Question of the Day: What’s Your Favorite Gun Expression?

I don’t want to go off half-cocked, but I bet you’ve got a favorite gun expression/idiom. Shoot!


  1. avatar Dave says:

    I’ve got a shell in the chamber where’s the bathroom? Lol

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      My favorite.

  2. avatar TruthTellers says:

    Everyone should have a goal in life to shoot for.

  3. avatar matty 9 says:

    “Keep your powder dry”.

    1. avatar Brian says:

      This is a good one

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      that’s a gun sayin’?

      1. avatar Craig says:

        Yes. From the muzzleloading era.
        Also see; Don’t go off half-cocked, flash in the pan, and hang-fire.

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Also: Lock, stock and barrel.
          i.e. Everything included.

        2. avatar Herb Allen says:

          Confucius say:

          “Woman who think way to man’s heart through his stomach, have sights set too high.”

      2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        No, it actually refers to Johnson’s Baby Powder, because you never know when you’re going to wet your pants.

        1. avatar bLoving says:

          Booo! You shot yourself in the foot with that one. Your sense of humor couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn.

        2. avatar Matt in TX says:

          “He couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn from the inside.”

  4. avatar David Markland says:

    Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      I really like that one too. But my favorite is “keep your booger hook off the bang switch.”

  5. avatar CTstooge says:

    Flash in the pan.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      i always thought that was grease fires…

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        I thought the old camera flash pan.[?]

      2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        It refers to the occasional phenomenon of the spark from the flint lighting the powder in the pan of a flintlock rifle but failing to ignite the powder in the chamber. You get a flash, but no bang. It looks like something is happening but it never comes to fruition.

  6. avatar Joe R. says:

    Shoot The Driver, Burn The Truck (STDBTT)

    They ain’t worth a bullet.

    1. avatar Warren says:

      But if you shoot the driver, isn’t that basically implying they ARE worth a bullet?

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        STDBTT was what you said first. They ain’t worth a bullet was what you said second to call them off if they looked like they thought STDBTT was actually called for.

        Gotta have a safety word.

  7. avatar Hanzo says:

    Flash in the pan.

  8. avatar Gregolas says:

    “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

  9. avatar matty 9 says:

    Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

  10. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    I’ve always liked “the whole nine yards.”

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I like that one, too. Those who don’t understand its origin should do some googling.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        some new yorker writer dedicated multiple essays to the origins of this phrase. as yet it has not been determined, although it doesn’t seem to be ballistic.

    2. avatar CTstooge says:

      Yeah that’s a great one. Somehow became incorrectly associated with football…

      1. I never associated it with football knowing quite well that it takes ten yards for a new set of downs.
        I assumed it was referring to the entire contents of a cement mixer.

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          I was told it was a reference to the length of the ammo belt that fed the .50 cal machine guns on US planes during WWII.

          “Give ’em the whole nine yards” meant hit them with everything you have.

          Wikipedia is skeptical of this theory.

        2. avatar tmm says:

          Maybe not the “Whole Nine Yards,” but the sequel would qualify…

    3. avatar JP says:

      When they want to move out fast (for a sailing ship) they put up all the big sails. The whole nine yards.

    4. avatar BDub says:

      I dont think thats a gun idiom.

  11. avatar junkman says:

    Dodged the bullet again

  12. avatar matty 9 says:

    Also from The Godfather: “Jeez, my ears”.

    Whatsamatter? Too loud for ya? I left it loud on purpose, scares away any pain in the ass innocent bystandera”.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    Q: What’s Your Favorite Gun Expression?

    A: Stick ’em up.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      “Everrrybody freeze; everrryboday get down on the ground”

      1. avatar A Hayseed says:

        Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground?

        Mean to say, if’n I freeze, I can’t rightly drop, and if’n I drop, I’m a-gonna be in motion, and I don’t–

      2. avatar Joe R. says:

        “Sometimes a career’s gotta come before a family”

  14. avatar Stepcof says:

    The loudest sound in the world is a bang when you expected a click.
    The second loudest sound in the world is a click when you expected a bang.

  15. avatar Phil L. says:

    Don’t forget:

    “Bringing a knife to a gun fight.”

  16. avatar DougieR says:

    “rapid fire brilliance”

    1. avatar Dave says:

      Manic minute

  17. avatar Gilbert says:

    Quit acting like a Flash Hole

  18. avatar Sean says:

    “Booger hook off the bang switch!”

  19. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    goin’ off half- cocked.

  20. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    ithaca pumps can be quite expressive.

  21. avatar justin says:

    Lock, stock and barrel

  22. avatar JohnT says:

    “Pull the trigger.”

  23. avatar Kramer Robert says:

    hotter than a $2 pistol

  24. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    shall not be infringed.

  25. avatar Frank says:

    Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I looked that one up, and did not find any ballistic connection.

      1. avatar Craig says:

        The balls being referred to are canon balls. The brass monkey is a metal ring (usually brass) meant to retain the pyramid of canon balls when they are stacked. When the ambient temperature drops sufficiently it makes the ring constrict, causing the balls in the pyramid to come tumbling down.

        1. avatar DJH says:

          You would seem more of an authority on the subject if you knew how to spell cannon.

  26. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:


  27. avatar jsallison says:

    “CABRON! putaputaputaputa…”

    Puerto Rican tank main gun followed by the coax.

  28. avatar Keith says:

    “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”
    “Bullets don’t kill people. Gaping holes in vital organs kill people.”

  29. avatar Mustrum says:

    Kentucky Windage for the win

  30. avatar Lt Dave says:

    I carry a .45 because they don’t make a .46.

  31. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Words are cheap, but bullets are cheaper:-)

  32. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    this ones for jason kipnis: picked off.

  33. avatar Lt Dave says:

    I carry a .45 because they don’t make a .46

  34. avatar Mr. AR says:

    “I am La Longue Carabine ! My death is a great honor to the Huron! Take me! You tell him?”

    Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis)
    “Last of the Mohicans”. 1992

  35. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    riding shotgun. (my kids know the rules).

    1. You must be outside before calling shotgun. Most common infraction in calling it.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        true dat. interestingly, so does the driver.

  36. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    His back was to me!

  37. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    in memory of peter sellers: a shot in the dark.

  38. avatar me says:

    .45acp, because shooting twice is just silly!

  39. I think many people don’t understand the difference in an expression, a quote, and a meme.

    1. avatar Matt in TX says:

      “I’ll be your huckleberry.”

  40. avatar Paul in TN says:

    Circle the wagons and shoot low. They may be riding Shetlands

  41. avatar Cyrano says:

    give me your best shot.

  42. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    “Not as clumsy as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

  43. avatar Lance F says:

    One of my own. “The best thing since modified cordite!”

  44. avatar dh34 says:

    “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”


    “Weapons Free”

  45. avatar Boba Fett says:

    “It’s the shoulder thing that goes up.”

    I say this in my head every time I tuck my pistol under my belt.

  46. avatar 5spot says:

    Get any pistol cal you want as long as it starts with 4.

    When the upland seasons overlap…..if it flies it dies!

  47. avatar Crowbar says:

    “I am going to shoot you in the balls if you take one more step!” Oh wait, that is what my wife says when she sees a twinkle in my eyes after she has had a long day at work.

  48. avatar JoeMoma says:

    I am surprised this didn’t get posted

    “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

    1. Because that is not an expression. It is a quote from a movie. This is not “What is Your Favorite Quote From a Gun Related Movie”.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Pocket dump, carry bag, expression, movie quote…

        1. You’re a damp squib.

    2. avatar LKB says:

      Ding ding ding ding!!

      Obligatory extra Eastwood quote:

      “There are two kinds of people in this world. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.”

      1. avatar Dennis in SC says:

        Hey kids! Get off my lawn!!

      2. avatar Bob says:

        “When you’re gonna shoot, shoot! Don’t talk.”

        “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up, then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.”

  49. avatar JoeMoma says:

    Another one I like

    Ron: Wow! What did you use? A .38?
    Caroline: .38… .39, whatever it took.

  50. avatar Ralph says:

    You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.

  51. avatar mk10108 says:

    Work the bolt….i.e. getting the job done.

  52. avatar strych9 says:

    “Incoming fire has the right of way.” -Clint Smith


    “Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.”

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.”

      That makes no sense at all. However, “Those who beat their swords into plowshares get stabbed by those who don’t” might have some validity.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        “That makes no sense at all.”

        That comment clearly went straight over your head. Long week already?

        Here, let me use a gem from Jeff Cooper to clarify: “Bushido is all very well in its way, but it is no match for a 30-06.”

        Or maybe you’re the visual type:

        1. avatar Roymond says:

          One thing to love about that scene is it was not according to the script. He was supposed to use the whip to take the sword away, but Ford got tired of trying and just pulled the gun out and fired. The director decided that was better than what was written and went with it.

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      tracer bullets work both ways…

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        “tracer bullets work both ways…”

        Between you and Curtis this thread is giving me a headache. Unless of course you mean this as a joke since you can see them both ways but only one guy needs to move out of the bullet’s path. In the latter case, well played.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          he only needs to move if it’s going to hit him. but either way, he can see where it came from.
          the right of way may be a short lived privilege.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Right, when you get real good at dodging incoming bullets you let me know.

          The quote is quite obviously meant to mean that like a car coming through a green light, you don’t really want to be in the way and if you are it’s likely going to ruin your day.

        3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          you needn’t dodge what doesn’t hit you.
          you may want to reply, though.

        4. avatar Roymond says:

          “…when you get real good at dodging incoming bullets…”

          Remember: there is no spoon.

  53. avatar Eric says:

    “This is so [insert word], I want to suck-start my Glock.”

  54. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Watch your lane.

  55. avatar Dave says:

    Your website is not taking my comments I find this very irritating maybe somebody can check it out?? LOL

  56. avatar Joe R. says:

    “Anyone else want to negotiate?”

  57. avatar Dave says:

    The term the whole nine yards comes from the nine yards of ammunition that is on the roller shoot in a B-17 Flying Fortress there are two door gunners have nine yards of ammunition on their shoot that feeds the M2 heavy machine gun. The comment that used to be made was give Jerry the whole nine yards or I gave Jerry the whole nine yards Cherry meaning the luftwaffe pilots they were in combat with. We’ll see if it posts this message now that I’ve tried over 10 times to get it to post it.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      the term predates ww2, so that certainly is not the original use.

  58. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “Si vis pacem, para bellum”
    Translates to “If you seek peace, prepare for war.”
    The phrase has been around since the 4th or 5th century.

    Ever wonder why the 9mm Luger is sometimes referred to as the 9mm Parabellum?

    Warning: Wikipedia cut & paste job:
    The above phrase was the motto off German arms maker Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM), who developed the 9mm Parabellum cartridge for its Luger semi-automatic pistol in 1902.

    The term is an opposed parallel to the English use of “peacemaker” to mean the Colt Single Action Army handgun.

  59. avatar Joe R. says:

    “Rub that ojive, baby. Come on, you got it.” – The Hurt Locker (you sick twisted freaks)

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Ogive, zjeeeesh, that’s nice.

  60. avatar bLoving says:

    -sees a small bunny- “It’s coming right at us!”

  61. avatar Anne Onimous says:


  62. avatar Anne Onimous says:

    Aim small miss small

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Do, or do not. There is no “try”.

  63. avatar Roymond says:

    Hit me with your best shot.

    There goes the whole shooting match.

    Keep both eyes open.

    And when people say, “Oh, shoot!”, I respond, “Oh, bang!”

  64. avatar anaxis says:

    “Best check your headspace & timing”, or a number of shorter variations; when one of my guys is not paying attention to detail or otherwise screwing up when they should know better.

    “Tracking”, interrogative of; used after work-call, initial instructions, or corrective training.

    My crew are all civilians, with the exception of one current Guardsman who spent 8yrs on active as a 13B. Not all of them are into shooting, but everyone knows what I mean….

  65. avatar Pat Carver says:

    Guns don’t kill people, Kinetic energy kills people.

  66. avatar Don says:

    It’s an expression I use to justify high end purchases:

    “Buy once, cry once.”

  67. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    bum wheelie.

  68. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    “that’s what she said.”

  69. avatar RuddJ says:

    “Ready, fire, aim.” Gets used about once a week at work.

  70. avatar YZAS says:

    ‘”You’re Fired”

  71. avatar CCDWGuy says:

    Not necessarily my favorite but certainly most asinine!!
    “The gun accidentally went off.”

  72. avatar Dr. Vinnie Boombotz says:

    ” ‘Scuse me while I whip this out…” Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles.

  73. avatar Mr Bad Example says:

    Not quite idioms but…

    1. “If you do X, I am going to pull out my pistol and shoot you in the head. If you do Y, I will pull out my pistol and shoot you in the head. If you do Z, I will pull out my pistol and shoot you in the head.”-Mike from Breaking Bad (paraphrase).

    2. “Surprise, Mothafucka”-Probably the coolest thing to say before you draw your pistol.

  74. avatar BDub says:

    A rifle behind every blade of grass.

  75. avatar sagebrushracer says:

    well, since I don’t see it, may as well add it to the pile.

    “I came into this world kicking, screaming and covered in someone else’s blood and I am perfectly happy to go out the same way.”

  76. avatar LHW says:

    “I got a shotgun, a rifle, and a 4 wheel drive and a country boy can survive.”

  77. avatar Wilko says:

    “Ride tall, shoot straight and speak the truth”

    — Col. Jeff Cooper

  78. avatar Craig Moore says:

    “Said I didn’t have much use for “um. Never said I couldn’t us ‘um.”

  79. avatar skiff says:

    “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me”, says Mae West

    I would rather be tried by twelve then carried by six. I first read this at Bob Anderson’s Gun Shop as a teenager in the 60’s in Smithfield, RI.

  80. avatar Timmy! says:

    Say hello to my lil’ friend!

  81. avatar Tumbles says:

    What about
    Gun it

  82. avatar Bob says:

    Since this thread has changed into a favorite quotes survey, here’s a couple of my favorites:

    “Some men just need killin’.” — James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok

    “I never shot a man who didn’t deserve it.” — reportedly said by Wild Bill Hickok, but never confirmed

  83. avatar Darkwing says:

    “My gun is my American Express Card, never leave home without it”

  84. Most people on this thread are either shooting blanks or missing the mark entirely.

  85. Loaded (my personal favorite)

  86. avatar DetroitMan says:

    “Cocked, locked, and ready to rock!”

    Derived from carrying a 1911 “cocked and locked.”

  87. avatar SkyMan77 says:

    No mam, if I was expecting trouble I would have brought my rifle….

  88. avatar None says:

    I like, “acute onset lead poisoning,” and “It’s not a gun, it’s a portable orifice installer.”

    But I guess those are euphemisms…

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      I’ve heard “It’s not a gun, it’s a hole punch.”

      One guy I heard it from actually used a .22 as a hole punch for heavy leather! First he shot it, then cleaned up the hole using the empty brass. I have since used empty .22 brass as a hole punch for leather, rubber, and plastic, but the only time I actually shot a hole that way was when I had a 10: spike to drive into oak — one careful pop from a .22 mag and the spike started VERY nicely.

      Another expression:

      A shot in the dark.

  89. avatar UnPC Aussie says:

    If we’re going with quotes then “Shoot straight you bastards! Don’t make a mess of it.” by Breaker Morant has to be the winner as advice from the prisoner to his firing squad…

  90. avatar tmm says:

    Give ’em both barrels

    Give it a shot

    “Shoot straight, I can’t wait, aim for the heart and fire away.”

  91. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    Glock 21 gets it done.

  92. avatar Donald A MILLER says:

    Cops weigh too much so I carry a sidearm

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