.44 Magnum revolver and bullet, photographed with an air-gap flash.

A handgun is a handheld firearm designed to be operated with only one hand. Although handgun use often includes reinforcing the grip with the other hand for stability, the conceptual facility for one-handed operation is its essential distinguishing characteristic. This characteristic differentiates handguns from long guns such as rifles and shotguns, which usually mandate holding with both hands and braced against the shoulder for proper shooting.

Major handgun subtypes are the revolver and pistol (including single-shot pistols, semi-automatic pistols, and machine pistols); other subtypes include derringers and pepperboxes. Due to the dominant prevalence of pistol-type handguns in modern times, The words "pistol" and "handgun" have overlapping variations in meaning.

Nomenclature variations

Multiple senses of the word "pistol"

SIG Pro semi-automatic pistol

The word "pistol" is often synonymous with the word "handgun". Some handgun experts make a technical distinction that views pistols as a subset of handguns. In American usage, the term "pistol" refers to a handgun having one chamber integral with the barrel, making pistols distinct from the other main type of handgun, the revolver, which has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers. But UK/Commonwealth usage often does not make this distinction. For example, the official designation of the Webley Mk VI was "Pistol, Revolver, Webley No. 1 Mk VI", and the designation "Pistol No. 2 Mk I" was used to refer to both the Enfield Revolver and the later Browning Hi-Power semi-automatic. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Handgeweer
አማርኛ: ሽጉጥ
العربية: سلاح يدوي
Cymraeg: Llawddryll
Deutsch: Kurzwaffe
فارسی: تفنگ دستی
français: Arme de poing
贛語: 手槍
한국어: 권총
हिन्दी: हैंडगन
Nederlands: Handvuurwapen
日本語: 拳銃
slovenščina: Kratkocevno orožje
粵語: 手槍
中文: 手枪