Advantages and Disadvantages of Handguns

As with most things, people have preferences when it comes to what they use. Those who favor handguns do so for a number of reasons and those who would rather have a long gun do so because of their preferences. In this article we'll discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of the handgun as compared to the long gun, but first we'll identify both.

Some Particulars on Long Guns

Long guns, in the small arms category, are designed to be fired as they are braced against the shoulder. The length of the barrels of long guns is subject to various laws in different jurisdictions. Outside of military use, they are used for a variety of purposes, primarily for hunting and sport shooting. Handguns are small and light weight, provide good firepower and are suitable for a variety of tasks including personal protection.

A Short Description of Handguns

In comparison to longer guns, like rifles and shotguns, handguns - because of their small size - are easier to carry. Handguns don't rely on the strength of the user so they put weaker individuals on an equal defensive footing with those using a long gun. The Colt firearms company produced the first practical repeating handgun and when they did, the following saying was made very popular: "God created men, but Colt made them equal."

Advantages of Handguns Over Long Guns

A handgun allows for only one hand to be used, leaving the other free to do other things - like perhaps hold a light. When it comes to self-defence, the advantage of a handgun is maneuverability. An attacker may easily grab the barrel of a long gun and either force it out of one's hands or redirect the shot away from themselves. A handgun is very short and a shot can be fired before an attacker gets close enough to make any kind of grab.

Most of the handguns available to civilians are semi-automatics whereas the long guns available are bolt, lever or pump actions. Semi-automatic long guns are very expensive and in many cases, illegal, so a handgun gives the shooter a better chance with repetitive firing.

Disadvantages of Handguns Compared to Long Guns

On the downside, handguns are considered self-defence weapons for use when shooting fewer than 50 yards, making it very limited in its capacity as compared to long guns. Generally speaking, long guns are more powerful at any range, and especially more effective at longer ranges than handguns.

It is also possible for a shooter to attain greater accuracy with a long gun than with a handgun. With a longer distance between the rear and front sights, the stability gained by having two hands on the gun and higher velocity, reducing bullet travel time and in turn external effects on the bullet, the long gun has some advantages over the hand gun.

At the end of the day, the shooter will go with his preference in firearms and adjust to the differences.