Shooting terminology


There are many terms directly related to shooting (or earlier, from archery) that have been ‘borrowed’, misappropriated, or worse used incorrectly by people who should (and are often, highly paid to) know better…

                …a good example is ‘point blank’ which is invariably used incorrectly by military, police and forensics personnel.


When it comes to the media, most of us have leant to not expect anything better!



A  flat area (pathway and/or drainage ditch) running along the side, or at the top, of a banked surface – it is NOT the banked surface or construction.  To refer to a bank of earth used as a ‘berm’ is totally incorrect.

Bulls eye

a.       An aiming mark about 2˝”/64mm diameter – literally, when archers used a bull’s skull as an aiming mark in competitions, an arrow through the bull’s eye socket.

b.      An aiming mark on a target (not necessarily or even usually the ‘10’-ring).


Still used by the military as an angular equivalent for artillery; but easily confused with ‘mil/mill’=1/1000 (of anything), ‘mil/mill’=1/1000”, ‘mil/mill’=1 millimetre, ‘mil/mill’=approximately subtends one metre/yard at a distance of one thousand metres/yards, ‘mil/mill’=1 milliradian

…take your pick.

Point blank

Requiring nothing more than a zero (i.e. ‘blank’) sight elevation to hit a human-sized target somewhere important (between the head and the groin): for most firearms this is several hundred metres/yards and definitely NOT ‘close range’.