When describing a gun, attach terms like “automatic,” “semi-automatic,” “large caliber,” “deadly,” “high powered,” or “powerful“. Small pistols can be called “cheap” or “concealable.” Almost any gun can be described by one or more of these terms. More than two guns should be called an “arsenal“.
Try to include the term “assault weapon” if at all possible. While it normally applies to rifles, the term can be combined with any of the terms above. Any weapon can be used to assault someone, so you cannot be criticized for this usage. “Assault weapon” is one of our most effective emotional terms, use it often. However, when these weapons are used by police, they should be called “tactical rifles” or “patrol rifles.”
A brief visit to the website of a national anti-gun organization can provide you with a list of the latest talking points and terms like these old classics: “Saturday Night Specials,” “cop-killer bullets” and the criminal’s “weapon of choice“.