Can You Correctly Answer These Easy, Medium, and Hard Firearms Questions?


By: Staff Writer

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

“Go ahead, make my day.” In our firearms quiz, maybe you’ll cock the hammer and win the day. Or maybe your powder is all wet. Do you really think you can survive the easy, medium and super-tough questions in this gun test?

For centuries, humankind has been tweaking a plethora of various gun designs. During that time, everything from finger-sized pistols to gargantuan big game guns have been used all over the world. Can you recall some of our most famous firearms? And do you really understand firearm categorization?

Guns most certainly are not created equal. Many are just basic single-shot models meant for target practice or basic self-defense. Others are military-grade monsters that spew incredible amounts of lead in just seconds. Do you know your miniguns from your submachine guns?

From the Old West to the Western Front, guns have played iconic roles in human history. Along the way, some gun companies became famous, too. Do you really know the likes your Colts, Winchesters, Remingtons and more?

Set your Tommy gun to full auto and step into the line of fire. Take our tough firearms quiz now!

Which part of a firearm guides projectiles towards a target?

Basic firearms blast projectiles through a barrel toward a target. On sidearms, the barrel is quite short; on a large rifle, the barrel might measure a few feet in length.


Old-school firearms use what sort of propellant?

Black gunpowder reigned in the early days of firearms and up to the 19th century. Then, gun makers began using cleaner and more powerful propellants.


"Caliber" is determined by what feature?

Modern guns, like many rifles and pistols, are categorized by caliber, which refers to bore diameter. The bigger the bore, the bigger the bullet and the more powerful the punch.


Caliber is measured in ______ or ______.

Manufacturers note caliber (bore diameter) in millimeters or inches. So, you'll often see figures like 9mm or .357 (in.) in reference to firearm size.


What's a defining characteristic of a rifle?

Rifles have rifled (grooved) barrels that cause protectiles to spin as they emerge from the muzzle. The spinning motion makes the bullet travel in a more predictable (i.e. accurate) path.


"Gauge" refers to which style of firearm?

In shotguns, "gauge" refers to the bore diamater of the gun. The 12-gauge shotgun is a very popular size, suited to both hunting and self-defense.


The first guns were invented in _____.

In the 1200s, the Chinese created hand cannons, which were just metal tubes with gunpowder. They were crude but effective in close-quarters combat.


In terms of physical size, which of the following firearms is the smallest?

Handguns, or sidearms, are the smallest guns. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from those that are easily concealed, to mammoth versions that require two hands to shoot.


Firearms are a type of _____ weapon.

In terms of categorization, firearms are a type of ranged weapon. That just means they can be used to attack targets that are out of arm's reach.


The revolver is which type of firearm?

Revolvers are handguns with a single barrel matched to spinning (revolving) chambers. Those chambers let the shooter loose multiple shots before reloading.


What's the purpose of firearm's "action"?

A gun's "action" is the system that loads, fires, and then ejects spent cartridges or shells. The action may be a simple as "single-shot" or fully automatic.


"Percussion lock" refers to which aspect of a firearm?

Gun makers have devised all sorts of firing mechanisms in the past few centuries. In a percussion lock (or caplock) weapon, a hammer strikes a percussion cap, which then blasts the charge.


How fast does a a semi-automatic action fire a gun?

Semi-auto firearms are exceedingly popular and include guns like revolvers. They shoot as fast you can work the action.


"Elephant guns" are a type of firearm in which category?

Very large smoothbore guns or rifles are sometimes called elephant guns, because they're powerful enough to take down large game. They often deliver major recoil, too.


What's special about machine guns?

In the mid-1800s, gun designers began tinkering with fully automatic weapons like machine guns. By the end of the century, they'd devised numerous variants, some of which were capable of spewing hundreds of rounds per minute.


How is a carbine different from a normal rifle?

A carbine is a a rifle with a shorter-than-normal barrel. They are often used by soldiers, who find full-size rifles unwieldy in the heat of close-quarters combat.


Modern waterfowl hunters would be mostly likely to use which shotgun?

The 12 gauge shotgun is a common firearm for waterfowl and upland hunting. It packs enough power to kill birds cleanly dozens of yards away.


How is a sub-machine gun different from a regular machine gun?

Sub-machine guns fire pistol caliber cartridges, while machine guns fire full caliber or intermediate cartridges.


Pump-action typically refers to which style of firearm?

The pump-action shotgun is very common. To make it work, the shooter pulls a grip on the weapon's fore end and then pulls -- this action ejects a spent shell and then loads a new one.


How did soldiers fire old-time matchlock firearms?

Old matchlock guns emerged in the 1400s, and they were as primitive as they sound -- soldiers touched a bit of burning twine or a match to light powder in the flash pan. As you can imagine, it was difficult to aim the gun while also attempting to ignite the powder.


What does it mean if a firearm is equipped with "selective fire"?

Some machine guns are equipped with a selective fire switch. This switch means the weapon can fire in full automatic or semi-automatic mode.


In the right hands, modern sniper rifles can strike targets at what distance?

Skilled snipers can hit targets that are thousands of yards away. In ideal conditions, they might hit the bullseye more than a mile and a quarter from their shooting position.


What sort of action does the Winchester Model 1873 use?

In the late 1800s, gun makers began creating lever-action rifles, which worked much more quickly than old single-shot rifles. The Winchester Model 1873 was very popular in the Wild West, where it was used by soldiers and big game hunters.


The "muzzle" is which part of the gun?

The muzzle is the very end of the barrel -- in the words, the part you should never point at anything you don't intend to destroy. Early weapons were mostly the "muzzleloader" variety, meaning the bullet was rammed from the muzzle down to the chamber.


The Colt Single Action Army is which type of gun?

In the 1870s the Colt Single Action Army was an incredibly popular revolver in the Old West. It was also commonly known as the "Peacemaker."


True or false: all muskets are rifles.

Muskets were some of the earliest firearms, but they were smoothbore, not rifled. All primitive muskets and rifles were loaded through the muzzle.


What's a "minigun"?

The minigun is a lethal rotary machine gun. It's equipped with a motor that spins the barrels and is capable of unleashing not hundreds -- but thousands -- of rounds per minute.


Rifle cartridges have cases that are typically made from _____.

At the end of the 1800s, gun makers finally combined powder and lead into what was called a "cartridge," a paradigm shift that made loading much easier. Most cartridges have brass casings.


The Maxim gun was which sort of firearm?

In the late 1880s, a man named Hiram Maxim devised the Maxim machine gun, which harnessed recoil energy to eject spent cartridges. The Maxim gun could shoot hundreds of rounds per minute, and it was used to decimate numerous unsuspecting enemy forces.


"Internal ballistics" refers to which aspect of a firearm?

Every firearm has slightly different internal ballistics, the properties that fuel projectile propulsion. Gunsmiths must be experts of internal ballistics in order to make safe and accurate weapons.


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