Gun vs Rifle: Difference and Comparison

Globally every country has its military, which is always ready to fight with the invaders anytime, anywhere. Combating soldiers requires weapons for self-safety and to stop invaders from reaching their territories.

Thus, many types of weapons have been built up for that purpose, such as – army tanks, rifles, shotguns, guns, missiles, grenades, etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. A gun is a general term for any handheld firearm, while a rifle is a specific type designed for accuracy at long ranges.
  2. Rifles are used for hunting, target shooting, and military purposes, while guns can include a broader range of firearms, such as pistols and shotguns.
  3. Rifles have longer barrels and are more accurate than guns, designed for close-range combat.

Gun vs Rifle

A gun is a general term used to describe any firearm designed to be handheld, whether it’s a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. A rifle is a specific type of gun characterized by its long barrel and a rifled bore which imparts a spin to the projectiles for improved accuracy over longer distances.

Gun vs Rifle

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-defence, in warfare front, and also in shooting sports.

Comparison Table

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.

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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 fired from the gun, it chooses its trajectory path. Also, the bullet is fired because of the explosion of gunpowder, which causes the 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 or 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 calibre of ammunition. 

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


What is Rifle?

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

Rifles, to be defined, are devices with long barrel tubes. A helical loop of the pattern called rifling is used to fire the target efficiently. Rifles came into use around the mid-15th century.

The musket inspired the rifle’s design, but instead of ball-shaped bullets, they used long bullets.

This is advised to the user to fire it with keeping it on the shoulder. The grooves present in the barrels have cut into their walls.

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Also, the bore of the barrel is specific for only one calibre 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 of the same are – AK-47, M16, Air Rifle, etc.


Main Differences Between Gun and Rifle

  1. Guns are a device designed with tubed shape body which launches bullet with pneumatic force, which means because of the force, pressure is created, and it causes the expansion of gases resulting in the explosion of gunpowder inside the cartridge of the bullet, while a 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 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, and tanks, while Rifles are used for hunting, shooting sports, self-defence, waterfront, etc.
  5. Examples of Guns are – Tank Guns, Machine Guns, Howitzers, Spray Guns, etc., whereas various examples of Rifles are – AK-47s, M16S, Air Rifles, Automated Rifles, etc. 
Difference Between Gun and Rifle



Last Updated : 16 June, 2023

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22 thoughts on “Gun vs Rifle: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The post presents an intriguing and detailed perspective on the functionality of guns and rifles, which I found to be intellectually engaging.

  2. This article is extremely informative and well-written. It provides a plethora of information about the difference between guns and rifles.

  3. While the article effectively differentiates between guns and rifles, a more critical analysis of their respective modern-day applications would have been beneficial.

    • The elemental focus on historical and functional aspects offers a captivating perspective, although the inclusion of modern contexts is warranted.

    • The article emphasizes the historical and functional disparities between guns and rifles, reinforcing the need for a contemporary evaluation.

  4. I found this article to be quite informative, although it would have been beneficial to include more content about the usage of guns and rifles in modern warfare.

    • The article’s primary focus is on the design and key differences between guns and rifles, which was commendably executed.

  5. The article’s comparison table is particularly helpful in distinguishing the varying aspects of guns and rifles. Well done!

  6. This article offers a compelling comparison between guns and rifles, with an admirable depth of analysis and historical insights.

    • I concur, the in-depth examination of guns and rifles certainly contributes to a more nuanced understanding of their inherent disparities.

  7. The post effectively addressed the historical evolution and specific functionalities of guns and rifles, offering a commendable comparative analysis.


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