Are you considering buying your first gun? Gun sales are on the rise in America, and with good reason!

Now is the best time to start building your arsenal. Now is also the best time to learn how to use a gun to protect yourself and your property. But with so many types of guns available, you’re likely confused as to which kinds of guns you should buy.

This detailed guide will break down the different types of guns available and help you understand the basic principles of owning a gun.

Let’s start with handguns:

Types of Handguns

Handguns are small guns that you can easily transport. In some jurisdictions, you can carry your handguns with you — either openly or through concealment.

If you’re interested in a handgun for protection, make sure you familiarize yourself with the gun laws in your state.


The basic handgun that works well for beginners and veterans are pistols. These pistols carry a large number of rounds — with 17 being the standard amount.

Examples of great pistols include the Colt .45 and the 1911. These guns are easy to learn how to shoot as well. These are the perfect guns for basic protection and for target shooting.

With pistols, you have the following 4 options:

  • Full-sized: pistols with barrels that range between 4.5 to 5 inches long
  • Compact: pistols with barrels that range between 3.5 to 4.5 inches long
  • Sub-Compact: pistols with barrels between 3 to 3.5 inches long
  • Pocket Pistols: pistols with barrels less than 3 inches long


These handguns work great for personal protection and are great for quick and continuous firing. Revolvers let you carry up to six bullets in their chamber.

Revolvers are a bit harder to shoot with. As a result, you’ll want to get professional training to learn how to shoot with a revolver. These are smaller handguns so they’re easier to carry around as well.

Examples of great revolvers include the Ruger LCR and the Smith & Wesson 686.

These are the 3 different types of revolvers:

  • Single-action: revolvers where you have to pull the hammer back before firing each time
  • Double-action: revolvers where the trigger pulls the hammer back and automatically fires
  • Double-action Only: revolvers where the trigger fires the gun and where the hammer isn’t visible

Make sure you master handguns before you move on to more complex guns. 

Types of Rifles

If you’re interested in long-distance shooting, then you should look into rifles.

With a rifle, you’ll have to hold the gun with both hands at all times. The stock of the gun is pressed against your shoulder. The barrel helps push the rounds at a high velocity and for increased distances.

Rifles are also the best guns for customization which can help enhance your shooting experience. For example, you can look into the 6.5 Creedmoor barrel for sale if you’re interested in shooting AR-15s.

Here are the most common types of rifles you can consider:

Bolt Action Rifles

These are one of the oldest types of rifles available and aren’t in common use today. You have to reload the rifle each time you fire a round.

While these aren’t commonly used, this is a great rifle for beginners. It’ll help you learn to shoot a rifle and improve your marksmanship. These are great rifles for target practice or for shooting within a gun range.

Lever Action Rifles

This is one of the most popular types of rifles and is a great choice for beginners. With Lever Action Rifles, you have a tubular magazine that’s part of the gun.

These are heavier rifles and aren’t always accurate. As a result, you have to practice in a closed gun range before using it for hunting.

Semi-Automatic Rifles

With this rifle, you can fire your rounds each time you squeeze the trigger. You don’t have to keep reloading the chamber until you run out of rounds.

You should be aware that automatic rifles are currently banned in the United States. These rifles allow to fire rounds continuously by keeping the trigger depressed.


It is also great for long-distance shooting and can often pack a greater punch than rifles.

Shotguns are rather difficult to shoot, so you want to learn how to shoot them under professional guidance. It can often take years to learn how to master shotguns.

As shotguns are some of the most powerful guns available, it’s imperative that you learn about the rules of owning shotguns in your jurisdiction.

It’s possible that there’ll be separate laws that might be even stricter than laws pertaining to other types of guns.

Shotguns are a great choice for defending yourself and your property. They’re great for protecting against a mob or large crowd who may be shooting at you.

Shotguns are also great for improving your marksmanship and if you wish to attempt sport shooting.

Here are the types of shotguns you should know about:


This is one of the most powerful types of shotguns available. These are great for longer-distance shooting and work in the same manner as semi-automatic rifles. It’s best to master how to use simpler types of shotguns before graduating with semi-automatic shotguns.


This type of shotgun is one of the most popular types of shotguns and is one of the simplest to shoot. It can contain between 1 to 3 barrels for firing the shotgun.

The shotgun gets loaded by prying open the barrel. in most cases, you can only load one shotgun shell at a time.


These shotguns require pulling a lever to load the gun before you fire. These types of shotguns aren’t as popular and aren’t as readily available. There are few jurisdictions where such shotguns are legal, so make sure you check these laws before buying one.


This is currently the most popular type of shotgun available. You can carry multiple shells in the undercarriage of the shotgun. You pump the shotgun before firing.

When you learn how to shoot shotguns, it’s likely that you’ll learn how to use pump-action shotguns. The Mossberg 500 is one of the most popular types of shotguns available.

Which Types of Guns Work for Me?

Now you have to decide which types of guns you should consider for yourself. The first step is to determine the main reason for owning a gun.

For most Americans, guns are meant to protect themselves and their property from intruders. In most cases, a handgun or a few handguns will suffice.

If you worry about riots or large mobs, then you’ll find that rifles and shotguns are a great option for protecting yourself.

Make sure that you always learn the self-defense laws in your jurisdiction when you decide what guns to buy to protect yourself.

Another great reason to own guns is for recreation. Many gun owners enjoy shooting for hunting or for sport. Many gun owners will create customized gun ranges to practice their shooting.

For recreation purposes, it’s often great to own rifles and shotguns. These are great for long-range shooting. These are also great for hunting. It’s also fun to watch the impact that rifles and shotguns have on shooting stationary targets, bottles, cans, etc., from a long distance.

Once you choose the types of guns you want to focus on, you want to decide what features you want with a gun. For example, if you want fast-firing, you’ll prefer a semi-automatic rifle or shotgun. If you want to focus on improving your marksmanship, start with a bolt-action rifle.

The same goes for handguns. If you need to shoot rapidly, then you can choose double-action revolvers. Single-shot revolvers and pistols work best for practicing at a gun range.

Basic Gun Safety

Different types of guns require different rules on how to shoot and handle guns without compromising on safety. As a beginner to shooting guns, make sure you familiarize yourself with these rules before buying a gun.

Here are the basic gun safety rules you should follow:

  • Assume all guns are loaded
  • Never fire a gun without inspecting it first
  • Never fire a gun without observing your target
  • Make sure there’s nothing or no one beyond or near your target that can get shot accidentally
  • Keep your finger off the trigger when not firing
  • Keep the gun pointed away from a target when not firing
  • Never point a gun at someone when you’re handing it to them
  • Always use the correct ammunition
  • Always wear ear and eye protection
  • Never use a gun that’s damaged or requires repairs

It takes time to get used to the basic rules of gun safety. You should take instructions from professional shooters to learn how to be safe when shooting guns. Take your time to master these rules before buying a gun.

Those Are the Types of Guns

Now that you know the different types of guns, you can decide which is the best option for your needs.

Pistols and revolvers are the main types of handguns and are ideal for basic protection. Rifles and shotguns are great for protection and also for recreation.

You may want to look further into what types of handguns and long-range guns work best for your needs and skill level. Make sure you master the rules of gun safety before you buy your first gun.

You can find more great articles on owning a gun on our blog!