Question of the Day: What’s Your Favorite Gun Word or Phrase?

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?


  1. avatar RKBA says:

    How about “New York Reload”?

    I usually carry at least one, if no two of these.

    1. avatar arthur says:

      always like this one

  2. avatar RKBA says:

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

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

      1. avatar Mike Crognale says:


        1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:


        2. avatar Cameron S. says:

          +4, for sure.

        3. avatar Scott says:


    1. avatar Liberty2Alpha says:

      This is my favorite that I picked up at TTAG.

  3. avatar Chris V says:

    Q: What’s the perfect number of guns to own?
    A: One more!

  4. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

    .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.

    1. avatar Mike Crognale says:


    2. avatar CPO15 says:

      WARNING: Driver only carries enough ammo for one reload.

      1. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

        Keep honking. I’m loading as fast as I can.

  5. avatar Sbake says:

    EBR (evil black rifle) is a good one.

  6. avatar mlopilato says:

    OFWG meant Odd Future Wolf Gang first.

    But to answer your question, my favorite is probably ghost load.

  7. avatar SC Jeff says:

    Tool up.

    And of course the booger hook/bang switch.

    1. avatar Jeremy says:

      “Tool up” is my favorite.

      I also simply refer to eye and ear protection as Eyes and Ears.

  8. avatar michael n says:

    mall ninja

      1. avatar StPatrick_TN says:

        Thank you so much for that…I can’t believe I’d never seen it, as glorious as it was.

      2. avatar SpeleoFool says:

        That was … epic. I’ve always liked the term mall ninja, but now I know that I never really understood it. You made my whole evening with that link. Thanks!

        1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

          +1 that was a veritable time suck, but well worth it. I was held in rapt astonishment at every word. I’ll never look at the mall the same way again.

      3. avatar Deacon says:

        That was priceless.

  9. avatar Leadbelly says:

    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.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      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.

  10. Honestly some of the terms the Leftists use are pretty funny. Assault Pistol amused me far more than it should have, really.

    1. avatar Gtfoxy says:

      Especially if the deffinition is with 7rnds or more.

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

  11. avatar LongBeach says:

    Mag dump. Cuz it has the word dump in it. And I’m 6 years old.

  12. avatar Andrew says:

    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?”

  13. avatar H-n-H says:

    If you blink you will die in the dark

    1. avatar Paul53 says:

      Good one!

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        This is excellent!

    2. avatar AaronW says:

      Heard surprisingly often at my local range: “Sure… wanna go ahead and try it?”

    3. avatar AaronW says:

      This was said about Legendary lawman Jelly Bryce…

  14. avatar Donnie GA says:

    -Runs like a sewing machine
    -Lead Hose
    -It’ll knock you into next week

  15. avatar Loyd says:

    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”.

  16. avatar dook says:

    How about:

    “Shall not be infringed.”

    1. avatar Craig says:

      +1. You might be a gun nut if “shall not be infringed” becomes part of your daily speech.

      1. avatar BillF says:

        Gun nut.

  17. avatar rambam says:

    Take your stinkin’ paws off me, you damn dirty ape!

    1. avatar Denny says:

      Charleton Heston – 1st.. Planet of the Apes movie 1968 or so

  18. avatar tfunk says:

    “I really Farago-d that shot”

  19. avatar Loyd says:

    “Bullet hose” is another favorite for automatic weapons.

  20. avatar Kevin says:

    “Period” as in “keep your finger off the trigger, period”.

  21. avatar disthunder says:

    Boomstick, you damn screw heads.
    After that, probably high-speed low-drag. Better insult than description.

  22. avatar Nine says:

    Shoulder thing that goes up

    1. avatar Tomy Ironmane says:

      you mean a barrel shroud?

      1. avatar Nine says:

        Not sure~

  23. avatar Jake_in_AK says:

    “… And as always, Have Nice Day.”

  24. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    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.

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      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.

  25. avatar William Burke says:


    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      add- “Prosecutors will be Violated” Had a couple of drop dead gorgeous ones over here…

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Hey, that’s mine! Along with “Violators will be trespassed.”

  26. avatar Chris. says:

    “In stock ammo.”

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      your a sick sick man. you need professional help.

      1. avatar Chris. says:

        Yeah, that’s what my therapist says too.

  27. avatar BDub says:

    Shall Not Be Infringed.

    EDIT: Dook beat me to it, but yeah, that one!

  28. avatar Layne says:

    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.

  29. avatar BLAMMO says:

    The range is hot.

  30. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    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”

    1. avatar Tomy Ironmane says:

      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

  31. avatar rab says:

    “Libturds” For occasions when “Libtard” really doesn’t express your true feelings.

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      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.

  32. avatar rab says:

    Happy Switch = full auto selector

  33. avatar bdbecker says:

    Weapons of war. Hell, technically my muzzleloader is a variant of a weapon of war, just not a recent one.

  34. avatar Paul53 says:

    Does “stick em up!” count? Hey, a guy’s gotta make a living.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      As The Outlaw Josie Wales would say, “Dyin’ aint much of a livin.'”

  35. avatar Ralph says:

    “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.

    1. avatar Paul53 says:

      Now I’m confused. Pistol or long gun?

  36. avatar splic3r says:

    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.”

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Here’s a new one: the blind leading the sighted.

  37. avatar Randolphus Maximus says:

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

  38. avatar jwm says:


    “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)


    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      One day on a conference call I introduced one of my English colleagues, a far better educated and more refined person than myself, to the word “craptastic”. It think it’s now his favourite word.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Doing what I can to enlighten the endarkend.

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Grammar NAZI. A grammer makes cookies.


        1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

          Bwahahahaha! Now my evil work is complete!

        2. avatar jwm says:

          If only that was true. But evil goes on and on. Only the good die young, so we’re in it for the long haul.

  39. avatar Liberty2Alpha says:

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

  40. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    How could I forget: “Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.”

    1. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

      M-60! For when one round is not enough!

    2. avatar ed says:

      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*”

  41. avatar Tomy Ironmane says:

    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.”

    1. avatar bontai Joe says:

      My favorite also. Nice to have an actual scientific term for “them”.

      1. avatar Paul53 says:

        And much nicer than what we really think of them.

    2. avatar Matt in TX says:

      Molan Labe
      “Bang! Halt or I’ll shoot!”
      “Forget the dog, beware of owner.”
      and my most favorite, “You can run, but you’ll just die tired.”

  42. avatar Jrod says:

    Cocked locked and ready to rock!

  43. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

    In Greek…..


    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      In Canadian:


      1. avatar jwm says:

        In pervert.

        Molon Labia.

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Mellon wash…

  44. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

    For the ‘boy friend’…..

    Guns don’t kill people. Fathers of beautiful daughters do.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      And all father’s everywhere are convinced their daughters are beautiful. Every last one of them.

  45. avatar DJ says:

    “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.

  46. avatar Rev. Maurice Pompitous says:

    “Come and Take It” The Gonzales, Texas version.

  47. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    “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

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Best. Advice. Ever. “If you’re gonna shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”-Tuco.

  48. avatar SigGuy says:

    Kirsten Wiess

    1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

      +1 (blush).

  49. avatar TheThingThatGoesUp says:

    Wait, the “F” is for fat??

    1. avatar ensitue says:


    2. avatar Liberty2Alpha says:

      I know the F is for fat and still read it the other way.

  50. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    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.

    1. avatar StPatrick_TN says:

      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.”

      1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

        Hadn’t come across that one; truly elegant.

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

  51. avatar AaronW says:

    euphemism for being shot: “rectified his lead deficiency.”

    1. avatar BillF says:

      And Farago’s, “Arrived at the hospital after developing a hole in his arm”

    2. avatar Paul53 says:

      In my ER it’s “the old hot lead enema.”

    3. avatar Jraul says:

      “High Velocity Transcortical Lead Treatment”

  52. avatar Gtfoxy says:

    “Lock & Load!”

  53. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    He needs to take his lead supplement.

  54. avatar ensitue says:

    “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?”

    1. avatar Paul53 says:

      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.

  55. avatar AaronW says:

    “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.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      I have to go see this.

      1. avatar AaronW says:

        Yup… it’s not to be missed if you’re into guns. There is a similar event called the Big Sandy Machinegun Shoot in Wikieup, Arizona, twice a year.

  56. avatar Colby says:

    “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.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Be kind and courteous to everyone you meet, but always have a plan to kill them.

  57. avatar Jacob Bang Bang says:

    “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

  58. avatar sagebrushracer says:

    Did not see it, so “Random orifice distributor”

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

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

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

  59. avatar scooter says:

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

    Kinda chuckle for “Glocktard.”

    “Operator head-space” is important.

  60. avatar insertjjs says:

    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

  61. avatar Hal says:


    Non-Electronic Pop-Up Target

  62. avatar Bryan says:

    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.

  63. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    Oh! “Giggle switch.”

  64. avatar Brian says:

    You can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

  65. avatar whiskeytangofoxtrot says:

    “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

  66. avatar Jake_in_AK says:

    “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…”

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      I like it!

  67. avatar bontai Joe says:

    The bad guy assumed “room temperature”

  68. avatar Don says:

    I like “bangswitch” and “social work”

  69. avatar Jeh says:

    “No trespassing. Violators will be shot, survivors will be shot again.”

  70. avatar PNG says:

    Gun grabber. Alliterative and insulting!

  71. avatar ADRskew says:

    “On target and tracking”
    “Weapons free, 5 0 rounds”
    “5 0 rounds expended, 0 casualtiy’s breach and barrel clear”
    Can you replace tactical with practical for your gear?
    Of course some history….

  72. avatar rammerjammer says:

    Glocktard- overly zealous fanboys

    Smoke Wagon and Roscoe

  73. avatar Accur81 says:

    Keep your powder dry.

  74. avatar James says:

    Machine gunners: Accuracy through volume.

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      Fire enough of them and one will probably hit.

      1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

        They’ll all hit something…

  75. avatar S.CROCK says:

    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.

  76. avatar frankgon4 says:

    “Why? Because Evil finds a way”

    1. avatar gjv200 says:

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

  77. avatar CritZer0 says:

    “Minute Of Badguy”

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      I’m not sure which I like better–that, or “mall ninja”

    2. avatar Matt in TX says:

      oooh! I like this.

  78. avatar migikesagiri says:

    “Pew pew pew”

    1. avatar Brum says:

      LOL, yep, we all resorted to that when we ran out of red paper roll caps.

  79. avatar BrokenForks says:

    “Point Blank”, because it’s always used incorrectly, and also because its correct usage is an interesting concept.

  80. avatar Gib_lp57 says:

    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.

  81. avatar Jasper says:

    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.

  82. avatar Bob says:

    “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.

  83. avatar CyborgCowboy says:

    “Slow on the draw”.

    Or to quote the Engineer from Team Fortress 2, “Use more gun!”

  84. avatar DBPolice says:

    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

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      I’ve one like that — original to me, perhaps: couldn’t hit a barn from the inside.

  85. avatar DBPolice says:

    happy stick = a Glock 30rnd mag

  86. avatar AaronW says:

    “Always leave the range with the same number of holes you had when you got here…no more… and sure as hell no fewer!”

  87. avatar S&WFan says:

    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.

  88. avatar AW1Ed says:

    “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.”

  89. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “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”.

    1. avatar AaronW says:

      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.

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        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.

  90. avatar C says:

    I’ve really started to love all of the “operator” sarcasm.

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