The Different Types of Handguns – Which One Do You Prefer?

The Dictionary defines the word “Handgun” as “any firearm that can be held and fired with one hand; a revolver or a pistol”. The handgun has been around for a very long time. I wanted to share a general overview of some different types of handguns. I could easily write an entire book about the history of handguns, but today’s post is going to concentrate on five types of handguns. I hope you enjoy the read and please don’t forget to share your comments at the end of this post telling us which type you prefer.

The Single Shot Pistol

This handgun is used a variety of ways and comes in all sizes. Some are very easy to stick in a pocket for a backup gun, and others can be used to take hunting. They make for easy manuvering in the woods while you are trying to bag that big buck you captured on your trail cam. Not only that, but you can stick it in your holster while you are dragging that buck you saw on the trail cam out of the woods. This type of handgun needs to be reloaded each time after you pull the trigger. You can easily add many types of accesories to these, including rifle scopes. You can fire just about any size caliber of bullet through one of these. The weight can be intimidating, but the higher the size of the bullet, the happier you’ll be with the weight. If you’re looking for speed and high capacity, you probably won’t find it here, but if you are looking for a fun gun to take to the range or fill the freezer with big game meat, then this is a great choice for the job.

Multiple Barrel Pistol

There have been many different varieties of these made throughout history. The earliest versions were designed like a revolver, but instead of the just the cylinder revolving when fired, there were multiple barrels and the cylinder were one piece and the whole unit revolved when fired. The more modern multiple barrel handguns are also referred to as “double barreled” because there are two barrels that lay on top of each other. The trigger mechanism is designed so that one barrel is fired first then the other when the trigger is pulled again. These are easily concealed and make great back up guns.


The revolver is probably one the most recognizable handgun. We’ve seen them in the movies, especially the westerns where the sheriff usually saved the day with his trusty six-shooter. Those weresingle action revolvers with a rotating cylinder. The hammer had to be pulled back each time in order for it to fire the bullet. They usually had a six shot capacity. These are still made even today. Then “Dirty Harry” came along and his revolver helped make his day. The more modern revolvers come in many different sizes and the lower calibers, like the .22 Long Rifle bullet, even offer up to a 10 shot capacity. Though the revolver lacks capacity and reload speed compared to the popular semi-automatic handguns, it makes up for it with its dependability and the many different calibers it can fire.

Semi-Automatic Pistol

This type of handgun has been around just as long as the revolver has. I personally think public popularity increased in the 80’s thanks to John McClane defending his wife Holly Gennaro’s co-workers at the Nakatomi Plaza. It usually offers higher capacity by way of a magazine that is inserted into the grip of the handgun. Some magazines offer as much as 100 rounds/bullets in one magazine. The ability to easily carry more rounds is probably one of the main reasons police departments in the United States started to issue these types of handguns to their officers in the late 60’s. With extra features, like safeties, slide locks, magazine releases, slides, and all the springs and pins that keep them together, makes maintaining semi-automatic pistols more involved than the revolver. Don’t be intimidated though, because they have been designed to be taken apart as easy as possible. The more you take one of these apart the more you’ll become a pro at it. I think these types of handguns are truly engineering marvels. They are extremely versatile and can be used in almost any situation.

Automatic Handguns

It is called “automatic” because once the trigger is pressed, it will continue to fire until the trigger is released. Some models will also fire in “bursts”, usually three rounds at a time. This will make the handgun more controllable and accurate compared to firing it fully automatic. This type of handgun is not very practical, and in fact, is heavily restricted by the United States Government. You would need to submit an application filled with a lot of details as to who you are, the reason you are purchasing the automatic weapon, and what you’re favorite color is. Ok, well maybe not your favorite color. You will also have to include a one-time cost of the transfer tax that will deplete your bank account by $200. At least the ATF is nice enough to return your $200 if your application is denied. Even though this type of handgun doesn’t have many practical uses, it would be an absolute blast to take to the range, even for just one day.


So there you have it. A brief overview of five different types of handguns. They are all works of art as far as I’m concerned. I like them all, but do prefer the semi-automatic over the rest. I’m licensed to carry concealed and I always have my handgun with me where I can legally carry. It’s the most comfortable option for me and I don’t have to sacrifice capacity. The bottom line though is whichever one you prefer you need to practice as much as you can to become proficient with it. So which one do you prefer? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. Thank you!

16 Replies to “The Different Types of Handguns – Which One Do You Prefer?”

  1. I love having having some firearms around and love shooting different types even more. It’s great to see information about the different types all in one article. Thanks.

    1. Hi Rick! Yes, it’s always a good time when going to the range to shoot different firearms. The local gun club I belong to has “Good Fellowship” nights every Thursday. Not only do you get to shoot different guns, but you get to hang out with and meet some great people. Thanks for the comment sir!

  2. The thought of having a gun scares me. But from the look of it, I like the Revolver. It looks fit enough to carry around with a license though.

    1. Hi Peter! I can understand that. In the wrong hands, guns are very scary, but once you educate yourself, take some classes, and actually take one to the range and shoot one, you will find that it is an extremely exciting hobby. My father gave me my first handgun, it was a Ruger SP101 .357 Mag Revolver. Reliable and fun to shoot. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share!

  3. Nice article and pleasant website to look at. I too am a gun enthusiast. Being from Texas, I can’t pass up a good deal on almost any type of gun. Not a collector, but a shooter. I also use a semi for my choice of carry when I can.

    1. Thank you Don! Boy do I miss Texas. I was there quite a few times while in the military. Great State for sure! I hear ya, I drive the wife crazy, mainly because I usually have to trade a gun in to get a different gun. 🙂 I’m more of a shooter as well, but hopefully I will be able to build a nice inventory soon. 😉 Thanks for the visit and sharing your preference!

  4. Hi Mike
    Great article, for me I would choose the Glock 19. Good choice?
    By the way I love Die Hard, the first one is so good. 🙂

    1. Hi Nick! Yes, very good choice! I’ve had several Glocks, the G23 .40S&W, G26 9mm, G21 .45acp, and I just traded in two of my older handguns for a Glock 19 Gen 5. First time I’ve owned one and I love it! I’m a leftie so I really appreciate the ambidextrous slide release. Review to be posted soon 🙂 I have all of the Die Hard movies, classic series! Thank you very much for visiting and commenting!

  5. What an interesting and informative post. Several years ago, our entire family really enjoyed shooting and took some classes together. Our son is still really into guns, and enjoys several different kinds, including the older classics. I will be sure to direct him to your great site. Thanks for taking the time to write this!

    1. Thank you Shelli! Yes, classes are a great thing especially when the whole family takes them. I was educated at a young age. My father was a police officer so there were always guns in the house. Great to hear your son is still into guns. I will be adding more content on a regular basis. Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting!

  6. I’ve been collecting guns all of my life and my family has been collecting them for over 250 years. I have muskets from the Revolutionary War and Civil War. These are my two favorite because these guns were actually used in those wars. Just imagine who held those guns. My favorite modern firearm is the 357 Magnum. It is a powerful and compact weapon and will not let you down! I loved your article and saved your website to my favorites.


    1. Hello Jack! Wow! That is amazing to have all that family history! I can see why those two rifles are your favorites. Wouldn’t it be great if you could meet the soldiers that carried those rifles? Brave soldiers to say the least. I was in Gettysburg, PA two years ago for work and it was one of the most interesting places I’ve been. A lot of original rifles and military artifacts on display. I wanted to stay longer. 🙂 My father gave me my first handgun, a Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum and you’re right, that caliber is very powerful. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your comment!  

  7. Hey Mike,
    I love guns.
    In my movie blog website I discuss a lot about guns used in action flicks.
    I didn’t know that in ‘Dirty Harry’ Clint uses the revolver you describe.
    Thanks for the insightful piece.

    1. Hi Asen,

      Welcome! I love your site and recommend everyone to go check it out! Yes, Dirty Harry used a Smith & Wesson Model 29 which is a .44 Magnum revolver…a hand cannon to say the least! Thank you very much for stopping by and don’t be a stranger. 🙂

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