There are two basic reasons why long guns beat handguns all hollow. The first is that they are much more solid and steady shooting platforms. This is due to the fact that they are anchored to the operator’s body at three points.
You can see what I mean by the picture up above. The left hand is out in front of the trigger, steadying the gun. The right hand is on the trigger group, also providing stability. Finally we have the stock of the rifle, which is braced against the shoulder. Three anchor points spread along the length of the firearm.
So what does a handgun have for stability? One handle.
For centuries, the stance shown above was taught as the standard for use when shooting a handgun. It has largely been replaced in modern times with a two handed grip, but both hands are left hanging on to the same handle.
The modern grip will steady the handgun down a great deal, and it is a vast improvement over the one-handed grip. But it is still nothing compared to what a long gun is capable of.
The second reason long guns are superior is due to something called “sight radius“. this is a fancy name for the distance between the front and rear sights. Purists insist that the only proper sight radius is measured from the face of the rear sight (the part closest to your eye), to the end of the front sight (the part farthest from your eye). Most people don’t need that much precision when discussing the subject, though.
Why is sight radius important? The more distance between the sights, the longer the sight radius and the easier it is to land precision shots. Long guns are inherently more accurate than handguns.
I was going to alter the pictures above and place flaming red arrows on the front and rear sights of the handgun and rifle, but I really don’t think I need to bother. It is pretty obvious that the rifle has a much, much longer sight radius.
I said previously that long guns were ALMOST ALWAYS SUPERIOR to handguns. And they are, except when you have to carry a defensive firearm around while performing your daily routine. Handguns can be strapped to your body so they are always with you, ready to defend in an instant. Long guns, not so much. This is why hand guns get as much attention as they do, since one will almost certainly have a mere handgun available to defend when a violent criminal decides to attack.
I will leave you with a quote that I have come across several times over the years, attributed to famed firearms instructor Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch.
“The handgun would not be my choice of weapon if I knew I was going to a fight. …I’d choose a rifle, a shotgun, an RPG or an atomic bomb instead.”