Are you looking to buy your first gun?
The United States posted record numbers in gun sales in 2020. Apart from understanding gun ownership practices, you must pick from different gun options.
Read on for a comprehensive guide on the most common types of guns and their differences. We will also discuss proper gun care to increase its longevity.
Revolvers are one of the most common types of guns around. Its unique feature is a revolving cylinder carrying multiple chambers holding separate cartridges. As you cock the revolver, the cylinder rotates and aligns the bullet with the gun’s barrel.
In 1718, James Buckle first patented the revolving design. Interestingly, many regard it as one of the earliest versions of the machine gun.
It was not until 1836 when inventor and master salesman Samuel Colt patented his revolving gun. His product initially drew criticisms, but his break came a decade after. Texas Rangers Captain Samuel Walker placed 1,000 orders of Colt’s revolver.
The gun played a crucial role in the Mexican-American war. Today, the revolver has many forms, but you can all fire them using one hand.
In a single-action revolver, the trigger’s only function is firing the gun. It works by pulling the hammer back manually before pulling the trigger. Upon pulling the trigger, the revolver fires a single shot.
Pull the hammer back before squeezing the trigger anew for another shot. Meanwhile, a double-action revolver has a trigger with two functions. It cocks the hammer before firing the gun in a single, continuous motion.
Pulling the trigger initiates two clicks, with the first one cocking the hammer. The second click happens when you release the trigger, firing the revolver.
The handgun is arguably the most popular type of gun today. Police forces in some countries do not carry handguns. However, the U.S. police rely on them.
Handguns are also a favorite for concealed carry users. They are relatively light and offer the right amount of power and accuracy. Like revolvers, you can fire a handgun with one hand, but accuracy increases when you use the other hand for support.
Handguns also feature short, thick-walled barrels, allowing them to absorb high pressures when firing. They also have a bore inside the barrel. It gives the bullet a spinning motion to increase accuracy.
When choosing a handgun, the primary consideration is the size. Full-sized handguns are the largest, with barrels measuring from 4.5 inches to 5 inches long. Despite their size, they can still fit snugly in your hand.
Compact handguns like pistols feature smaller barrels, measuring 3.5 inches to 4.5 inches long. The Glock 19 is one of the most famous examples of a compact handgun.
Next are the sub-compact handguns. Their barrels measure 3.5 inches max and have much shorter grips.
Lastly, there are the micro-compact or pocket pistols. They have barrels measuring less than 3 inches, allowing you to fit them inside your pocket.
These handguns feature a magazine-fed design for the ammunition. Glock pistols are some of the most popular brands, with the U.S. Secret Service using 9mm Glock pistols as their primary weapon.
Shotguns are rifle-like firearms with long barrels. Firing one requires shooting it from your shoulder. Your dominant hand holds part of the stock and the trigger while the other is holding the barrel.
Shotguns also come with a smooth bore to reduce friction. What separates them from handguns and rifles is they can fire off several projectiles in one shot. As you pull the trigger, the shot explodes and spreads out to your target.
These guns are powerful, but they are short-ranged. Shotguns also have four types: Break-action, pump-action, lever-action, and semi-automatic.
Break-action shotguns are basic, featuring one to three barrels. You break open the firearm to load individual shells by hand. Since they accommodate a shell at a time, they are the cheapest option for beginners.
Pump-action shotguns are the most common. They can accommodate multiple shells inside a tube magazine. You load the magazine under the barrel, pull back the forestock before pushing it forward.
The motion ejects the used shells while chambering fresh ones. Meanwhile, lever-action shotguns have a lever at the bottom you can use to load a new shell. You rarely see this type of shotgun except for areas where it is the only legal option.
Semi-automatic shotguns use a gas-filled propellant to chamber the shells. They also feature a button release design for dislodging the firearm’s bolt.
Like shotguns, rifles need two hands to ensure proper operation. They feature shoulder support and come with a rifled barrel. The barrel puts a spin on the bullets to boost their accuracy.
Rifles come in bolt-action, lever-action, and semi-automatic types. Bolt-action rifles involve a few steps for firing. First, you will manually push the bolt forward before pulling the trigger.
To release the empty cartridge, pull back the bolt before pushing it forward to load a new one. These rifles are accurate, but they fail in the speed department. They also have a detachable or internal magazine, holding up to 10 bullets at a time.
Lever-action rifles gained popularity in Hollywood films. They feature a lever to reload fresh ammo. After pulling the trigger, pull the lever to eject the empty cartridge.
The semi-automatic type automatically reloads a fresh round of bullets after every pull of the trigger. It uses the firing momentum and some of the gunpowder gases to eject and reload the ammo. A semi-automatic magazine can carry anywhere between five to 30 rounds.
Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic
How can you tell if a gun is automatic or semi-automatic? An automatic firearm will continue firing as long as you pull down the trigger and have ammo. Once you run out of bullets, the weapon stops firing.
You can rarely find civilians carrying automatic firearms. Instead, the police or the military carry automatic firearms, like machine guns.
On the flip side, semi-automatic weapons offer rapid-fire capabilities. They reload ammo, but you need to pull the trigger for the next round to fire. Some examples of semi-automatic weapons include the AR-15 rifle, the AK-47 rifle, and the UZI submachine gun.
Important Accessories and Add-ons
Buying a gun in its stock condition is not enough once you progress in your skills. You can make your firearms more effective by investing in slings, stocks, and iron sights. You can also replace with Hogue grips to avoid slippage during recoil.
For rifles, use optics, lasers, and lights to increase your accuracy. A quality holster is essential for your handguns when you are looking to avoid theft.
Personalization is vital, but avoid using aggressive decorations. Stick to subdued aesthetics and stay away from illegal modifications.
Caring for Different Types of Guns
Caring for your gun is crucial to ensure its performance and safety. Always read the manual and learn about the different parts of a gun. Go through every page and internalize the steps for arming and disarming your weapon.
Always unload your gun when not in use. Switch the magazine every four to six months to avoid debris from clogging the components.
When cleaning your weapon, always point in a safe direction. Use the proper cleaning solutions by ensuring they have approval from the gun manufacturer. Never use WD-40 to clean your weapon since it may affect its functions.
Check your gun for debris and use a solvent-soaked toothbrush to clean. Clean the bore using a brush, a rod, a bore solvent, and some patches.
Apart from proper gun maintenance, always assume your weapon has live bullets. Aim at the right target and examine your backstop. Learn about the mechanisms behind your weapon’s functions.
If you have children at home, practice proper gun storage. Keep your weapon beyond your children’s reach and sight. When cleaning your gun, go to a spot away from the kids.
Be mindful of your surroundings to avoid losing your balance.
When in the firing range, always listen and follow the Range Master. Point the barrel down range until you are ready to shoot. Wear proper firing gear to protect your eyes, ears, and body.
Never shoot on the water or on hard surfaces to keep the bullets from ricocheting. If your firearm does not fire after pulling the trigger, keep your shooting position a few more seconds. Point the muzzle in a safe direction and unload your weapon slowly.
Lastly, never rely on the gun’s safety to keep it from firing.
Learn More About Gun Maintenance Now
Knowing the different types of guns allows you to pick the best one for your needs. You can also invest in various accessories to help you become a better gun owner.
However, your knowledge of the gun needs more work. Consider looking for a reputable gun seller to ensure your safety. After all, a high-quality firearm is less likely to misfire.
Are you looking for more helpful guides? If so, check out our other posts for more.