by  Ed Levine.

If you look  up "Weapon" in the dictionary, you will find a noun that is something (as a  club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy. 

Traditionally,  WEAPONS are used by LAW ENFORCEMENT and the MILITARY.  They are used for offensive,  aggressive tactics. Even  when I was in the Marine Corps, those that called their rifle a "gun" used to  have to recite this little poem while grabbing their rifle and crotch.. "This is  my WEAPON, this is my GUN! This one's for FIGHTING, this one's for FUN!".

As  an NRA Firearms instructor, the basic instructor manuals advise the instructor  "DO NOT USE THE TERM WEAPON IN THIS COURSE" as it has negative connotations. Any instructor that STILL calls it a WEAPON during those courses is going against the NRA training practices.

People were surveyed and 2 out of 12 (same number in a jury) felt negatively when a  person used the word "WEAPON". It makes the person speaking seem like a vigilante, or one that has a personal vendetta.

So..   your are at home... a bad guy breaks in during the night.. and starts stabbing you...  You shoot him in self defense and tell the jury what happened..  "He was  stabbing me, so I grabbed my WEAPON and shot him!" (Now would you rather have those  two jurors on YOUR SIDE? I sure would!)

So...    call it your Gun, Handgun, Sidearm, Pistol, Revolver, Kimber, Glock, Leadslinger, etc..   but stay away from the "W" word.

(P.S.  This is NOT legal advice..  If you need legal advice consult an  attorney) Also.. some of my hard core gun slinging buddies REFUSE to admit this and say "F it" I will call it whatever the hell I want!  To them..  I say go ahead :-D

I think that proper nomenclature is important when describing a permit like in VA as a CHP (concealed handgun permit) because if you call it a CCP, CCW or anything else is "sounds" as though you don't even know what it is!  Maybe you also call magazines "clips"? Maybe you call rounds of ammunition "bullets"? Maybe you don't know the rules of gun safety either?

My goal is not to BERATE, but EDUCATE!

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

― Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain



- - -
From Philip Van Cleave - VCDL President

Firearm vs weapon, CHP vs CCW - words mean things
Words have specific meanings and it is important that we strive to use the correct terminology when referring to things firearm related.

If you find yourself correcting a “newbie” or even an “oldbie,” do so politely and patiently - we are all on the same side and a little patience and respect can go a very long way. Better to let it go than to alienate someone.

The media and Hollywood are the real problem here, using incorrect terminology over and over again. Terms they learn from each other, without understanding what the terms really mean. And gun owners end up using those terms because they are pounded into our heads.


Avoid the use of the word “weapon” when referring to your firearm. Weapon has a negative connotation, referring more to something used in an aggressive or offensive manner. The military carries weapons. You and I carry for defensive reasons only. Instead use the words firearm, sidearm, handgun, or the firearm type, such as Glock, Sig, etc.

In Virginia our laws only define a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). We can only carry handguns concealed and not dirks, daggers, throwing stars, machetes, etc. as are allowed by some states.

While most gun owners will know what you mean when you use the following terms, those terms are not the terminology Virginia law uses and, worse, imply the ability to carry items concealed that we can’t in Virginia, leading to confusion or inadvertently breaking the law: CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon), CWP (Concealed Weapon Permit), CWL (Concealed Weapon License).

Using the term CHL (Concealed Handgun License) is not as big of a deal. License and permit are pretty much interchangeable when it comes to carrying a concealed handgun. But, again, Virginia law uses the word “permit” and so should we.

A magazine is used to load a firearm. A clip is used to load a magazine quickly (usually only magazines for military rifles support the use of clips). A magazine can hold 10, 20, 30 or more rounds. I’ve never seen a clip that holds more than 10 rounds. So when the antis say they want to ban 30 round clips, in their ignorance they are banning something that doesn’t exist.

One of the most commonly misused words is bullet. A bullet is what comes out of the front of the barrel when a firearm is discharged. A cartridge or a round is what is loaded into the firearm - it consists of the case, bullet, powder, and primer.

Perhaps by gun owners always using the correct terms, we will eventually get the media to follow suit. We can only hope.

=====No "W" word allowed...

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