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see small armssmall arms,
firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms

The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent.
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an individual firearm designed to hit enemy personnel at distances of up to 50–70 m. It can be fired with one hand. Pistols are issued to officers as well as to some enlisted specialists.

Matchlock pistols appeared in Europe and Asia in the 16th century. The first pistols were shortened muskets, which were used primarily in the cavalry. In the 17th century, flintlock pistols became widespread in various armies. In the 19th century, percussion-type pistols were popular. Pistols were made with two or more barrels to increase the rate of fire. Until the mid-19th century most pistols had smooth bores and were muzzle-loaded. In the 1850’s a more refined weapon, the rifled revolver, began to replace pistols. After the invention of smokeless powder in the 1880’s and the use of fixed ammunitions with metallic cartridge cases, automatic pistols appeared. With their automatic reloading, cocking of the trigger mechanism after each shot, and rapidly replaceable magazines, these weapons had a higher maximum rate of fire than revolvers and gradually replaced them.

The automatic feature of pistols is based on a quick movement of the bolt or barrel caused by recoil. Pistols have safety mechanisms for protection in handling.

There are also signal pistols, which are nonautomatic and fire signal and illumination cartridges, and sport pistols, which are automatic.


Material’naia chast’strelkovogo oruzhiia, books 1–2. Moscow, 1945–46.
Gnatovskii, N. I., and P. A. Shorin. Istoriia razvitiia otechestvennogo strelkovogo oruzhiia. 1959.
Vooruzhennye sily kapitalisticheskikh gosudarstv. Moscow, 1971.


What does it mean when you dream about a pistol?

To take aim with a pistol may indicate the dreamer is trying to target a specific goal. Alternatively, if feelings of anger or helplessness and fear play a part in the dream, then the dreamer’s sense of self-defense is at stake and the pistol may represent the power the dreamer needs to defend against some anger or aggression in waking life.


A short automatic or semiautomatic firearm aimed and fired from one hand, using the force of recoil to eject the empty shell and to insert a new round into the firing chamber.


knight of the “killing tongue and quiet sword.” [Br. Lit.: II Henry IV]


[IBM] A tool that makes it all too easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. "Unix "rm *" makes such a nice pistol!"
References in periodicals archive ?
This is when your handgun customers are in a buying frame of mind, but they may be so enamored with a new firearm they forget the ancillary items they'll need so it meets their demands.
But it requires those who wish to carry a handgun to apply in person with the local police department.
He said current law essentially criminalizes the interstate handgun market, which does not apply to the sale of rifles or shotguns.
But there is a way to make a handgun a more stable aiming platform and not incur the transfer tax needed to make your handgun into an SBR (Short-Barreled Rifle): the Sig Sauer Adaptive Carbine Platform.
I once spent a day shooting prairie dogs with my friend Rod Herrett, the handgun stockmaker from Idaho.
Opponents, however, argued that requirements for obtaining a concealed handgun license are far laxer in other states, and consequently the bill would water down Oregon's carefully constructed gun laws.
Since November 19, 2008, handguns have been generally banned with exceptions for Olympic style target shooting.
Anybody who is law-abiding and responsible and passes the state rules" has the right to have a handgun, one New York City detective tells JS.
for July 19, a bill was signed into law "that required trigger locks on all handguns sold.
When deputies entered the home, they heard a gunshot and then saw the suspect standing in a hallway armed with a handgun,'' the statement said.
Most types can conceal a handgun and may include a draw string or a quick-release closure method added for rapid access.
The updated fourth edition of THE CONCEALED HANDGUN MANUAL: HOW TO CHOOSE, CARRY, AND SHOT A GUN IN SELF DEFENSE comes from an author convinced that gun-owners should be more educated on how to own, carry and use a handgun.