A Simple Guide on the Main Types of Guns

Main Types of Guns

America is seeing a wave of new gun owners. During the early stages of the pandemic alone, about 5 million Americans bought their first gun. And that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing.

But owning a gun is more than filling out paperwork and making a purchase. A firearm is a tool like any other. And you only spend good money on a tool if you have a purpose in mind.

So before buying a gun, check out the brief on the various types of guns and what they’re used for.


Handguns are so named because they can be operated with one hand. Their primary uses are for home and personal defense, although some oversized hunting handguns do exist. ar kit

They come in two subcategories: revolvers and automatics.

Rather than having a magazine that feeds rounds into a chamber, revolvers have a rotating cylinder with multiple chambers. They come in three varieties.

A single-action revolver has a trigger that only performs one function: firing the gun. To ready the gun to fire, the user has to pull back the hammer manually.

A double-action revolver’s trigger performs two actions: racking the trigger and firing the gun. Though the user can draw back the hammer by hand to reduce the amount of pressure they need to exert on the trigger.

There are also double-action-only revolvers that don’t have exposed triggers at all. These are ideal for concealed carry, as they are less likely to snag on clothing when being drawn in a defensive situation.

By contrast, automatics are magazine-fed and have only one chamber.

They come in a variety of sizes ranging from micro-compact pocket pistols to full-sized models. Likewise, they can be chambered in a variety of calibers to suit the needs of their users.

And they come in a wide range of price points. A modest sub-compact can be had for a few hundred dollars, or the discerning customer can invest a good deal more in a high-end pistol like those of the Staccato line. To see some available options, check out arnzenarms.com.


Rifles are long guns that need to be held two-handed with their stock pressed against the shoulder.

The name comes from the fact that they were the earliest firearms to use rifled barrels. Rifling refers to the spiraling grooves carved into a firearm’s barrel. The grooves grip the bullet as it travels, spinning it and helping it hold its trajectory over long distances.

Because of their size, rifles are only suitable for outdoor activities like hunting and target shooting.


Unlike the other firearms on this list, shotguns don’t have rifled barrels. Instead, they have smooth bores and use shells containing many small projectiles.

When fired, a shotgun expells its shot in a conical pattern. This makes it easier for a user to hit small or moving targets.

For that reason, their ideal hunting weapons. And the fact that they’re more forgiving in terms of accuracy makes them popular home defense tools.

Core Types of Guns and Their Purposes

Despite a rise in gun prices over the last few years — driven by increased demand and supply chain issues — demand for firearms is not expected to taper. And for the first-time buyer, understanding the differences between the types of guns is the first step to becoming a responsible owner.

But it’s only the beginning. Gun safety, accountable carry practices, and staying on the right side of the law are all concerns. For all the firearm info you need to be a responsible owner, be sure to follow our latest law and lifestyle guides and news.

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BSV Staff

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