Types Of Shotguns And Shotgun Safety

A shotgun is a long type of gun built to sit on a shooter’s shoulder and fire many smaller shots, instead of fewer larger bullets. Also referred to as a fowling piece, a shotgun is best used to shoot small targets that are closer in range due to the fact that the smaller shots it fires have a limited range, as well as a limited ability to penetrate the target.

Another advantage of the shotgun is that it gives shooters some leeway when it comes to aiming the gun. As a result, shooters can shoot a number of shots within close range to the target, instead of having to aim the shotgun directly at the target.

Keep in mind that one of the features that distinguish different types of guns is the size of bullets they are built to fire. In general, while smaller shots travel faster and can be shot more frequently, larger bullets penetrate a target further.

Types of Shotguns

The manner in which a gun is reloaded and the number of barrels it has are two of the primary factors that distinguish different types of shotguns from each other. Here is a brief outline of the various differences between types of shotguns:

  • Break-action: As the most traditional type of shotgun, the break-action shotgun refers to double-barreled shotguns that have either side-by-side or stacked barrels. These can be used for both hunting and sport shooting (i.e. shooting clay targets).
  • Pump-action: Also referred to as riot-guns, pump-action shotguns have a sliding arm on the underbelly of the barrel. By sliding this arm in and out, a shooter removes the shell that has just been shot and reloads the barrel with a fresh shot. These types of shotguns are typically used by police and other law enforcement agents.
  • Semi-automatic: Also known as autoloaders, semi-automatic shotguns have a faster firing rate due to their automatic function of unloading spent shells and reloading fresh bullets into the gun. Hunters typically use these shotguns.

Whether you are buying your first shotgun or are looking to add to your gun collection, think about how you plan on using the shotgun before you run out and buy one. Within these broad categories of shotguns are a number of nuanced models that are built for specific purposes. Thinking about your intended use of the shotgun will help you select the right model for your needs.

Shotgun Safety

While firing shotguns can be a heart-pumping, adrenaline-rushing experience, make sure that you and anyone using your shotgun understands the rules of shotgun safety before picking up a gun. Many of the tragic shotgun accidents that occur each year could have been preventing with the use of proper safety techniques.

Here is an outline of some of the rules of shotgun safety:

  • Always wear the appropriate protective gear, including glasses and earplugs.
  • Avoid shooting at water or other types of hard surfaces, as this can cause ricochets or a spray of bullet fragments.
  • Be sure to properly clean and maintain your shotgun, as firing with barrel obstructions can injure the shooter.
  • Never point a shotgun at anything other than the target you intend on shooting.
  • When handling a shotgun, always treat it as though it were loaded.
  • When not in use, store your shotgun in a safe place that isn’t accessible to children.

To ensure that you and your loved ones completely understand what shotgun safety entails, you may consider taking a safety course from an expert. Hunting clubs and firing ranges are good places to learn about shotgun safety.