Difference between handgun and pistol


PDA






LAR-15
September 7, 2008, 02:03 AM
What is the difference in the law between a handgun and a pistol?

Thanks

If you enjoyed reading about "Difference between handgun and pistol" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
bigjohnson
September 7, 2008, 02:27 AM
A handgun is any type of firearm designed to be held and fired using only one hand. A revolver is not a pistol, but it is a handgun.
A pistol is any type of handgun other than a revolver.

Duke Junior
September 7, 2008, 02:40 AM
A handgun is any type of firearm designed to be held and fired using only one hand. A revolver is not a pistol, but it is a handgun.
A pistol is any type of handgun other than a revolver.

Can it be said better and with less language than this?
It's doubtful.

.41Dave
September 7, 2008, 04:53 AM
Handgun and pistol are synonyms. Both words have the same meaning. All handguns are pistols and all pistols are handguns.

Revolvers ARE pistols, just a specific sub-species of pistol if you will. Samuel Colt's first U.S. revolver patent refers to the weapon as a pistol.

Modern vernacular tends to divide handguns into revolvers and "pistols", usually refering to semi-automatics, but this does not change the fact that a pistol/handgun is simply any firearm designed to be fired with one hand, regardless of action type.

damien
September 7, 2008, 06:10 AM
Handgun and pistol are synonyms. Both words have the same meaning. All handguns are pistols and all pistols are handguns.

This is the NRA's textbook definition. Many people use bigjohnson's definition instead. I have never figured out who to believe. I just call them all handguns and dispense with calling anything pistols. I try to also call a handgun a revolver, automatic, derringer, etc., to narrow it down a bit for listeners/readers. But I don't call it a pistol. That word sounds nice, but it confuses people.

rkba_net
September 7, 2008, 06:28 AM
A handgun is a firearm (revolver or pistol) designed to be held and fired with one hand.

A pistol is a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel.

A revolver is not technically a pistol... this is a rather old definition and is going out of use...

WhisperFan
September 7, 2008, 06:52 AM
A handgun is a firearm (revolver or pistol) designed to be held and fired with one hand.

I agree with this part ....

A pistol is a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel.

A revolver is not technically a pistol... this is a rather old definition and is going out of use...

This part is simply not true. The earliest revolvers were called 'pistols'
The term 'pistol' was also used to describe single shot muzzleloaders, so it certainly has nothing to do with semi-autos, as some people think.

'handgun' and 'pistol' mean exactly the same thing.

cambeul41
September 7, 2008, 10:52 AM
I have heard this before:

A pistol is a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel.

But from what original source did this definition emanate? And under which authority was it dictated?

Kleanbore
September 7, 2008, 11:19 AM
In the legally-mandated training material for concealed carry in my state, the slides define revolvers as pistols.

Jimmy Dean
September 7, 2008, 01:19 PM
I am with Whisper on this one, way back in the day, read old writing if you need to, revolvers were reffered to as pistols, and I think even black powder hand cannons were called pistols.

rswartsell
September 7, 2008, 01:32 PM
From Merriam Webster's online dictionary;


Main Entry:
pis·tol Listen to the pronunciation of pistol
Pronunciation:
\ˈpis-təl\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle French pistole, from German, from Middle High German pischulle, from Czech píšt'ala, literally, pipe, fife; akin to Czech pištět to squeak
Date:
circa 1570

it also list definition definition;

1: a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel; broadly : handgun

meaning in very specific usage-chamber integral with barrel, in casual usage any handgun.

Art Eatman
September 7, 2008, 01:58 PM
Don't quote me on this, but I think that Jeff Cooper was one of the first to differentiate between revolvers and semi-automatic pistols as separate types of handguns.

When I was a kid, back in the WW II era, any handgun was referred to as a pistol. Humphrey bogart's semi-autos were pistols. Hopalong Cassidy's six-guns were pistols. I don't even recall any use of the word, "handgun", for that matter.

poor_richard
September 7, 2008, 02:09 PM
I've long pondered this also.

If pistols were around long before the semi-auto was invented, then how is it that what were once considered pistols are no longer?

TBH, the idea that a revolver isn't a "pistol' sounds like something someone made up in order to make themselves think they were firearm savvy. No offense to the good, late Colonel intended.

blackcash88
September 7, 2008, 03:14 PM
A pistol is any type of handgun other than a revolver.

Really? What about a derringer?

Aguila Blanca
September 7, 2008, 06:06 PM
Pistol = handgun

hksw
September 7, 2008, 06:33 PM
The term 'pistol' was also used to describe single shot muzzleloaders, so it certainly has nothing to do with semi-autos, as some people think.

Refering back to rbka net's definition,

A pistol is a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel.

The barrel and chamber of a muzzle loader certainly were/are integral. nothing in his definition refered to semi-auto.



When you hear or read of semi-autos being described as "assault rifle/weapons", do you believe them to be? It could be that early on that the term 'pistol' (as described as integral chamber and barrel) was mistakenly used to describe revolvers as 'assault rifle/weapon' is today. It could also be that the term was used purposely to describe handguns in general as revolvers entered the scene. Whether either of these is true or not I can't say. I've used 'handgun' and 'pistol' interchangably in the past. Today, I rarely use the term 'pistol' and just use 'handgun', 'semi/semi-auto', and 'revolver'.

SamG.
September 7, 2008, 06:42 PM
1 - 1 = 0, absolutely nothing ( If not then ...................we have a big problem)

LAR-15
September 7, 2008, 06:43 PM
Handgun. (a) Any firearm which has a short stock and is designed to
be held and fired by the use of a single hand; and
(b) Any combination of parts from which a firearm described in
paragraph (a) can be assembled.

Pistol. A weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a
projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and
having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently
aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped
by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the
bore(s).

Revolver. A projectile weapon, of the pistol type, having a
breechloading chambered cylinder so arranged that the cocking of the
hammer or movement of the trigger rotates it and brings the next
cartridge in line with the barrel for firing.


,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

everallm
September 7, 2008, 08:23 PM
This is purely semantics and grammar, from the perspective of the law and regulation I doubt there there is any differentiation.

Unless of course you are in DC where a pistol can only be a revolver and all semi-automatics are de-facto assault weapons.

Jimmy Dean
September 8, 2008, 12:59 AM
haha Read LAR's definitions he pulled off the web.

They don't fit together.

By the definition of a pistol, revolver is not a pistol, but by the definition of a revolver, it is in fact a pistol.

Jack2427
September 8, 2008, 01:10 AM
IIRC the question asked what the LAW defined as the difference between a handgun and a pistol.

The answer to this is simple, whatever the law of the jurisdiction says it is. There being thousands of jurisdictions in the USA, and just about every one of them having a different approach in its language, the answer then gets complicated again. frequently the laws within a state will contradict each other, depending on what era they were passed in. Add in the counties and cities and other jusrisdictions and the answer is not only elusive, but may be impossibleto settle on.

For practical matters, most of the above responses will suffice.

waterhouse
September 8, 2008, 10:25 AM
The ATF requires that guns be listed by "type" in the bound book, as well as on the multiple handgun purchase form. In fact, the name of the form is "Report of Multiple Sale or other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers." Under "Type," a dealer may categorize a handgun as either a pistol or a revolver.

While there may be an actual, correct, definition, and while revolvers may actually be pistols, be aware that the ATF considers them different entities.

trickshot
September 8, 2008, 12:12 PM
"the idea that a revolver isn't a "pistol' sounds like something someone made up in order to make themselves think they were firearm savvy."

For hundreds of years all handguns including single shot muzzleloaders and revolvers have been called pistols. George Washington called his muzzleloader handgun a pistol. The cowboys always called their revolver a pistol. I wish there was a sticky to explain this and inform the new gun owners who don't know any better. I would be glad to help write it.

eruby
September 8, 2008, 12:23 PM
The cowboys always called their revolver a pistol."You gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?" - Josey Wales

LAR-15
September 8, 2008, 01:19 PM
What I posted is right from Federal (US) law and regulations

I am asking the difference between the two definitions

eruby
September 8, 2008, 01:32 PM
Dictionary.com defines pistol as a short firearm intended to be held and fired with one hand.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pistol

In the 2008Taurus catalog, they separate revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

http://www.taurususa.com/pdf/2008_Taurus_Catalog.pdf

While often the distinction is made that pistols are auto-loading handuns and revolvers are revolving handguns, I really don't think that definitions can be 100% right.

A pistol is a revolver is a handgun IMHO.

maestro pistolero
September 9, 2008, 02:30 PM
If one were to take an AR15 pistol, and affix it with a stock, would it:

1. Be a rifle?

2. Be an illegal short-barreled rifle, sans tax stamp?

ArfinGreebly
September 9, 2008, 04:00 PM
http://thomaspublications.com/civilwarprojectiles/articles/images/wrap-split.jpg


http://thomaspublications.com/civilwarprojectiles/articles/images/wrap-lift-top-2.jpg


http://www.vincaponihistoricantiques.com/images/pics/DSC09098.JPG


http://www.vincaponihistoricantiques.com/images/pics/DSC09101.JPG

telkontar
September 9, 2008, 05:25 PM
Arfin to the rescue again.

Statutory definitions notwithstanding, "handgun" is a new, made-up term. My (toy) pirate single-shot was a pistol, my CO2 pellet gun is a pistol, and my .357 wheelgun is a pistol to me since they all are designed to be and do get fired one-handed.

Words evolve over time and your personal word usage may vary.

WhisperFan
September 9, 2008, 05:49 PM
If one were to take an AR15 pistol, and affix it with a stock, would it:

1. Be a rifle?

2. Be an illegal short-barreled rifle, sans tax stamp?

#2
If you take any handgun and add a shoulder stock to it, and you do so without a Form 1 and 200.00 tax stamp, you just made an illegal Short Barreled Rifle.

blackcash88
September 9, 2008, 06:14 PM
Please, someone answer me this. I've always wondered why an SBR is so "evil" and requires paperwork. Why is this and what was the precedent for this law? All it does is make the handgun a little easier to shoot more accurately. I don't by the "concealable" rifle angle either, because we can legally carry the exact same handgun concealed. The stock doesn't add any killing power, capacity, range, etc. Makes no sense

LAR-15
September 9, 2008, 07:55 PM
OK what about adding a vertical foregrip to a 1911 pistol?

Is it still a pistol by definition?

Thanks

WhisperFan
September 9, 2008, 08:21 PM
OK what about adding a vertical foregrip to a 1911 pistol?

Is it still a pistol by definition?

The ATF has held that adding a foregrip to a handgun makes it an AOW and needs a 200.00 tax stamp

LAR-15
September 9, 2008, 08:48 PM
A handgun or a pistol??

akodo
September 9, 2008, 10:03 PM
Language changes, especially as new inventions arrive.

Who still uses the term 'horseless-carrage'? for cars, or even automobile?

it seems clear to me that at one time Pistol or pistolle and even a few other spellings meant a handfired firearm that had the barrel and chamber as one peice.

Eventually the item we call a revolver was invented. Because it was a new item, there really wasn't a word for it, so it was termed 'revolving pistol'. Language and technology both changed. Revolving pistols became very common. The term Revolving pistol became revolver, and pistol was used to refer to those few single shot or double barreled handguns still around. Eventually, a new pistol was designed, the Automatic Pistol. Now, old single shot pistols were rare as hen's teeth. People wanted to shorten Automatic Pistol in the same way automobile was shortened to auto, and telephone was shortened to phone and bicycle was shortened to bike. Some people shortened it to Automatic, others shortened it to Pistol...because calling a revolver a 'revolving pistol' had long ago ceased.

Now, since about the end of world war 2, maybe a bit later there has been a 'scare' of the public by the media, who would paint anything as a machinegun. Hence Automatic Pistol and just the term Automatic conjured up images of gangsters blasting away with drum fed tommy guns. (Which were also often just shortened to automatic)

To combat this gunners started to use the term pistol rather than auto or automatic to refer to these devices.

so basically

Revolving Pistol was shortened to Revolver

Later, Automatic Pistol was shortened to Automatic by most and pistol by a few, but then due to bad media, was shortened to pistol by most.

Currently, we are moving again and now pistol generally refers to any handgun

WhisperFan
September 9, 2008, 10:11 PM
OK what about adding a vertical foregrip to a 1911 pistol?

Is it still a pistol by definition?

The ATF has held that adding a foregrip to a handgun makes it an AOW and needs a 200.00 tax stamp

A handgun or a pistol??

I'm sure the ATF will not draw the distinction - neither with the judge, nor the jurors.

If any person puts a forward grip on a firearm designed to be fired one-handed - the ATF will consider that firearm to be an unregistered AOW (if it doesn't have the stamp)

Kentak
September 9, 2008, 10:26 PM
A revolver is a repeating pistol that has a number of chambers in a *revolving* cylinder. So, revolver is a term that describes the way one particular type of pistol operates.

Pistol is a term whose origins go back hundreds of years and is generally synonymous with the modern term "handgun." Doesn't matter if it's single shot, revolver, semi-auto, or full auto. It's a pistol, or a handgun.

K

Thor Bloodax
September 9, 2008, 10:44 PM
The current Georgia CCW permit is now called a "Georgia Firearms License." Some decades ago it was called a "Pistol Toter's Permit." When I was a kid in the 40's, everyone I knew called any handgun a pistol (whether they had been in the armed forces or not).

LAR-15
September 9, 2008, 11:54 PM
Handgun. (a) Any firearm which has a short stock and is designed to
be held and fired by the use of a single hand; and
(b) Any combination of parts from which a firearm described in
paragraph (a) can be assembled.


Quote:
Pistol. A weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a
projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and
having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently
aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped
by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the
bore(s).

...............

eruby
September 10, 2008, 08:40 AM
The ATF has held that adding a foregrip to a handgun makes it an AOW and needs a 200.00 tax stampI'm pretty sure an AOW (any other weapon) is only a $5 NFA tax stamp.

WhisperFan
September 10, 2008, 09:55 AM
I'm pretty sure an AOW (any other weapon) is only a $5 NFA tax stamp

Not to make it.

To make an AOW out of a firearm you already own, you file a Form 1 and pay 200.00

To transfer an already registered AOW it costs only 5.00

The best way to make and AOW out of a firearm you already own would be to find a willing 07/SOT, give them the firearm you want to be an AOW, and have them do it. Then transfer it back to you for 5.00. But my local 07/SOT won't do that for people.

LAR-15
September 10, 2008, 01:50 PM
200 bucks to add stuff to a pistol?

eruby
September 10, 2008, 02:39 PM
Not to make it.

To make an AOW out of a firearm you already own, you file a Form 1 and pay 200.00

To transfer an already registered AOW it costs only 5.00

The best way to make and AOW out of a firearm you already own would be to find a willing 07/SOT, give them the firearm you want to be an AOW, and have them do it. Then transfer it back to you for 5.00. But my local 07/SOT won't do that for people.You are right. I wasn't even thinking along the lines of making, just buying (like a Serbu Shorty). Mea culpa. :)

blackcash88
September 10, 2008, 02:41 PM
Can anyone answer my question in post #31?

blkbrd666
September 10, 2008, 03:04 PM
Difference between a pistol and a handgun...see photos...

WhisperFan
September 10, 2008, 03:20 PM
Difference between a pistol and a handgun...see photos...


http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk219/WhisperFan/rows-sign1.jpg

:D

OFT
September 10, 2008, 03:47 PM
And a pepperbox is:

a. a revolver since it revolves.

b. a pistol since each barrel has its own chamber.

c. who cares?

:neener:

elChupacabra!
September 10, 2008, 03:59 PM
If all zoinks are groobles, and some groobles are definitely artards, then;

A) all zoinks are definitely artards
B) some zoinks are probably artards
C) all ATF agents are definitely artards

Erik
September 10, 2008, 04:01 PM
"Handgun and pistol are synonyms. Both words have the same meaning. All handguns are pistols and all pistols are handguns."

Yep; "revolvers and "semi-automatics" are sub-categories of pistol.

TexasRifleman
September 10, 2008, 04:04 PM
c. who cares?

Right answer! Close and lock the thread..... quick! :)

Neo-Luddite
September 10, 2008, 04:25 PM
Yes it's a refrigerator, but I'll call it an ice box if I want to.

Here, the pistol vs. handgun problem is mostly that two roughly equal words have been passed down from two different cultures. Pistol is (IIRC) Italian/Spanish in origin and handgun is Anglo-Saxon.

I always prefer sidearm anyway, but that's just me.

If you enjoyed reading about "Difference between handgun and pistol" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!