Every firearm owner and people interested in purchasing firearms should understand the importance of firearms safety knowledge and practice and the danger that comes with a firearm if it is not mistreated or not handled carefully, and aware of the responsibility of firearm ownership. Any person who wishes to obtain a firearm must have a firearm safety certificate (FSC) unless they are statutorily exempt from the FSC requirement. How long is a firearm safety course good for? A firearm safety certificate is valid for five years from the date of issuance. In addition to safety information, the firearms safety course also makes a new gun owner aware of the state laws that govern the sale and use of firearms. The course covers category A, B, and H weapons, which are the most common firearms used for sports/target, recreational, and occupational shooting activities.
Basic rules of firearms safety
The Firearms Safety Training Course Dc covers the basic rules about handling and storing firearms and the potential dangers of maltreatment of guns. Every firearm must be considered loaded, at all times, even it is not. The muzzle of the gun must be pointed at a safe direction. The safety of the firearm must be on, and the shooting finger must be away from the trigger to avoid unintentional discharge of the weapon. A responsible firearm owner must never point the gun at something they do not want to shoot and must acknowledge what lies behind the target. Firearms must be stored in a locked container and in an unloaded condition, away from the ammunition. A shooter must always be aware of the chance of a ricochet. And lastly, it is imperative that the firearm owner must never handle a gun when under the influence of alcohol or dangerous substances.
In order to participate in the course and acquire the FSC certificate, the applicant must be at least 18 years of age, but children of at least 11 years of age can use certain firearms with approved adult supervision under the minor’s license. The applicant must not have any physical or other impairment which might compromise firearms safety. The applicant must not have any criminal convictions in the last five years. He/she must be of sound mental health, and must not have been a subject of a domestic violence order.
Acquiring the certificate
A person must have a valid firearms safety certificate (FSC) even prior to purchasing or obtaining a firearm. The FSC needs to be presented at the firearms dealer at the time of purchasing a gun. A person with having previous handgun safety certificate (HSC) or a person with a valid hunting license is exempt from the FSC requirement. To obtain an FSC, one must take the DOJ written test and receive a passing score of at least 75% (23 correct answers out of 30 questions) covering firearms safety and basic firearms laws. The multiple-choice test is administered by instructors certified by the Department of Justice who are generally located at firearms dealerships. Applicants must provide valid evidence of identity before taking the test. The best way to prepare for the test is to read FSC study guide which contains all the information necessary to pass the test. If failed, one can take the test again for a nominal fee after 24 hours. In case of loss, theft, or destruction of the FSC, one can get a replacement from the DOJ certified instructor who issued the FSC in the first place. The firearms safety certificate is valid for five years from the date of issuing of the same. The safe handling demonstration is a statutory requirement that firearm recipients execute through a series of specific steps related to safely loading and unloading the firearm. The safe handling demonstration must be performed under the supervision of a DOJ certified instructor and the purchaser must sign an affidavit attesting to the completion of the safe handling demonstration.
Knowing the safety rule and applying the most of the time is not enough. Firearm accidents can happen even to a person who knows the safety rules but is careless in following them. Becoming a safe firearm owner is similar to becoming a safe driver; it is the combination of good working knowledge of the equipment, the basic skills of operation, and a mindset dedicated to safe and responsible usage and storage.
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Here are the Things you Should Consider Before Purchasing a Thermal Scope
When purchasing thermal scopes, you need to consider the purpose for which you’re buying them. For instance, the thermal scopes for hunting offer the best thermal imaging, while the thermal scopes for sports capture targets in motion very well.
Thermal scopes are also quite an investment, running into hundreds of dollars, so you must engage in in-depth research before buying one. Here are some factors to consider.
The ability of a thermal scope to magnify objects at a distance is what we mean by magnification.
All thermal scopes have specifications of their magnification capabilities. It is crucial to check if it suits your need. It is important to note that resolution and magnification are not directly proportional. So, an increase in magnification will affect the refresh rate to a certain extent.
Scope and sensor resolution
You should note that the scope resolution is different from the thermal sensor resolution. So, check out the scope resolution and the sensor’s resolution differently. However, the scope resolution is generally higher than the resolution.
Scope detection range
A thermal scope detection range implies the distance you can view and get a clear image. Beyond that distance, the image would become unclear.
While some low-level thermal scopes offer a detection range of 1000 yards, some high-quality scopes can view as far as 4000 yards. A detection range of 1000 yards might be okay for beginners, but professionals can do little or nothing with that.
While some thermal scopes have a single dot reticle for the purpose of accuracy, some others have four-line standard reticles. The single dot reticle gives precise imagery in the day, while the four-line reticle is perfect for night hunting.
Refresh rate refers to the time used by the scope’s processor to refresh the image. Refresh rates differ from one thermal scope to the next.
A rule of thumb is that the more frequently the scope can refresh the image, the better the image clarity.
The lens diameter of the thermal scope has a crucial role to play in the field view. Generally, the field view and the lens diameter are directly proportional to each other.
The battery life of your thermal scope is vital if you want to get good work done. The widely held standard of battery life for thermal scopes is to work for 8 hours after charging. Don’t purchase a thermal scope with less than eight hours of battery life. Also, avoid overcharging the battery beyond the stipulated time because an overcharged battery does more damage than good to your battery life.
Thermal scopes are largely expensive products and could put a hole in your wallet when you buy them. For such a costly investment, you need warranties and guarantees to assure that your investment is safe.
Sometimes, you have to use your thermal scopes in dangerous places, and there’s a possibility that they could get damaged. Your warranty will help you when such issues occur.
Odyssey has been the lead content writer and content marketer. He has vast experience in the field of writing. His SEO strategies help businesses to gain maximum traffic and success.
6 Common Problems with Heating Systems this Winter
One of the most stressful things about winter can be your heating system. Unfortunately, there are lots of common problems that you might run into this season.
These issues are not only annoying to deal with, but they can actually put your comfort and safety at risk if left undetected and untreated. When the fix is delayed, your budget is also at stake with costly heating repair in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
Here is a list of some of the most common heating problems and how to solve them:
It may sound obvious, but sometimes your home gets cold because your furnace doesn’t generate enough heat! This could be a sign that something is wrong with the heater itself, or it could mean that air is getting into the ducts are leaking out.
If you’re worried about inadequate heating, the best thing you can do is call a professional for heating repair in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
Drafts Around Doors or Windows
Air leaks can result in cold spots around your home. As air seeps through these gaps, it takes heat with it and reduces overall efficiency. Some ways to seal off these leaks include using caulk around doors and windows, replacing old weather stripping or door seals, or adding insulation strips inside storage areas.
If this doesn’t solve inadequate heating issues, it might be the right time for heating repair in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
Improperly Sized Heating System
If your heating system is oversized for the house, it will result in inadequate heating and higher bills. To solve this problem, install programmable thermostats that automatically shut down your heating when you are away from home or asleep. This way, when you return in the evening, your system will be ready to warm your house quickly.
If the problem is that your furnace is too small for the size of your home, then call in a professional installer to have them install a new one.
Noisy Heating System
Harsh noises coming from your heater can result from loose parts inside of it. Sometimes they rattle around when they come loose and make annoying sounds! One common reason why this happens is because of using the wrong kind of filter with the system. Some filters get packed with dust faster than others do and cause excessive vibrations or noise.
It would be best to try changing out the filter every two months throughout winter (depending on how much you use your system). If this does not fix the problem, it would be best to call in an expert for quality heating repair in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
No Hot Water or Erratic Temperature
Issues with hot water or erratic temperatures typically mean insufficient hot water flow through the pipes. This could happen if sediment builds up inside them because your heater isn’t using enough hot water. To solve this, put a drain pan under the lowest radiator and let it sit for a few hours to collect the residual fluids inside.
Leaking Furnace Piping or Radiators
When leaky piping or radiators have been left untreated, they can result in icicles forming around your home! It’s important to let a professional handle this problem because they will know how to fix it without causing any further damage. Also, they can recommend the best preventative maintenance strategies like draining and flushing radiators in fall or spring.
Need Expert Assistance for Your Heating Needs?
Integrate Comfort Systems has been helping home and business owners with their heating woes. If you need quality installation, maintenance, or heating repair in Franklin Lakes, NJ, they are the right partner for you.
Contact them today!
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Different Types of Guns and How They Work
From the early colonies’ matchlock muskets through the Old West’s Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles to today’s Glock handgun, firearms have come a long way and has always been part of American life.
Unfortunately, it appears that as time goes, gun literacy is eroding. We take more pictures, but we know less. As a result, there is more gun violence and terror.
There are different types of guns on the market today, but they may be grouped into two groups: long guns, such as assault rifles & shotguns, handguns, such as revolvers & pistols, and machineguns.
Long guns, in general, are designed to be fired from the shoulder and fire large-caliber rounds from long barrels. Handguns are weapons with lower calibers and shorter barrels that can be shot with one or both hands.
To help you better understand guns, we’ve put together this gun guide, which contains every detail about the different types of guns.
The ATF describes a rifle as a weapon that is developed or redesigned, produced or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder, and that employs the energy of a fixed metallic cartridge to discharge just a single projectile through a rifled bore for every pull of the trigger.
Grooves were cut into the inside surface of a barrel to enhance the accuracy of a conventional musket in the early nineteenth century. With the increased use of these rifling grooves, it was discovered that the spin these grooves imparted on the bullet made its trajectory much more flat and stable.
Bolt action rifles, lever-action rifles, semi-automatic rifles, and more can all be found in the rifle category. A rifle is distinguished by its long barrel and receiver, a stock that rests against the shoulder, and a rifled (or grooved) bore through which the projectile exits.
Bolt action rifle
A bolt action rifle is one of the most basic types of guns today. It is fired by physically pushing forward a bolt, squeezing the trigger, pulling back the bolt to eject the empty cartridge, then pushing forward the bolt again to load a fresh cartridge.
Bolt action weapons are accurate but sluggish to fire due to their manual nature. In an internal or detachable magazine, bolt action rifles can contain between four and 10 bullets.
The Remington 700 and Howa 1500 are two examples of bolt action rifles.
Lever action rifle
These types of guns are popular in Western films and date back to the 19th century. A pull of the rifle’s lever loads a new bullet, the user fires the trigger, and another pull of the lever ejects the already empty cartridge and loads a new one.
It is much faster to shoot than a bolt action rifle because of the position of the lever. Winchester 94 and Marlin 336 are two examples of this modern firearm.
These types of guns come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: every time you pull the trigger, one bullet is fired, and a new round is loaded automatically.
These types of guns are commonly referred to as “automatic” weapons; however, that phrase relates to the loading process rather than the shooting.
The automatic loading procedure typically recycles some of the gun’s gunpowder gases or momentum, then ejects the empty cartridge and loads a fresh one.
External magazines, which store five to thirty rounds and can be replaced quickly to reload the weapon, are common on semi-automatic rifles. The AR-15 and Browning BAR guns are examples of semi-automatic rifles.
How to clean a rifle
If you possess a rifle and want to learn how to clean it properly, various resources and items are available to help you. To clean a rifle properly, you’ll need a cleaning rod, cleaning patches, solvent, rust protection, and other cleaning supplies.
Maintaining your rifle will maintain accuracy and performance while also preventing malfunctions. Before beginning the cleaning procedure, make sure your rifle is unloaded.
This includes disassembling the rifle, checking for obvious flaws, wiping off dust and grit, cleaning the barrel and other metal parts, rust prevention, lubricating, and reassembling the weapon.
Shotguns are long firearms with a long barrel that discharge a large number of little steel or lead pellets (“shot”) rather than a single bullet with each draw of the trigger.
The shot is fired in a small cone-shaped pattern from the barrel. This dispersion helps the shooter hit tiny game animals, particularly those in flight, such as ducks.
The shot size varies, with smaller birdshot being less likely to kill or incapacitate a human and larger buckshot being better for home defense.
Single-shot shotguns, pump-action shotguns in which a single pump chambers a cartridge, and semi-automatic shotguns are all available. Shotguns such as the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 are examples.
The blunderbuss was a small musket that was shot from the shoulder created by Germans in the 1600s. This is the first shotgun ever discovered. The British employed a similar weapon to hunt huge birds in the 1700s.
The term “shotgun” was not coined until 1776 to distinguish a smoothbore gun from a rifled musket.
How to Load a Shotgun
- While placing the butt-end of the shotgun on a firm surface, use your offhand to grip the shotgun slide. With the trigger pointed away from you, the muzzle should be pointed upwards.
- With your dominant hand, place the shell in the loading flap in front of the trigger guard. You’ll hear the shell click into place if you push it up with your thumb. Continue loading shells until the magazine is completely full.
- Pull the slide back and forward with a firm but smooth stroke to chamber a shell. The shotgun is now fully loaded and ready to discharge.
- If you don’t know how to load a shotgun for home defense, it’s a good idea to practice if you don’t already know how. Don’t sweat it if you don’t know how to load a shotgun quickly. Before focusing on speed, it’s more vital to learn how to do things correctly.
How to Clean a Shotgun
The best approach to clean a shotgun is in the same way that you would clean a rifle. Before reassembling the shotgun, you’ll need to follow certain steps to properly disassemble it, degrease it, clean up the barrel, lubricate the action, and tighten any screws or hardware.
Make sure you have the right set of tools and materials for cleaning a gun and that you observe all safety precautions while doing so advised by Delaware gun shops.
Shotgun shooting tips
- Before shooting a shotgun, make sure you have all of the necessary safety equipment, training, and the supervision of a skilled shooter.
- Because shotguns are designed for moving targets, aiming differs from that of a rifle. Continue to move the shotgun along the arc of your target even after you pull the trigger.
- When shooting a shotgun, instead of carefully squeezing the trigger as you would with a rifle, pull the trigger quickly.
- Recoil is a possibility. This is why stance and grip are so crucial.
Revolvers were the first multi-shot pistols, holding up to seven rounds in a spinning cylinder that matches with the gun barrel and firing mechanism.
These types of guns were featured in the hands of movie cowboys (including the firing pin.) A single pull of the trigger of a modern revolver advances the cylinder to a new cartridge, pulls back the hammer, then releases the hammer to strike the primer with the firing pin, firing the firearm.
Semi-automatic weapons, such as modern revolvers, are classified as such. The Smith & Wesson Model 686 and the Ruger GP100 are two examples.
A revolver, unlike other handguns, does not use a magazine to feed cartridges into the barrel. Instead, a cylinder feeds ammunition into the barrel before shooting.
One of the chambers aligns with the barrel when the hammer is cocked. The round is then fired by pulling the trigger. Each round must be put into the cylinder’s chambers separately.
How to Clean a Revolver
A universal gun kit will usually include everything you’ll need to clean a revolver. Preparing all of your cleaning equipment and tools ahead of time is the best approach to clean a revolver.
Before disassembling your firearm, have everything ready to go on a clean level surface.
You want to be organized, so you don’t forget any steps or misplace any components. If you want to give your revolver a thorough cleaning, there are rods developed especially for cleaning different calibers of revolvers, so look into these.
According to the ATF, a pistol is a sort of firearm designed, constructed, and intended to discharge a bullet from one or more barrels while being held in one hand.
Due to the fact that they are generally compact enough to be discharged with one hand, concealed carry pistols are a popular choice. It’s a short-barrelled pistol that comes in a variety of styles, including revolvers.
A single-shot handgun, a multi-barrel handgun, or a semi-automatic pistol are all examples of pistols.
Whether you’re shooting a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver, the way a pistol operates differs. A revolver has a cylinder with numerous chambers that rotates to line the cartridge with the barrel, as previously explained.
When you pull the trigger, just one round will be fired. A semi-automatic pistol operates in a slightly different way. A single chamber and barrel are present.
The handgun shoots a cartridge, ejects the empty shell, and loads a fresh round into the chamber with each stroke of the trigger.
How to Clean a Pistol
To ensure accuracy and optimal function, a handgun must be cleaned on a regular basis, especially after each use, like any other firearm.
The best approach to clean a pistol is in the same way that any handgun is cleaned. Before reassembling the gun, you must unload it, disassemble it, clean the inside of the barrel and other components using proper tools and materials, and lubricate the essential parts.
Make sure you have all the materials on hand and that you’re cleaning your gun on a stable surface.
For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the ATF has a fairly strict definition of a machine gun.
The phrase “machine gun,” according to the ATF, means:
- Any weapon that can be quickly recovered to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, with a single trigger pull.
- Any such weapon’s frame or receiver.
- Any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, or any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, or any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, or any
- Any combination of parts can be constructed into a machine gun if the pieces are in a person’s custody or control.
- Hiram S. Maxim designed the first fully automatic machine gun in the United States in 1884. It was the first firearm that could fire many shots without reloading.
- They did, however, rely on a person twisting a crank to fire the projectiles. During the American Civil War, the Maxim machine gun was utilized.
- Before that, in 1718, Londonbarrister James Puckle designed the Puckle Gun, which some regard to be the first machine gun. It was an early automatic weapon with a maximum rate of fire of only nine bullets per minute.
- Since then, machine guns have advanced significantly, with the ability to fire numerous rounds with a single pull of the trigger.
- The majority of modern machine guns have lengthy, grooved bores. The bullet enters the barrel as it is driven forward, and the grooves spin the bullet so that it exits straight.
- The firing pin is a device located at one end of the barrel. When you pull the trigger, the firing pin strikes the round’s primer, causing the bullet to fire. This is how a machine gun’s “gun” operates.
- The “machine” part of a machine gun comes next. When a bullet is fired, it travels in one direction while the casing travels in the opposite direction.
- A spring bolt is operated by the energy produced by the bullet and casing. After the bullet has fired, this bolt is pulled backward, extracting and ejecting the casing.
- The bolt will then strike the spring and begin traveling forward again, forcing another round into the barrel and striking the firing pin. As long as the machine gun trigger is pushed, the cycle will continue.
- Heavy machine gun and light machine gun are both affected by this process.
6. Calibers & Bullet Types
- Whether on the news or not, any discussion of guns will include the term “caliber.” This phrase simply refers to the type of cartridge that the weapon discharges.
- Bullet calibers can be measured in fractions of an inch or millimeters. The .45 ACP round, which is used in many pistols, has a diameter of 0.45 inches or a little under half an inch.
- The .22 round, .38 Special, and .500 Action Express rounds are all named for their fractional inch diameters. The 5.56-millimeter round used in an AR-15 (also known as .223) has a diameter of 5.56 millimeters.
- The nine-millimeter round has a diameter of nine millimeters. And so forth. Different bullet calibers are designed to do different jobs, and there are literally hundreds of them.
- Some are designed for smaller shooters who are more sensitive to recoil, while others are designed for long-range shooting and close-range self-defense.
- Bullets come in a variety of forms and sizes to handle a variety of functions. Hollowpoint bullets contain a hollow at the nose that permits the lead to spread outward on impact, transforming the aerodynamic bullet into a lethal, high-velocity metallic blossom that leaves gaping wounds.
Armor-piercing bullets may penetrate body armor and light steel armor, and tracer bullets allow the shooter to see where his or her shots are impacting at night. Both are primarily intended for military usage.
Odyssey has been the lead content writer and content marketer. He has vast experience in the field of writing. His SEO strategies help businesses to gain maximum traffic and success.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GUNS A DETAILED GUIDE
Are you curious about guns? Well, you’re reading this article so you must be.
And why not? Guns are indeed fascinating tools. They are mysterious and elicit a sense of curiosity in us.
Of course, guns have also been a huge part of American culture. Our right to bear arms is enshrined in our 2nd Amendment.
If you are interested in buying a gun, plus some ammo from a 2A company, we encourage you to keep reading to educate yourself about guns. Whether for your own defense or as a hobby, it’s imperative to understand guns before purchasing one.
We’ve put this guide together so you can learn about the different types of guns and decide which is best for you.
What Types of Guns Are Available?
Before you pick up a gun, we do request that you learn the rules of gun safety. Once you have learned these rules, you may also want to practice at a shooting range. If you are going to be a gun owner, regular practice is necessary.
First, let’s try to understand what a gun is:
How Guns Work
“Arms” is quite a vague term. Even “guns” can be a vague term. Guns are part of a larger group known as firearms. Firearms are weapons that discharge projectiles via an explosive. This is the definition agreed upon by The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Guns can include in different sizes. A small pistol that you can fit in your holster is a gun. A sniper used by the military is also a gun. All guns have a cartridge which is where bullets are stored. A cartridge is placed in a category based on its caliber.
The caliber refers to the size of the ammunition. This is measured in inches or millimeters. Different calibers are needed for different purposes. Some calibers are more suited for self-defense while others are best for hunting at long range.
Once you understand what you need a gun for, you can then decide which gun to purchase.
First, let’s look at smaller guns.
If you need a basic gun for self-defense or for target practice, then you want to invest in a pistol. Bullets are stored in a cartridge with most modern pistols having a capacity of 17 bullets per cartridge. The most popular type of pistol today is the multi-shot pistol.
The multi-shot pistol is a type of semi-automatic weapon. This means that it can continuously fire without having to reload. Although, you will always have to release the trigger and press it again to fire.
Multi-shot pistols have the cartridge stored in the grip. Once the cartridge is exhausted, you remove it from the grip and can easily replace it with another cartridge.
Some of the pistols you should consider buying are the M17 Modular Handgun, Sig P320, and the Glock 17.
If you’ve ever fantasized about being a cowboy or cowgirl then you want to get your hands on a revolver. Most modern revolvers can carry up to 7 bullets. These are stored in a revolving cylinder. Revolvers are also considered to be semi-automatic weapons.
Like pistols, these are portable and easy to carry. If you live in a jurisdiction that allows for open carry or for ‘conceal and carry, you can take these with you in a holster. These can also be kept at home and are perfect for self-defense if an intruder trespasses onto your property.
The Smith and Wesson Model 686 is one of the most popular revolvers available. Revolvers are not as effective as pistols. So if you purchase one, you may want to invest in a pistol as a complement to a pistol. Revolvers are great for practicing at a shooting range.
Now that we have looked at handguns, let’s look at larger guns.
If you are a more seasoned gun owner or you have improved your shooting skills, you may want to move up to a shotgun.
Shotguns have long barrels by which the bullets travel through. For shotguns, the bullets are called ‘shots’ and are usually made of steel. The intensity of a shotgun means that shots can travel at an incredibly high speed through the barrels.
Some shotguns can only fire one shot at a time. Others are semi-automatic and can shoot several shots in continuous motion. These are best for hunting at a longer distance.
The Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are two popular types of shotguns. Two of the most popular types of shotguns are Pump Action and Break Action.
Pump Action can hold multiple rounds of shots. After a shot is fired you have to push back the ‘pump’ in order to reload the barrel. Break Action shotguns have a hinge at the back where you can load your shots. These are one of the oldest types of shotguns available.
After shotguns, the most popular type of larger gun is rifles. Let’s have a look at the different types of rifles.
4. Bolt Action Rifles
This is one of the oldest types of rifles available. It is a simple rifle to use and is great for beginners or for hobbyists. These are perfect for a quiet weekend in the countryside for target practice or hunting.
This type of rifle is not for rapid firing. After you fire a shot, you have to push the bolt forward. When you do this, the gun reloads, and then you can fire your next shot. This process has to be repeated every time before you fire.
These rifles can only hold a limited number of bullets before needing to be reloaded. These are obviously not the best for self-defense. But that is beside the point – if you want to enjoy some time perfecting your aim and enjoying time in nature, then a Bolt Action Rifle is your best bet!
5. Lever Action Rifles
These are very similar to Bolt Action Rifles – however, they are able to fire bullets much faster. Like revolvers, these have been a staple of Westerns and of cowboy culture.
You will have to reload the bullets manually by pulling the lever. However, as the bullet fires rapidly, you can quickly reload another bullet. The Winchester 94 and the Marlin 336 are among the popular Lever Action Rifles.
6. Semi-Automatic Rifle
Finally, the next type of rifle is the Semi-Automatic Rifle. There are many types of rifles that fit the description of being ‘semi-automatic.’
Semi-Automatic rifles can be reloaded automatically, unlike the aforementioned types of rifles. They are also much faster for firing. The trigger cannot remain depressed but the shooter can still fire in rapid succession.
These rifles can also hold a large number of rounds – with 30 bullets being a standard. The cartridge can also be reloaded rapidly and is usually within the grip. As these are very powerful rifles they are often used by the military and are considered controversial for civilian use. The AR-15 and the Browning BAR are two of the most common semi-automatic rifle.
The AR-15 is the preferred semi-automatic rifle for many. If you invest in this gun, you want to also look at the different AR 15 complete upper attachments and advice from the best gun stores in Delaware.
7. AK-47 and Other Assault Rifles
This is the one you’ve been waiting for! AK-47’s are also known as Kalashnikov’s. Made in the Soviet Union, this is a popular type of assault rifle.
These are gas-operated and have a detachable magazine as well as an intermediate cartridge. This is one of the most popular types of rifles used in militaries worldwide. The AK-47 is great for firing long-range and in rapid succession. This is great for hunting. If you ever are in a dangerous situation where you need to ward off any intruders, this is also a great gun.
Other assault rifles include the SIG 44 and the M16. The SIG 44 was developed in Germany. It has the power of a machine gun while maintaining the firing accuracy of a rifle. They can hold up to 30 bullets at a time. The cartridges are lighter and were designed to make them easier for soldiers to carry.
The M16 is the most popular and longest-used rifle in the United States military. It is renowned for its intensity and firing accuracy. This is a great rifle for shooting at longer distances. This gun has been used in many wars across the globe.
There are many other types of assault rifles including the AK-74, the HK33, and the Heckler and Koch G36. These are not as popular as the aforementioned assault rifles but are still powerful weapons.
As assault rifles are particularly intense, we recommend that you get a professional to help you train with them – if you plan on purchasing one. Remember, these are military-grade weapons so average civilians must learn to use them.
Get Your Guns
Now that you know the types of guns available, you are ready to choose the best gun for your needs. As we mentioned in the introduction, make sure you learn the rules of gun safety and practice them often so you can be a responsible gun owner.
Odyssey has been the lead content writer and content marketer. He has vast experience in the field of writing. His SEO strategies help businesses to gain maximum traffic and success.
Machine Guns, Oh My!
There are a lot of types of guns on the market, and you can shoot a selection of them at The Range 702 in Las Vegas. However, it may be easier to choose a firearm and find answers to some of your questions if you understand the differences between them a little better.
For example, what are the best 5 guns for women? With better knowledge of the different types of guns, you could learn which small guns for women work best or what popular models are best for concealed carry guns for women. What are the top 5 guns used for sharpshooting? You’ll know what to look for in a sniper rifle or other guns for sharpshooting.
What Is a Rifle?
The ATF defines a rifle as a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and uses the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for every single pull of the trigger.
What Are the Different Types of Rifles?
Within the rifle category, you’ll find the bolt action rifle, lever-action rifle, semi-automatic rifle, and more. You will recognize a rifle by its long barrel and receiver, a stock designed to rest against the shoulder, and a rifled (or grooved) bore from which the projectile exits.
When Was the Rifle Invented?
In the early 19th century, grooves were cut into the interior surface of a barrel to help improve the accuracy of a standard musket. As these rifling grooves were used more and more, it was discovered that the spin these grooves put on the bullet made its trajectory much more flat and stable.
How to Shoot a Rifle
It’s important to remember to have the proper safety training and the guidance of an experienced shooter before you shoot any firearm. Rifles are no different. If you’re wondering how to shoot a rifle accurately, an expert instructor will show you exactly how to hold the rifle, which stance is best, and what to expect after you fire around. Before you shoot a rifle, make sure you feel comfortable and confident with your grip and aim. It can be an exciting and powerful experience when done the right way!
How to Clean a Rifle
If you own a rifle and would like to learn how to clean it properly, there are several resources and products that can assist you with that. You’ll need a cleaning rod, cleaning patches, solvent, rust protector, and other cleaning tools to clean a rifle the right way. Maintaining your rifle will ensure its accuracy and performance, as well as prevent any malfunctions. You want to make sure your rifle is unloaded before starting the cleaning process, which includes disassembling the rifle, checking for obvious issues, wiping down dust and grit, cleaning the barrel and other metal parts, rust prevention, lubrication, then reassembling the rifle.
What is a Shotgun?
A shotgun is similar to a rifle in that it has a long barrel and is designed to be shot from the shoulder. However, a shotgun usually has a smooth bore to reduce friction and the walls of the barrel are thinner because pressures are not as high. Shotgun shooting is usually done with moving targets in the air at shorter distances, while rifles are most popularly used for stationary targets.
Who Invented the Shotgun?
In the 1600s, the Germans designed a gun, the blunderbuss, which was a short musket that was fired from the shoulder. This is the first known shotgun. In the 1700s, the British used a similar weapon to hunt large birds. It wasn’t until 1776 that the term “shotgun” was used to differentiate a smoothbore gun from a rifled musket.
How to Load a Shotgun
For any generic pump-action shotgun, the loading process is the same:
- Use your offhand to hold the shotgun slide while placing the butt of the shotgun on a solid surface. The muzzle should be pointing upwards with the trigger facing away from you.
- Place the shell in the loading flap in from of the trigger guard with your dominant hand. Push the shell up with your thumb and you’ll hear it click into place. Keep loading shells until the magazine is fully loaded.
- Using a forceful yet smooth action, pull the slide back and forward to chamber a shell. The shotgun is now ready to fire.
- You may need to know how to load a shotgun for home defense, so it’s worth practicing if you’re not yet familiar with the process. Don’t worry too much about how to load a shotgun fast. It’s more important to learn the correct way to do it before focusing on speed.
How to Clean a Shotgun
The best way to clean a shotgun is similar to the process of cleaning a rifle. You will need to follow specific steps to properly disassemble the weapon, degrease the shotgun, clean out the barrel, lubricate the action, and tighten up any screws or hardware before reassembling the gun. Make sure you have proper tools and materials that are made specifically for cleaning a gun and follow all safety protocols during the process.
How to Shoot a Shotgun
If you’re ready, here are some shotgun shooting tips from our instructors:
- Prior to shooting a shotgun, make sure you have all the recommended safety equipment, the proper training, and the guidance of an experienced shooter.
- Shotguns are made for moving targets, so aiming is a little different than a rifle. Move the shotgun along the arc of your target and keep it moving even after you pull the trigger.
- Rather than carefully squeezing the trigger like you would a rifle, pull the trigger quickly when shooting a shotgun.
- Be prepared for recoil. This is why your stance and grip is so important.
Can You Shoot Shotguns at a Range?
Because of their design and intended use, shotguns can be shot at an outdoor shooting range. While at a public range, you should never shoot anything other than slugs. Buckshots and bird shots shoot a pattern of pellets that spread out as they head down. The shooting range should be designed to handle that and will let you know if it’s allowed. Otherwise, stick to slugs (single, solid projectiles) at a shooting range.
10 Things to Avoid Doing at a Shooting Range
Shooting can be a fun hobby and a thrilling recreational experience, but a firearm in the hands of a negligent, disrespectful, or untrained person can be dangerous. Practicing your shooting technique at a firing range is essential to gaining the skills to be proficient with your sidearm, but you will always need to be careful…
What is the Best Handgun?
There are so many types of handguns, so this is a tough question to answer. It really depends on personal preference. Some of the most popular handguns include the Glock 19, CZ 75B, S&W Shield, Browning Hi Power, and Heckler and Koch VP9, which are all a 9mm handgun caliber. This caliber is generally considered the best handgun for home defense and the best-concealed carry a handgun because it’s light, accurate, and powerful.
How to Hold a Handgun
You want to have a very firm grip on your handgun and practice your grip before shooting. How you hold your handgun can have a significant effect on your accuracy! Remember to keep the space between your thumb and trigger finger as high on the grip as possible. This will help with the recoil of the gun as you’re shooting. Use your other hand to cover the rest of the grip with your fingers pointing down at a 45-degree angle. Then, wrap your fingers around the grip tightly with your non-dominant thumb running along with the frame.
How to Shoot a Handgun
Don’t let some of these action films fool you – you shouldn’t be shooting a handgun sideways or at an angle, from your hip, or even with just one hand if you’re not an experienced shooter. The best way to shoot a handgun is by using the correct stance and grip to do it safely and accurately. You want to make sure your forearm is in line with the gun to absorb the recoil and use both hands to maximize your grip. When you are ready to pull the trigger, you should do so very slowly. If you jerk the trigger too hard and abruptly, it will affect your accuracy. The slower you pull the trigger, the better your shot will be.
How to Clean a Handgun
If your handgun is dirty or not properly lubricated, it may result in malfunctions when fired. The best way to clean a handgun is to maintain and lubricate the firearm as soon as possible after use.
First, you’ll need to partially disassemble the handgun so you can clean the major components, including the inside of the barrel. Use a bore brush and cleaning rod with the appropriate solvent to remove dust and buildup before applying lubricant. You can also apply some gun oil or metal preservative to the exterior of the handgun. Remember to always make sure your handgun is NOT loaded before cleaning.
What is a Revolver?
A revolver is a type of handgun that has a cylinder that contains multiple chambers, each holding a single cartridge. This cylinder revolves or spins with each cock of the hammer, which is why these handguns are referred to as revolvers. Revolver shooting is a popular activity for shooting enthusiasts, and you can definitely shoot a revolver at a shooting range. There are even revolvers that shoot multiple calibers, so you can add versatility to your collection while saving on the cost of ammunition.
How Does a Revolver Work?
Rather than feeding cartridges from a magazine as you’ll find with other handguns, a revolver has a cylinder that feeds rounds into the barrel before shooting. When the gun’s hammer is cocked, one of the chambers aligns with the barrel. Pulling the trigger then fires the round. Each round must be loaded individually into the chambers of the cylinder.
How to Shoot a Revolver
Most of the principles of shooting a revolver the right way are similar to that of shooting a handgun. You want to make sure you have a balanced stance and a good grip to absorb the gun’s recoil, and feel comfortable with the firearm and what to expect. You should squeeze the trigger slowly rather than jerking it, so you maintain good control of the revolver. The Range 702 carries a variety of revolvers, and our experienced instructors can show you exactly how to shoot them the right way.
How to Clean a Revolver
Generally, a universal gun kit will have everything you need to clean a revolver. The best way to clean a revolver is to prepare all your cleaning supplies and tools beforehand. Have everything ready to go on a clean flat surface before disassembling your weapon. You want to stay organized so you don’t miss any steps or mishandle any parts. There are rods made specifically to clean different calibers of revolvers, so it’s worth looking into them if you want to give your revolver a thorough cleaning.
What Is a Pistol?
According to the ATF, a pistol is a type of handgun that is designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile from one or more barrels when held in one hand. Generally, they are small enough to be fired using just one hand, which is why concealed carry pistols are a popular choice. It is a short-barrelled gun that includes several models of handguns, including revolvers. There are several types of pistols, including a single-shot pistol, multi-barrel pistol, and semi-automatic pistol. What is considered the best pistol really depends on personal preference.
How Does a Pistol Work?
How a pistol works depends on if you’re shooting a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver. As previously mentioned, a revolver contains a cylinder with multiple chambers that rotates to align the cartridge with the barrel. Pulling the trigger will fire one round. How a semi-automatic pistol works is a little different. There is a single chamber and barrel. With each pull of the trigger, the pistol fires a round, ejects the empty casing, and loads a new round into the chamber.
How to Shoot a Pistol
As with other firearms, shooting a pistol should be done in a controlled environment with all safety gear and precautions in place. You should have the proper stance and grip on the pistol, as well as the guidance of an experienced shooter. Although a pistol is defined as being designed to shoot with one hand, you should always use two hands when gripping your pistol. This will help with recoil and accuracy. Listen carefully to your instructor on how to grip the pistol before firing the gun. Pull the trigger slowly and smoothly using the pad of your index finger, with the rest of your hand remaining as still as possible, to fire the pistol.
How to Clean a Pistol
Like any other firearm, a pistol needs to be cleaned regularly, especially after being used, to maintain accuracy and optimal function. The best way to clean a pistol is similar to the process described for a handgun. You need to unload the gun, disassemble it, use special tools and materials to clean the inside of the barrel and other components, and lubricate the necessary part before reassembling. Make sure you have all your materials ready and are using a solid surface to clean your pistol.
What Is a Machine Gun?
The ATF has a very specific definition of a machine gun for the purposes of the National Firearms Act. According to the ATF, the term “machine gun” means:
- Any weapon which shoots is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger
- The frame or receiver of any such weapon.
- Any part designed and intended solely and exclusively or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, or
- Any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.
When Were Machine Guns Invented?
The first fully automatic machine gun was invented in the United States in 1884 by Hiram S. Maxim. It was the first firearm that was able to fire multiple rounds without having to reload. However, they depended on an operator pulling a crank to fire the bullets. The Maxim machine gun was used during the American Civil War. Before that was the Puckle Gun, which some consider being the first machine gun, invented by London lawyer, James Puckle, in 1718. It was an early automatic weapon, but could only fire nine shots per minute. Modern machine guns have come a long way since then, with the ability to fire multiple rounds with just the single pull of a trigger.
How Does a Machine Gun Work?
Most modern machine guns are rifles with long, grooved bores. The barrel receives the bullet as it’s propelled forward and the grooves spin the bullet so it fires straight when it exits. At one end of the barrel is a mechanism called the firing pin. When you pull the trigger, the firing pin hits the primer in the round and makes the bullet fire. This is how the “gun” part of a machine gun works.
Next is the “machine” part of a machine gun. When the bullet fires, it goes one way while the casing goes another. The energy produced by that bullet and casing is used to operate a spring bolt. As this bolt is pushed backward after the bullet fires, it extracts and ejects the casing. Then as the bolt hits the spring and starts moving forward again, it will force another bullet into the barrel and hit the firing pin. This cycle continues as long as the machine gun trigger is being pulled. This process generally applies to both heavy machine guns and light machine guns.
What is the Difference Between a Machine Gun and an Assault Rifle?
There are some key differences between a machine gun and an assault rifle. Most notably, a machine gun only has one firing option, which is a fully automatic fire. All assault rifles are considered to be machine guns because they have this setting. However, assault rifles can also have semi-automatic firing options. Assault rifles typically are fed through a magazine while some machine guns use belt-fed ammunition. Additionally, assault rifles fire an intermediate cartridge while a machine gun is made for medium to long ranges.
To have the full experience of shooting a machine gun without the extravagant price of purchasing one, check out the Machine Gun Vault at The Range 702. You can choose to shoot an individual gun or reserve a full shooting experience.
What Is the Difference Between Submachine Gun and Light Machine Gun?
The difference between a submachine gun vs. a machine gun is that it uses handgun ammunition. The iconic Tommy machine gun fires .45 caliber handgun rounds, making it a submachine gun. Other machine guns fire rifle rounds. A light machine gun is designed to be used by a single individual without needing the assistance of another person to fire the weapon.
Your Guide to Guns
If you’re brand new to guns (or need a refresher) and want a non-political and rational “for dummies” introduction, this guide is for you.
Maybe you thought you’d never even own a gun until recently. Or you fired your cousin’s shotgun that one time out at the farm 20 years ago and want a refresher before taking on the serious responsibility of gun ownership.
Millions of people of all walks of life have been buying firearms in record numbers as more rational people reject the culture war around this topic and recognize the need for self-defense is still very real, even in an ‘advanced’ society. Women, liberals, urbanites, and people of color are some of the fastest-growing groups of firearm owners, for example.
Regardless of politics or background, you are welcome here. We believe in modern and responsible gun ownership — and think our communities and civil debates will be much better off if people at least accurately understood the topic of firearms before arguing about or fearing them.
Critical gun safety rules
Before we talk about anything else, you must commit to these simple but very important rules:
- Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded until you personally know it isn’t.
- Only point the firearm at things you are willing to destroy.
- Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.
- Only put your finger on the trigger / inside the trigger guard when you are ready to fire.
Modern, quality firearms do not just fire on their own, even if dropped or bumped. 99.9% of gun accidents are caused by human error. By strictly following those rules, you don’t allow the circumstances where something bad can happen to begin with.
And it’s not the sort of thing where people get more relaxed with those rules as they become more experienced — in fact, the most advanced gun owners are typically the most stubborn about these rules because they know how important this framework is. That’s why you’ll hear old-timers angrily call out things like “muzzle discipline!” at the shooting range when someone new waves their barrel in the wrong direction.
It is your responsibility that firearms are safe, secure, and locked away from people or children who shouldn’t get to them. There are 1.7 million children in the US that live in homes with loaded but unlocked firearms. There are often serious legal punishments if you are careless with a gun, like leaving a loaded gun where a small child can access it.
The basic steps and gear you need
If you just want to go from “never had a gun” to “the bare minimum to protect me and be responsible”, this is a typical set of needed gear and steps to take:
- Read this guide and the best first guns guide so you have general ideas of what you want to end up with.
- Go to a local gun store or shooting range where you can work with a salesperson or instructor to try firing some weapons before choosing which to buy.
- Better yet, go with a trusted buddy who can loan you and teach you with their gear.
- When you buy, the firearm should come with a wire safety lock that loops through the chamber and magazine, making it physically incapable of firing. It may also come with a good-enough storage/carrying case you can use until buying a proper one.
- If you live in a household with at-risk people (kids, suicidal, handicapped), get a lockbox or gun safe to keep the gun and ammo out of the wrong hands.
- Buy ammo. You’ll use at least a few hundred rounds to practice with and get to know your weapon. It’s okay to buy cheaper rounds while you’re learning the ropes.
- Read the manual to learn how to make your specific firearm safe, how to load and unload it, whether the manufacturer suggests any steps for breaking it in, and how to perform a basic “field cleaning” (the maintenance you’ll do after a day of shooting).
- Buy a gun cleaning kit specific to your caliber.
- You’ll need an ear and eye protection (unless you wear sturdy glasses).
- Sign up for a local beginner’s class, which can be as simple as a one-hour lesson on a weekend afternoon. If you go to a shooting range outside of an organized class, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- You don’t need to become a gun-slingin’ marksman, but you do need to feel proficient. A chaotic, emotional emergency is not the time to be fumbling with a gun. Spend a few days learning the basics, and try to dust off the cobwebs once a year — shooting accurately and safely is a diminishable skill, meaning it needs a little practice once in a while.
How to buy a gun
You can buy in person or online. If you’re totally new to firearms, experts suggest you buy in-person because you can feel how different models fit in your hand and ask questions.
Some gun stores and shooting ranges allow you to rent various guns. That’s a great idea for new shooters so you can get a feel before you buy.
And if you’ve never shot before, don’t worry! Stores love new shooters because you’re a new customer that will keep buying new toys. Just say you’re new at this and looking for help.
Don’t be intimidated by going into a gun shop due to cultural differences. Even if you’re the most pride-flag-waving liberal with your Bernie/Warren 2020 shirt on, any store worth your business will treat you with the same respect as a cowboy in an NRA hat.
Thankfully, the vast majority of legit businesses conduct themselves this way. If they don’t, then say thank you, leave, and share your experience on review sites.
If you do buy online, buy something new from a legit source. There are websites where individuals can sell guns to each other (which still goes through a background check). There are bonafide people and good deals in those marketplaces, but as a new shooter, you probably don’t know enough yet to spot the really bad deals. And once you find out it’s probably too late. Guns do go through a lot of wear and tear, after all.
Different states and cities have wildly different laws about the types of guns you can buy, who can buy them, what you can do with them, and so on. Some places like San Francisco, Chicago, and D.C. try to ban most or all guns altogether.
Some general requirements:
- Over 21. Some areas allow people 18-21 to buy rifles and shotguns for hunting.
- Have not been convicted of a felony.
- Have not been declared mentally incompetent.
- Are not using medications or drugs that will impair your ability.
In almost all cases there will be a criminal background check. You’ll fill out a form and the store will run you through a federal database that usually only takes a few minutes to verify.
Cannabis: Note that even if you live in a state with legal marijuana, it’s still a crime at the federal level. These forms will ask if you are a “user of illegal drugs including marijuana.” There are no drug tests or verification.
Every gun has a serial number. Some states require you to register your gun and serial number in a government database.
Some states require a waiting or “cooling off” period. This means you pick your gun, pay for it, and do the background check but then you can’t take it home for a while. The political thinking is that if someone is angry and walks into a store to buy a gun, by making them wait 7-10 days to carry it home they will cool off and not commit whatever crime they were intending.
Basic ammo terms: bullets, calibers, and clips vs magazines
Since the whole point of a gun is to make a chunk (or chunks) of metal fly downrange and hit a target, we’ll start there, with the ammunition.
What many people call a bullet is actually called around. Like a “round” of drinks. But you’ll still hear people use the word bullet as slang for the whole cartridge.
A bullet is the specific part of the round that flies down the barrel and through the air to your target. During the firing process, other parts of the round are left behind and ejected as waste.
Other parts of the round are the casing, which is typically a brass, steel, or plastic housing that holds everything together. “Casing” and “brass” are the two most common lingo names.
Every round has gunpowder inside. That powder is ignited by a primer. That primer is a distinct circle in the middle of the base/rear on most ammo types. The popular and small .22 LR ammo, however, uses “rimfire” where the spark happens from smacking on the outer lip of the casing, rather than a distinct primer in the middle.
Shotgun ammunition is a little different because it fires lots of little projectiles instead of one bullet. That’s why shotguns are used in bird hunting — it’d be too hard to hit a flying bird with just one pellet, so you fire a bunch of pellets at once that spray out in a larger zone.
Shotgun ammunition is called a “shell,” or “shotshell”, and the bullets are called “shot.” But the principles are the same. You have a casing with a primer, gunpowder, and then the projectiles that are launched down the barrel.
Some types of guns — particularly revolvers and shotguns — are designed to hold a few rounds of ammo inside the main body. Other types hold the ammo in a separate, detachable housing that you load into the main body of the gun.
Revolvers don’t use detachable magazines because the ammo storage is built right in.
Those detachable containers are called magazines. Many people make the mistake of calling those clips, but a clip is a specific type of old-school housing you likely won’t ever use.
Most states in the US limit the size of magazines to 10, 15, or 30 rounds in a single container. Their thinking is that by limiting how many rounds are in a single magazine, it makes it harder for a criminal to shoot lots of bullets since they have to take the time to replace an empty magazine with a new one. But that also creates limitations in something like a home-defense situation, too.
Bullet sizes (ammunition types and calibers)
Let’s say you know you want to get a pistol. One of the next big decisions is deciding what kind and size of ammunition you want to shoot.
Since the whole point is to sling metal downrange at a target, what metal you’re slinging can have an impact on everything else: how far it can go, how fast, what kind of sound it makes, what kinds of materials it’s meant to punch through, what the kickback feels like on your arm and shoulder, etc.
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The way people identify one size versus another is by “caliber”, which is usually defined by the diameter of the casing. eg. a .308 round is wider than a .223.
There are other measurements that might matter as well, such as the length of the casing. So sometimes you’ll see a label like “9×19” which means the diameter is 9 and the length is 19. But usually, the length is standardized and implied — eg. people know that a .223 is always 2.26 inches long, so the ammo box only needs to say “.223”.
Unfortunately, it won’t always be measured in millimeters or even follow a logical pattern. Because America is stubborn and refuses to join the rest of the world, sometimes things are measured in imperial and sometimes in metric. You’ll eventually learn the equivalent matches, like how the .223 inch imperial measurement is essentially the same as the 5.56 mm metric measurement — that’s the caliber the NATO military organization has standardized around so they can share supplies across different countries and units.
Sometimes the differences seem small, like the 9 millimeters round vs. the 10 millimeters round. But these are precision-built machines with exploding parts, so every fraction of a millimeter or extra grain of gunpowder matters.
There will often be a word or name after the numerical part of the caliber, like “.223 Remington.” For example, Remington is a gun company and designed the popular .223 Remington round used in AR-15s. But the specs are open source. You don’t have to use that round in a Remington gun and plenty of non-Remington companies now make the .223 round.
Shotgun ammo sizes (gauges) work differently
Shotgun ammo types are simpler in that there are fewer to choose from (only about eight). But the naming convention is often more confusing than a standard pistol or rifle bullets, and in many ways is a leftover from before the industrial revolution.
By far, the two most common shotgun sizes are 12 gauge and 20 gauge. A 12 gauge is bigger than a 20, however.
Imagine you start with a one-pound block of lead and want to make spherical pellets to use as shot in a shotgun shell. The bigger you make each ball, the fewer balls you’ll be able to make from a single one-pound block. That’s why the gauge number goes down as the shot size goes up.
Another way to think about it: it would take 20 lead balls with the same diameter as the barrel of a 20-gauge shotgun to weigh one pound.
There are other words involved in shotshell labeling, such as “Buckshot” or “Birdshot.” We go deeper into this in other guides, but the general idea is the label means what they’re meant to hunt. Taking down a buck (deer) takes more force than a bird, so buckshot is configured differently than birdshot. If you shoot a methed-up home intruder with birdshot, for example, they will bleed but might not be hurt enough to go down.
Types of guns
- Pistols/revolvers/handguns are small enough to be held and fired with one hand (although you should use two). Good for close targets up to 25 yards away (23 meters), but can be effective up to 50 yards (46 meters).
- Shotguns typically require two hands and are held against your shoulder. You might have seen them use by hunters or people who shoot clay targets (the sport where people yell “pull!”) Good for targets up to 50 yards away (46 m), possibly up to 75 yards (68 m).
- Rifles are large, usually requiring both hands and being held against your shoulder. Good for targets up to a mile away (1.6 km), although the most common models are meant for 100-400 yards (91-365 m).
The type of ammo used is typically dependent on the type of gun. Shotgun ammo is always limited to just shotguns. Most pistol and rifle ammo is separate, although there’s a few options that are used in both types.
Since the ammo and goals/role are unique for each category, this is often one of the first decisions new gun owners have to make. Some people might choose a pistol because it’s cheap, simple, and easy to carry, for example, while others might choose a rifle because it’s more versatile and powerful.
Basic gun terms/parts
It’s easy to get in the weeds on all of the little parts and names, but here’s the big stuff you should know as you learn more, make your first purchase, and navigate local laws:
- Stock is the part that extends back towards your shoulder, with a “butt” on the end where it makes contact with your body.
- The barrel is the portion from where the unfired bullet sits through the muzzle opening where it flies out.
- Chamber is the spot where an unfired but loaded bullet sits, waiting.
- Hammer, striker and firing pin are the pieces that strike the cartridge primer, igniting the gunpowder.
- Rear and front sights, which are built into the frame, versus optics/scopes that are added separately.
- Rails are parts of the frame that make it easy to attach accessories.
- Magazine and magazine well (where the magazine slides and clicks into). A magazine release is a button you press to drop the magazine out from the frame.
- The grip is where you hold with your dominant hand. A foregrip is an accessory or part of the frame in front of the trigger where you place your off-hand for added stability.
Local gun laws are part of why it’s handy to know these names. Instead of making laws that focus on bad people and what causes them to do bad things, many governments instead regulate the specific mechanical pieces and designs for everyone.
For example, in most places, you are not allowed to own a rifle with a barrel less than 16” unless you go through special background checks. And part of what makes the legal difference between a rifle with a short barrel and a pistol with a long barrel is the buttstock — if a gun has a buttstock you hold to your shoulder (creating three points of contact vs. a pistol’s two), it’s generally classified as a rifle and subject to those laws.
Similarly, some places limit or prohibit the use of vertical foregrips or detachable magazines. So if you find yourself in a place like California, you’ll need to learn how local laws regulate “evil features.”
How guns work
Guns work similarly to a car engine:
- Fuel is put into a small enclosed space (the piston-cylinder).
- The enclosed fuel is then ignited by the spark plugs.
- Explosions create gas and energy that wants to rapidly expand outwards.
- But since it’s an enclosed space, where does that gas/energy go?
- Engines are designed so that there’s only one direction that energy/gas can go — by pushing the piston away from the explosion.
- The force pushing the piston away is what eventually turns the axle and tires.
That “create an explosion in a tight space with only one way to escape” model is the same for firearms.
When you pull the trigger, a mechanical striker or firing pin hits the primer on the bottom/back of a round, sparking the explosion inside the casing. The explosion pushes against the back of the bullet (or the wad in a shotshell), forcing it to separate from the casing.
That energy keeps building as it continues pushing down the barrel. That’s why you might see “muzzle flashes” or small flames coming out of the end of the barrel as the bullet escapes — that’s the leftover gas quickly burning off now that it has room.
In fact, that’s why bullet speed and barrel length are often correlated. The more time a bullet and the gas/energy behind it are kept in that one-way-escape tube, the more time the bullet has to gain speed (and stability) before the energy is dispersed in the air.
Single-shot vs. semi-auto vs. full auto
What happens after the explosion pushes the bullet/shot out of the barrel? There has to be some kind of reset to eject the leftover casing and make room for a new round to fire. How that happens is the difference between labels like semi-auto or full-auto.
Think about the old-school guns used back in the 1700-the 1800s. You’ve seen in movies how people would fire one shot, then take an absurd amount of time to reload the gun. Fire, manually reload fire, manually reload, repeat.
Those are single-shot guns. The gun doesn’t “do” anything else once it’s fired. You have to do a physical movement with your hand to eject the old round and bring in a new one.
There are still guns like that today. The main benefit is better accuracy since there are fewer moving pieces during the explosion, which should (in theory) help keep the muzzle more stable. That’s why most precision rifles are single-shot “bolt-action” guns.
In a car engine, the momentum gained from the first explosion is what helps the machine rotate around and reset itself for the next cycle.
The fundamental innovation that took us from 1800s-style guns to modern weapons is similar. Instead of letting the gas-only escape in one direction (out the barrel), designers add a second escape path in the opposite direction. Newton’s Third Law of Physics says every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So the same force pushing the bullet towards the front is also pushing backward towards your body.
Semi-automatic and fully-automatic guns take advantage of that rearward force, using it to perform other mechanical actions such as physically ejecting the just-fired waist casing. So it becomes a loop that feeds and resets itself every time a bullet is fired.
This brings us to semi-auto versus full-auto:
- Semi-automatics reset themselves after firing around, but then they sit there, waiting for you to pull the trigger again.
- Full-automatics will keep cycling through the loop as long as the trigger is held down. Similar to how your car engine keeps cycling as long as you have your foot pressed down.
A well-trained person using a semi-auto gun in ideal conditions can fire up to 100 rounds per minute. In reality, you might max out at 40-50 rounds per minute (and even then you’ll be limited by magazines etc.)
Full-auto guns can shoot hundreds or even thousands of rounds per minute — just like a car engine that can cycle thousands of times per minute.
But that’s why full-auto guns are illegal basically everywhere. If you have to pull the trigger for each bullet, that theoretically makes things ‘safer’ than if you could just squeeze once and send a lot of bullets firing very quickly.
There are some minor exclusions for older grandfathered weapons (eg. built before 1986), but you have to pay a huge amount of money, go through years-long background checks, your home can be searched at any time without a warrant, you can’t cross state lines without permission, etc. It’s extraordinarily rare for a full-auto weapon to be used in a crime.
Single action vs. double action
Cocking a gun is the process of putting the hammer or striker (basically the same thing) in a spring-loaded position, so that when you pull the trigger, that hammer/striker can fly forward to hit the ammo primer and cause a spark.
So there are two mechanical actions here: spring-loading the striker, and then pulling the trigger to release it.
A weapon will be classified as a single action or double action based on whether or not you can do both of those actions in one mechanical motion, or if you have to use your hand to physically cock the gun before pulling the trigger.
Classic revolvers have the hammer protruding out the back, so you can use your thumb to cock the weapon. This gif shows a single action:
A double-action firearm is one where you can both cock and release the hammer/striker with just a trigger pull. The first part of the trigger pull cocks the hammer, while the end of the pull releases it. That means you can take a gun from uncocked to cocked and fire with just one finger pull.
Notice how this double-action trigger cocks the hammer back before firing it
For most of the weapons, you’ll use, this only matters for the first trigger pull (taking the gun from cold to hot) because the semi-auto reset cycle will cock the trigger for your follow-up shots. That means you might have a double-action gun that uses on the first pull but then becomes a SA on the following pulls.
Assault rifles, assault weapons, and AR15s vs AK47s
We’re specifically calling out assault rifles and AR-15s because there is a ton of disinformation in gun conversations (both innocent and intentional).
First, there is no real definition for an “assault weapon” — it’s simply a made up term people use for guns they think are more dangerous than others. Even though two different models might use the same type of bullet that has the same type of power, speed, and capacity, weapons that look like they’re from the military or an action movie often look scarier to people who don’t understand. They’re sometimes referred to as “black guns” because they tend to be a solid black color and made entirely of metal, instead of a more traditional wood design, and that somehow looks more dangerous.
It’s true that some guns have more destructive potential than others. A small revolver, for example, is not designed for large-scale self-defense the way an AR-15 is. But people often let perceptions override logic.
“Assault rifle” does have a definition, but almost everyone misuses the label. In reality, an assault rifle must have certain criteria, such as “select fire” functionality that lets the user switch from semi-auto to full-auto mode — but those features are already very strictly controlled by law and mostly left to the military and law enforcement, so very few civilians actually have an assault rifle.
A civilian AR-15 is a specific type of semi-automatic rifle. The AR does not stand for Assault Rifle. It actually stands for ArmaLite, the company that first designed them. Over time it became the most popular rifle platform in the western world and hundreds of companies now make their own variations of the AR-15 design. You can buy an AR-15 part from one company and it will usually work with an AR-15 part from another company.
So the name AR-15 has become one of those ubiquitous names like Tylenol or Xerox, and it morphed over time to mean any rifle based on that design. Many ignorant media reports will even refer to “scary” guns as an AR-15 even though the specific model is not even in the same category.
An AK-47 is basically the Russian equivalent of the AR-15. It has some design differences (the parts are not interchangeable) but fulfills essentially the same role. The AK-47 was cheap to make and maintain, which was important in the Soviet Union. It became very popular in the former Soviet countries and has since spread on the black market to be the weapon of choice for Middle Eastern terrorists, African warlords, etc.
Suppressors and “silencers”
What movies call “silencers” are actually called suppressors — mostly because you can’t make an explosion silent, you can only muffle it.
Remington 700 single-shot rifle with a suppressor on end of Barrell
Adding a suppressor (or “can” in slang) to a firearm does not make it whisper silent. At best, a suppressor will reduce the overall noise to a level that won’t medically hurt your ears and it eliminates the sonic boom created by some faster-than-sound bullets.
For example, many people’s “bedside gun” uses a naturally-quieter weapon/caliber paired with a suppressor. That way if you have to fend off a home invader, you don’t blow out your and your family’s eardrums or have to rely on putting on earmuffs in the moment.
In yet another example of the disconnect between reality and the fear/media/legislation around firearms, suppressors are heavily regulated in the US under NFA laws because of this perception that suppressors somehow make the public less safe. This comes in part from movie tropes about stealthy assassins with whisper-quiet pew pews, even though there are no data to suggest can correlate with violence.
Contrast that with Europe — which generally has much stricter gun laws than the US — where you can just buy a suppressor over the counter without any fuss.
That’s because the only real value of a can is to make shooting safe on the ears. That’s why some in the US Congress are trying to pass the Hearing Protection Act.
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