Unveiling the Nick`s & Names of Guns
Firearms have been around for many centuries and have changed drastically over time. With the fast technological advancement and modernization of the world, the demand to improve weapon arsenals of countries also increased. Today, firearms now have a lot of varieties depending on their operation, purpose, and usage.
The term “gun” is said to come from the Dutch word “gonne” which directly refers to the large tube or barrel of cannons and artillery during the early 14th century. In the following two centuries, the term “gun” became a well-known colloquial term describing any form of firearms such as hand-crafted firearms, muskets, hunting rifles, and flintlock pistols. With the high demand for this new weaponry, many craftsman and designers started venturing into gunsmithing. They each studied and learned ways to create, remodel, and repair guns. They also do design modifications to make guns more effective and accurate in combat. However, during this time, there is no standardized way in creating guns which results in variations in quality. Each gunsmith has their approach to producing firearms, creating competition among gunsmiths. And because competition is at an all-time high, gunsmiths with the best designs started to earn more and become distinguished brands that are existing up to this day.
In this article, you will get to know some of the common gun names that exist today. You’ll get to understand the different gun types and their associated gun names. Not only that, get to know some of the iconic Brand Names of Guns that will most likely ring a bell when heard of. Lastly, witness some of the nicknames and colloquial terms used by people to rename their guns.
Understanding Gun Types and Their Names
The development of gun types is brought by the dynamic change in warfare since the invention of firearms. Added to it, are the vast competing companies that continuously design and remodel firearms to create newer models. Newer gun models mean newer designs and new purposes for each firearm depending on the needs of the individual user and the military, resulting in the development of different gun types.
Gun types were developed to address different needs for the use of firearms. Easy-to-carry firearms are common for private citizens, security guards, and cops. Some guns are used for sports, and some are standard issued by special forces and military personnel. Below are all the existing types of gun names that exist today.
Handguns are firearms designed to be used with one hand, thus the term “handgun”. They are smaller and can be holstered at the waist. Handguns are typically carried by security personnel and police. It can also be issued to civilians in some countries for self-defense purposes or sport. There is other gun term for Handguns such as pistols and “side arm”. The word “pistol” was first used in the 16th century to describe a small gun. It originated from the French word pistolet, which means a “gun” or “knife”. The term “side arm”, on the other hand, was used to refer to handguns as a secondary weapon or backup weapon. There are a few types of Handguns depending on their structure and usage such as Revolvers (manually revolving-barrel handguns), Semi-automatic Pistols (have a self-loading mechanism to fire rounds successively), and Tactical Pistols (Semi-automatic pistols used in military and police).
The term “rifle” came from the English term “riflen”, which describes a gun with rifled bore. It is a borrowed word from the Old French word “rifler” which means “to scratch” or “to scrape”. These definitions are most likely attributed to the spiral rifling inside the barrel of the gun. A firearm with no spiral rifling in its bore is called a “smoothbore” firearm.
Rifles are shoulder-fired firearms with rifled bore inside its barrel which is intended to spin the bullet, stabilizing the projectile during flight. Because of this rifled bore, a rifle is ideal for mid-range to long-range warfare. Some existing types of rifles are the Assault Rifle (a rifle that can switch between automatic and semi-automatic through selective fire), Sniper Rifle (designed for long distances, with accuracy and precision considered), and Bolt Action Rifle (manually reloaded rifle).
Shotguns are designed to shoot a burst of many “small-shot” pellets in a scattered pattern in front of the user. The load of a shotgun is called a “slug” and contains many pressurized pellets in it. This makes it different from common guns which use bullet tips as projectiles. Unlike handguns and rifles, shotguns are more effective in close-quarter combats. The most popular shotgun to exist is the Winchester Model 1912. It is a pump-action shotgun used by the Americans in World War 2 to clear Japanese trenches. It is very effective in clearing trenches and bunkers, thus earning its gun nickname “trench gun”. The gun was so effective, it leaves no survivor when shot at close range, prompting the Japanese Empire to call for a ban on the use and production of such weapons during the war.
A Machine gun is a fully automatic weapon that can fire bullets at a rapid rate. Its name is derived from the combined terms “machine” and “gun”. This term was primarily adopted due to the automatic mechanized feature of the gun, allowing it to continuously fire bullet rounds by simply holding the trigger, or until the ammunition is exhausted. However, because of this feature, a common machine gun is typically bulkier and heavy. It could only be used effectively after being deployed by an operator (called a machine gunner) and an assistant. The very first concept of machine guns was developed by Richard Jordan Gatling in 1861. He designed a rapid-firing multiple-barrel gun (called a Gatling Gun) that is driven by an electric motor, which rotates alternately after firing a single cartridge for each barrel. This allows the gun to do a “fire-reload” sequence rapidly.
The Light Machine guns are a lightweight version of machine guns. It is designed to be operated by single personnel. LMGs are also called “Squad Automatic Weapons”.
The Medium Machine gun is a belt-fed gun that uses a rifle cartridge. Although it is light enough to be carried by a single infantry, it is still reliant on a mounting surface or weapon platform before it could be operated effectively.
The Heavy Machine gun is a larger and more deadly version of the machine gun. It cannot be carried easily by single personnel and would require a group of two to three infantry to be deployed properly. Heavy Machine guns are usually stationary, being mounted on weapon platforms or atop an armored vehicle. Some Heavy machine guns have heavy-caliber rounds which can penetrate armored vehicles, such as tanks, and pillboxes.
The Submachine gun (SMG) is a lightweight and fully automatic weapon. Its gun name was coined by John T. Thompson to describe a fully automatic firearm with less firepower but has the capabilities of a machine gun to fire rounds rapidly. Different gun names were associated with submachine guns depending on the country of origin such as “machine carbines” (British) and “machine pistols” (also Machinenpistole, in German). The very first introduction of the submachine gun to the battlefield was in World War I. The Germans developed automatic handguns that can be used in close quarters. This submachine gun was called the MP18 (Machine Pistol 18), also known as Bergmann Muskete (Bergmann’s Musket). The fascinating invention of the Germans prompted other powerful countries to develop their own, thus the creation of the Machine Carbines by the British, and the Thompson Submachine Gun (also known as Tommy Gun) by the Americans. At the end of World War I, numerous submachine gun models started to sprout across different countries such as Beretta Model 38 (Italy), Bergmann Model 34 (Germany), British Sten Gun (UK), PPSh M1941 (Russia), the Grease Gun (American), and the Uzi Submachine gun (Israel).
Common Brand Names of Guns
The Gun industry is one of the most successful businesses that exist today. Some of these companies have existed as late as the early 16th, profiting from the industry for over 500 years! While it might seem unusual, guns will remain in-demand products since all countries all over the world have a demand for military and law enforcement purposes. In this section, we’ll talk about a few of the common brand names of guns and discuss their history and the significance of their firearms in the industry.
The Beretta company is considered the oldest gun brand in the world. It was an Italian gun brand founded by Bartolomeo Beretta in 1526. Initially, the company and its holdings worked in Gardone Val Trompia in Lombardy and transferred to the Republic of Venice. There, he would thrive to be the greatest gun maker, closing a stunning deal of 185 Arquebus guns for the Venetian Arsenal. His iron foundry and gun business continue to flourish and still exist in business today.
Beretta is well-known for their pistol products. The most iconic pistol made by Beretta is the Beretta 92FS, also known as M9 in the US military. It became popular for its robust design and durable structure. It is also known to function properly even under harsh conditions, which made it an ideal choice for military personnel.
The Glock Ges.m.b.H, trademarked as GLOCK is an Austrian gun brand founded by Gaston Glock in 1963. The company started with the production of military-grade accessories like knives, grenade casings, and machine gun belt links. Their venture with firearms started with the release of their first semi-automatic handgun in 1980, the GLOCK service pistol. Their pistol is intended to answer the needs of the Austrian military both for law enforcement, anti-terrorism, and military. The GLOCK service pistol is famous for its polymer frame, in contrast with the usual steel and aluminum frames from existing handguns, making it extremely light to carry. On top of the innovative frame, GLOCK is the first to develop the SAFE ACTION System feature on handguns. This Safe Action System includes trigger safety (prevents unintentional triggers), firing pin safety (prevents accidental triggers when the pistol is mishandled), and drop safety (prevents triggers when the pistol is dropped). Their safety feature design allows the user to switch between the GLOCK Safe Action System and the actual firing mode without the use of external safety accessories. This revolutionized the creation of modern-day service pistols all over the world.
The Colt Defense LLC is an American company that develops and manufactures firearms both for commercial and military use. Their founding company is the Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC (also known as CMC, and formerly the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company) was founded by Samuel Colt in 1855. Although they become well-known around this date, Samuel Colt has been doing firearms creations way back in 1836. Colt’s company has been in the production of common firearms between the 1850s and World War I. During which, they popularized the Colt revolver and the Colt Walker.
The most iconic firearm developed by Colt Defense is the Colt M1911 pistol, nicknamed Colt 1911, or Colt Government. It is the longest military and law enforcement service handgun and is still being produced today. They now develop this gun under the name 1911 Classic. The Colt Defense is also the long-lasting manufacturer of Assault Rifles for the US government such as the AR-15 and the M16 Rifle, including other derivatives such as M16 Carbines, Commando (CAR-15), and M4 Carbines.
Springfield Armory Inc. has been in the manufacturing industry of firearms since 1777. It is formerly known as the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield, until its decommissioning in 1968. The Springfield Armory based its name on its location in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is the first federal armory of the United States that is solely dedicated to manufacturing, research, and developing the federal’s firearms. Today, Springfield Armory Inc. is known for producing variants of the M1911 pistol and M1A rifles.
Before the decommissioning of the original Springfield Armory, the manufacturing company became well-known for the creation of one of the greatest rifles in the world—the M1 Garand. The M1 Garand or the M1 rifle is a semi-automatic rifle used by the US Army in World War II and Korean War. Its gun name came from the Canadian-American designer, John Garand. The rifle is well-known for its accuracy and fast semi-automatic function, which is mainly the lacking feature of most bolt-action rifles developed by the Japanese and Italians. Its accuracy is at a stunning 500 yards (460m), allowing soldiers to hybrid the rifle as a sniping rifle.
Browning Arms Company
The Browning Arms Company is another American manufacturer of firearms and fishing gear. It was founded in Utah in 1878 by John Moses Browning and Matthew Sandefur Browning. In the early stages of their company, they only offered non-military equipment including sporting firearms and hunting gear. The Browning Arms Company officially entered the firearm industry in 1927, a year after John Browning died.
John Browning is often called “the greatest firearms inventor of the world”. Despite having products solely used for sports and non-military activities, he patented around 128 different gun designs, and about fifty million sports and military weapons. Some of his patents are the 45-caliber pistol, the 1895 Colt “Peacemaker” Machine gun, and the Browning Automatic Rifle (or BAR). Most 30 and 50-caliber machine guns used by the US military in World War II, despite being manufactured by different gun companies such as Colt and Remington, follow the same designs created by Browning.
Nicknames and Terms for Guns
Most of us get acquainted with some gun names through reading history or even playing video games like Counter-Strike. We get to know some of the gun model names and how they were used in the military. Despite us reading actual gun names, we most likely associate some of them with colloquial gun names or gun nicknames. We already mentioned some gun nicknames in the previous section, but we’ll add more in this section. Get to know more of the commonly used gun nicknames used by most people in for guns in this section. Read on!
The Ma Deuce (Browning M2 Heavy Machine Gun)
The Ma Deuce or the M2 Machine Gun is a Browning-designed 0.50 caliber heavy machine gun. Its colloquial gun name “Ma Deuce” came from the Latin word Deuce, meaning “two”. Thus, the term ma deice simply implies the term M2, or model design number 2. While M2 machine guns are like the M1919 Browning machine gun, the M2 uses a much larger 0.50 cartridge that can penetrate lightly armored vehicles, boats, and low-flying aircraft.
The MP5 (Heckler & Koch MP5)
The MP5 is the most popular submachine gun being commissioned by military and special forces today. It is famous for its reliability and easy-to-control recoil. The MP5 gun name follows the past World War I name convention of Germany for submachine guns, the Maschinenpistole (Machine Pistol). The MP5 is also called the Navy Seal Gun or the MP5 Navy since it is a standard-issue firearm for Navy seals.
The Gun That Won the West (Winchester Rifle)
The Winchester Rifle is a repeating rifle (can be fired repeatedly before reloading), that was introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1873. It is an improvement from the 1860 Henry Rifle and is considered the most successful rifle used by the Americans during their westward expansion to remote areas of America. It utilizes the same ammunition type as the Colt army revolver, and this compatibility made it popular for cowboys, outlaws, and enforcers. It is also the most common rifle used to fight the Native Americans during the westward expansion, earning the title “The Gun That Won the West”.
The PPK or PP Pistols (Walther PPK)
The Walther PPK is a semi-automatic pistol developed by Carl Walther Sportwaffen. The abbreviation PPK stands for the German term Polizepistole Kriminalmodel, or simply Police Pistol. This is why sometimes the Walther PPK is also called a PP pistol. The PPK became more popular around the world for its usage in the novel series James Bond. In the novel, James Bond carries a Walther PPK pistol as his sidearm. On top of its pop culture popularity, the PPK is also known for its elegant design, compact size, and concealability.
The Kalashnikov or AK (AK-47)
The AK-47 is officially called Kalashnikov Model 1947, with the “AK” abbreviation meaning “Avtomat Kalashnikova” or an “Automatic Kalashnikov”. It is a Soviet-made assault rifle and the most widely used rifle in the world. The AK is designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, which serves as a Soviet engineer in 1945. It became a standard-issue rifle for the entire Soviet military in 1947 due to its reliability and durability. The AK-47 is easily distinguished by its metal and wood casing and curved magazine—which was intended for smoother bullet feeding when used for automatic fire. AK-47 also became the symbol of armed uprisings, revolutionary movements, and insurgency.
The Barrett Sniper Rifle/ Barrett .50 Cal (Barett M82 or M107 Rifle)
The Barrett M82 is designed as an anti-material rifle used as a long-0range anti-personnel sniper firearm. It was developed by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing company, founded by Ronnie Barrett—a company specializing in manufacturing long-range sniper rifles and a few assault rifles.
The Barrett M82 is also famously called the “Barrett .50 Cal” for its utilization of .50 caliber BMG (Browning Machine Gun) caliber that was often used only for Machine guns. Because of the very high caliber rounds it fires, it also has an exceptionally long accuracy of around 1,969 yards (1800 meters or 1.8 kilometers) – a distance that cannot be achieved by common sniper rifles. Because of these stunning capabilities, a Barrett Sniper Rifle can also be used as an Anti-Sniper Rifle, because users can fire at relatively longer distances compared to enemy snipers. The .50 caliber cartridges can also easily penetrate walls and sandbags that can neutralize covering enemies.
Firearms have shaped and modernized the concept of warfare in the world. Due to its popularity and demand across countries, many businesses started to enter the gun industry.
It is important to know and identify gun name types and know the capabilities and purpose of the firearm. To date, there are five common gun types to exist:
- Handguns – designed to be operated on a single hand.
- Rifles – a longer gun ideal for medium to long distances.
- Shotguns – ideal firearm at close ranges.
- Machine guns –fully automatic firearms that can fire rapid rounds. Ideal for penetrating surfaces and materials.
- Submachine guns – a lightweight version of machine guns that can fire rapidly with smaller round calibers. Ideal for assault and close to mid-range combat.
Some common brand names of guns have existed for centuries. The Berretta firearm company is considered the oldest gun brand, existing for over 500 years since its creation. Other notable brands produced iconic gun names and have contributed to the rapid change in firearms. This includes the GLOCK (for the Safety Action System), the Colt (for carbines and M1911 pistols), the Springfield (for M1 Garand), and the Browning Arms (for sports firearms and numerous firearms patents from its founder, James Browning).
Due to popularity, there are several gun models which have unique gun nicknames based on the colloquial terms people give to them. A few examples are the AK (AK-47), the PPK (Walther PPK), and the Berrett 0.50 Cal (M82).