average gun weight

Average Gun Weight

Guns come in a variety of sizes and materials, which affect their weights. And remember: ammunition adds to average gun weight, so bigger caliber size = heavier gun. If you’re wondering how heavy is a gun?, here are 21 of the most popular gun weight examples (loaded & unloaded).

So, what is the average gun weight? The average weight of most popular guns is 1.5 lbs. when loaded and 1.1 lbs. when unloaded. Note that all guns do not weigh the same and the weight of a firearm depends entirely on the type of gun being handled. Rifles are typically heavier than handguns.

There are three main types of guns worth considering when talking about a gun’s weight: handguns (pistols), shotguns, and rifles.  This article would focus on reviewing the weight of each type of gun. We’ll also provide useful information to help you choose the right gun weight, depending on purpose (sport, home defense, hunting) when you are in the market to buy.

Average Weight of a Handgun

The average weight of a handgun is 1.5 pounds while loaded and 1.1 pounds while unloaded.

average handgun weight

The most common handguns under this category are revolvers and pistols. There are other less common types, but you’ll probably see these types everywhere.

General characteristics of a handgun

  • It can be fired from one or both hands
  • It has a short barrel and is usually smaller
  • It requires no shoulder support
  • The barrel length is short, usually below 16 inches
  • It is easy to carry and conceal
  • Typically used for shooting targets that are not moving

Table of popular handguns in the United States with their loaded and unloaded weights:

HandgunMagazine CapacityUnloaded Weight (pounds)Loaded Weight (pounds)
Sig Sauer p9387 rounds + 11.11.4
M&P Shield7 rounds + 1
8 rounds + 1
1.21.6
Glock 436 rounds + 111.3
Springfield XD-S7 rounds + 1
9 rounds +1
1.41.8
Ruger LCP6 rounds + 1.72.92
Glock 1915 rounds + 11.31.7

Average Weight of Shotguns

As expected, shotguns are slightly heavier than handguns. Therefore their average weight differs.

The average weight of a shotgun is between 6 and 8 pounds.

average shotgun weight

General characteristics of a shotgun

  • Fired with two hands
  • It is braced against the shoulder
  • Fires once per pull of the trigger
  • Long and large barrel
  • Barrel length over 18 inches
  • Typically used for shooting targets in the air
  • Can be single shot, pump-action, or semi-automatic

Table of popular shotguns in the United States with their loaded and unloaded weights:

ShotgunMagazine CapacityUnloaded Weight (pounds)Loaded Weight (pounds)
Mossberg 590 shockwave 12 gauge shotgun5 rounds + 15.256
Savage 320 security 12 gauge shotgun5 rounds7.28.4
Winchester S x P defender7 rounds + 17.58.5
Mossberg 590 tactical 12 gauge5 rounds + 15.256
Henry lever Action .410 side gate5 rounds910.2
Citadel PAT 12 gauge shotgun3 rounds + 16.47

Average Weight of Rifles

The average weight of a loaded rifle is between 6 to 7 pounds. Depending on size and materials, some rifles weigh up to 16-17 pounds.

General characteristics of a rifle

average rifle weight
  • Fired with two hands
  • Braced against the shoulder
  • Long barrel with thick walls
  • The barrel is large, and the length is over 16 inches
  • Typically used for shooting at stationary targets
  • Can be bolt action or semi-automatic

Table of popular rifles in the United States with their loaded and unloaded weights:

RifleMagazine CapacityUnloaded Weight (pounds)Loaded Weight (pounds)
AR-1530 rounds6.57
Ak-4730 rounds7.78.07
S & W 5005 rounds3.55
M16 20 rounds78.79
Ruger No. 11 round78.1
Ruger precision rifle 6mm10 rounds10.812.0
Ruger AR-55610 rounds6.57.5
Remington 76004 rounds8.59.5
Marlin 18955 rounds89.0

Does Weight Matter When Choosing a Gun?

One look at gun forum discussions and you’ll be surprised at how many people are talking about gun weight. In fact, it is one of the most asked questions by gun buyers today and this section briefly answers it. 

Indeed, weight matters when choosing a gun.

Consider the recoil factor; the weight of the firearm contributes significantly to how much the recoil works. When you shoot a gun, it exerts a force on the bullet. It’s this force that discharges the bullet.

Depending on the type of gun you are using, the bullet would usually exert a pull back towards the shooter; this process is referred to as the recoil.

Heavier guns are easier to control and operate with far less recoil than smaller guns.

Heavier guns provide balance and take most of the impact during recoil. Contrary to what you assume, a smaller gun will still shoot powerful rounds, just as heavier guns.

The amount of power on your shots depends on several other factors apart from your gun’s weight. However, your gun’s weight makes the recoil feature more noticeable.

When you pull a trigger, it lets out great bursts of energy backward towards the shooter without the extra benefit of balance provided by heavier guns.

Factors that Increase or Decrease Gun Weight

Three main factors contribute to a gun’s weight. These are accuracy, safety, and lifespan.

Safety

Guns are made from high-quality materials, or else they can become dangerous to the user.

For example, a weapon made from cheap materials can explode on the owner’s face. As a result, steel is the ideal material for guns. It is vital, tough, ductile, malleable, durable, and not sensitive to heat and temperature.

The density of steel ranges between 7.75 to 8.05 g/cm3 (0.280 to 0.291lb/in3), which is very heavy. Guns made from top-quality materials are typically stronger and heavier. 

Accuracy

Barrel length and vibrations affect the accuracy of a gun.  Guns with longer barrels are more accurate than guns with smaller barrels and, as a result, tend to be heavier.

Lighter guns cannot withstand strong vibrations and may lead to your hands shaking, thereby affecting your aim.

Lifespan

Steel is more durable with higher melting points; thus, it is suitable for making guns. Steel is also heavier than most metal alloys.

Other factors

Other components of a gun, such as chambers, slides, bullets, firing pins, the case, etc., add to the general mass of the weapon.

What is the Right Gun Weight for You?

The right gun weight for you will depend on the following factors:

1. What is your purpose for buying the gun?

You want to factor in the reason why you are buying the gun before choosing a weight that will be right for you. If your job only requires that you pull the gun out once in a while, then a heavier gun will not be bad for you.

Some of the purposes of buying a gun include:

  • Job-related
  • Hunting
  • Sport shooting
  • Self-defense
  • Hobby 

2. What is the bullet weight?

Like guns, bullet weights differ. Your bullet weight can also impact your gun’s overall weight; therefore, it’s important to also be careful when choosing. 

Different guns have different bullet weights that are well suited for them. The weight of a bullet affects the trajectory and the impact. For example, when hunting, animals come in varying sizes.

It is crucial to use a bullet weight that offers you a quick and clean kill, especially when dealing with aggressive animals. Consequently, the weight of a bullet still boils down to the purpose for which you are using the firearm.

3. Comfort

The level of comfort you desire to have when holding or operating your weapon is also essential and will pay off in several ways. You can carry it on long hikes; spend longer days practicing to improve your shooting skills and accuracy.

The more you practice, the more confident you will become, and this will help you at every moment you need to shoot. If you’ll be practicing regularly with your gun, we recommend opting for lighter guns that are easier to carry around. 

4. The case to store your weapon

A good case is crucial to maintaining your weapon. And a good weapon case weighs a considerable amount and will add to the overall weight of your gun.

Average Gun Weight: Making A Choice

All guns weigh differently. The individual weight of guns is dependent on several factors such as the bullet weight, the materials used in making the guns, the size, the case in which it is packaged, etc.

Bear in mind that the gun’s physical features and functionalities will also affect the gun’s weight. Therefore, you can be ready to get more weight if you want a gun that packs more amazing features. 

While handguns offer more comfort because they are lighter, easier to carry, and conceal, they are often less accurate and stable. On the other hand, Shotguns provide better accuracy and control but come at the expense of being heavy to carry and conceal.

Determining the firearm to get boils to what you intend to get from the firearm. Look at the options and their benefits before choosing the best for your needs.