Are you in the market for a gun?

If you do not consider yourself a gun enthusiast but want to buy a firearm, there is a lot you need to know.

Whether its safety or mechanics, education on any hobby is paramount.

You need to know what gun is right for you. To know the correct gun to meet your needs, you need to learn what the different types of guns are.

Read on to discover the types of guns you need to know.

How Do Guns Work

Did you know that gun purchases skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2020?

Any time the United States experiences political or civil unrest, the American public turns to firearms for personal security and protection. Throw in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and we’ve had more of our share this year.

Given your interest in a gun, it is helpful to learn how guns work. The science is fairly simple.

When you pull the trigger, a spring-loaded piece of metal strikes the primer and creates a spark. That spark creates an explosion when in contact with the gunpowder inside the bullet’s shell casing.

This explosion forces the bullet from the shell casing and pushes it through the barrel of the gun. Barrel designs increase the acceleration of the bullet.

While this description of the science behind guns is an over-simplification, it is important to know.

A more in-depth explanation is available by enrolling in gun safety courses. If you are a first-time firearm buyer, please enroll in a gun-safety course.

police accident 911 ambulance

Gun Types

There are three major types of guns we will discuss here. All kinds of guns you can buy fall under these three categories.


Rifles are popular guns for sport and used for many different types of hunting.

While there are many different types of rifles, the standard definition of a rifle is a gun designed to fire with two hands from the shoulder. The projectile bullet forced through a long, grooved barrel improves long-distance accuracy.

To understand rifles, one must know the term, “rifling.” Rifling is the spiraled groove design pattern inside the barrel that spins the bullet. The tight spiral of a bullet shot from a rifle thanks to this rifling is what ensures greater accuracy at a longer distance.

There are different types of rifles. All of them are legally defined as shooting one bullet at a time with a barrel of at least 16 inches.


A shotgun, like a rifle, fires from the shoulder with two hands. Like rifles, they are often used by sportsmen and hunters. There are some differences you need to know.

Most shotguns do not have a rifled barrel. The standard ammo for a shotgun sprays metal pellets referred to as “shot” from the bullet casing. A rifled barrel would mean a tighter spray pattern. This reduces effectiveness.

For this reason, shotguns are often preferred for bird and waterfowl hunting.

There are two ways to modify the barrel of a shotgun.

You can buy a choke that restricts the circumference of the barrel to increase accuracy at the impact point. Or you can saw the barrel to create a sawed-off where the spray pattern will increase.

While often thought of as illegal, sawed-off shotguns are legal should you acquire the proper licensing.


Handguns fire with one hand. Considerably smaller and easier to conceal than shotguns or rifles, handguns are used primarily for self-defense and home security.

Though handgun hunting is legal, it is only recommended for small game and with a hunting handgun.

Pistols and revolvers are the two types of handguns you must know.

The terms handgun and pistol are often interchanged. The legal definition of a pistol is a weapon designed to fire a bullet from a barrel while held in one hand.

The key defining factor of a pistol as a handgun is its stationary firing chamber or chambers.

A revolver has multiple firing chambers. The six chambers rotate to fire.

A good rule to remember is that all revolvers are handguns but not all handguns are revolvers.


If you are a new gun owner, it is important to know the definition of a semi-automatic firearm.

Semi-automatic firearms are a hot button issue right now. The term is often incorrectly used. The majority of firearms sold in the United States are semi-automatic.

Each pull of a semi-automatic trigger fires a single bullet. What makes a firearm semi-automatic is that a new bullet does not need to be manually loaded into the chamber.

The difference between an automatic firearm and a semi-automatic firearm is a fully automatic firearm fires multiple bullets with each trigger pull.

Semi-automatic weaponry is often confused in the media with assault rifles. While assault rifles are semi-automatic, most firearms sold that are semi-automatic are not assault-style weaponry.

This is an important distinction. Your purchase of a common semi-automatic pistol for self-defense is not an assault-style weapon.

Types of Guns

Firearm sales in America spiked during the early months of 2020, and guns are a lightning rod political issue in our country. Given the social and political unrest we currently face, you have probably thought about buying a gun.

Rifles, shotguns, and handguns are the three types of guns you need to know. They all have different variables and subgroups.

Interested in hunting, sport shooting, or self-defense? Learning about these weapons helps determine which gun is right for you.

For more helpful information on guns or how men can protect themselves and their family, please check out our latest blog posts.