Glossary of firearms terms

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Dag, Dagg
Any pistol of the late 16th and early 17 th centuries. The term was applied in time to early wheel lock pistols, specifically the main cavalry weapons of the first half of the 17th century. Also called a tack.

Damascene
To decorate one metal by inlaying or attaching another metal to it. Damascened steel and Damascus steel are frequently confused. The former is an inlay process while the latter is a watering process.

Damascus
On a barrel, it refers to a kind of steel or iron displaying a peculiar marking or "watering" produced during manufacture. Originally from the 10th century, such steel was brought from India and Persia to Damascus, which at that time was the main junction for trade between East and West. The weapons, however, were not manufactured in that city.

Descending branch
Of a trajectory, that segment between its summit and its point of impact.

Detonator, pill lock
A transitional ignition system between flintlocks and pure percussion weapons. Flourishing in the second decade of the 19th century, the system was characterised by a variety of methods of inserting fulminate for detonation, either as a ball or pill or in a tube. The true percussion era started when a copper cap was devised to contain the fulminate.

Disconnector
In a semiatomatic firearm, the device that permits each pull of the trigger to fire an individual shot.

Dog head, Dogs head
1 The cock on a Scottish flintlock.
2 The hammer on a wheel lock weapon.

Dog latch
Safety catch used on a dog lock.

Dog lock
Variety of flintlock, probably of Moorish origin, though used in Britian in the second half of the 17th century. On the rear of the lockplate a pivoted hook can be made to engage with a similar hook on the rear of the cock to act as a safety. Called the dog latch, this is the locks most distinguishing feature.

Double
In target shooting, two nearly congruent bullet holes that appear as one on casual examination.

Double action see Action, double

Double action revolver see Revolver, double action

Double set trigger see Trigger

Doubling
1 In double barrel weapons, simultaneous and unintentional firing of both barrels by an accidental pull on both triggers or by jarring of the second hammer with the first shots recoil.
2 In semi automatic weapons, malfunctioning of the disconnector so that two or more shots are fired by one pull of the trigger.

Dragon
Small blunderbuss or other hand gun carried by dragoons or mounted infantry of the 17th century. The lock was generally a snaphance and the barrel seldom exceeded 16 inches.

Drift
In ballistics, movement of a bullet to the left or right of a straight line connecting the gun muzzle and the target. Windage designates drift caused by wind pressure. Ballistic drift is caused both by the bullets tendency to rotate on the air and by the precessional rotation of the bullets nose around the trajectory’s curve, the latter being a gyroscopic phenomenon

Drift slide
A movable piece carrying open or peep sights on the rear sight of a rifle. It is adjustable as desired to correct for drift by slight lateral movement.

Drooping
Wearing away of the muzzle by protracted firing.

Drop at comb
On a shoulder arm, the distance measured from the stocks highest point perpendicularly to the line of the barrel extended rearward.

Drop at heel
On a shoulder arm, the distance measured from the top of the butt perpendicularly to the line of the barrel extended rearward.

Drop block action see Action, drop block

Drum
In semi automatic weapons, any round cartridge holding device attachable to a firearm to feed successive rounds.

Dumdum bullet see Bullet, dumdum

Dummy cartridge see Cartridge, dummy