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Like any sub-culture, The People of the Gun (POTG) manipulate language to signal mutual inclusion and promote personal status within the group. To that end, I’m a big fan of the word “tacticool,” which spawned the even cooler “Tacticoolaid” (riffing on the Jim Jones’ mass suicide). I also like the profit-friendly aphorism offering reassurance for insatiable firearms fanatics: “One is none, two is one, and the third little piggie built his house of stone” (or something like that). Here at TTAG, Dan’s always stretching the lingo to suit his editorial bent. I take all of the responsibility (but none of the blame) for inventing the acronym OFWG (Old Fat White Guys) to gently chide the POTG to reach out to people of color (whatever that means). But enough about me. Now about you. What’s your favorite gun-related word or expression?

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  1. Additionally (this didn’t come to me until after I submitted my other comment);

    “Keep you’re booger hook off the bang switch!”

  2. .45 cal. Because it’s just silly to have to shoot someone twice.

    A close second is….

    Because of the high cost of ammo, we no longer fire warning shots.

    Third Place is….

    Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.

    For REALLY large caliber ‘guns’….

    Tanks are for crowd control. APERS rounds are for crowd dispersal.

  3. Not necessarily a gun phrase, but a couple of decades ago when I worked in the “huntin’/fishin'” department at Sports Authority we had an easier to pronounce acronym for old fat white guys. The ones that drove us nuts were the retired guys who had all day to shoot the breeze. If you are familiar with the “skeleton crew” staffing policies in big box stores, you’ll understand our frustration. We called them ORF’s (old retired farts). Now that I am one, I try to keep it in mind that, as much as they might like to, retail employees are often far too busy to spend the day yakking about my hobbies.

    • I’ll happily chat with gun shop owners, but if I see someone is in the shop for business, I’ll step back and allow the business to proceed. Recently I had an enjoyable couple of hours in a gun shop in Mildura, especially as the shop owner was a service rifle shooter and we traded notes on various rifles.

    • Especially if the deffinition is with 7rnds or more.

      That makes everyone laugh I have showed the bills to that say that…

  4. Heater = piece

    We had a “range ninja” at my range a couple of weeks ago – an older gentleman and his attractive lady friend strolled into the pistol house, neither of them wearing eyes or ears. The RSO asked them to don PPG, to which he replied:

    “I’m old school, you know?”

  5. I like many variations of tacticool. I generally wear flip flops and shorts, so along with my .45 my friends call me “tacticasual”. I call my wannabe HSLD friends with their Cerakote ARs, Oakleys, and perfectly manicured hair “tactifabulous”.

  6. Mosin: So what if there’s a tree in the way?


    Mosin: When a tree gets in the way, who cares?
    Mosin: Because there’s nowhere to hide.

    • EDIT: Those were sayings.


      How about “NG like you mean it,” “live free or die” and of course “thing that goes up.”


      Bloombergistan, and Equalizer.

  7. Not strictly gun related, but “TEOTWAWKI” is hillarious if you say it aloud as if it were a word. Be sure to emphasize the second W.

  8. Squirt Gun = Machine gun
    Can = Supressor
    Big Mac = my McMillan 50
    Lead delivery device = any gun
    And my personal favorite:
    “you can only have too much ammo if you’re on fire or swimming”

    • Or trying to carry it all.

      No one ever got done with a gunfight and said “gee, I wish I didn’t have all this extra ammo” though

    • You had to go there. All right, I’ll dance.

      Better dead than Red.
      Some great citizens are excons.
      Red Menace.
      Congressional constipation.

      Ha ha ha. Now I’ll go back to gun phrases, rather than mud words.

  9. “Stick ’em up!” Of course it counts. Try saying it with a baseball bat, knife or ice pick. Nothing, right? Now say the same thing while brandishing your roscoe.

    No, your other roscoe.

  10. From days working the pits on Charlie Range, to referring to Senators passing laws they don’t read about things they don’t understand or are just completely off base about.
    “No impact, no idea.”

  11. “I don’t need a gun when I’ve got these guns” *flexes then kisses own biceps*
    /being silly on a friday

  12. .9mm.

    “If my daughter was smoking crack I’d take her out of school.”

    Giggle Switch.

    Bottom Feeder.

    Knock Down Power.

    Common Sense.

    Jack Booted Thugs( or any variation of this and Bootlicker, etc. Lets me know not to waste my time reading the rest of the brain dead comment surroundung it)

    OFWG-It just describes me so well.

    Douchebaggery(When used to describe grabbers actions)

    Brain Bleach and Eye Bleach. Short, sweet and oh so accurate.

    Booger Hook. Bang Switch. And any combo thereof.

    Grammer Nazi.(Phrase and person. It’s a gun blog, not an English class)


  13. “A sidearm is for fighting your way back to the rifle you never should have dropped in the first place.”

    • The way I heard it: “Happiness is a belt-fed, fully automatic weapon in a target rich environment.”

      Giggle switch (full auto selector), happy stick (33 round pistol magazine), “the loudest noise in the world is a *click* when you expect a *bang*”

  14. My personal favorite word in the gun culture is “Hoplophobia” as coined by Col. Cooper. It describes “gun grabbers” far better than anything else I think I have found: “the fear of arms” or “the fear of armed citizens.”

  15. “Fire HEAT and adjust, Caliber .50″*

    *Fire command for Tank Table VIII. Tank Table VIII combines the best of tank gunnery and a grammar jamboree.

  16. “An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity”

    “In this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.”

    -Clint Eastwood

  17. Unrelated to the present thread, but kinda relevant.

    Evil is inherently self-limiting. Atilla or Gengis Kahn could burn only so many villages, Attaturk could behead only so many people in orde to make his pyramid of heads, and even Hitler would eventually have run out of scapegoats.

    To really fu¢k up the works takes someone with a “moral” imperative, a holier-than-any mandate. It takes a self-appointed do-gooder.

    The Grabbers are the Uplifters of our age, and just like their inquisitorial kin through the ages, no good can ever come of them.

    • Your post calls to mind the below quote from C.S. Lewis, regarding the tyranny of good intentions:

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

      • Hadn’t come across that one; truly elegant.

        At the risk of patting myself on the back, great minds think alike?

  18. “In all the excitement I forgot, did I fire 5 shots or 6. So you have to ask your self do you feel lucky punk, well do you?”

    • My Glock holds 15 + 1 (or 33 + 1 at home). Did I fire 32 or 33 punk? Feel lucky? Feel lucky? Come on, say something, don’t just lay there and bleed! All bleeding stops. Eventually.

  19. “Ready on the right… ready on the…” At the Knob Creek Machinegun shoot, when the Chief RSO calls the line, machinegun fire always drowns out the last part of his command. Always.

    And speaking of that event, – at the end of the Saturday Night Shoot an air horn calls the ceasefire. The guns stop chattering and the explosions taper off. A roaring thunderous wave of applause, cheers and whistles erupts from the milling crowd of thousands, a standing ovation that goes on for several minutes. Not a word or a phrase, but an awesome sound nonetheless.

  20. “It’s better to have one and not need it than it is to need one and not have it.”

    Capt. Woodrow Call, Texas Ranger
    Lonesome Dove

    “Two is one. One is None”

    “Be kind, loving, and courteous to all, but have a plan to defend yourself against everyone you meet”

    Know your surroundings, know your target, know what’s behind your target.

    Never mistake concealment for cover.

    If you’re not shooting and moving, then you’d better be moving and shooting.

  21. “Those that live by the sword, get shot by those that do not”

    “Wristitis” I use that term to describe the pain i get after hand trimming hundreds of brass cases, lol

    • I like “hole projector” or “hole slinger.”

      And jwm introduced me to “cupro-nickel delivery system.”

  22. I love to hear “The range is hot!” because it is time to get noisy.

    Kinda chuckle for “Glocktard.”

    “Operator head-space” is important.

  23. I’ve always liked the classics
    “Don’t go off, half cocked”

    “The whole nine yards” – ammo belt for the spitfires guns were 9 yards long. so giving the whole nine yards = emptying the guns in to the target

  24. Ammo will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no ammo.
    We had a different version of this when I was a teenager.

  25. “died of lead poisoning”
    “the only fair fight is the one you’re winning”
    “gun control means keeping it in the 9 ring”

    And “Never mistake kindness for weakness. I’m kind to everyone, but if someone is unkind to me, weak is NOT what you’re going to remember about me.” Al Capone

  26. “Died of natural causes…”
    “He was shot- that’s natural?”
    “It’s normal to be shot while robbing this store, and natural to die from being shot like that…”

  27. phrase- “extended high capacity magazine clips, that you can keep shooting, unclipping, and re clipping.” (i actually read that on a washington post comment)

    word- Hickock45

    other words and phrases- booger hook, 9mm,, slave and free state, shall not be infringed, and plinking.

    • Uncle Scotty Reitz has a great variation on that…”What makes you think that Evil doesn’t have a backup plan?”

  28. As I say in my instructions for my class…
    “Keep your booger hooker off the bangy button till its time to make it go boom!”

    Even the salty old timers who know all there is in the land o guns laugh at that.

  29. From “We Were Soldiers” most favorite

    Plumley didn’t like the M-16, lots of plastic feels like a bb gun. He uses a 1911 .45
    ….Think maybe you oghtta get yourself that M-16.
    Time comes I need one, sir, there’ll be plenty of ’em lying on the ground.

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

    “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.” — Clint Eastwood as Josey Wales
    I like this one, because it encapsulates the self-defense mindset so well.

  31. Heater or Iron = a gun
    And the classic “shoulder thing that goes up” = a barrel shroud I believe, but I use this term for any part.
    Couldn’t hit water from a boat = NYPD shooting skills or anyone who fails to hit anything

  32. Come close, I aint got alot of time left. People are gonna say alot of things about me, some of its true, some of it aint. But I never did hurt no one that didnt have it comin. I feel I was born in this world with heaven in my soul, now I’m leavin this place with hell in my heart. So when I die, make sure you bury me with my guns on. I’m gonna need em. Because when I get to the other side, THERE’S SOME THINGS THAT NEED STRAIGHTNING OUT.

  33. “Why do you carry a .45?”
    “Because they don’t make a .46.”

    “Expecting trouble, Sherriff?”
    “If I was expecting trouble I’d have brought my rifle.”

  34. “He’s just a flash in the pan.” (WARNING: More info than most will need follows.)

    For those who have never fired a flintlock muzzleloader, the ignition system uses a “flash pan” which is primed with a pinch of fine black powder. That priming is ignited by the hammer (or cock”) driving a sharp piece of flint down across the steel frizzen, which has been closed over the pan to keep the priming in. The gun is now in a “primed and loaded” state, and this is how it would typically be carried while hunting or if going into battle. The cock is further rotated from half-cock to full-cock, releasing the safety lock on the cock. The gun is leveled and the trigger is pulled, releasing the cock holding the flint.
    The flint strikes the frizzen, a piece of steel on the priming pan lid, opening it and exposing the priming powder. The contact between flint and frizzen produces a shower of sparks (burning pieces of the metal) that is directed into the gunpowder in the flashpan.

    IF this flash does not transmit through the touchhole into the main powder charge in the barrel, you get a FLASH IN THE PAN – a brief flame and a puff of white smoke from the priming powder, but no shot fired – which has come to mean a fairly showy but useless event.

    Don’t ask me about a “loose cannon”.

    • I once read a short story called “A Fight With A Cannon” that describes a literal loose cannon wreaking havoc aboard a sailing vessel. Turned out to be an excerpt from one of Victor Hugo’s novels, but a gripping read, nonetheless.

      • Yup – take something that weighed about 2 tons, put it on wheels on the wood deck of a wooden sailing ship, break the ropes securing it to the side of the ship, then put the ship in a storm where the deck is going up, down, sideways and backwards. Whatever gets in front of that loose cannon is going to be squished, and if it falls down through a hatch it will go right on through the (wooden) lower decks and out through the bottom of the ship. That is a REAL loose cannon, not some guy in a suit who embarrasses the company.

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