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gun nickname is a term of endearment. Other times they stem from fear or detraction. Slang gun names can be derived from a weapon’s appearance, its sound when firing, a defining attribute, its impact on the battlefield, or sometimes as a clever play on the firearm’s official designation. However they originated, the most memorable gun nicknames include an element of truth and help cement a weapon’s legacy.

From the bottom upward: The Peacemaker, the Yellowboy, and the Gun that Won the West, three of the most well-known colloquial gun names.

Franchi spas 12s for sale Online USA

spas 12s for sale are among the most distinguishable firearms around, and none may be as recognizable as the Franchi SPAS-12. Whether you know it from the Terminator or Jurassic Park movies or from pretty much any shooting game in the past thirty years, the SPAS-12 is one of the most well-known shotguns in the world. Originally, Franchi distributed the Spas-12 for military and law enforcement, but they eventually went on to offer it to civilian as a sporting weapon. Primarily designed for combat, it excelled as an anti-riot gun due to its rapid-fire, accessorizing ability, and capacity to fire non-lethal ammo available at
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Although the spas 12s is still used around the world by military and police, it didn’t last long as a civilian weapon. Although quite intimidating, the Franchi shotgun proved to be too awkward to be a practical hunting or competition shotgun. Furthermore, the United States eventually banned the Spas-12 as a result of its “militaristic” design. This blow to Franchi’s sales in addition to its limited market prompted them to end production of the spas 12s in 2000, ending its two-decade reign. However, its influence and notoriety carried on, especially after Franchi went on to craft the Spas-15, which we’ll get to later. In today’s Gunivore review, we’re going to be breaking down the historic Spas-12 and see how it became one of the most renowned shotguns in the world available at

Franchi franchi spas 12s for sale  Build & Construction

Although the Franchi Special Purpose franchi spas 12 for sale was offered in several configurations, its basic design is immediately noticeable. The first thing most people spot on these shotguns is their folded metal stock. However, Franchi also manufactured the spas 12s with detachable wooden and synthetic stocks. That being said, you could easily argue that the forend handguard that envelops most of the tube magazine, was its most distinguishing feature.
spas 12s Franchi SPAS-12 Tactical Shotgun — AirsoftEire
spas 12s

As a combat weapon primarily, the spas 12s was commonly fired from the hip. As a result, sights were optional and somewhat uncommon. However, users who preferred a standard sight system had the option of a rear aperture iron and front blade sights.
In one of their more unusual attempts at improving the Spas, Franchi offered a metal butt hook attached to the rear of the stock. They had hoped that this would boost its one-handed shooting ability, but it proved to be impractical considering the Spas’ heavy build and powerful recoil.

Magazines for the Franchi spas 12s Semi-Automatic

As a combat firearm, franchi spas 12s for sale wanted to offer several magazine extension tubes for a variety of tactical situations. Consequently, they manufactured 5, 6, 7, and 8 shell tubes for the Spas-12. Franchi also incorporated the not so common magazine cut-off feature on their shotguns as an added safety measure. The benefit to the mag cut-off is that it allows the shooter to unload the chamber and change loads without having to cycle a shell from the mag. This can be useful when hunting different animals or in riot situations when switching between lethal and non-lethal rounds.

Whether you know the spas 12s from Terminator, Jurassic Park, or the shotgun’s inclusion in countless video games over the last two decades, the Franchi spas 12s has become one of the world’s most famous gun models. Primarily designed as a close combat weapon for military and law enforcement use, the franchi spas 12 for sale large heat shield, metallic folding stock, and distinctive butt hook give the gun a unique profile that stands out in any firearms collection.

A spas 12s shotgun for sale this June at Rock Island Auction Company.

The Franchi franchi spas 12s for sale Semi-Shotgun

The spas 12s was manufactured in 1979 by the Italian company Luigi Franchias a special-purpose automatic shotgun. Franchi’s spas 12s design was inspired in part by the High Standard Model 10, an American-made 12 gauge semi-auto bullpup shotgun developed in the late 1950s to be either shoulder-fired or fired one-handed with the swiveling buttstock braced against the bicep of the shooting arm. Like its franchi spas 12 for sale successor, the intention was to provide law enforcement and Special Forces with a versatile tactical shotgun.

spas 12s High-Standard-Model-10-Series-A-Police-Shotgun
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There are a number of Franchi spas 12s shotguns for sale online in the USA, both new and used[1]. One option is, which has a used Franchi SPAS 12 semi-automatic and pump-action shotgun for sale[2]. D4 Guns also has a Franchi SPAS 12 for sale, which is in great condition and is considered more desirable by collectors[3].

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Franchi SPAS 12 shotguns available

Both of these sites have other Franchi SPAS 12 shotguns available, as well as various other firearms. It is important to note that laws and regulations regarding firearms purchasing vary by state and it is important to research and comply with all applicable laws and regulations before making a purchase.

One of the original shotguns to feature three inner barrels and the capability of firing three BB’s at once, the Tokyo Marui SPAS 12 is still regarded as one of the best spring powered shotguns in the airsoft world.

Franchi SPAS 12 shotguns available Features:

  • High quality ABS polymer construction
  • Spring powered, no need for gas or batteries
  • Triple barrel design shoots 3 BB’s at a time
  • Metal barrel and magazine tube
  • Fixed metal sights
  • Capable of slam firing by holding the trigger and racking the action for fast follow up shots

Length: 800mm
Muzzle Velocity: 285 FPS (Measured w/ .20g BB)
Magazine: 30 BB’s
System: Spring
Hopup: Yes, Fixed
Package Includes: Shotgun, 1x Shotgun Shell, Loading Rod, Unjamming Rod, Manual

Manufacturer: Tokyo Marui

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spas 12s

I’ve just added some items back to the online store, not a ton but enough that I can keep up with.

I’d like to provide an explanation as to the year-long hiatus and the way things will have to work moving forward.

#1 – I love the spas 12s, and have since I was a kid. It’s been a dream of mine to have this project. I am eternally grateful to those who have helped make it happen and supported it either through content, parts, or even well-wishes.

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#2 – I do not ever like taking money for products I cannot ship immediately. Because of this belief, the reputation of this site cannot be tarnished by any accusations of misconduct and I intend to keep it that way. That said, it appears that my operating under such a belief has upset just as many folks, and I have received messages and emails degrading me and my character because people can’t buy parts for their guns.

Once I saw that I was getting too overwhelmed in my personal and professional life to get parts out in a timely manner, something had to give. I have a family to support and children to raise, on top of a great career that has it’s own time demands. My only option was to shut the store down, but leave the informational portions of the site up for people to continue to enjoy. If for some reason you feel this was a personal sleight to you, please seek help. To everyone who understands that this is the SPAS 12 Project and not the spas 12s Retirement Plan, I appreciate your understanding and wish you nothing but the best.

#3 – All inventory on the site is now going to be tracked, and only able to be purchased if that item is made and literally sitting on my shelf ready to ship. This will realistically cause delays. I am trying to implement an in-stock notification system that will alert you by email when something you want is available. It’s always going to be first-come first-serve.

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#4 – I would love to speak with anyone interested in purchasing the web store. It would be a fantastic source of extra income for any gun shop or small business owner. My main focus was always to create content for this page, the web store was an afterthought, but the demand exploded and all my Project time was dedicated to making parts and shipping orders. Recent (and coming) YouTube videos from big names in that space have only exacerbated this. I’d love to get back to creating content for the page. If this is something you’d like to *SERIOUSLY* discuss,

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In an effort to narrow our list, we’ll try to avoid overly broad-brush terms like Smoke Wagon, Boomstick, and Saturday Night Special, as well as artillery and grenade launcher slang like Stovepipe, Thumper, Screaming Mimi, and Bloop Gun and instead keep our focus on firearms. Here are our selections for the most famous gun nicknames, presented in alphabetical order.


Slang gun names and military culture go hand-in-hand, and the BAR acronym was as catchy as it was obvious. Developed near the end of WW1, the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle was quickly adopted by the US Military and became a signature weapon for American infantry in WW2 and beyond. The gun’s nickname sprang from the weapon’s initials, “B-A-R”, a term that was easy to remember and soon became the rifle’s most common unofficial designation.

The BAR, an acronym for the Browning Automatic Rifle.

The Belgian Rattlesnake

The brainchild of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Isaac Newton Lewis, the light machine gun design that bore his name was initially rejected by the United States. Lewis set off across the Atlantic to produce his gun in Europe instead, where it was first adopted by Belgium and Britain.

With the outbreak of WW1, the invading Germans faced fierce resistance from the Belgian Army and their limited but strategically deployed Lewis guns. The distinctive “tacka-tacka-tacka“ rattling of the weapon and the hit-and-run tactics employed by the Belgian forces earned the gun the fitting appellation of “Belgian Rattlesnake” from the Western media.

As one of the lightest machine guns of the period, the Lewis Gun could be maneuvered to strike without warning, like its rattlesnake namesake, then quickly moved to another position.

The Broomhandle

The Mauser C96 self-loading pistol’s “Broomhandle” moniker quickly caught on in the early 20th century, a reference to the handgun’s unique round wooden grip. The gun’s nickname soon became a catch-all term for the entire series of C96 pistol models manufactured by Mauser and its subsequent foreign copycats. Mauser eventually embraced the popular nickname and even used it in official promotion campaigns in the Western market.

The Broomhandle C96 pistol’s unique silhouette has made it a favorite of Hollywood over the decades, featured onscreen in period dramas like Peaky Blinders and serving as the basis for Han Solo’s DL-44 Heavy Blaster, perhaps the preeminent Star Wars gun.

The Brown Bess

One of the most famous gun nicknames in firearms history, the Brown Bess was used to denote the typical British infantry muskets that served from 1722 through the early 1830s. In 1785, English author Francis Grose published an index of informal words titled ‘Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ and his entry for the Bess reads, “‘Brown Bess. A soldier’s firelock. To hug Brown Bess; to carry a firelock, or serve as a private soldier.”

The Brown Bess nickname appears to be derived from the slang “Bess,” which was an 18th-century reference to women of ill repute. The term “brown” simply meant drab, ordinary, and plain beyond just the subject’s color, as seen in the colloquial for the “Brown Bill” polearm, a farming tool often fielded by lowly infantry conscripts. This denotation was applied to the Brown Bess musket in the same way.

The oldest informal gun name on our list, the Brown Bess was a muzzleloading flintlock smoothbore musket that served as the British infantry standard for more than a century.

The Burp Gun

Dubbed the “Burp Gun” for the sound it made during extended fire, the PPSh-41 submachinegun was widely fielded by the Red Army in WW2. The burp gun fired 900 rounds a minute, nearly double the rate of the German MP40 it faced down in the streets of Stalingrad. The PPSh-41 was comparatively easy to produce, and a copy of the gun called the Type 50 was later adopted by Chinese and North Korean troops.

“Once we heard that sound—‘Burp! Burp!’—it was a frightening sound,” recalled British veteran Gerry Farmer, who served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in the Korean War. “It meant the Chinese were there. I think the sound of the burp gun and what it represented was more frightening than the rounds that came out of the weapon.”

The Burp Gun, a nickname for the USSR’s go-to infantry submachine gun in WW2.

The Coach Gun

The combat shotguns of yesteryear, the coach gun derives its slang gun name from its role guarding wagons and stagecoaches against the highwaymen who plagued the lonely roads of 18th and 19th century Europe and America. Coach guns and their blunderbuss predecessors served in this capacity for over 300 years, carried by lawman, villain, and soldier alike to even the odds when things got gritty.

The coach gun, a famous gun nickname for a broad range of no-nonsense scatterguns.

The Devil’s Paintbrush

You don’t earn a gun nickname like “The Devil’s Paintbrush” without making a terrible impression. While Gatling guns had demonstrated the utility of high-volume fire on the battlefield, the Maxim design, the world’s first true recoil-based machine gun, perfected the strategy to a brutal degree.

With its cheaper cost of production and absence of a manual crank, the Maxim gun supplanted its Gatling gun forerunner and saw widespread adoption in Europe. The defensive advantage offered by the Maxim gun’s overwhelming firepower contributed to the trench warfare stalemates and high death tolls of WW1, and it’s easy to see why the “Devil’s Paintbrush” epithet caught on with the soldiers who faced this deadly efficient weapon.

On the list of coolest weapon names, The Devil’s Paintbrush ranks near the top.

The Figure 8

Patented in 1856, this Savage & North black powder revolver is as distinct as it is rare. Its informal gun name stems from the figure 8 shape made by the cocking lever and trigger guard. Using the operator’s middle finger, the ring-style cocking lever is pulled after each successive shot to advance the six-shot cylinder, automatically cocking the hammer.

The Savage & North “Figure 8”, a gun nickname derived from the revolver’s unique trigger guard and cocking lever.

The Gat

Named after its inventor, Dr. Richard Gatling, “Gat” was a natural shorthand gun name for the multi-barrel, crank-operated powerhouse introduced during the American Civil War. The Gat nickname was used for the gun at least as early as 1885, when U.S. Army Major Arthur “Gat” Howard found fame with the media operating a Gatling gun during the 1885 North-West rebellion for the Canadian military.

Like many gun nicknames of its era, “The Gat” first originated from newspaper stories.

The Grapevine Carbine

The Civil War saw the development of numerous breach loading carbines, including the unique-looking Gwyn & Campbell. This .52 caliber gun was nicknamed for its long hammer and serpentine-shaped trigger guard, qualities especially evident in the scarcer Type I Cosmopolitan Arms Co model. The “grapevine” nickname was less commonly applied to the Gwyn & Campbell Type II carbine, which saw service with numerous Union Cavalry units.

The “Grapevine Carbine”, a memorable slang gun name for one of the Civil War’s most distinctive breechloaders.

The Grease Gun

Another memorable weapon nickname bestowed by everyday troops, the M3 “Grease Gun” earned its title due to a close physical resemblance to hand-powered grease dispensers, a common auto mechanic’s tool of the period. In an effort to produce a cheaper and lighter alternative to the Thompson, inventor George Hyde developed a firearm that was stamped, riveted, and welded, taking on a crude, tube gun shape. The Grease Gun is an example of a gun nickname becoming more commonly known than its official designation.

The M3 submachine gun, or Grease Gun, was a .45 caliber, nine-pound SMG optimized for speed and ease of production.

The Gun that Won the West

Here’s a colloquial gun name almost everyone knows thanks to films like ‘Winchester ‘73’ and other popular Western movies, shows, and novels. The title “Gun that Won the West” didn’t officially emerge until early 20th-century advertising campaigns, a brainchild of Edwin Pugsley, a Winchester engineer who helped produce famous firearms like the Winchester Model 21 shotgun.

The sentiment behind the now-famous saying was grounded in the frontier era, as the Winchester 1873 rifle was a lightweight, reliable gun that was affordable to most settlers at a time when the Old West was filled with a danger for every treasure and opportunity.

The Gun that Won the West, a rifle that truly lived up to its famous nickname.

Hitler’s Buzzsaw

Another gun nickname based on a blistering rate of fire, the MG42 machine gun was an imposing weapon to say the least. Called the most feared German gun on the WW2 battlefield, Hitler’s Buzzsaw was an upgrade from the already devastating MG-34. The MG42 machine gun’s high cyclic rate (about 1,200 rounds per minute) gave it a distinct and intimidating sound, very alien to Allied troops trained around slower-firing weapons. At that speed, individual gunshots are replaced with a steady, disturbing roar, earning the MG42 a terrifying reputation.

Also called “Hitler’s Zipper”, the MG42 was dreaded by the Allied infantry who faced it during WW2.

The Humpback

Known as “The Humpback” due to its trademark squared receiver, the Browning Automatic 5 is a versatile workhorse scattergun for all types of fowling and target shooting. John Browning’s 1903 recoil-operated design was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun and continues to be fielded by the modern sportsman today. Though often referred to as the Auto-5 or A-5, with period advertisements stressing how the firearm provided “Five shots under your fingers,” the Humpback nickname is what stuck the most.

With its distinctive high rear end, the Humpback has one of the most recognizable profiles of any sporting arm.

The Kentucky Rifle

This classic gun nickname for the American Long Rifle was coined from a song about the 1815 Battle of New Orleans titled ‘Hunters of Kentucky.’ Pioneered by German and Swiss gunsmiths who immigrated to the Colonies, the American Long Rifle combined numerous features from the Germanic Jäger rifle and English hunting designs that allowed backwoodsmen to shoot accurately up to 200 yards when hunting in the western wilds of Colonial America. Famed frontiersmen like Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and Michael Stoner relied on the rifle during their long hunts and during the eventual settlement of the Kentucky wilderness, where the rifle gained both its nickname and its legend.

“But Jackson he was wide awake, and wasn’t scared at trifles, for well he knew what aim we take with our Kentucky rifles.” – The Hunters of Kentucky.

The Lemon Squeezer

Widely dubbed “The Lemon Squeezer,” the Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless, or Smith & Wesson New Departure revolver, earned its nickname from the grip safety on its backstrap which required a firm squeeze to operate, much like everyone’s favorite citrus juicing tool. This feature was touted by Smith & Wesson when the double action top-break revolver was introduced in 1888, advertised as making the gun “nearly impossible” for a child to fire.

During the era of the S&W New Departure revolver, the term “lemon squeeze” was sometimes more broadly applied to any revolver with a similar grip safety feature.

Ma Deuce

The M2 Heavy Machine Gun, a U.S. military mainstay since the 1930s, gained one of the most memorable service weapon nicknames around. “Ma Deuce” clearly plays on the M and 2 in the M2 designation, much like how the HU1 Helicopter was dubbed the “Huey.” It’s not hard to imagine the formal “Model” or “Mod” in Model 2 being shortened to “Ma,” a possible reference to the weapon’s other favored nickname, “The Mother of All Machine Guns.” Deuce has long been a slang for “two” in English, from the nickname of a second child to the gaming terms used for the two side of a dice and the number two card in each suit in a 52-card deck. Combined together, and you have an affectionate handle for a gun that became a second mother to the troops who relied on Browning’s .50 caliber behemoth to protect themselves and their company.

Ma Deuce, a gun name that has become synonymous with the famous M2.

The Mattel Gun

This Vietnam-era gun name was a pejorative some American troops gave to the new M16 rifles. The M16 was a drastic departure from every service rifle that had proceeded it, using composite materials and aerospace-grade aluminum to reduce the weight of the gun. To the average infantryman, it looked and felt more like a toy than the M14 and M1 Garand. This perception was compounded by the fact that Mattel had assisted Armalite in manufacturing plastic handgrips for the M16’s AR-15 predecessor.

The Mattel Gun nickname for the M16 endured through the Vietnam War and beyond.

The Mississippi Rifle

The Model 1841 “Mississippi” rifle earned both its reputation and its famous gun nickname during the Mexican-American War with the 155th Infantry Regiment, Mississippi’s oldest National Guard unit. The regiment became the first unit to be officially issued rifles (the M1841) rather than traditional smoothbore muskets. Under the command of Colonel Jefferson Davis the “Regiment of Mounted Rifles” distinguished themselves during the Battle of Buena Vista and the Battle of Monterrey, and the association with their state stuck with the rifle.

A gun name earned through the deeds of the first unit that bore them, the Mississippi rifle gained fame with the 155th Infantry Regimen of Mississippi.

The Monkey Tail Carbine

Ordnance officers might get to choose official service weapon names, but the everyday infantrymen are always going to come up with a clever title that sticks. The single-shot capping breechloading rifles and carbines manufactured by Westley Richards were dubbed the “Monkey Tail” by the Boers in South Africa, a gun nickname that came from the lift up lever that was hinged to the rear of the barrel used to open and close the breech, thought to resemble a simian’s tail. A similar carbine design was offered in America by A.H. Waters of Millbury, Massachusetts, as pictured below.

A unique gun design. Both the Westley Richards single-shot and the U.S. Joslyn Model 1855 carbine were nicknamed “Monkey Tail” based on the shape of their loading levers.

The Mouse Gun

The ‘Mouse Gun’ name typically refers to petite pocket pistols chambered in light calibers like .22 LR, .25 ACP, and .32 ACP. Though Colt FN/Browning offered .25 ACP pocket pistols in the early 20th century, the mouse gun nickname came into popular usage decades later and referred to more modern pistols like the Beretta’s Bobcat 21A, LCP II Lite Rack, and the Taurus 22 Poly. Colonel Jeff Cooper, a US Marine, famed firearms instructor, author, and columnist for ‘Guns & Ammo’ magazine was thought to have coined the nicknamed, and the term continues to endure today.

A rare Savage prototype pistol in .25 ACP, a predecessor to the style of pistols that were later given the mouse gun nickname.

Old Slabside

The designation “Model of 1911 U.S. Army Caliber 45” is quite a mouthful, and it didn’t take long for soldiers to offer a laundry list of unofficial gun names for Browning’s new service pistol. “Old Bigmouth,” The Army Automatic,” “The Yankee Fist,” “Colt .45” or simply “Forty-Five” are some common favorites, but perhaps the most prominent is “Old Slabside.” The name alludes to the gun’s slab-type grip panels, one of the many distinguishing features the M1911 had over its military-issued predecessors like the Colt M1892 revolver.

The M1911, the longest-serving sidearm in American military history, had no shortage of cool gun nicknames.

The Right Arm of the Free World

Developed by Dieudonne Saive after WW2, the Fusil Automatique Leger (known by the famous FAL acronym) has been fielded by more than 90 countries around the globe. Formerly serving as NATO’s official battle rifle, the FN FAL was the Western counter to the Kalashnikov rifle favored by communist forces the NATO allies faced off against in countless conflicts throughout the Cold War. The “Right Arm of the Free World” became a symbol of resistance against the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

The Right Arm of the Free World, another candidate on the list of cool gun names and an appropriate sobriquet for NATO’s most prolific rifle during the Cold War.

The Peacemaker

The six shooter. “The Great Equalizer.” “Judge Colt and his Jury of Six.” A plethora of clever nicknames were inevitable for the iconic Colt Single Action Army revolver. Many early gun names for cartridge Colts originated with Benjamin Kittredge & Co of Cincinnati. One of Colt’s biggest distributors, Benjamin Kittredge, came up with monikers such as “Frontier Six Shooter” for Colt SAA variants chambered in .44-40, the nicknames “Lightning”,“Thunderer,” and “Rainmaker” for the Model 1877 revolvers, and “Omnipotent” for the Model 1878 in .45 Colt.

In 1874, Kittredge started marketing the Colt Single Action Army to the civilian market as “The Peacemaker.” The nickname was far more appealing than official designations for the gun like “New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol,” “45-caliber centerfire Colt Single Action Army,” “M1873,” or “The Model P.” The Peacemaker nickname played to the sentiment that an armed society was a polite society and the mere presence of the Colt revolver would dissuade any troublemakers from picking a fight they might not survive.

“God made man but Colonel Colt made them equal.” The Peacemaker certainly ranks among the most catchy gun names and was favored by Old West gunfighters, lawmen, soldiers, and outlaws.

The Pepperbox Pistol

Originally marketed as a pocket pistol, the Pepperbox revolver earned its unique gun name due to the visual similarity of the gun’s multi-shot barrel groups with pepper-box and pepper grinder kitchen tools used for culinary spices. Also called “pepper pot”, these repeating firearms used a separate barrel for each shot and many models had to be rotated by hand. The Allen and Thurber pepperbox pistols of the 1830s and 1840s were also nicknamed “The gun that won the East” due to their popularity with New England’s civilian market.

The Pepper Box pistol, one of the most famous gun names of the 19th century.

The Pig

As far as gun nicknames go, “The Pig” covers a lot of ground. We’re talking 23 pounds of belt-fed heavy metal that can eat a ton of ammo and chew through anything down range. The M60 often found itself in the mud and muck during combat, and its slow cyclic rate made this beast of a machine gun sound akin to a grunting boar. The Pig humped, sailed, and soared through Vietnam, Operation Just Cause, and the Persian Gulf War and continues to see service in specialized roles today.

inspired by the German FG42  and MG42, America’s first general-purpose machine gun was heavy, loud, and ferocious.

The Potato Digger

First came its rather bland official title, “M1895 Colt-Browning Machine gun.” John Browning’s Model 1895 quickly earned a more memorable slang gun name due to the gas port near the muzzle of the barrel that powered a spring-loaded lever arm to cycle the action, much like a lever-action rifle. This exposed operating arm, which projects down and away from the gun with significant force during the firing cycle, was known to dig holes in the ground if the gun’s tripod was resting on soft soil and sank low enough into the earth, and thus the Potato Digger connotation was born.

When low enough to the ground, the operating lever on the M1895 Colt-Browning Machine gun would send sprays of dirt into the air with every shot, like a mechanical potato digger, hence the weapon’s nickname.

The Snake Gun

In the pantheon of cool gun names, it doesn’t get much more memorable than the Snake gun family of Colt revolvers. Colt’s seven deadly serpents include the Python, Diamondback, Cobra, Anaconda, King Cobra, Boa, and Viper, each named after a fearsome ophidian. The snake gun marketing term worked, and the campaign is an example of a gun manufacturer’s catchy nickname taking hold with the collecting public.

The Colt Python, perhaps the most famous model to bear the snake gun nickname.

The Snub Nose Revolver

This famous gun nickname generally refers to any revolver with a three-inch or shorter barrel length. Also called the snubby, belly gun, and bulldog, the idea of a snub nose revolver has been around since Samuel Colt first realized the concept of accurately syncing a rotating cylinder to a fixed barrel. This made them easier to conceal and faster to draw, both ideal characteristics for lawmen, gamblers, thieves, and anyone interested in close-quarters self-defense.

The Colt Detective Special, a revolver often associated with the snub nose gun name.

The Staple Gun

The Heckler & Koch P7 series is another name that doesn’t really roll off the tongue. Enter the “Staple Gun” moniker, or “Combat Staple Gun,” a nickname that originates from the squeeze-cocking lever on the P7 pistol grip that somewhat resembles older staple gun triggers.

The P7’s striker and sear only engage when the cocking lever on the front strap is depressed. Pull the lever and the striker is drawn back. Release the lever and the striker loses tension and returns to the resting position. This gives safety comparable to a double action only bobbed hammer semi-auto, where the pistol will not fire without positive user action, while still allowing a clean and relatively light single action style trigger pull as would be seen on a normal striker-fired pistol.

Not all slang gun names are complex or rich in meaning. The Staple Gun’s pistol grip is designed with a finger-grooved lever that acts as a squeeze-cocking mechanism.

The Tommy Gun

“The Chicago Typewriter.” “The Street Sweeper.” “The rat-tat-tat.” The Thompson submachine gun gained dozens of colorful labels as it earned its reputation in the Melting Pot of South Side Chicago, toted by gangsters, bandits, and lawmen alike. Tommy Gun, the weapon’s most famous name, is a blue-collar shorthand for Thompson. Tommy was also a well-known term for British soldiers, and this connection might have proliferated the gun’s nickname after the British airborne adopted the Thompson Model M1A1 variant in the early years of WW2.

Thanks to Hollywood and popular culture, the name Tommy Gun has become far more known that the firearm’s official designation.

The Trapdoor

After the Civil War, the War Department wanted a standard-issue breechloading rifle that would chamber a self-primed, metallic cartridge. Erskine S. Allin of Springfield Armory proposed taking thousands of existing Civil War muzzleloaders and converting them by adding a hinged breechblock to the top of the receiver. This design resembled both the look and motion of a trap door panel when the user opened the rifle to load a new cartridge, giving the gun its now legendary name.

Trapdoor is the nickname for a series of Springfield breechloading cartridge rifles that covers the Model 1865 through the Model 1890.

The Trench Sweeper

Another easy-to-understand gun nickname, in this case derived from the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun’s function in combat. The Model 1897’s shorter barrel made the weapon more maneuverable in the narrow trenches of WW1. Its lack of trigger disconnector allowed this combat shotgun to be slam fired as well, the act of holding the trigger while working the slide, repeatedly firing, ejecting a spent shell, and chambering a new shell.

A trained soldier could empty a trench gun of its six shells with devastating effect in just over two seconds. These traits made the Winchester Model 1897 ideal for the ferocious close-in fighting common to the Great War, earning the gun its Trench Sweeper nickname.

The Trench Sweeper, one of the coolest weapon names around, was originally coined by Gen. Thompson for his Tommy gun. The Tommy never saw service in WW1, so the name organically moved to the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun instead.

The Wonder Nine

The Wonder Nine is an informal gun name that applies to a broad series of semiautomatic 9 mm pistols that hit the market in the 70s and 80s. These guns share a number of features like DA/SA actions and double stack mags that could carry 12 or more rounds, with models like the S&W 59, the Beretta 92, and the CZ-75 being some of the earliest popular examples.

For advocates of these firearms, the Wonder Nine nickname referenced the ammunition, high capacity, and combination of features that made these pistols intuitive and easy to carry, though detractors used the nickname as a pejorative, including magazine writers who lamented the switch to these newfangled firearms over the revolvers that dominated the market and more traditional pistol designs like the .45 ACP 1911.

An early example of a “Wonder Nine”, a rare prototype Colt SSP DA semi-automatic 9mm pistol.

The Yellowboy

Some slang gun names are as simple as they sound. Like its Henry rifle predecessor, the Winchester Model 1866 had a frame composed of gunmetal, a strong type of bronze alloy made with copper, tin, zinc, and sometimes a small amount of lead. Also known as “red brass,” gunmetal was rust-resistant and easy to machine, and its unique muted yellow tint gave Winchester’s first lever action rifle its distinct look and Yellowboy nickname.

The Yellow Boy, one of the most memorable and catchy gun names from the Old West era.

Cool Gun Nicknames

Did we include your favorite gun nickname? Subscribe to the weekly Rock Island Auction newsletter to receive new gun blogs and gun videos each week on the firearms mentioned above, as well as some of those that didn’t make our list such as the Mare’s Leg, the Mouse Gun, the Ghost Gun, and the Volcanic pistol, an official designation just as memorable as some of the cool gun nicknames mentioned above.

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