A coup díétat also is classified by the rank of the military men leading the governmental overthrow. A Veto coup díétat or Guardian coup díétat is led by the army's top commanding officers (usually generals). Sometimes the commander-in-chief, or a few very top commanders are excluded, as being appointees of and loyal to the sitting regime.
In a Breakthrough coup díétat the leaders are junior officers (colonels or below), or even non-commissioned officers (sergeants), and most of the army's senior officers are displaced too.
A bloodless coup díétat is when the threat of violence is sufficient to depose the incumbent government with no fighting, and there are no subsequent executions of the deposed faction. However, a "bloodless coup díétat" is not always truly non-violent. Napoleon's 18 Brumaire coup díétat is considered an exemplar "bloodless coup", but during the coup, legislators were forcibly ejected from their meeting place by soldiers. In 1889, Brazil became a republic via a bloodless coup. In 1999, Pervez Musharraf assumed power in Pakistan via a bloodless coup, and, in 2006, Sonthi Boonyaratglin assumed power in Thailand as the leader of the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy.
The term self-coup applies when the incumbent government, aided and abetted by the military, assumes extraordinary powers not allowed by law. The historical example is President, and later French Emperor, Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. A modern example is Alberto Fujimori in Peru, who, though elected, in 1992 assumed control of legislative and the judicial branches of government, installing himself as an authoritarian ruler. The assumption of "emergency powers" by King Gyanendra of Nepal was a self-coup.
Besides Luttwak's non-military coup díétat, Samuel P. Huntington identifies three classes of coup díétat:
Breakthrough coup díétat: a revolutionary army overthrows a traditional government and creates a new bureaucratic elite. Generally led by non-commissioned officers (NCOs) or junior officers and happen once. Examples are China in 1911, Bulgaria in 1944, Egypt in 1952, Greece in 1967, Libya in 1969 and Liberia in 1980.
Guardian coup díétat: the "musical chairs" coup díétat. The stated aim of which is improving public order, efficiency, and ending corruption. There usually is no fundamental change to the power structure. Generally, the leaders portray their actions as a temporary and unfortunate necessity. An early example is the coup díétat by Sulla, in 88 B.C., replacing the elected leader Marius in Rome. A contemporary instance is the civilian Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's overthrow by Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1977, who cited widespread civil disorder and impending civil war as his justification. In 1999, General Pervez Musharraf overthrew Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the same grounds. Nations with guardian coups can frequently shift back and forth between civilian and military governments. Example countries include Pakistan, Turkey, and Thailand. A ďbloodless coupĒ usually arises from the Guardian coup díétat.
Veto coup díétat: occurs when the army vetoes the people's mass participation and social mobilisation in governing themselves. In such a case, the army confronts and suppresses large-scale, broad-based civil opposition, tending to fascist repression and killing, the prime example is the coup díétat in Chile in 1973 against the elected Socialist President Salvador Allende Gossens by the Chilean military, aided by the CIA.