If you’re new to the world of firearms, your probably finding the different types of guns and what they are used for confusing. There are pistols that are small and lightweight, making them easy to conceal, revolvers that have a higher ammunition capacity than pistols, rifles that are used for hunting and target shooting, and shotguns that are used for hunting or self-defense.
So to help make sense of all of this we put together this brief guide to the four main types of firearms. Because whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a new gun enthusiast, it’s important to understand the different types of guns and the purposes that they serve best.
But before we look at the different types of firearms, let’s begin by understanding exactly what a firearm or gun is. Also, as you may have already noticed, for this post, we are going to use the words firearm and gun interchangeably.
Now let’s begin!
- 1 What Exactly Is A Firearm
- 2 Handguns
- 3 Rifles
- 4 Action Types
- 5 Shotguns
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
What Exactly Is A Firearm
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) defines a firearm as “any instrument that ejects a bullet as a result of an explosion.”
This means that if you have a device such as a tube that expels a projectile due to an explosion, you have a firearm or a gun. Although this is a very general definition, it essentially covers everything from pistols and revolvers to rifles and shotguns with each type having its own unique features and purpose.
Simply stated a gun is a weapon that projects projectiles using explosive force. It has a barrel, a chamber, and a firing mechanism. Now that we have defined the meaning of a firearm or a gun let’s move on and look at the different types.
A handgun is a firearm that can be fired using one hand and is good for close to moderate range combat. They are typically smaller in size than other firearms, making them easy to handle and conceal. While they are not as powerful as some other firearms, they are still lethal when used correctly. Handguns come in many different shapes and sizes, from small pistols to large revolvers. The most common types of handguns include pistols and revolvers which we talk about next.
A pistol is a kind of handgun whose bore and chamber are permanently aligned. The barrel of a pistol has thick walls making it able to handle high pressure explosions. It also has a shorter stock compared to other handguns making it easier to handle and conceal. Pistols are typically less powerful than revolvers, but they are still lethal when used correctly.
The most common type of pistol used in the contemporary era is the semi-automatic pistol. Semi-automatic pistols fire one round for every pull of the trigger. Most semi-automatic pistols have a detachable magazine that holds between 10 and 17 rounds of ammunition.
A revolver is a type of handgun that has a cylinder with chambers that rotate to align with the barrel when the gun is fired. This design allows for a very strong firearm that can handle high pressures. Revolvers hold anywhere between 5 and 6 rounds.
A single action revolver is a type of revolver where the hammer must be pulled back every time before pulling the trigger.
A double action revolver has a trigger where the firearm will cock and fire in one motion. It is generally considered more user-friendly, as it is less likely to jam.
Now let’s move on to long guns of which there are two types, rifles, and shotguns.
A rifle is a shoulder-fired weapon that fires one projectile per pull of the trigger using energy from an explosive cartridge. A rifle’s distinctive features include a long barrel and receiver, as well as a stock that rests against one’s shoulder. Rifles come in all shapes and sizes with many designed for hunting and sport shooting.
Rifles are categorized by action types meaning the type of mechanism that handles the cartridge. Action types include the bolt action, break action, lever action, pump action, semi-automatic and automatic rifle.
Break-action rifles are one of the oldest types of firearms. They are manually cocked and unloaded, meaning that the barrel must be rotated down to load the cartridges into the chamber. This makes them slower to reload than other types of rifles. However, they are considered very sturdy and reliable firearms.
Lever-action uses a lever to open the action and eject empty cartridges. This type of rifle is very popular, especially in the Western United States. Lever-action rifles were first introduced in 1860 and have been used in many different wars.
Lever-action rifles are very easy to use. To load, you simply pull the lever down and insert the cartridges into the chamber. To unload, you push the lever up and eject the empty cartridges.
A pump-action is a type of rifle that uses a sliding forearm to extract and eject spent cartridges and then chamber fresh ones. This type of rifle is very popular, especially in the hunting community.
To load, you simply slide the forearm back and forth. To unload, you push the lever up and eject the empty cartridges.
Bolt-action rifles are typically used for hunting or target shooting. They have a magazine that holds between 3 and 10 rounds of ammunition, making them slower to reload than other types of rifles.
A bolt action has a simple handle that allows the bolt to extract, eject, pick up and chamber a round. It is a very reliable and user-friendly rifle and even after more than 100 years of service, the bolt action is still one of the most popular rifle types.
A semi-automatic rifle is a rifle that reloads automatically after each shot. This type is very popular, especially in the sport and hunting community. To load the rifle, you simply insert a magazine into the chamber. To unload, you simply push the lever up and eject the empty cartridges.
Although semi-automatic rifles can be fired more quickly than other types, they can suffer from failures in the mechanism.
An automatic rifle is a type of firearm that continues to fire rounds as long as the trigger is held down. Automatic rifles are also known as machine guns. This type of firearm was first used in World War I and has been used long since.
Automatic rifles are very dangerous firearms because they are designed for the military and are not meant for civilian use.
Finally, when talking about the different types of guns, we can’t forget the shotgun.
Shotguns are long barrel guns that fire many small pellets at once. Then once fired, the shot leaves the barrel in a narrow cone-shaped pattern that helps the shooter hit their target.
They are generally used for hunting small game and birds and can be either single-shot, pump-action, or semi-automatic.
A single-shot shotgun can only fire one round at a time. To reload the shotgun, you must manually cock the hammer and insert a new shell into the chamber.
A pump-action shotgun is a type of shotgun that uses a sliding forearm to extract and eject spent cartridges and chamber fresh new ones. To load the shotgun, you simply slide the forearm back and forth. To unload the shotgun, you push the lever up and eject the empty cartridges.
A semi-automatic shotgun is a type of shotgun that reloads automatically after each shot. This type of shotgun is very popular, especially for sport shooting and hunting.
There are many different types of guns. The four main types of firearms include pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns with each one designed for a specific purpose. Small and light, pistols are easy to hide, revolvers have a greater ammo capacity than pistols, rifles are used for hunting and target shooting, while shotguns are used for hunting and self-defense.
Although it is important to choose the right firearm for your needs it is even more important to remember that all firearms are dangerous and should be used with caution. If you are not familiar with firearms, it is best to take a safety course before using one.
Here at Kwaks Trading Post not only do we sell all types of firearms but we buy them as well. Come visit our shop in Bellmore, and either pick up a new gun or let us take a look at what you would like to turn into cash!
We are always looking to buy firearms, so feel free to give us a call or stop by our shop! You can even click here to send us a message. We would be happy to take a look at what you have and give you a fair price.
We’re a family-owned and operated business that has been serving the Long Island community since 1972. Come in and visit us today.
Stay safe and happy shooting!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Pistol?
A pistol is a small, lightweight firearm that is designed to be easy to conceal. Pistols are typically used for self-defense and close-range shooting.
What Is a Rifle?
A rifle is a firearm that is designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a spiral groove or “rifling” cut into the inside surface. The purpose of this rifling is to cause the projectile ( bullet, slug, or shot ), to spin as it travels down the barrel. This spin stabilizes the projectile, making it more accurate.
What Is a Shotgun?
A shotgun is a firearm that is designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a smooth-bore barrel. The purpose of this smooth bore is to fire multiple projectiles ( shot ), such as birdshot or buckshot, at once. This makes shotguns ideal for hunting small game and birds.