pistol(redirected from handgun)
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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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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.
REFERENCESMaterial’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.