Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Pistol and Rifle

Pistol vs Rifle

Pistols and rifles are both firearms. They belong to two different categories of firearms. Pistols belong to the handgun category, and rifles belong to the long gun category. As the name suggests, handguns are guns which are handheld and smaller in size. They are easier to carry because of their size and are used with just one or sometimes both hands. However, long guns are longer guns and need the support of the shoulder to fire properly. Their size is such that they cannot be easily carried around and are conspicuous while being carried. People usually carry long guns slung over their shoulders. They are both, in general, referred to as guns.

Pistols are handguns which were developed in 1885 by Stevens Maxim. They are of two different types, single-shot pistols and semi-automatic pistols. They have a more advanced technology than rifles. With a pistol, a slight pressure is used to fire the bullet. It has a safety mechanism which helps in avoiding any accidental firing of the weapon. Once the gun is fired, it experiences a recoil. This recoil basically brings the next bullet ready to be shot into the chamber. Shooting a pistol is not very difficult, but good aim needs practice as the recoil usually changes the direction of the bullet.

Pistols are more popular than rifles because of their size, weight, and the fact that they can be easily concealed on the body. They are used mostly for self-defense and are less powerful than rifles. The pistols can be used for a range of 45-50 meters and use less powerful bullets. For firing the pistol, either one hand or sometimes both hands are used.

Rifles are long guns. They have a long barrel and are available in different types like; automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles, Spencer rifles, musket, anti-tank rifles, etc. Rifles have been developed with many advanced technologies and are very powerful weapons used for hunting and self-defense. The name “rifle” has been given to it due to the rifling present inside the barrel. Because of this rifling, the bullets spin at a very high speed and eject from the barrel with great precision and accuracy.

Rifles are bigger than pistols, cannot be easily concealed, heavier and more powerful. They can shoot up to 300 feet per second. Due to the high velocity of the bullet shot from the rifle it is far more damaging than the pistol.


1.Pistols are categorized under handguns; rifles are categorized under long guns.
2.Pistols can be shot with just one hand; rifles need both hands and the support of the shoulder to be fired accurately.
3.Pistols can be visually differentiated from rifles by the size of the barrel. Pistols have short barrels, and rifles have very long barrels.
4.Pistols are smaller in size and lighter in weight; rifles are larger in size and heavier.
5.Pistols can be easily concealed and used mainly for self-defense; rifles are used for hunting, warfare, self-defense, etc.
6.The range of pistols is less as compared to rifles.
7.The velocity of the bullet ejected from a rifle is almost double the velocity of a bullet from a pistol.

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  1. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But
    maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two
    pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. Your information is completely, and disturbingly, wrong. What about an Ar-15 pistol? Rifle bullet with 300 fps? The range for a typical pistol is 0-30 yards. A .50 Eagle (pistol) is far more deadly than a .22 rifle. Please do the proper research before submitting the garbage that you thought was media worthy. Your lack for fact-checking proves that you have no business being a firearms writer. I only pray that no more than 3 people have read this article.

    • It’s pretty clear you were looking to beat up on something . It’s not reasonable to expect any writing to cover such a large subject in the small amount of space in super detail.
      The basic understanding between a pistol and rifle are covered in the writing , if more detail is desired buying a book would be helpful.

    • I saw “300 feet per second” and knew this was wrong. Maybe missing a zero there? Dustin is spot-on, this is mis-information.

  3. nice article very well written and informative. btw to denz sure a .50 deagle is more powerfull than a .22lr but how bout you compare it to a .308 or 556? not verg powerfull then is it.

  4. That’s funny you say they were invented in 1885 by max dude because I remember reading about Texas rangers using samual colts pistol design back the the 1830s. Pistols have been around way longer then Colt. So your whole article is bogus.

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