Firearms first appeared in China where
gunpowder was first developed. The oldest known bronze barrel handgun is the
Heilongjiang hand cannon, dated to 1288.
 It's 34 centimeters (13.4 inches) long without a handle and weighs 3.55 kg (7.83 pounds). The diameter of the interior at the end of the
barrel is 2.6 cm (1.0 inches). The barrel is the lengthiest part of the hand cannon and is 6.9 inches long.
The hand cannon has a bulbous base at the
breech called the yaoshi (藥室) or gunpowder chamber, where the explosion that propels the
projectile occurs. The diameter of the Heilongjiang hand-gun's powder chamber is 6.6 cm (2.6 inches). The walls of the powder chamber are noticeably thicker to better withstand the explosive pressure of the gunpowder. The powder chamber also has a
touch hole, a small hole for the fuse that ignites the gunpowder. Behind the gunpowder chamber is a socket shaped like a trumpet where the handle of the hand cannon is inserted. The bulbous shape of the base gave the earliest Chinese and Western cannons a vase-like or pear-like appearance, which gradually disappeared when advancements in
metallurgical technology made the bulbous base obsolete.
with serpentine lock
The matchlock appeared in
Europe in the mid-15th century.
 The matchlock was the first mechanism invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. The classic European matchlock gun held a burning slow match in a clamp at the end of a small curved lever known as the
serpentine. Upon the pulling of a lever (or in later models a trigger) protruding from the bottom of the gun and connected to the serpentine, the clamp dropped down, lowering the smoldering match into the flash pan and igniting the priming powder. The flash from the primer traveled through the
touch hole igniting the main charge of propellant in the gun barrel. On release of the lever or trigger, the spring-loaded serpentine would move in reverse to clear the pan. For obvious safety reasons the match would be removed before reloading of the gun. Both ends of the match were usually kept alight in case one end should be accidentally extinguished.
A wheellock pistol or Puffer
, c. 1580
A wheellock pistol mechanism from around 1730.
The wheellock was the next major development in firearms technology after the
matchlock and the first self-igniting firearm. Its name is from its rotating steel wheel to provide ignition. Developed in Europe around 1500, it was used alongside the matchlock.
The wheellock works by spinning a spring-loaded steel wheel against a piece of
pyrite to generate intense sparks, which ignite
gunpowder in a pan, which flashes through a small touchhole to ignite the main charge in the firearm's barrel. The pyrite is clamped in
vise jaws on a spring-loaded arm (or 'dog'), which rests on the pan cover. When the trigger is pulled, the pan cover is opened, and the wheel is rotated, with the pyrite pressed into contact.
A close modern analogy of the wheellock mechanism is the operation of a
cigarette lighter, where a toothed steel wheel is spun in contact with a piece of sparking material to ignite the liquid or gaseous fuel.
A wheellock firearm had the advantage that it can be instantly readied and fired even with one hand, in contrast to the then-common matchlock firearms, which must have a burning cord of
slow match ready if the gun might be needed and demanded the operator's full attention and two hands to operate. On the other hand, wheellock mechanisms were complex to make, making them relatively costly.
brass barrel smooth bore pistol common in Colonial America.
Sparks generated by a flintlock mechanism
French flintlock pistol circa 1790–1795.
A flintlock pistol circa 1700–1730
A flintlock is a general term for any firearm that uses a flint striking ignition mechanism. The term may also apply to a particular form of the mechanism itself, that was introduced in the early 17th century, and rapidly replaced earlier firearm-ignition technologies, such as the matchlock and the wheellock.
Flintlock pistols were used as self-defense weapons and as a military arm. Their effective range was short, and they were frequently used as an adjunct to a
cutlass. Pistols were usually smoothbore although some rifled pistols were produced.
Flintlock pistols came in a variety of sizes and styles which often overlap and are not well defined, many of the names we use having been applied by collectors and dealers long after the pistols were obsolete. The smallest were less than 6 inches (15 cm) long and the largest were over 20 inches (51 cm). From around the beginning of the 1700s the larger pistols got shorter, so that by the late 1700s the largest would be more like 16 inches (41 cm) long. The smallest would fit into a typical pocket or a hand warming muff and could easily be carried by women.
The largest sizes would be carried in holsters across a horse's back just ahead of the saddle. In-between sizes included the coat pocket pistol, or coat pistol, which would fit into a large pocket, the coach pistol, meant to be carried on or under the seat of a coach in a bag or box, and belt pistols, sometimes equipped with a hook designed to slip over a belt or waistband. Larger pistols were called horse pistols. Arguably the most elegant of the pistol designs was the
Queen Anne pistol, which was made in all sizes.
Probably the high point of the mechanical development of the flintlock pistol was the British
duelling pistol; it was highly reliable, water resistant and accurate. External decoration was minimal but craftsmanship was evident, and the internal works were often finished to a higher degree of craftsmanship than the exterior. Dueling pistols were the size of the horse pistols of the late 1700s, around 16 inches (41 cm) long and were usually sold in pairs along with accessories in a wooden case with compartments for each piece.
Caplock Pistol, Swiss Ordnance 1817/42
French Navy percussion cap pistol Model 1837
Detail cutaway model of a French navy percussion pistol, model 1837
The caplock mechanism or percussion lock was developed in the early 19th century and used a
percussion cap struck by the hammer to set off the main charge, rather than using a piece of flint to strike a steel
frizzen. They succeed the
flintlock mechanism in
The rudimentary percussion system was developed by Rev.
Alexander John Forsyth as a solution to the problem that birds would startle when smoke puffed from the powder pan of his flintlock shotgun, giving them sufficient warning to escape the shot.
 His invention of a
fulminate-primed firing mechanism deprived the birds of their early warning system, both by avoiding the initial puff of smoke from the flintlock powder pan, as well as shortening the interval between the trigger pull and the shot leaving the muzzle. Forsyth patented his ignition system in 1807. However, it was not until after Forsyth's patents expired that the conventional percussion cap system was developed.
The caplock offered many improvements over the flintlock. The caplock was easier to load, more resistant to weather, and was much more reliable than the flintlock. Many older flintlock weapons were later converted into caplocks so that they could take advantage of this increased reliability.
The caplock mechanism consists of a hammer, similar to the hammer used in a flintlock, and a nipple (sometimes referred to as a "cone"), which holds a small percussion cap. The nipple contains a tube which goes into the barrel. The percussion cap contains a chemical compound called
mercuric fulminate or fulminate of mercury, whose chemical formula is Hg(ONC)2.
 It is made from mercury,
nitric acid and alcohol. When the trigger releases the hammer, it strikes the cap, causing the mercuric fulminate to explode. The flames from this explosion travel down the tube in the nipple and enter the barrel, where they ignite the main powder charge.
Colt Paterson Belt 2nd Model
Samuel Colt patented the
Colt Paterson, the first practical mass produced
revolver. It uses a revolving
cylinder with multiple
chambers aligned with a single, stationary
barrel. Initially this 5-shot revolver was produced in .28
caliber, with a .36 caliber model following a year later. As originally designed and produced, no loading lever was included with the revolver; a user had to disassemble the revolver partially to re-load it. Starting in 1839, however, a reloading lever and a capping window were incorporated into the design, allowing reloading without requiring partial disassembly of the revolver. This loading lever and capping window design change was also incorporated after the fact into most Colt Paterson revolvers that had been produced from 1836 until 1839.
 Unlike later revolvers, a folding
trigger was incorporated into the Colt Paterson. The trigger only became visible upon cocking the
The .44 caliber Colt Walker was the most powerful handgun until the introduction of the .357 Magnum.
Colt would go on to make a series of improved revolvers. The
Colt Walker, was a
single-action revolver with a revolving cylinder holding six charges of
black powder behind six bullets (typically .44 caliber lead balls). It was designed in 1846 as a collaboration between
Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker and American firearms inventor
Samuel Colt. The 1847 Colt Walker was the largest and most powerful black powder repeating handgun ever made.
Colt Navy Mod 1851, cal .36
Colt 1851 Navy Revolver is a
cap and ball
revolver that was designed by
Samuel Colt between 1847 and 1850. The six-round .36 caliber Navy revolver was much lighter than the contemporary
Colt Dragoon Revolvers developed from the .44
Walker Colt revolvers of 1847, which, given their size and weight, were generally carried in saddle holsters.
 It is an enlarged version of the .31 caliber
Colt Pocket Percussion Revolvers, that evolved from the earlier Baby Dragoon, and, like them, is a mechanically improved and simplified descendant of the 1836 Paterson revolver. As the factory designation implied, the Navy revolver was suitably sized for carrying in a belt holster. It became very popular in North America at the time of
Western expansion. Colt's aggressive promotions distributed the Navy and his other revolvers across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The .36 caliber (.375–.380 inch) round lead ball weighs 80 grains and, at a velocity of 1,000 feet per second, is comparable to the modern
.380 pistol cartridge in power. Loads consist of loose powder and ball or bullet, metallic foil cartridges (early), and combustible paper cartridges (Civil War era), all combinations being ignited by a fulminate
percussion cap applied to the nipples at the rear of the chamber.
Colt Army 1860, early Model with fluted Cylinder and 7 1/2" Barrel cal .44
Colt Army Model 1860 is a 6-shot
cap & ball .44-caliber
revolver used during the
American Civil War made by
Colt's Manufacturing Company. It was used as a
side arm by
artillery troops, and
naval forces. More than 200,000 were manufactured from 1860 through 1873. Colt's biggest customer was the US Government with no less than 129,730
 units being purchased and issued to the troops. The weapon was a
single-action, six-shot weapon accurate up to 75 to 100 yards, where the fixed sights were typically set when manufactured. The rear sight was a notch in the hammer, only usable when the revolver was fully cocked. The Colt .44-caliber “Army" Model was the most widely used revolver of the Civil War. It had a six-shot, rotating cylinder, and fired a 0.454-inch-diameter (11.5 mm) round spherical lead ball, or a conical-tipped
bullet, typically propelled by a 30-grain charge of
black powder, which was ignited by a small copper
percussion cap that contained a volatile charge of
fulminate of mercury (a substance that explodes upon being subjected to a sharp impact). The percussion cap, when struck by the hammer, ignited the powder charge. When fired, balls had a muzzle velocity of about 900 feet per second (274 meters/second), although this depended on how much powder it was loaded with.
Metallic cartridge era
A Smith & Wesson Model 1, 2nd Issue. This is a two patent date variety shown next to a period box of .22 short black powder cartridges.
Smith & Wesson Army No 2 cal .32 Rimfire, 6 Shot
Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolvers
Smith & Wesson Model 1 was the first firearm manufactured by
Smith & Wesson, with production spanning the years 1857 through 1882. It was the first commercially successful revolver to use metallic
cartridges instead of loose
musket ball, and
percussion caps. It is a
revolver holding seven
.22 Short black powder cartridges.
Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 Army is a 6-shot, .32 caliber revolver, intended to combine the small size and convenience of the Smith & Wesson Model 1 .22 rimfire with a larger more effective cartridge. It was manufactured 1861 - 1874, with a total production of 77,020.
Smith & Wesson Model 3 was a 6-shot,
revolver produced by
Smith & Wesson from circa 1870 to 1915, and was recently again offered as a reproduction by Smith & Wesson and
Uberti. The S&W Model 3 was originally chambered for the
.44 S&W American and
.44 Russian cartridges, and typically did not have the cartridge information stamped on the gun (as is standard practice for most commercial firearms). Model 3 revolvers were later produced in an assortment of calibers, including
.44 Henry Rimfire,
.44-40, .32-44, .38-44, and
.45 Schofield. The design would influence the smaller
S&W .38 Single Action that is retroactively referred to as the Model 2.
 All of these revolvers would automatically eject the spent shell cases when opened.
Colt Model 1873 Single-Action "New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol"
Colt Single Action Army, also known as the Single Action Army, SAA, Model P, Peacemaker, M1873, and Colt .45 is a
revolver with a revolving
cylinder holding six
metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U.S. government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company — today's
Colt's Manufacturing Company — and was adopted as the standard
military service revolver until 1892. The Colt SAA has been offered in over 30 different calibers and various
barrel lengths. Its overall appearance has remained consistent since 1873. Colt has discontinued its production twice, but brought it back due to popular demand. The revolver was popular with ranchers, lawmen, and outlaws alike, but as of the early 21st century, models are mostly bought by collectors and
Cowboy Action Shooters. Its design has influenced the production of numerous other models from other companies. The Colt SAA "Peacemaker" revolver is a famous piece of
Americana known as "The Gun That Won the West".
In 1889, Colt introduced the
Model 1889, the first truly modern double action revolver, which differed from earlier double action revolvers by having a "swing-out" cylinder, as opposed to a "top-break" or "side-loading" cylinder. Swing out cylinders quickly caught on, because they combined the best features of earlier designs. Top-break actions gave the ability to eject all empty shells simultaneously, and exposed all chambers for easy reloading, but having the frame hinged into two halves weakened the gun and negatively affected accuracy, due to lack of rigidity. "Side-loaders", like the earlier Colt Model 1871 and 1873, gave a rigid frame, but required the user to eject and load one cylinder at a time, as they rotated the cylinder to line each chamber up with the side-mounted loading gate.
This .38 Special Model 1899 Military and Police Hand Ejector left the factory on December 20, 1900
Smith & Wesson followed 7 years later with the ''Hand Ejector, Model 1896'' in
.32 S&W Long caliber, followed by the very similar, yet improved,
Model 1899 (later known as the Model 10), which introduced the new .38 Special cartridge. The Model 10 went on to become the best selling handgun of the 20th century, at 6,000,000 units, and the
.38 Special is still the most popular chambering for revolvers in the world. These new guns were an improvement over the Colt 1889 design since they incorporated a combined center-pin and ejector rod to lock the cylinder in position. The 1889 did not use a center pin and the cylinder was prone to move out of alignment.
Smith & Wesson Model 36 is small, concealable, 5 shot,
Smith & Wesson Model 36 is a 5 shot,
revolver chambered for
.38 Special. It is one of several models of "J-frame" Smith & Wesson revolvers. It was introduced in 1950, and is still in production. The Model 36 was designed in the era just after World War II, when Smith & Wesson stopped producing war materials and resumed normal production. For the Model 36, they sought to design a revolver that could fire the more powerful
.38 Special round in a small, concealable package. Since the older I-frame was not able to handle this load, a new frame was designed, which became the Smith & Wesson J-frame.
Smith & Wesson Model 29-2 .44 Magnum revolver
Smith & Wesson Model 19 with its cylinder open, loaded with Norma .357 Magnum ammo.
The post-war periods in the 20th century were times of great innovation. In 1935 Smith and Wesson released the
Smith & Wesson Model 27 which was the first revolver chambered for
.357 Magnum. It was designed as a more powerful handgun for law enforcement officers. The Model 27 started the "Magnum Era" of handguns. The high point was in 1955 when the company created the
Smith & Wesson Model 29 in
.44 Magnum. Two decades later the
Dirty Harry movies made this gun a cultural icon.
S&W Model 19 was also introduced in 1955, it's a .357 Magnum revolver produced by Smith & Wesson on its K-frame design. The Model 19 is smaller and lighter than the original the S&W Model 27 .357 Magnums. It was made at the behest of retired Assistant Chief Patrol Inspector of the U.S. Border Patrol, famous gunfighter, and noted firearms and shooting skills writer
The original Philadelphia Deringer was a single-shot
percussion cap pistol introduced in 1852, by
Henry Deringer. In total, approximately 15,000 Deringer pistols were manufactured.
 All were single barrel pistols with back action percussion locks, typically .41 caliber with rifled bores, and walnut stocks. Barrel length varied from 1.5" to 6", and the hardware was commonly a copper-nickel alloy known as "
The term derringer (/) has become a genericized misspelling of the last name of
 Many copies of the original Philadelphia Deringer pistol were made by other gun makers worldwide, and the name was often misspelled; this misspelling soon became an alternative generic term for any
pocket pistol, along with the generic phrase palm pistol, which Deringer's competitors invented and used in their advertising. With the advent of
metallic cartridges, pistols produced in the modern form still commonly called "derringers".
Remington Double Deringer cal .41 rimfire
Remington Model 95 derringer was one of the first metallic cartridge handguns. Small and easy to use, Remington manufactured more than 150,000 of these over-under double-barreled derringers from 1866 until the end of their production in 1935.
Remington derringer doubled the capacity of older single-shot percussion handguns designed by
Henry Deringer, while maintaining a compact size. The Remington Model 95 has achieved such widespread popularity, that it has completely overshadowed it's predecessors, becoming synonymous with the word "derringer". The Model 95 was made only in
.41 rimfire. Its barrels pivoted upwards to reload and a cam on the hammer alternated between top and bottom barrels. The .41 Short bullet moved very slowly, at about 425 feet per second (130 m/s), around half the speed of a modern
.45 ACP. It could be seen in flight, but at very close range, such as at a
saloon card table, it could easily kill. There were four models with several variations. The Remington derringer design is still being made; in a variety of calibers from
.22 long rifle to
.45 Long Colt, by several manufacturers.
 The current production of derringers are used by
Cowboy Action Shooters as well as a concealed-carry weapon.
COP .357 Magnum derringer
COP .357 is a modern 4-shot
pistol chambered for
.357 Magnum. Introduced in 1983, it's a
double-action weapon about twice as wide, and substantially heavier than the typical
.25 automatic pistol. Still, it's relatively compact size and a powerful cartridge makes it an effective
defensive weapon or a
police backup gun.
 The COP .357 is quite robust in design and construction. It's made of solid stainless steel components. Cartridges are loaded into the four separate chambers by sliding a latch that "pops-up" the barrel for loading purposes, similar to top-break shotguns. Each of the four chambers has its own dedicated firing pin. It uses an internal hammer, which is activated by depressing the trigger to hit a ratcheting/rotating striker that in turn strikes one firing pin at a time. Older "
pepperboxes" also used multiple barrels, but the barrels were the part that rotated. The COP .357 operates similarly to the
Sharps rimfire pepperbox of the 1850s, in that it uses the ratcheting/rotating striker, which is completely internal, to fire each chamber in sequence.
Mauser C96 "Broomhandle", the first mass-produced and commercially successful semi-automatic pistol
Paul Mauser introduced the
Mauser C96 "Broomhandle", the first mass-produced and commercially successful semi-automatic pistol, which uses the
recoil energy of one shot to reload the next. The distinctive characteristics of the C96 are the integral 10-round, box magazine in front of the trigger, the long barrel, the wooden shoulder stock which gives it the stability of a short-barreled rifle and doubles as a holster or carrying case, and a unique grip shaped like the handle of a broom. The grip earned the gun the nickname "broomhandle" in the English-speaking world, because of its round wooden handle.
Luger Model 1900/06 is one of the first semi-auto pistols to use a detachable magazine housed in the pistol-grip.
Pistole Parabellum, commonly known in the United States as just the
 It's a toggle-locked
semi-automatic pistol produced in several models and by several nations from 1898 to 1948. It was one of the first semi-auto pistols to use an 8-round detachable magazine housed in the pistol-grip. The design was first patented by
Georg Luger as an improvement upon the
Borchardt Automatic Pistol, and was produced as the Parabellum Automatic Pistol, Borchardt-Luger System by the German arms manufacturer
Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM).
 The first production model was known as the Modell 1900 Parabellum.
 Later versions included the Pistol Parabellum Model 1908 or P08 which was produced by DWM and other manufacturers.
 The first Parabellum pistol was adopted by the Swiss army in May 1900. In German Army service, the Parabellum was later adopted in modified form as the Pistol Model 1908 (P08) in caliber
Colt Model 1911 is an 8 round,
pistol chambered for the
 It served as the standard-issue
sidearm for the
United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986.Designed by
John Browning, the M1911 is the best-known of his designs to use the
short recoil principle in its basic design. The pistol was widely copied, and this operating system rose to become the preeminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern centerfire pistols. It is popular with civilian shooters in competitive events such as
International Practical Shooting Confederation, and
Bullseye shooting. Compact variants are popular civilian
concealed carry weapons in the U.S. because of the design's relatively slim width and
 of the .45 ACP cartridge.
The Walther PPK pistol is famous as fictional secret agent
's gun in many of the
's choice of the Walther PPK directly influenced its popularity and its notoriety.
Walther PP (Polizeipistole, or police pistol) series pistols were introduced in 1935 and are among the world's first successful
semi-automatic pistols, developed by the German
Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen.
 They feature exposed hammers, a traditional
double-action trigger mechanism,
 a single-column 8-round
.32 ACP version), and a fixed barrel that also acts as the guide rod for the recoil spring. The Walther PP and smaller PPK models were both popular with European police and civilians for being reliable and concealable. They would remain the standard issue police pistol for much of Europe well into the 1970s and 80s. During
World War II, they were issued to the German military, including the
 It was designed for police use and was used by police forces in Europe in the 1930s and later.
Browning Hi Power is a 14-round,
semi-automatic handgun available in
9mm. Introduced in 1935, it's based on a design by American firearms inventor
John Browning, and completed by
Dieudonné Saive at
Fabrique Nationale (FN) of
Herstal, Belgium. Browning died in 1926, several years before the design was finalized. The Hi-Power is one of the most widely used military pistols in history,
 having been used by the armed forces of over 50 countries.
 The Hi Power name alludes to the 13-round magazine capacity, almost twice that of contemporary designs such as the
Colt M1911. The Browning was one of the first pistols to use high capacity, detachable magazines.
Heckler & Koch VP70Z semi-auto-only version of the VP70
Heckler & Koch VP70 was introduced in 1970, it's a 19-round,
pistol manufactured by German arms firm
Heckler & Koch GmbH. The VP70 was a revolutionary pistol, introducing the polymer frame, predating the
Glock by 12 years. It also uses a spring-loaded striker, instead of a conventional firing pin and has a relatively heavy double-action-only the trigger pull. It also uses a high-capacity 18-round magazine, twice as many rounds as the single-column magazine designs of the era, and 5 more rounds than the Browning Hi-Power. In lieu of a blade front sight, the VP70 uses a polished ramp with a central notch in the middle to provide the illusion of a dark front post. Contrary to a common misconception, the VP70 does indeed have a manual safety. It is the circular button located immediately behind the trigger and it's a common crossblock safety. One unique feature of this weapon involved the combination stock/holster for the military version of the VP70. The stock incorporates a selector switch that, when mounted, allows for a three-round-burst mode of fire. Cyclic rate of fire for the burst is 2200 rounds per minute. When not mounted, the stock acts as a holster. VP stands for Volkspistole
 (literally "People's Pistol"), and the designation 70 was for the first year of production: 1970.
Smith & Wesson Model 59 was a 15-round,
semi-automatic pistol introduced in 1971.
 It was the first standard
double-action pistol to use a high-capacity 14-round capacity staggered-magazine. It went out of production a decade later in 1980 when the improved second generation series was introduced (the Model 459). The Model 59 was manufactured in
9×19mm Parabellum caliber with a wider anodized aluminum frame (to accommodate a double-stack magazine), a straight backstrap, a magazine disconnect (the pistol will not fire unless a magazine is in place), and a blued carbon steel slide that carries the manual safety. The grip is of three pieces made of two nylon plastic panels joined by a metal backstrap. It uses a magazine release located to the rear of the trigger guard, similar to the
Beretta 92 is a 16-round,
semi-automatic pistol introduced in 1975. It has an open
slide design, an alloy
frame and locking block
barrel, originally used on
Walther P38, and previously used on the
M1951. The grip angle and the front sight integrated with the slide were also common to earlier Beretta pistols. What were perhaps the Model 92's two most important advanced design features had first appeared on its immediate predecessor, the 1974 .380 caliber
Model 84. These improvements both involved the magazine, which featured direct feed; that is, there was no feed ramp between the magazine and the chamber (a Beretta innovation in pistols). In addition, to a 15 round "double-stacked" magazine design, it was the first Beretta design to use a magazine release located to the rear of the trigger guard, similar to the
Colt M1911. The
United States' military replaced the
.45 ACP pistol in 1985 with the Beretta 92FS, designated as the
An early "third generation" Glock 17 (full-size pistol chambered for 9x19mm Parabellum), identified by the addition of thumb rests, an accessory rail, finger grooves on the front strap of the pistol grip and a single cross pin above the trigger.
Glock 17, is an 18-round,
short recoil-operated, locked-breech
semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by
Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in
Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. It entered
Austrian military and
police service by 1982 after it was the top performer on an exhaustive series of reliability and safety tests.
 Despite initial resistance from the market to accept a perceived "plastic gun" due to unfounded durability and reliability concerns and fears that its use of a polymer frame might circumvent
metal detectors in airports, Glock pistols have become the company's most profitable line of products, commanding 65% of the market share of handguns for
United States law enforcement agencies,
 as well as supplying numerous national armed forces, security agencies, and police forces in at least 48 countries.
 Glocks are also popular firearms among civilians for recreational and competition shooting, home and self-defense, and
concealed carry or
All-black FN Five-seveN USG pistol surrounded by twenty FN 5.7×28mm cartridges—the contents of a standard magazine.
FN Five-seveN, is a 21-round,
pistol designed and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre-Herstal (
FN Herstal) in Belgium.
 The Five-seveN pistol was introduced in 1998.
 It was developed in conjunction with the
personal defense weapon and the
FN 5.7×28mm cartridge.
 Developed as a companion pistol to the P90, the Five-seveN shares many of its design features: it is a lightweight
polymer-based weapon with a large
ambidextrous controls, low
recoil, and the ability to penetrate
body armor when using certain types of ammunition.
 The Five-seveN is currently in service with military and police forces in over 40 nations.
 In the United States, the Five-seveN is in use with numerous law enforcement agencies, including the
U.S. Secret Service.
 In the years since the pistol's introduction to the civilian market in the United States, it has also become increasingly popular with civilian shooters.