Chapter 2 – Types of Guns & Firearms

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Pistols, Rifles & 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.

Below, we have an listing and breakdown of the most popular types of guns:

  • Rifles
  • Shotguns
  • Handguns
  • Revolvers
  • Pistols
  • Machine Guns
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From pistols to rifles and single-action pump to fully-automatic, The Range 702 in Las Vegas has all types of firearms for you to try out on their indoor shooting range.


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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 a round. 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.

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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 smooth bore 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 birdshots shoot a pattern of pellets that spread out as they head downrange. 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.

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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 handgun because it’s light, accurate, and powerful. The most powerful handgun is considered by many to be the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, which you can shoot at The Range 702.

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 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.

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Machine GUns

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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 to be 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 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. 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. Looking for a machine gun range in Las Vegas? Check out The Range 702!

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Go to Chapter 3: Gun Safety Rules

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Firearms

If you are new to shooting guns, Chapter 1 of the Ultimate Shooting Range Guide gives a breakdown of the parts of a typical handgun, and a brief history of guns. Some topics you will learn:

  • How Guns Work
  • Parts of a Gun and Their Functions
  • Differences Between Firearms and Handguns
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Chapter 2: Types of Firearms

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. Chapter 2 of the Ultimate Shooting Range Guide is a breakdown the most popular types of guns:

  • Rifles
  • Shotguns
  • Handguns
  • Revolvers
  • Pistols
  • Machine Guns
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Chapter 3: Gun Safety Rules

The essential part of your shooting range experience is learning gun safety rules. If you’re not yet familiar with these rules your range safety officer or instructor will go over these in-depth. Chapter 3 covers everything for a safe and exciting experience, including:

  • Fundamentals of Shooting
  • Firearm Safety Rules
  • How to Talk to Your Kids About Gun Safety
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Chapter 4: Shooting Range Equipment

In Chapter 4 we cover the various types of gear and equipment you might see and bring to a indoor shooting range. Some of the items covered include:

  • Additional magazines
  • Hearing protection
  • Protective eyewear
  • Gun cleaning kit
  • Targets
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Chapter 5: Outdoor Shooting

Chapter 5 of the Ultimate Shooting Range Guide covers the benefits of shooting at an outdoor range plus how to build your own outdoor range. Topics covered include:

  • What is an Outdoor Shooting Range?
  • How to Build an Outdoor Shooting Range
  • Where Is an Outdoor Shooting Range Near Me?
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Chapter 6: Indoor Shooting

Many shooters prefer to shoot at an indoor gun range because they are protected from the elements and it’s great for target practice. In Chapter 6, you will learn:

  • How Do Indoor Shooting Ranges Work?
  • Are Indoor Shooting Ranges Safe?
  • What Are Exotic Firearms at the Range?
  • What Are Safety Requirements at Indoor Shooting Ranges?
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Chapter 7: CCW Classes

Chapter 7 of the Ultimate Shooting Range Guide covers the all the need-to-know for getting your concealed carry permit (CCW), including what to bring, and great firearms to consider purchasing for concealed carry.

  • What is a CCW Class?
  • Can You Take a CCW Class Before 21?
  • How Long is a CCW Class?
  • What To Bring to a CCW Class
  • How to Get CCW Permit