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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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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


knight of the “killing tongue and quiet sword.” [Br. Lit.: II Henry IV]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


[IBM] A tool that makes it all too easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. "Unix "rm *" makes such a nice pistol!"
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
References in periodicals archive ?
The researchers found that cities with greater increases in the rate of handgun purchasing were more likely to see an increase in the rate of firearm injury.
I live in a small town and shoot my handguns regularly, but I haven't hunted in years-and that was with a rifle or shotgun.
Learning to shoot a rifle first, before taking up handgun shooting, still seems to me as the natural and proper order.
According to the study--compared to current and traditional handgun owners--the new handgun consumer is younger, skews female and is ethnically diverse.
In Detroit, state law requires a license to purchase handguns, which must be registered with local law enforcement.
According to information provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in 2012 NSSF's First Shots program, which introduces people to shooting, saw females make up more than half of the handgun participants--52 percent to be exact.
Take the rail adapter and slide it onto the accessory rail of your handgun (unloaded, of course).
The Nosler manual lists eight cartridges in both the rifle and handgun section: .22 Hornet, .221 Fireball, .223 Remington, .22 BR Remington, 6mm BR Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, .308 Winchester and .44 Magnum.
Among the examples of people ineligible for handgun licenses in Oregon but eligible in other states, Nolan cited individuals with felony convictions for violent crimes as well as individuals with limited mental capacities or suffering from other mental health conditions.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern admitted that new legislation last August introduced far stricter regime for the possession of handguns. He said an important change in the legislation is that all attempts to renew a firearms certificate will be treated as new applications.
YES Peter Nickles, the Attorney General of Washington, D.C., is convinced that the city's handgun ban has "saved many lives." He believes that strict gun control is necessary in a densely populated area like the District of Columbia.