Owning a gun is a great responsibility. Guns are among the most prominent and controversial topics of today. With so many different varieties, it’s essential to understand the common types of guns and how to use them.

Keep reading to learn about common gun types, and stay informed! Let’s review parts of a gun, gun safety, and their widespread applications, from pistols to rifles and anything in between.

Pistols: A Primer on a Popular Type of Firearm

Buying a gun needs a complete understanding of the common types of guns. Pistols are among the most popular firearms recreational, sporting, and self-defense shooters use.

They are small and easy to carry, making them an excellent choice for concealed carry and self-defense roles. Here are some examples of the most common types of pistols:


A semi-automatic pistol uses a short recoil action of the slide, allowing it to chamber another round with every pull of the trigger. You can use it with an external magazine that can hold many rounds of ammunition.

A manual safety lever or switch is an important safety feature of many semi-automatic pistols. It is often located on the side of the frame to prevent accidental firing. More features like a hammerless lock and double action trigger add to the weapon’s safety by giving the user extra control of the pistol.


Derringers are one of the most common types of pistols found today. Derringers are small, single-shot firearms that are either of a retro design or have a modern design for broader use.

Derringers usually have two barrels held in the palm or concealed in a clothing pocket. Many derringers are available in .22 or .38 caliber rounds and feature extended grips for easier handling.

Derringers are generally considered a “last-ditch” defensive weapon due to their small size and potential accuracy problems. Some derringers feature an over-barrel hammer for improved accuracy, but you need more for sustained accuracy.

Derringers offer limited ammunition capacity, with one or two shots at most. Derringers may be of little use, but they remain a common type of pistol in today’s marketplace.

Single-Shot Pistols

Single-shot pistols are among the oldest designs primarily used in the 19th century. Such pistols are usually among the most uncomplicated and affordable on the market and generally have a minimalistic design with fewer moving parts than semi-automatic weapons. They are simple and reliable and often have a single barrel, with the barrel and cylinder of a revolver joined together.

They have no magazine that you have to reload after every shot. For this reason, they use single-shot pistols as cheap target shooting pistols, for teaching firearm safety to younger shooters, or for participation in formal target matches.


Revolvers are a very prevalent type of pistol. This trusted design is a preferred choice of firearms due to its precision and dependability. It has a rotating cylinder containing several chambers, each holding a single round of ammunition.

Revolvers don’t have a magazine; the cylinder holds the cartridges. When you fire a revolver, the hammer releases the cylinder, which rotates and brings the next round into position.

This action is what makes the revolver a unique form of handgun. Revolvers range from small .22 caliber models to larger .44 magnums. With its ease of carry and use, the revolver remains one of the world’s most popular and trusted pistols.

Rifles: A Comprehensive Breakdown of Variations and Uses

Selling your guns online needs an understanding of the various types of guns and firearms. Rifles are among the most popular types of guns and come in multiple shapes and sizes. Here are some common types of rifles:

Bolt-Action Rifles

Bolt action rifles are some of the oldest, most basic, and still popular today. A bolt action rifle requires the shooter to work the bolt after each shot. With the introduction of the modern metallic cartridge, these bolt action rifles shoot medium to big games at ranges of over 1000 yards.

Popular bolt action rifles include the Winchester Model 70, the Mosin Nagant, the Remington 700, and the Enfield 1853. You can change the bolt action for sniping, target shooting, varmint hunting, and sometimes military combat.

Many modern sporting rifles are also bolt action for hunting or precision shooting. Bolt action rifles are a deadly and versatile tool.

Lever-Action Rifles

Lever-action rifles are a type of firearm that operates by manipulating a lever located on the trigger guard to reload the gun’s chamber after each shot. Lever-actions are repeating rifles since they can hold more than one ammunition cartridge in a tubular magazine beneath the barrel.

Also, lever-action rifles feature a “saddle ring.” It allows users to attach an optional sling for more accessible transportation. They use lever-action rifles, big game hunting, and target shooting due to the popularity of their accuracy, power, and portability.

Famous examples of lever-action rifles include the Winchester Model 1873, Marlin Model 1895, and the Marlin Model 336. For those seeking a classic rifle, the lever action is a great choice that is sure to arrive with a long list of great features.

Pump-Action Rifles

Pump action rifles are among the many types available on the market. These rifles feature a manual cocking system that, when operated, loads the next round into the chamber. This feature is helpful, as it allows the user to remain in position while reloading the firearm instead of moving away from the target.

Some variations of pump action rifles come with a tube magazine that you must insert into the underside of the gun. This magazine type is versatile for hunting or target shooting and enables quick fire when needed.

These rifles are also popular among police officers, military personnel, and hunters, as they can handle various types of ammunition. You can load pump action rifles with shot shells containing pellets or bullet cartridges, depending on your needs.

Shotguns: An Exploration of Specifications and Models

Shotguns are a common type of gun used for shooting sports and hunting, and their specifications and models. Generally, shotguns come with either a ribbed or smooth barrel made from either steel or brass, with camo or wooden stock options.

Different size gauges, including 12, 16, 20, and 28, are available, ranging from small to large. Here are some common types of shotguns:

Single Shot

One of the most common types of shotguns is the single-shot shotgun. This type of shotgun is an enduring classic with a long history of reliable performance. It is affordable, robust, and easy to maintain.

Hunters, law enforcement, and target shooters use it for their accuracy and simplicity of operation. They can be either break-open action, where the barrel hinge opens to load and unload the shotgun. They can be a top-break action, where the barrel slides up and forward to expose the chamber.

The single-shot shotgun is light and easy to carry, making it ideal for bird hunting and other small game activities. Its short barrel makes it an excellent choice for tight spaces, such as in a home. Single-shot shotguns are also a perfect choice for recreational shooters. It is due to their low cost and minimal maintenance needs.

Double Barrel

Double-barrel shotguns are some of the most common types of shotguns found today. Also referred to as a side-by-side shotgun or a coach gun, the double barrel gives sharpshooters unique differences in the shotgun world.

Double barrel shotguns are an excellent choice for trap and sporting clays shooting, as they offer two quick and precise shots. Double barrel shotguns have two barrels side by side, with one on the right and one on the left. This setup allows the shooter to aim each barrel in different directions. 

Pump-Action Shotguns

Pump-action shotguns are popular among shooters for their versatility and ease of use. They use these standard shotguns in sport shooting and recreational hunting. It can accommodate various types of shells and gauges.

Pump-action shotguns usually operate as a manual repeating firearm. It requires the shooter to pump the slide back and forward when reloading. It allows each successive round to chamber, fire, and eject.

As a manual weapon, pump-action shotguns can handle heavy loads without needing a large gas port or deteriorating parts. Additionally, with the various calibers, sizes, and weights the shooter can choose from, pump-action shotguns make an excellent tool for many shooting activities.

Break Action Shotguns

Break-action shotguns are one of the most common types of shotguns. The name comes from the fact that you must open the action and break away the barrel from the stock to allow access to the breech.

Break down the barrel away from the action to reload, and then it snaps back into place. You can do this with an inertia-actuated opening system, a sliding barrel, a manual open, or a break-action system.

Break-action shotguns are popular for hunting, general recreational, and target shooting. They are also easy to repair and maintain, making them an attractive option for the budget-conscious shooter.

Follow This Guide to Understand the Different Types of Guns

There are many common types of guns available out there. From pistols to tactical rifles and shotguns, there are types of firearms for different needs and applications.

Read up on the different types of guns, and visit your local shooting range for hands-on experience. Get out there and try it out for yourself! 

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