Types of firearms: Top three you need to know

There are many different types of firearms…it really depends on how specific you want to get.

At Discount Sporting Goods and Tack, we decided to discuss the three main ones -handgun, rifle, and shotgun. This blog will quickly walk you through the main characteristics of each and how they work.

Please be sure to check the relevant laws in your state regarding the following terms and their usage:


Handgun - Discount Sporting Goods


People usually use the terms ‘handgun’ and ‘pistol’ to mean the same thing. When you view the federal and general state law, a handgun has the following characteristics:

  • Fired from one hand
  • Requires no support from the shoulder
  • The barrel length is under 16 inches

Handguns are sub-categorized into semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.


Rifles - Discount Sporting Goods

Next up on the list is a rifle, which has the following characteristics:

  • Fired with two hands
  • Fires a single projectile with each pull of the trigger
  • It is braced against the shoulder
  • Barrel length is over 16 inches
  • Barrel has rifling that helps to stabilize and spin the bullet when fired

Rifles are largely categorized into two types: bolt action and semi-automatic. 
The two most popular semi-automatic rifles are AR-15 and AR-47, while popular bolt-action rifles include the Remington 700 series.


Shotgun - Discount Sporting Goods

Shotguns have smoother barrels to fire a variety of different ammo. The most popular ammunition includes lots of metal pellets that spread out.

Bigger pellets are known as buckshot while smaller ones are birdshot. Single huge projectiles are called slugs.

According to the federal and state laws, shotguns have the following characteristics:

  • Fired with two hands
  • Braced against the shoulder
  • Fires once per pull of the trigger
  • Barrel length is over 18 inches
  • Has a smooth barrel to fire different types of ammunition

Shotguns are broadly categorized into two main types -pump-action and semi-automatic. The main difference between the two is that the pump-action shotgun requires you to physically move the pump handle to move the fresh shells into the chamber and remove the spent shells. Whereas semi-auto usually uses recoil or gas to move the shells.

There you have it…a quick know-how of handgun, rifle, and shotgun. Know someone who might be interested in learning about guns? You might want to share this blog with them.

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