I work part-time in a sporting goods store selling guns, and as a salesperson, I hear all kinds of stupid that comes out of the mouths of customers. Ever since I started working with guns, I’ve become more and more pretentious about firearm names and firearm nomenclature. So here is a short list of all the things that bug me:
- Shells – This is a term that a LARGE number of people use because it is almost universally accepted as part of the American vernacular. It really drives me nuts when people refer to metallic centerfire or rimfire ammunition as ‘shells‘. Shells are used by shotguns and artillery, not your Ruger 10/22. The .243 Winchester ammunition you want for your deer rifle accepts a metallic cartridge, not a shot filled shell. I will happily accept the words ‘ammo’, ‘ammunition’, or even ’rounds’ over ‘shells‘. Every time someone comes up to me and asks for ‘.22 shells‘, I die a little on the inside… and the least you can do is say what kind of .22 you are looking for: short, long, or long rifle? And speaking of .22 LR, if you come into my store and blame Obama or the US Government for not being able to find .22 LR ‘shells‘, go back to your basement and put your tin foil hat back on because you don’t deserve the ammunition. I’m fairly certain that the hundreds of people that flowed into the store before you did and cumulatively purchased the 100,000 rounds of .22 LR ammunition we got in this week were definitely not the 44th president of the United States of America or agents of the US Government. It was, in fact, the same group of old and retired bastards that already have 20,000+ rounds of .22 LR, but want more to either scalp on the private market or stockpile because they have nothing better to do with their money.
- 911s – The next thing that really bothers me is when people refer to a 1911 as a ‘911’ (nine-eleven). It is a 1911 damn it! If you are too lazy to include the ‘teen’ syllable in ‘nineteen-eleven’, I have lost all respect for you. I’ve gotten so bitter over this that when a customer asks to see that ‘911’ over there, I clear it, then hand it to them and say, “You know who is making a 911 now? Porsche is making a 911.” … I might be a dick.
- Sega Shotguns – I can understand that the average American doesn’t speak or read Russian, but the shotguns made by Izhmash are, in fact, called Saiga shotguns (the ‘ai’ being pronounced like the English word ‘eye’… like use your eyeballs to look at the name of the shotgun) damn it, not Sega shotguns (like the Sega Genisis videogame system I used to play as a child). It’s pronounced like ‘eye’ because that is how it is spelled in Russian (сайга). Learn to say it right because these firearms are here to stay, and you sound like an ignoramus.
- Sig Sawyer – This is one misnomer that I’m utterly baffled by. Where in the hell do people get ‘Sawyer’ from when it is spelled SAUER. THERE IS NO EFFING ‘W’ OR ‘Y’ IN THE EFFING NAME! It is pronounced like the English word ‘Sour’; it was definitely not from a book written by Mark Twain.
- Assault Rifles – This term in itself is not an incorrect term, but is often used incorrectly. An assault rifle is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as a, “…military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and that has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire.” That little bold portion is probably the most important factor when distinguishing an MSR (or Modern Sporting Rifle) from an Assault Rifle. So no, Tactical Joe, the AR-15s and AK-47s sitting on display are not assault rifles… Yes, I will show one to you anyway.
- Clips – I’ve actually become quite lax about this term. I used to get very offended by people calling magazines ‘clips’, but much like how I address all the previously mentioned misnomers, I only respond using the correct terms. So when a person asks if we have clips for his hi-point, I say, “I’m sorry sir, but we don’t carry magazines for hi-points here. You may want to check at WalMart.”
Notable items left out of this rant are:
- .338 Lumpuah (instead of Lapua)
- Savorski Scopes (instead of Swarovski)
- Vortek scopes (instead of Vortex; yes, with an ‘X’)
- Asking for parts for a ‘.30-06’, but not knowing that there things like make or model in the world.
- Bullets (when really wanting fully loaded ammunition)
Working in retail can make a person bitter. I used to be just as ignorant of proper nomenclature when I was younger, but since I was a consumer of the firearms industry, I did my due diligence to learn how to properly speak the language. Now, although my wife sees my trying to correct people as pretentious, I’m a teacher at heart, and I feel that we should all strive to continuously improve ourselves toward greater knowledge. I write about this not to just complain, but also do so in hopes of promoting the use of proper nomenclature, which would only lead to a more informed public.