When it comes to firearms, there are three key terms that are often thrown around: the automatic firearm, the semi-automatic firearm, and the fully automatic firearm. These terms can often be confused with each other, but they actually describe three different types of weapons, each of which have different laws governing their use, as well as different applications.

In this blog post, we will discuss the terms automatic, semi-automatic, and fully automatic, what they mean, and what the key differences are between them.

Semi Automatic Handgun

What is an automatic gun?

Fully automatic firearms are also known as machine guns. With fully automatic firearms, once you load a round into the chamber and you pull and hold the trigger, the gun will fire continuously until you let go of the trigger or run out of ammunition.

What is a semi-automatic gun?

With semi-automatic firearms, once you place a round in the firing chamber, that round will fire when you pull the trigger. It’s called semi-automatic because once the first round is fired, the next round will automatically enter the chamber, but it will not fire automatically.

Semi Automatic Handgun

What is the difference between a semi-automatic rifle and a fully automatic rifle?

When it comes to semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms, the difference between the two is in the continuous firing of the weapons.

A semi-automatic will automatically reload the chamber after the first round is fired, but it will not fire continuously. With each pull of the trigger, just one round is fired.

A fully automatic gun, or a machine gun, will fire continuously when the trigger is pulled, firing until either you let go of the trigger or run out of ammunition. With one pull of the trigger, multiple rounds are fired.

Machine Gun


Is a pistol a semi-automatic gun?

Yes, semi-automatic describes the operation of a pistol, rifle, or shotgun because when the trigger is pulled, a single shot is fired and the next round is automatically loaded into the chamber.

Is a 9mm semi-automatic?

Yes, the 9mm is a semi-automatic pistol that fires one single shot when the trigger is pulled.

What makes a handgun semi-automatic?

A handgun will fire a single shot with each pull of the trigger, and the next round will be automatically loaded into the chamber. This is what classifies it as a semi-automatic weapon.

Which is better, a fully automatic or a semi-automatic gun?

When comparing the two, there are pros and cons of each. Some of that is due to the regulations placed on fully automatic weapons. Semi-automatic rifles may be easier to obtain.

Machine guns tend to be put to use for military purposes or for law enforcement, while semi-automatic rifles are an ideal choice for hunting, sport shooting, and self-defense.

What is the point of semi-automatic rifles?

Semi-automatic weapons are often used for sport shooting, hunting, and self-defense. They are usually less expensive and less regulated than fully automatic weapons, making them a great option for these purposes.