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Generic weapon's data and sniper system's data

Glossary of terms

Glock 17
Glock 19

Glock 21
SIG Sauer P226
SIG Sauer P229
SIG Sauer P229S
SIG Sauer P232
Beretta 92

Mac 10
vz. 61Skorpion

Remington 700
Grizzly 50 Big Boar

Steyr AUG

M1 Super 90

Stinger RMP, Man Portable, Shoulder Fired, Infrared Guided, Anti-Aircraft Missile
General Purpose Machine Gun or Medium Machine Gun
Grenade launcher/with M16
Light anti-armor weapon

One pull of the trigger fires a single round.
A continuous pull on the trigger will fire every round in the magazine or belt in rapid succession.
This weapon has a burst device that will fire a certain number of rounds per pull of the trigger. Typically it is 3 rounds though there are 2 round burst weapons.
Selective Fire:
This weapon can be fired on semi-automatic or set for full automatic (or burst). Most weapons have a single switch for this control though a few older systems have two switches - one for safe, fire and one for full-auto, semi-auto.
Open bolt:
When this weapon's trigger is pulled, the bolt is released from an open position, slides forward, strips a round from the magazine, chambers it, fires it and ejects it and returns to the open bolt position. The bolt action sliding forward after pulling the trigger upsets the balance of the weapon causing the barrel to rise. Then the bolt slamming into the chamber upsets it again causing the barrel to drop as the bullet is fired. Thus this system is not nearly as accurate as the closed bolt system of operation. This type of system is easier to design and much cheaper to produce.
Closed bolt:
When this weapon's trigger is fired it fires the round since the bullet is already chambered. It cycles through and chambers another round. No bolt movement when the trigger is pulled makes for better accuracy.
The trigger in this type of weapon does only one thing - it releases the hammer or firing pin. Unless the hammer is already cocked on a single action weapon, pulling the trigger will do nothing. This system is inherently more accurate than the double action because the trigger pull is typically much lighter. SFOD-Delta and the FBI HRT still use highly accurized Colt M1911A1s single actions because they are so accurate. Not much better has come out since 1914.
The trigger in this type of weapon does two things. It cocks the hammer and it releases the hammer. As such it is inherently less accurate than single action. But, it is also much easier to work. It is also more useful for police work since they do not always fire their weapon when they draw it. Double action makes an accidental discharge much less likely.
Silencers and Suppressors:
These two terms have often been used interchangeably and do not really have a standard definition but here are some popular and logical definitions. Both are devices screwed or locked or built onto the end of a barrel to capture excess gas and slow it's speed in order to reduce the sound level of the round fired. A silencer designates a weapon firing a sub-sonic round and a suppressor is on a weapon firing a super-sonic round. The noise of the shot is made by the expanding gasses (which can be contained somewhat) and the sonic boom is made by the bullet breaking the sound barrier (which cannot be contained). By this definition the same device can be considered both a silencer and a suppressor depending on the round fired. If a silencer is mounted on a 9mm pistol it might be considered a suppressor when firing typical super-sonic ammo and then a silencer when firing a sub-sonic round. I know, it's still confusing. The MP5SD is a good example of a silencer because it is designed to vent excess gas in order to make the super-sonic 9mm round sub-sonic and reduce it's sound level even more. The device on a MP5A3-N would be considered a suppressor because it is attached to a weapon firing a super-sonic round. Clear as mud?
Sub-sonic and Super-sonic:
Super-sonic rounds produce (in addition to the noise of the expanding gasses) a sonic boom resulting from the round breaking the sound barrier as it leaves the barrel. This cannot be suppressed but the resultant sound is more difficult to locate compared to the initial report of the shot. An individual will hear the sonic boom immediately after the round passes him or her. It will sound like a sharp crack or snap. The direction of the shooter can be very difficult to identify. That's why even some sniper systems will use a suppressor. It can't silence the round but it can help protect the sniper from exposure. The .45 ACP is a good example of a sub-sonic round. The 5.56mm x 45mm (M16 ammo) is a good example of a super-sonic round. The 9mm Parabellum is a good example of both types of velocities. You can find both super-sonic and sub-sonic ammunition for it. The speed of sound (at sea level) is about 990fps or 300mps. It actually slows down a little bit as you go up in altitude. Any questions?

Sniper System:
Sniper rifles are often called Sniper Systems because that is just what they are - a system of components. The system is basically in two parts - the rifle and the scope. Often the scope is more expensive than the rifle itself. Optics is everything in this skill. Even the rifle itself will be made up of different components - a certain type of barrel, a precision trigger group and a particular stock. Many snipers build, or have built for them, a sniper rifle with all their particular favorites into one system.
Sniper Ranges:
You will notice that almost every 7.62mm x 51mm (.308) sniper rifle has a maximum effective range of about 800 meters no matter what the barrel length of the rifle. Some precision marksmen argue that this is because just beyond 800 meters the 7.62mm slug becomes sub-sonic and drops through the sound barrier. This is actually not true. The .308 slug stays super-sonic out to 1,000 yards (about 900 meters). Eight hundred meters is typically used because beyond that range it becomes increasingly difficult to judge wind and range in order to get a first round hit on target. The true effective range for the .308 sniper system is actually 300 to 600 meters in a military field environment. This is because the sniper's purpose is to get that one-shot one-kill. Beyond 600 meters range estimation and wind adjustment get increasingly difficult. Closer than 300 meters exposes the sniper unnecessarily. For police snipers in an urban environment their average range is actually just over 70 meters. Which is good since they are usually dealing with innocents around a hostile target and must be very precise.
Sniper Accuracy:
1 moa is a good standard for sniper system accuracy. 3/4 moa is even better and 1/2 is about the best you can find. Of course 1/2 moa accuracy rifles are the most expensive. The real trick is that most snipers can't take advantage of 1/2 moa accuracy. In effect, the rifle shoots better than he does. This can be tested if you put your rifle in a fixed bench rest and fire off a 3 or 5 round group. Then take the rifle out of the rest and try to shoot as good a group yourself. It is extremely difficult with the more accurate systems.
Sniper Ammunition:
Sniper's do not shoot standard ammunition. They will shoot a match type ammunition out of their rifle. Match ammunition is manufactured to higher specifications. The bullets are carefully chosen and the powder is precision measured. In fact some sniper's even hand load their own ammunition. They usually claim a better accuracy than premium match ammunition. A good sniper will have his weapon zeroed for a particular ammunition lot with enough ammunition on hand for whatever mission may come up. Some sniper's won't even clean their weapon after a zero since to them 'a dirty weapon is a happy weapon.' A clean barrel shot often has a slightly different zero than a fired barrel just as a cold barrel shot has a different zero than a warm barrel.

Shotgun Operating Systems:
The earliest shotguns were breach loading weapons or break open weapons. You had to load each shell individually into the chamber. Then came the lever action, revolver and pump action shotguns. These, like a bolt action rifle were manually operated to eject the shell and chamber the next. The pump action shotgun became the most popular type of all of these manually operated shotguns. Semi-automatic shotguns didn't become popular until much later. In the early days it was difficult to produce a reliable semi-auto shotgun so pump became the shotgun of choice for law enforcement. Browning Arms developed the first reliable semi-auto shotgun. The Benelli M1 series and the Remington 11-00 and 11-87 series are the most popular semi-auto shotguns used for tactical operations by law enforcement and special operations. These semi-auto shotguns can fire off their entire magazine of 6 to 8 rounds in less than 2 seconds, accurately. Almost all shotguns use an internal tubular magazine. You load each round individually into the weapon. There are a few magazine fed shotguns around or magazine adaptations to existing weapons. These make for a faster reload but these systems haven't quite taken off yet.
Shotgun Ammunition:
There are basically two types of rounds for a shotgun. Shot, which is the most prevalent and slug. Shot round comes in all types and diameters and quantities and most is used for sporting purposes whether it is clay pigeons or game birds. Slug is also used for sporting purposes and in some places is used to hunt dear. Shotgun ammunition does not have near the lethal range as rifles. Still, at close range, a hollow point slug or a load of 00 buck can be devastating. Combat shotguns have been in use since the trench shotguns of World War I. They were used pretty extensively in Vietnam also and continue today to be a popular and effective weapon in jungle environments. Police tactical SWAT teams also use a short barreled shotgun called an Entry Gun on many of their raids. Even shorter versions of these weapons, stockless pumps, are used as door breaching guns to defeat door locks using special door bolt shattering rounds. There are also some other special purpose shotgun rounds that include a tear gas round useful for emptying unwanted personnel barricaded in a vehicle.
Shotgun Gauges:
The shotgun gauge is a measurement of the diameter of the bore of a shotgun. 12 gauge means that 12 lead balls that diameter would equal 1 pound. A 20 gauge shotgun means that 20 lead balls that diameter equal 1 pound. This goes back to the old west days. Of all the shotgun gauges, 12 gauge is by far the most popular. There are basically two lengths of 12 gauge cartridge. The first is 2 3/4 inch. This is the most popular. The second is 3 inch magnum. This, of course, is more powerful. Shotguns that are chambered for the 2 3/4 inch shells will not chamber 3 inch shells. But shotguns that are chambered for 3 inch will also take the shorter 2 3/4 inch shells. In some cases they will be able to hold more of the shorter rounds in their tubular magazines

Shot Size:
There are many choices in shot size. Here are a few sizes and their equivalent in millimeter and inches.

Designation Diameter (cal.)  Diameter
No. 000

No. 00

No. 1

No. 2

No. 3


A 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch shell will hold 9 .33 caliber pellets. That can be pretty devastating going down range. A 12 gauge 3 inch magnum shell can hold 15 .33 caliber pellets. You can see why shotguns are still so popular. Shot sizes get progressively smaller but these sizes are used almost entirely for sporting purposes and don't have a great deal of tactical use.                                    

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