Different Types of Guns

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When starting out with guns, it is important to understand the different kinds that are available so that you can choose which one you want, and identify guns around you. So what are the different kinds of guns? Basically, you have handguns, rifles, and shotguns. These are general categories of firearms and each one has its own sub-categories.

types of guns


Universally known as a gun that can be held with one hand. There are two main types of handguns.


1 Revolvers


This type of handgun generally holds 6 rounds in a revolving chamber, hence the name revolver. Every time you pull the trigger, a round is fired and the chamber turns to the next loaded one. These are timeless firearms and have been around for many years. You can’t go wrong with a revolver because they are very simple guns. This is a good thing since there are less moving parts, which means less things to break or fail. They aren’t fed ammo since you load each round into its own chamber and this dramatically reduces failures. You will always be able to count on your revolver if you decide to pick one up.

2 Semi-Automatic

These are the other main kind of handgun. They are different from revolvers because they do not have a rotating chamber they have magazines that hold ammunition. Pistols have one chamber which holds one round. Upon firing, the action is cycled and the fired casing is ejected. This pulls another round into the chamber from the magazine and it can be fired upon another pull of the trigger. Also, keep in mind that semi-automatic is not exclusive to handguns. Many other guns use these same type of technology.semi-auto

Best Use:

  • Concealed carry
  • Home defense
  • Close-range shooting

Other Uses:

  • Target practice/shooting


Rifles are determined by a few characteristics. A rifle must have a rifled barrel that is half an inch or smaller, a length of 16 inches, an overall length of 26 inches, and a shoulder stock on the end. Rifles will be the most precise firearms, as the long barrel and rifling makes for pinpoint accuracy. The rifling is important because it makes the bullet spin as it leaves the barrel. This is very similar to a quarterback throwing a football. The spin that is put on the ball keeps it stabilized in the air and it prevents it from tumbling. This is exactly what rifling does to a bullet to give it unrivaled accuracy.

1 Automatic

automatic rifles

These rifles can be either fully or semi-automatic. The most common automatic rifles are the AR15 and the AK47. You will globally see these in the military (fully automatic) and also publically (semi-automatic). They are more known in the mainstream as assault rifles, but that usage is inaccurate. These kinds of rifles are known for being rugged and able to hold/fire many rounds.

Best Use:

  • Home Defense
  • Mid-range shooting

Other Uses:

  • Target Practice/shooting
  • Customizing to fit needs

2 Bolt Action/Hunting

These kinds of rifles are manually operated. This means that the action needs to be cycled after every fired round to extract the casing and load a new round. Bolt action rifles are more known for their precision. They are widely popular in hunting and target practice and most police agencies still use them with their snipers. Bolt action rifles are also known for their reliability and functionality because there are less parts to break in a manually operated action.

bolt action

Photo by Jorge Arredondo

Best Use:

  • Hunting
  • Long range shooting


Most shotguns shoot a group of pellets rather than one bullet. Some shotguns shoot a single bullet called a slug, but the vast majority shoot multiple pellets. Shotguns are similar to rifles in length but they lack the rifling in the barrel. This makes them optimal for multiple objects to be shot. The amount of pellets ranges anywhere from 100 to a 1 and can be used for hunting birds, skeet shooting, or home defense. Shooting a single slug out of shotgun requires a rifled barrel and is used for hunting deer and the like.Shotguns

Best Use:

  • Home defense
  • Small game hunting
  • Close-range shooting

Other Uses:

  • Skeet shooting
  • Target practice

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