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Definition of Barrel: Gun and Shooting Firearms Terminology


Photo of a rifle barrel.

Barrel of a rifle after having the crown roughly cut in a lathe. In this photo, this barrel is not attached to a gun.

Photo © Russ Chastain
Definition: The barrel is a portion of a gun or firearm through which one or more projectiles travel when the gun is fired. The barrel is usually round and tubular, and is often thinner at the muzzle than at the rear.

A gun's barrel may or may not contain rifling (grooves which impart a spin on a bullet or other projectile). Some barrels contain small holes known as gas ports, which redirect a small amount of the gas that forces the projectile down the bore in order to perform a separate function (most often, to cycle the gun's action).

Common Misspellings: barrell, barel, berrel, berrell
The barrel is such an important part of a firearm that it forms one-third of the important stuff in the phrase "lock, stock, and barrel."
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