The term long gun
is used to describe classes of firearm
with longer barrels
than other classes. In small arms
, a long gun
is designed to be fired braced against the shoulder, in contrast to a handgun
, while in artillery
a long gun
would be contrasted with a howitzer
The actual length of the barrels of a long gun are subject various laws in many jurisdictions, for example by the National Firearms Act
in the United States, which sets a minimum length of 16 inches (40 cm) for rifle
barrels and 18 inches (45 cm) for shotgun
has a limit of 18.5 inches (47 cm) for either. In addition, both countries put a minimum fireable length for long guns with detachable or folding stocks of 26 inches (66 cm).
Examples of various classes of small arms generally considered long arms include, but are not limited to:
Advantages and disadvantages of long guns
Almost all long-arms have front grips (forearms) and shoulder stocks, which provides the user the ability to hold the firearm more steadily than a handgun. In addition, the long barrel
of a long gun usually provides a longer sight plane
for iron sights
, providing the user with more precision when aiming. The presence of a stock makes the use of a telescopic sight
or red dot sight
more practical than with a hand gun.
The mass of a long gun is usually greater than that of a short gun, reducing recoil. The greater length also gives a greater moment of inertia for a given mass, resulting in greater stability in aiming.
The mass of a long gun is usually greater than that of a short gun, increasing weight and moment of inertia. Increased weight will make the long gun more expensive to transport, and more difficult and tiring to carry. The increased moment of inertia makes the long gun slower and more difficult to elevate and traverse, and it is thus slower and more difficult to adjust the aim. The greater amount of material in a long gun tends to make it more expensive to manufacture, other factors being equal. The greater size makes it more difficult to conceal, and more inconvenient to use in confined quarters, as well as requiring a larger storage space.
Shotguns are long guns that are designed to fire many small projectiles at once. This makes them very effective and easy to aim at close ranges, but with diminished usefulness at long range.
Naval long guns
In historical navy
usage, a long gun
was the standard type of cannon
mounted by a sailing vessel, called such to distinguish it from the much shorter carronades
. In informal usage, the length was combined with the weight of shot, yielding terms like "long 9s", referring to full length 9 pound cannons.
Notes and references