Definition of Tang

Tang from a muzzleloading rifle.
This is a tang from a muzzleloading rifle that I built. Specifically, the part going away from the camera, with the round hole in it, best represents what a tang is. Photo © Russ Chastain


A tang is a portion of a firearm (usually a rifle or shotgun) which extends rearward from the receiver. Often slim, it may be short or long and most of the time its purpose is simply to attach the receiver to the butt stock.

In old-fashioned sidelock muzzleloading guns, which lack receivers, the tang usually serves to securely attach the rear of the barrel to the stock.

The tang often contains some parts of the gun's action, too.

For example, often the tang will contain a thumb-operated safety, springs and/or portions of the trigger assembly.