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When distinguished as a subset of handguns, a pistol is a handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel, as opposed to a revolver, wherein the chamber is separate from the barrel as a revolving cylinder. Typically, pistols have an effective range of about 100 feet.

There are two possible origins of the name pistol. According to the first one, the word pistol is derived from Czech. The hussite warriors introduced guns called píšťala in the 1420s . Germans called them pitschale, pitschole, petsole and so on. Later German raiders brought the guns as well as the name to France, were they were known by terms pistole and pistolet. According to alternative source, the word "pistol" is derived from the French word pistole or pistolet, which have originated from the city of Pistoia, Italy where hand-held guns (designed to be fired from horseback) were first produced in the 1540s.


Most often seen types of pistol are the single shot, revolver and semi-automatic.

Single shot

These types of handgun were mainly seen during the era of flintlock and musket weaponry where the pistol was loaded with a lead ball and fired by a percussion cap. However, as technology improved, so did the single shot pistol. New operating mechanisms were...
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