial gun names for Browning’s new service pistol. “Old Bigmouth,” The Army Automatic,” “The Yankee Fist,” “Colt .45” or simply “Forty-Five” are some common favorites, but perhaps the most prominent is “Old Slabside.” The name alludes to the gun’s slab-type grip panels, one of the many distinguishing features the M1911 had over its military-issued predecessors like the Colt M1892 revolver.

 

The M1911, the longest-serving sidearm in American military history, had no shortage of cool gun nicknames.

The Right Arm of the Free World

Developed by Dieudonne Saive after WW2, the Fusil Automatique Leger (known by the famous FAL acronym) has been fielded by more than 90 countries around the globe. Formerly serving as NATO’s official battle rifle, the FN FAL was the Western counter to the Kalashnikov rifle favored by communist forces the NATO allies faced off against in countless conflicts throughout the Cold War. The “Right Arm of the Free World” became a symbol of resistance against the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

FN FAL right arm
The Right Arm of the Free World, another candidate on the list of cool gun names and an appropriate sobriquet for NATO’s most prolific rifle during the Cold War.

The Peacemaker

The six shooter. “The Great Equalizer.” “Judge Colt and his Jury of Six.” A plethora of clever nicknames were inevitable for the iconic Colt Single Action Army revolver. Many early gun names for cartridge Colts originated with Benjamin Kittredge & Co of Cincinnati. One of Colt’s biggest distributors, Benjamin Kittredge, came up with monikers such as “Frontier Six Shooter” for Colt SAA variants chambered in .44-40, the nicknames “Lightning”, “Thunderer,” and “Rainmaker” for the Model 1877 revolvers, and “Omnipotent” for the Model 1878 in .45 Colt.

In 1874, Kittredge started marketing the Colt Single Action Army to the civilian market as “The Peacemaker.” The nickname was far more appealing than official designations for the gun like “New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol,” “45-caliber centerfire Colt Single Action Army,” “M1873,” or “The Model P.” The Peacemaker nickname played to the sentiment that an armed society was a polite society and the mere presence of the Colt revolver would dissuade any troublemakers from picking a fight they might not survive.

 

“God made man but Colonel Colt made them equal.” The Peacemaker certainly ranks among the most catchy gun names and was favored by Old West legends like Bat Masterson.

The Pig

As far as gun nicknames go, “The Pig” covers a lot of ground. We’re talking 23 pounds of belt-fed heavy metal that can eat a ton of ammo and chew through anything down range. The M60 often found itself in the mud and muck during combat, and its slow cyclic rate made this beast of a machine gun sound akin to a grunting boar. The Pig humped, sailed, and soared through Vietnam, Operation Just Cause, and the Persian Gulf War and continues to see service in specialized roles today.

 

Inspired by the German FG42 and MG42, America’s first general-purpose machine gun was heavy, loud, and ferocious.

The Potato Digger

First came its rather bland official first title, “M1895 Colt-Browning Machine gun.” John Browning’s Model 1895 quickly earned a more memorable slang gun name due to the gas port near the muzzle of the barrel that powered a spring-loaded lever arm to cycle the action, much like a lever-action rifle. This exposed operating arm, which projects down and away from the gun with significant force during the firing cycle, was known to dig holes in the ground if the gun’s tripod was resting on soft soil and sank low enough into the earth, and thus the Potato Digger connotation was born.

When low enough to the ground, the operating lever on the M1895 Colt-Browning Machine gun would send sprays of dirt into the air with every shot, like a mechanical potato digger, hence the weapon’s nickname.

The Staple Gun

The Heckler & Koch P7 series is another name that doesn’t really roll off the tongue. Enter the “Staple Gun” moniker, or “Combat Staple Gun,” a nickname that originates from the squeeze-cocking lever on the P7 pistol grip that somewhat resembles older staple gun triggers.

The P7’s striker and sear only engage when the cocking lever on the front strap is depressed. Pull the lever and the striker is drawn back. Release the lever and the striker loses tension and returns to the resting position. This gives safety comparable to a double action only bobbed hammer semi-auto, where the pistol will not fire without positive user action, while still allowing a clean and relatively light single action style trigger pull as would be seen on a normal striker-fired pistol.

HK Heckler & Koch P7
Not all slang gun names are complex or rich in meaning. The Staple Gun’s pistol grip is designed with a finger-grooved lever that acts as a squeeze-cocking mechanism.

The Tommy Gun

“The Chicago Typewriter.” “The Street Sweeper.” “The rat-tat-tat.” The Thompson submachine gun gained dozens of colorful labels as it earned its reputation in the Melting Pot of South Side Chicago, toted by gangsters, bandits, and lawmen alike. Tommy Gun, the weapon’s most famous name, is a blue-collar shorthand for Thompson. Tommy was also a well-known term for British soldiers, and this connection might have proliferated the gun’s nickname after the British airborne adopted the Thompson Model M1A1 variant in the early years of WW2.

Thompson sub machine gun
Thanks to Hollywood and popular culture, the name Tommy Gun has become far more known that the firearm’s official designation.

The Trapdoor

After the Civil War, the War Department wanted a standard-issue breechloading rifle that would chamber a self-primed, metallic cartridge. Erskine S. Allin of Springfield Armory proposed taking thousands of existing Civil War muzzleloaders and converting them by adding a hinged breechblock to the top of the receiver. This design resembled both the look and motion of a trap door panel when the user opened the rifle to load a new cartridge, giving the gun its now legendary name.

Trapdoor is the nickname for a series of Springfield breechloading cartridge rifles that covers the Model 1865 through the Model 1890.

The Trench Sweeper

Another easy-to-understand gun nickname, in this case derived from the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun’s function in combat. The Model 1897’s shorter barrel made the weapon more maneuverable in the narrow trenches of WW1. Its lack of trigger disconnector allowed this combat shotgun to be slam fired as well, the act of holding the trigger while working the slide, repeatedly firing, ejecting a spent shell, and chambering a new shell.

A trained soldier could empty a trench gun of its six shells with devastating effect in less than two seconds. These traits made the Winchester Model 1897 ideal for the ferocious close-in fighting common to the Great War, earning the gun its Trench Sweeper nickname.

The Trench Sweeper, one of the coolest weapon names around, was originally coined by Gen. Thompson for his Tommy gun. The Tommy never saw service in WW1, so the name organically moved to the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun instead.

The Wonder Nine

The Wonder Nine is an informal gun name that applies to a broad series of semiautomatic 9mm pistols that hit the market in the 70s and 80s. These guns share a number of features like DA/SA actions and double stack mags that could carry 12 or more rounds, with models like the S&W 59, the Beretta 92, and the CZ-75 being some of the earliest popular examples.

For advocates of these firearms, the Wonder Nine nickname referenced the ammunition, high capacity, and combination of features that made these pistols intuitive and easy to carry, though detractors used the nickname as a pejorative, including magazine writers who lamented the switch to these newfangled firearms over the revolvers that dominated the market and more traditional pistol designs like the .45 ACP 1911.

An early example of a “Wonder Nine”, a rare prototype Colt SSP DA semi-automatic 9mm pistol.

The Yellowboy

Some slang gun names are as simple as they sound. Like its Henry rifle predecessor, the Winchester Model 1866 had a frame composed of gunmetal, a strong type of bronze alloy made with copper, tin, zinc, and sometimes a small amount of lead. Also known as “red brass,” gunmetal was rust-resistant and easy to machine, and its unique muted yellow tint gave Winchester’s first lever action rifle its distinct look and Yellowboy nickname.

The Yellow Boy, one of the most memorable and catchy gun names from the Old West era.

Gun Nicknames

Did we include your favorite gun nickname? Subscribe to the weekly Rock Island Auction newsletter to receive new gun blogs and gun videos each week on the firearms mentioned above, as well as some of those that didn’t make our list such as the M16 “Mattel Toy”, the Colt “Snake Gun” family, the Ghost Gun, and the Volcanic pistol, an official designation just as memorable as some of the colorful nicknames mentioned above.

 

This article originally appeared at Rock Island Auctions and is reprinted here with permission. 

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64 COMMENTS

  1. I once came across a Smith & Wesson we named “potato masher” based on an unfortunate story regarding that specific gun and an unfortunate incident with the previous owner involving a negligent discharge and the destruction of one of his most cherished possessions. Diplomatically we will just say he used to have two, but after the incident the doctor said one looked like mashed potatoes. Less diplomatically he popped one of his berries with a 5906.

  2. “…the Brown Bess was used to denote the typical British infantry muskets that served from 1722 through the early 1830s”

    Albert LJ Hall, the, supposedly British guy who haunts the comments here telling us all his anti-gun ideas and trained woth and expert in weapons in the British military they were no longer using before he was born, will probably be along to tell us he trained with and is an expert on the Brown Bess too.

  3. Going to call the Trench Sweeper speed statement on the highly optimistic side. Seen a lot of them fired, and (shot a lot of) other slam fire capable averaging about 2.25 per second.

    Not bad for a pump, but it pales compared to my 8.4 per second of my favorite SA being bump fired. FA versions will do 550 rpm, or 9.16 rps by comparison. 2# ALG Ult, only need ride the reset, no loose holding necessary. But you must have the presence of mind to get off the reset. There is ’bout 3mm take up before wall, and .4mm for over travel. It breaks, and almost just stops right there.

    No one gets to shoot it which isn’t MG experienced, unless I throw the 4# Enhanced dual stage back in, which isn’t prone to bump/more suited to competition.

      • You really should try it. Giant brake & Briley forcing cone lengthening makes it very controllable, easy on recoil, and very flat shooting. Observe, these are with the Enhanced 4lb. single stage, slow mo so the recoil is seen in minute detail.

        https://www.facebook.com/DissidentArms/videos/1237706336328802/

        Notice the delay, not the fastest on the trigger.

        1:41 where he stops screwing around. Not bump fire, SA only.

        https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjeffchaffincompetitiveshooter%2Fvideos%2F649182689267990%2F&show_text=0&width=560

        • Perhaps should mention the Vepr’s around about $4500 configured like that. 5k depending on how fancy the paint scheme.

        • Guy I know, flexing the ultimate trigger, bump fires it accidentally a couple times. Notably the last 3 seconds is a good one.

          Disregard the FTE’s, caused by running a widebody optic on the rail over the ejection port. Clears up after he took it off on our advice.

          https://www.youtube.com/shorts/k1ZUUIOrNmY

        • One thing of note in that last comment, he was firing 3″ magnum slugs. While the V-12 was heavily modified externally with mostly Rus Zenitco, only minor stuff was done internally. (too heavy imo, mine is Rus part heavy as well, only with lightweight carbon fiber and Ti or milspec hardened AL bits you also can’t mostly get anymore)

          Trigger & recoil assembly only internally on his gunm. No barrel work at all. Replacing the rear leaf with 1913 or a Weaver insert, railed hand guard, or a railed gas tube are the only viable methods for mounting an optic.

          Rear rail on the dust cover is canted 99% of the time, and loses zero every time you pop the dust cover. Even with the uber expensive Zenitco custom solution. So, not worth the money.

        • In WW II, correct. WW I, the Thompson wasn’t in service yet. War history is a long term specialty of mine, since young childhood.

          Oh, and here’s something most aren’t privy to. All the loud crowing about Monty is intentionally deceptive as hell, most of which being a compete fabrication. He was only successful when having Ultra intercepts detailing the oppositions entire disposition and playbook in his hands every morning via Churchhill’s directly ordered transmissions.

          When Enigma codes were changed and unreadable to the Bletchley Park crew, as in the time frame of Op. Market Garden/Battle of the Bulge, he always lost horribly. See 1st & 2nd Para’s near complete destruction during as well as the complete blunting of the regular Brit forces entire attack for a poignant example.

          A total retard would’ve won with the entire enemy plans laid bare at their feet every morning, and it’s the only reason why Monty ever succeeded. Also why he never took the day again, and the reason behind his removal from command not so long after.

          Otherwise he was absolutely incompetent, despite what most ‘historians’ propaganda will tell you. So, cast heavy doubt on the reasons for victory in the N. African campaign. Patton, though imperfect in other ways, was 100 times the battlefield commander piss poor Monty was. Regardless of the heavy fog of disinformation swirling and commonly parroted around Monty.

          Piece of advice, don’t get me started on the travesty adventures in half-assed efforts that was WW I, or Korea, or ‘Nam, Gulf War 1 and 2. And GWOT, for that matter.

    • Mare’s Leg, Saturday Night Special, Hog Leg, Coach Gun, Pocket Pistol, Pepper Box, Scatter Gun … I’m sure if I thought about it for a minute I could come up with a few more.

  4. As an 18 year old carrying an M60 the nickname Pig had several meanings-
    It attracted mud and was a pig to clean.

    It was a pig to carry with 100 plus rounds attached. Not that well balanced. Guys I know started 40 day patrols (standard for Australia in Vietnam) with 600 plus rounds

  5. When i was 13 i discovered my “boom stick”. But no woman ever has muttered or requested “the boom stick”.
    Probably since i’ve never been alone in the actual presence of a (real) woman.

  6. Never seen the “Figure 8” or “Monkey Tail” before. Other than those, all these guns/nicknames are familiar. Although, I have heard “Trench Broom” much more often than “Trench Sweeper.”

  7. widow maker and suicide gun attributed to Winchester 1911 shotgun

    Widow maker to the feeble standard .38 in police service

    Old slabslides and old ugly for the 1911 – but with affection

    Good story, good read. Thanks for your work.

    Also long tom and goose gun for long barrel shotguns.

    Probably a lot more I cannot remember

    • NY will not blink, it has already doubled down…but it might get bitch slapped by the Supreme Court. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the State does. If the Supreme Court holds the law to be unconstitutional, all courts in the state, state as well as federal, will be bound by that decision. And if any police agency or officer nonetheless makes arrests pursuant to the (unconstitutional) law, they are likely to be used for civil rights violations. So if the Court acts and lifts the stay, the old law (minus good cause) will remain in effect.

      • Mark, do you think the SCotUS will simply ‘GVR’ the NY high court, or elect to grant it cert?

        • EDIT – Meaning will NY force the SCotUS’s hand rather than admit the law is unconstitutional?

  8. Punt gun. My Ol’Man used to tell me about using them back in the late 20s thru the depression. Had a barrel about 6-7 feet long and 13/4″ diameter. They would fill them full of nuts, nails or rocks. Tie them to the front of a row boat and go duck and goose hunting. They would kill dozens of birds with one shot. Pick them up and take them back to town to help feed the people to poor to buy food. I’ve only seen 2 in my life and they are in a museum in Des Moines, Iowa. Just down the street from the capital.

  9. I entered military service in the US Army in the mid 1980’s, as a tank crewman. The Pig, Ma Deuce, the Grease Gun, Old Slabsides, and Mattel Gun (can’t believe you missed that one), and the 240 were the standard weapons I trained with that were not a tank main gun.

    The Pig isn’t common for tankers, but I was first stationed in a Cavalry Regiment and the poor scouts had to lug them around. Us lordly tankers had an M-240 7.62mm MG on the tanks, a far better MG than the 60. Believe it, or not, we still had Grease Guns on the M60A3’s. It wasn’t until I transitioned to the M1’s that I got my hands on a Mattel Gun, the nickname for the M16 and M16A1. And I carried Old Slabsides (aka The 45 or Colt 45) in a shoulder holster for many, many years.

    The M-240 was always simply known as “The 240”. It later replaced the M-60 for the grunts and scouts, not sure what they call it. We loved it. You couldn’t make it jam, misfeed, or misfire. You could shoot it until the barrel glowed red. If it wasn’t for the Deuce, I would say the 240 is the best MG ever.

    But then there’s the Deuce. What can I say? Properly boresighted, headspace and timing correct, I could put my first tracer on target at 1900 meters. Oh, and another Army slang term comes from the Deuce. Headspace and timing, which you had to manually set on the Deuce. And if you got it wrong, the poor thing just wouldn’t fire right at all. A soldier that couldn’t perform a task correctly would have someone else say “check his headspace and timing” or similar.

    Come to think of it, I still have Old Slabsides and Mattel Guns in my safe 🙂

  10. You’re telling me a bunch of German soldiers invading Belgium in 1914 nicknamed a machine gun after the rattlesnake, an animal native only to the Americas? I call bull.

  11. I had an old (@ that time 1980’s) Ithaca side by side…..The salesmen called her an “Alley Cleaner” @ edlemen’s gun shop on Long Island…… If he made commissions on his sales he’d be a friggin’ millionaire before he retired…I bought it right away! SOLD! I told him. I wish I had that puppy now!

  12. Should have thrown in the Sturmgewehr (or even the AR) just for shits and giggles and called it “assault rifle”.

    Might surprise some people to learn where the term came from.

  13. There’re several firearms nicknames I’ve heard that couldn’t be used in polite company. As well as a couple decent weapons not mentioned. 1 being the M79 grenade launcher. The Blooper or Bloop Gun. And the fencepost being used for the Springfield 1903-A3.
    Only a couple of the weapons on the list I’ve not had my hands on at some point. The figure 8 and the monkey tail being the most notable. Have only seen pictures of the figure 8 and only seen the monkey tail behind glass in a museum.

  14. Well nobody mentioned it so I will. “Roscoe”. From the 1930s, I believe. The name of a revolver.

    “I’m going to go get “roscoe” he and I, will take care of this problem.”

    A line in many gangster B&W films from the 1930s.

  15. I have a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver with a 12-inch barrel that the gun shop I bought it from affectionately named, The Hockey Stick!

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