pistol

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pistol:

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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Pistol

 

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.

REFERENCES

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.

G. M. SHINKAREV

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.

pistol

[′pist·əl]
(ordnance)
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.

Pistol

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

pistol

[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 classic literature ?
With one foot on each prow of the yoked war-canoes, the Lakeman laughed him to scorn; assuring him that if the pistol so much as clicked in the lock, he would bury him in bubbles and foam.
I now assisted him to point his pistol toward the spot where I judged his adversary to be standing, and cautioned him to listen well and further guide himself by my fellow-second's whoop.
En treckly dey squared off en give de word, en bang-bang went de pistols, en de twin he say,
This comforted me somewhat until it occurred to me that if he had lived a century earlier, invested his money in a horse and a pair of pistols, and taken to the road, his object--that of wresting from others the fruits of their labor without rendering them an equivalent--would have been exactly the same, and his risk far greater, for it would have included risk of the gallows.
Under that, the miscellany began--a quadrant, a tin canikin, several sticks of tobacco, two brace of very handsome pistols, a piece of bar silver, an old Spanish watch and some other trinkets of little value and mostly of foreign make, a pair of compasses mounted with brass, and five or six curious West Indian shells.
His pockets are searched, and his sword and pistols taken from him.
When Christine Daae was carried off, sir, I sent word to my servant to bring me these pistols.
He was mounted upon a powerful horse, and had on a coat of mail, with four of the pistols they call petronels in that country at his waist.
cried Philippe, "let me at any rate take the horse-cloth and my pistols.
The guards who followed the young woman presented a violent contrast to her, armed as they were with naked sabres hung at their waists, and long damascened pistols, and bearing a corpse on a palanquin.
Aramis called Bazin, and, after having ordered him to join them at Athos's residence, said "Let us go then," at the same time taking his cloak, sword, and three pistols, opening uselessly two or three drawers to see if he could not find stray coin.
Monte Cristo took the pistols he held in his hand when Mercedes entered, and fixing an ace of clubs against the iron plate, with four shots he successively shot off the four sides of the club.