Types of Guns: Rifles, Shotguns, and Handguns

Carly Brasseux // January 25

“All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.” – Daniel Boone

This is an overview of the types of guns – rifles, shotguns, and handguns/pistols – that really everyone should know. Guns come in many shapes and sizes, each with its own unique features and uses. From handguns to rifles to shotguns, there are countless types of guns to explore. Whether you're a seasoned gun owner or simply curious about firearms, this guide will introduce you to the world of guns and help you understand the differences between various types.

I’m not a gun expert. If it shoots, then what else really matters? The differences in guns come down to their barrels, intended use, and the type of ammo used.

Types of Rifles: Rifles are used to harvest larger game animals, like deer, antelope, and hogs.

Rifles are long guns that are designed to be fired from the shoulder. They come in a variety of types, including bolt-action, semi-automatic, and lever-action. Bolt-action rifles are manually operated and require the shooter to cycle the bolt after each shot. They are known for their accuracy and are often used for hunting and long-range shooting. Semi-automatic rifles, on the other hand, can fire multiple rounds with one trigger pull and are popular for target shooting and self-defense. Lever-action rifles are operated by a lever that cycles the ammunition and is often used for hunting. Each type of rifle has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs.

  • They have a long barrel and you hold the butt on your shoulder while using one hand to hold the gun up, and the other to hold the grip and pull the
  • Rifles are measured by caliber and shoot one powerful bullet.
  • The caliber is technically the diameter of the gun’s barrel. Examples of calibers are .243 caliber or .27 caliber. You don’t say the decimal when talking about a certain gun. It’s a 243.
  • You have one bullet with each trigger pull. The rifle adds spin to the bullet giving it a longer distance and better I personally shoot a Tika 25-06.
types of guns

Types of Shotguns: Shotguns are used to shoot birds and small game.

Shotguns are firearms that are designed to fire a shell containing multiple pellets or a single slug. They come in a variety of types, including pump-action, semi-automatic, and double-barrel. Pump-action shotguns require the shooter to manually cycle the action after each shot, making them reliable and versatile. Semi-automatic shotguns can fire multiple rounds with one trigger pull and are popular for hunting and self-defense. Double-barrel shotguns have two barrels and can fire two shots before needing to be reloaded. They are often used for hunting and sport shooting. Each type of shotgun has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs.

  • They also have a long barrel and shoot off the shoulder.
  • A shotgun uses a shell that sprays multiple small pellets which makes it perfect for birds and small game.
  • Shotguns are measured by gauge, i.e. 12-gauge, 16-gauge.
types of guns

Types of Handguns/Pistols: A handgun has a short barrel you hold in your hand instead of propping it up against your shoulder, like a rifle or shotgun.

Handguns are the most common type of firearm and are designed to be held and fired with one hand. There are two main types of handguns: pistols and revolvers. Pistols have a single chamber that holds the ammunition and are semi-automatic, meaning they can fire multiple rounds with one trigger pull. Revolvers, on the other hand, have multiple chambers that rotate to bring a new round into the firing position. They are typically slower to reload but are known for their reliability and simplicity. Both types of handguns come in a variety of sizes and calibers, making them versatile for different purposes such as self-defense, target shooting, and hunting.

  • They also use spin, like a rifle, to provide accurately delivered bullets.
  • These are more portable and are usually used for self-defense and stationary targets. A pistol and revolver are types of handguns.

{If you are looking for more information on Modern Sporting Rifles, check out THIS blog post!}

What types of guns do you own? And what's your favorite?

And, if you're looking for more on learning introductory hunting information, check out my e-book!

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About the Author

Carly Brasseux

Carly Brasseux is a determined and passionate freelance outdoor writer, published author, business owner and social media/marketing consultant based in Texas. In a world where women are the fastest growing segment of the hunting population, she is a major proponent of those women wanting to learn more about the outdoors and hunting. Her handle, Miss Pursuit, is an expression of her enthusiasm for all things outdoors, from educating women through her experiences learning to hunt over the last decade, to getting out with her kids to explore the wild. Her expertise in social media and marketing, as well as her vast network of people in the outdoor industry, have given her the influence to make an impact for years to come. Member of the Mule Deer Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Stewards of the Wild and the Texas Wildlife Association.