Firearms Basics and First Look at Gun Deals

A collection of firearms from popular gun brands.

If you are hear searching for the best deals on tactical gear, then you may have a long history with firearms.  If so, much of this article will likely be knowledge that you have already acquired over your years of experience with guns.  But for newer entrants into the world of guns, we hope that some of this basic firearms education may be helpful.  We will just proverbially dip the toe into the wide range of ways to save on guns, shooting supplies, ammo and firearms accessories after, and plan to return to the topic often in order to provide you with great ways to save on shooting gear and other tactical equipment related to shooting, survival, and self defense.

Starting with the most basic question, “what is a gun?” in its simplest form. A gun is most simply described as a long-range weapon that fires solid projectiles, such as bullets, from a tube called the gun barrel. Bullets are generally solid projectiles that fly freely. Projectile propulsion is effected pneumatically by a high gas pressure contained within the barrel tube, caused either by quick exothermic combustion of propellants or by a high gas pressure confined within the barrel tube, depending on the design. The high-pressure gas pushes and propels the projectile down the length of the tube, providing enough launch velocity to enable its continued journey towards the target until the propelling gas stops working on it after it exits the muzzle.

A common point of concern or hesitation for those without much exposure to guns is “There are so many guns! How do I understand the different types, and which gun is right for me?” There are literally hundreds of possible answers to that question, but keeping it simple, most guns fall into 1 of 3 large groupings: Rifles, Shotguns, or Handguns (aka Pistols).

RIFLE BASICS: A RIFLE is a long-barreled weapon with a helical pattern of grooves etched into the bore wall called “rifling” that allows for precise shooting. In line with their emphasis on accuracy, rifles are normally intended to be gripped with both hands and braced strongly against the shooter’s shoulder through a buttstock for stability when shooting. Rifles are frequently employed in battle, law enforcement, hunting, and target shooting, among other sports. The elevated portions of a barrel’s rifling are known as “lands,” and they make contact with the projectile and apply torque on it as it travels down the bore, rotating it around its longitudinal axis. The spin of the projectile stays after it leaves the barrel, providing gyroscopic stability to the projectile due to angular momentum conservation, which prevents yawing and tumbling in flight. As a result, longer, more aerodynamically effective bullets can be used, enhancing range and accuracy. The invention of rifles greatly enhanced smooth bore muskets. The widespread acceptance of rifles coincided with the adoption of ammunition and breech-loading in the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, soldiers were supplied with high-powered cartridges that could reliably shoot across vast distances. Rifles are currently the most prevalent firearm in general usage for hunting, with the exception of bird hunting. For a long time, civilian shooters have favored military-style rifles. If you are new to shooting or unfamiliar with long-guns, there are likely many things you still want to know, and we will try to cover those in the future. A few of those questions near the front of your mind may include: What does AR stand for? What is the best way to clean a rifle? Can a rifle be an automatic weapon? What is the best brand of rifle?  While we will revisit those, before moving on to the other form of long-guns, perhaps you want to check out a few sites of popular rifle brands, such as Remington which is a very common rifle and shotgun brand, and Daniel Defense, which I personally love.  Daniel Defense is not as well known as some other brands, but they feature great rifles at a mid-range price point.

SHOTGUN BASICS: A shotgun is a long-barreled weapon that fires either a shell, which is a straight-walled cartridge that releases a number of little pellet-like spherical sub-projectiles known as shot, or a single solid projectile known as a slug. Smoothbore shotguns, which have no rifling on the inner wall of the gun barrel, are the most common, but rifled barrels for shooting slugs are also available. Shotguns come in a variety of calibers and gauges, ranging from 5.5 mm to 5 cm, with the most popular bores being 12-gauge and 20-gauge. Nearly all shotguns are considered breechloaders, and they can be single-barreled, double-barreled, or combination weapons. Single-shot and repeating shotguns, as well as pistols, are available in a number of action designs. Shot pellets are driven indirectly via wadding within a shot shell and scatter when they escape the muzzle end of the barrel, which is usually choked to control projectile scatter. This means that each shotgun discharge would create a cluster of impact locations rather than a single point of impact. Due to their lack of spin stability and generally inferior aerodynamic form, shot pellets are less precise and decelerate rapidly in flight due to drag, giving shotguns limited effective ranges compared to most rifle ammunition and handguns. Shotguns are great for shooting fast-flying birds and other agile small game species without overpenetration or stray bullets to nearby bystanders and objects. If you would like to browse a few popular shotgun brands, consider checking out Mossberg, a very popular shotgun brand, or Benelli, a high-end Italian shotgun manufacturer whose shotguns combine accuracy, precision, and artistic craftsmanship.

HANDGUN BASICS: A handgun can also be referred to as a pistol, and is a short-barreled weapon that may be carried and fired with one hand (but experts suggest using two hands to fire a pistol whenever possible). The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. The history and popularity of handguns began when Samuel Colt patented the Colt Paterson, the first practicable mass-produced revolver, in the 1830s. It was immediately adopted as a typical defensive weapon due to its ability to fire five bullets in a row. The Mauser C96 “Broomhandle,” the first mass-produced and commercially popular semi-automatic weapon, was invented in the 1890s by Paul Mauser. It uses the recoil energy of one shot to reload the next. Modern handguns have come a long way and have grown in popularity over the years.  The moist common handgun caliber is 9mm, with other popular rounds including .45 Auto, .45 ACP, .38 Special, and .40 S&W. We will dive into much more on these, and tips for saving money on handguns, which can range from a price around $100 (we would not recommend buying an inexpensive gun like this – you get what you pay for), to several thousand dollars each, or even tens of thousands of dollars for rare or extremely high end handguns, including collectible pistols.  One of the most popular handgun brands on the market today is Glock, which you may want to view if you are not familiar with handguns. A handgun manufacturer that makes a very different type of pistol than Glock is Kimber, who is traditionally known for its high-quality yet affordable 1911 handguns, primarily chambered in .45 caliber, but now available for a wide range of ammunition calibers.  You may want to compare and contrast the two to get a slightly better understanding of the wide range of pistols on the market.

Handguns, rifles and shotguns can be very expensive, so we are always looking for ways to save.  Here is one collection that we’ve found offering Gun Deals, Ammunition Discounts, Gun Cashback, and many more ways to save on shooting supplies.  They feature a selection of gun manufacturers, firearms retailers, and other options to save on shooting gear, while also featuring more specialized offerings for deals on hunting weapons and more great tactical supplies elsewhere on their site. Finding collections of shooting-focused brands with firearms deals and Cashback on guns curated in one place is rare, so we are likely to revisit often and provide updates on new offerings and more ways to save!

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