Difference Between Gun and Rifle (With Table)

Globally every country has its military, which is always ready to fight with the invaders anytime, anywhere. Combating soldiers require weapons for self-safety and for stopping invaders from reaching their territories. Thus for that purpose, many types of weapons have been build-up such as – army tanks, rifles, shotguns, guns, missiles, grenades, etc.

Gun vs Rifle

The difference between Gun and Rifle is that Guns are made up of a tubed body and fire on the target with the help of pneumatic force, while Rifles are made up of helical loops inside, which are responsible for the stable release of the bullet into the target.

Guns are not only used to launch solid objects such as bullets or artillery shells but can also project a liquid (such as – spray guns, water guns/cannons, flamethrowers, etc.), gas (a light-gas gun) and is also capable of projecting charged particle such as plasma guns. Also, the projectile path of the gun depends on its type but is affected by the pneumatic force. 

Rifles are mainly built for hunting and are advised to hold by both hands with the support of the shooter’s shoulder to avoid injuries after firing. It is made up of a helical pattern of loops called rifling. Additionally, it can be used for self-defense, in warfare front, also in shooting sports.

Comparison Table Between Gun and Rifle

Parameters of ComparisonGunRifle
Definition A Gun is defined as a device in the shape of a tube that launches a projectile with the help of pneumatic force.The rifle is defined as a device with long barrels which, with the help of helical loops present in it, helps to target with a stable projectile launch.
Barrels ShortLong
Support It does not require the support of the shoulders.It requires the support of both hand, one in front and back, put on the shoulder.
Uses It is used by artillery, combats, etc.Hunting
ExamplesTank Guns, Machine Guns, HowitzersAK-47, M16, Air Rifles

What is Gun?

Guns are made up of a tubed body, and they not only fire a solid object but can be used to fire any liquid, gas, and charged particle. The examples are –

  • For Liquid – Water Guns/ Cannons, Spray Guns, Flamethrowers
  • For Gas – Light- Gas Gun
  • For Charged Particles – Plasma Gun

When the solid object is fire from the gun, it chooses its trajectory path. Also, the bullet is fired because of the explosion of gunpowder which causes expansion of gases, and thus the force is exerted, and the bullet is fired inside the target.

The projectile of a solid body is of two types – it can be free-flying (like – bullets, artillery) or tethered (with – Speargun, Harpoon guns, etc.). The barrel of the gun is short, and the bore of the barrel is made up of a single caliber of ammunition. 

They are used for self-protection, in field combat, artillery, tanks, etc. Some of the examples of guns are – Tank Guns, Machine Guns, Howitzers, Flare Gun, Lyle Gun, and many more. 

What is Rifle?

Since the invention of gunpowder in ancient China, the use of firearms as weapons starts increasing. It is believed that all the rifles can be referred to as guns, but it isn’t the same as vice-versa.

Rifles, to be simply defined, is a device with a long barrel tube. A helical loop of the pattern called rifling is used to efficiently fire the target. Rifles came into use around the mid-15th century. The design of the rifle was inspired by the musket, but instead of ball-shaped bullets, they used long-shaped bullets them.

This is advised to the user to fire it with keeping on the shoulder. The grooves present in the barrels have cut into their walls. Also, the bore of the barrel is specific for only one caliber of ammunition. Initially, they were supposed to have a single shot, but with evolving technology, they now come with the capability of firing several rounds.

Rifles are used in hunting, waterfront, in various shooting sports, etc. Some examples for the same are – AK-47, M16, Air Rifle, etc.

Main Differences Between Gun and Rifle

  1. Guns are a device designed in a tubed shape body which launches the bullet with the pneumatic force which means because of the force pressure is created, and it causes the expansion of gases resulting by the explosion of gunpowder inside the cartridge of the bullet while Rifle is a device made with long metal barrels through which the bullet passes with a stable pressure along with the help of rifling to directly in the target.
  2. The barrels of the Guns are short, while the barrels of a Rifle are long and are of iron or other metal.
  3. Guns can be used from a distance to shoot, while Rifle needs support if the shoulder of the shooter.
  4. Guns are used by artillery, in combats, tanks, while Rifles are used for hunting, shooting sports, self-defense, waterfront, etc.
  5. Examples of Guns are – Tank Guns, Machine Guns, Howitzers, Spray Guns, etc., whereas various examples of Rifles are – AK-47, M16, Air Rifles, Automated Rifles, etc. 


Globally many people use to keep guns and rifles for their safety purposes. But it is important to have a licensed weapon, and you are eligible to keep it and knows how it is used properly. The misuse of weapons and having unlicensed weapons can lead a person to trouble and makes him a criminal under Arms Act in India. Despite that, people misuse them for killing innocent people for their benefit. They must be kept away from children.

Although these weapons are used by the military and public servants for maintaining law and order and also to keep invaders away from the country.

A Gun is a tubed device with a short barrel, whereas a Rifle is a long-barrelled device with a helical pattern of loops called rifling in it. Guns can be used from a distance, while Rifle has to be supported by the shooter’s shoulder and is mainly designed for an individual person to use.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10803548.2018.1492251
  2. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2013.301409
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