I Did not know this.......Technically speaking


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Sullyman
February 23, 2012, 08:41 PM
I was listening to NPR today about Glocks. The author of a book about Glocks referred to a "pistol" as a semiautomatic handgun like a Glock as opposed to a revolver. A pistol and a revolver are subsets of a handgun. I guess I always thought a "pistol" could be a semiautomatic, derringer, single shot or a revolver. But even going to Wikipedia (for what it is worth) there is a distinction. A Revolver is a Handgun with a revolving cylinder with multiple chambers. A Pistol is where the Chamber is integral to the barrel.

Hence a revolver is not a pistol.

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spazzymcgee
February 23, 2012, 08:45 PM
Correct. Calling a revolver a pistol is like calling a magazine a "Clip".

Sullyman
February 23, 2012, 08:49 PM
or any tissue a Kleenex

newbuckeye
February 23, 2012, 08:49 PM
^^^^some people will quietly correct you, some will sigh and remain silent.....

Carl N. Brown
February 23, 2012, 08:54 PM
A Revolver is a Handgun with a revolving cylinder with multiple chambers. A Pistol is where the Chamber is integral to the barrel.

ATF Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide

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.

Technically a pepperbox is a pistol, not a revolver.

The division of handguns into pistols and revolvers was formalized in my memory by the 1968 Gun Control Act, (which is now Title I of the Federal Firearms Regulations, with the 1934 National Firearms Act conprising Title II).

There will be a test next Thursday.

mgmorden
February 23, 2012, 09:00 PM
This has been a change in terminology that people who write dictionaries have been trying to force on us for quite a while. Everyone I know uses "pistol" as a synonym for "handgun", and it's the people, not some arbitrary committee, that make our language what it is. I'll continue to consider any handgun a pistol (though in truth I rarely even use the word anyways, preferring handgun instead).

Sullyman
February 23, 2012, 09:04 PM
Ok thus far the three people who have responded knew the distinction. There have been over 60 views. How many others did not know?????????

Am I the only one who did not know a revolver is not a pistol?????? If so I'll crawl back into the corner and do remedial training :)

Sam1911
February 23, 2012, 09:13 PM
I'm going to take the liberty of quoting member Loosedhorse here:

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-4.pdf) established a point system (for "sporting purposes" features) for importation of foreign-made handguns. There are two separate point systems (http://www.atf.gov/forms/download/atf-f-5330-5.pdf), one for "revolvers", one for "pistols."

The GCA defines a pistol as 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).A revolver isA projectile weapon, of the pistol type, having a breechloading chambered cylinder...So, I guess a revolver is of the "pistol-type" but somehow not a pistol. :rolleyes::confused: What do you expect when you let gun-grabbing legislators define gun types for you!

Quick quiz: A pepperbox (with revolving cylinder AND multiple barrels that are all integral with their chambers) is a pistol or a revolver? :D

I believe that the GCA is the single source of all "a revolver is not a pistol" nonsense. As has already been mentioned, this is what Colt's thought:

http://www.sportingcollectibles.com/cphotos/c36752broadside.jpg

Coyote3855
February 23, 2012, 09:17 PM
You say tomato...

I knew the difference. I don't really care. USPSA shooters were adamant about the difference between a clip and a magazine. I don't really care.

As for what Sam Colt would have thought, had he been alive with the SAA was invented, I don't care about that either, except in 1873 they didn't have any name for a semi auto.

The Lone Haranguer
February 23, 2012, 09:46 PM
http://fototime.com/0DF0DD02CF6D76A/standard.jpg

ApacheCoTodd
February 23, 2012, 09:57 PM
I bow to Hatcher's "Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers". After all, he da man, or was, anyhow.

barnbwt
February 23, 2012, 10:14 PM
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.

Jeez, I wonder what the Mateba Unica 6 was classified as by the ATF since it was recoil operated...

TCB

khegglie
February 23, 2012, 10:25 PM
So the Rossi Ranch Hand is a pistol....

FMF Doc
February 23, 2012, 11:01 PM
Why are we allowing the government to dictate to us what we shall of shall not refer to an item by? Don't them control enough of my life without telling me what I should call my BOOM STICK!

316SS
February 23, 2012, 11:52 PM
Oh dear, this again. As has been discussed once or twice before on this forum, the word came from the Middle French pistole and referred to a small weapon capable of being fired from one hand, i.e. a handgun. It predates the autoloading design by centuries.

It all depends on what your definition of the word "is" is.

JohnBiltz
February 24, 2012, 12:48 AM
Revolvers are pistols. There is 50 years of history and writings between the invention of revolvers and pistols that pretty thoroughly establish this. I don't know where this latest thing about about revolvers not being pistols comes from but its nonsense. As far as the fed goes they bought a lot of pistols that were revolvers before the 1911 was invented and they can call ketchup a vegetable but it doesn't make it true.

exavid
February 24, 2012, 12:55 AM
I seem to have several handheld firearms of various types in my gun safe.

kozak6
February 24, 2012, 06:49 AM
You should have made this a poll.

Personally, I side with Sam Colt.

silversport
February 24, 2012, 11:15 AM
so when in the days before semi automatic pistols they called revolvers "pistols" they were really talking about something that hadn't been invented yet???...really???...

(whoops...I see this has already been covered...nothing to see here...:D)

Bill

Sauer Grapes
February 24, 2012, 11:33 AM
A revolver must be a pistol. Over top of the door at my club it says, "Pistol Range"....lol. Either that, or we just don't have a revolver range.

Fiv3r
February 24, 2012, 11:56 AM
I never knew it was actually factually defined between the two. I always thought it was the old "Every square is a rectangle but not every rectangle is a square" thing.

A revolver is a pistol. A pistol MIGHT be a revolver or a semi-auto. A semi-auto is never a revolver, etc. I generally call a revolver a revolver and a semi-auto a semi-auto. Unless I'm buying a magazine. Then I might say to the guy behind the counter, "I am looking for a magazine for my pistol". Semantics aside, I have never been in a gun shop that started looking for something that would fit a revolver when I say that:neener:

Actually, if I'm in informed company, I usually refer to my handguns by make and model. Most shooters know what a Glock is. Most know what a Blackhawk is, etc.

Old Fuff
February 24, 2012, 12:59 PM
Prior to 1900, handguns of all kinds were called "pistols," although they might be described in more specific words, such as revolver, six-shooter, single-shot, etc. This continued to a degree after 1900, but after the introduction of Colt and other box-magazine fed pistols came about these were often called " automatic pistols," or "automatics" for short. Today the word "pistol" has largely replaced "automatic"

Somehow I'm not going the lose any sleep over all this. :D

jdh
February 24, 2012, 09:18 PM
Why are the called revolvers when the cylinder rotates?

rcmodel
February 24, 2012, 09:28 PM
Revolve, Rotate, same differance.
Would you call them Rotators instead of Revolvers?

reˇvolve [ri-volv] Show IPA verb, -volved, -volvˇing.
verb (used without object)
1. to move in a circular or curving course or orbit: The earth revolves around the sun.

2. to turn around or rotate, as on an axis: The wheel revolves slowly.

rc

modifiedbrowning
February 24, 2012, 09:34 PM
The revolver is a pistol that has come to be better known by its nickname.

haybaler
February 24, 2012, 10:38 PM
People can change the definition all they want but a revolver will always be a type of pistol.

trex1310
February 24, 2012, 11:43 PM
A revolver is a pistol according to Josie Wales:
"Are you going to pull them pistols or whistle Dixie?".

PabloJ
February 25, 2012, 04:46 AM
I lump all types under genetic term "tool". If it goes bang each time trigger is pulled and intended target is hit I could honestly care less.

JohnBT
February 25, 2012, 11:16 AM
"It predates the autoloading design by centuries."

Thank you.

Did I already know that there are people who believe that a revolver is not a pistol and keep repeating it like it's a fact? Yes, but they can call them what they like, it doesn't bother me.

brickeyee
February 25, 2012, 01:24 PM
Revolver. A projectile weapon, of the
pistol type

Emphasis added.

Carl N. Brown
February 25, 2012, 01:39 PM
^Yes, the government definition is circular. In governmentese, a pistol is a hand held gun with the chamber part of the barrel, different from a revolver, which is a projectile weapon of the pistol type.

Pistols are described in records as early as 1364, revolvers as early as 1560, which to me implies that revolver was developed from, and is a subtype of, pistol, not a seperate thing. But, I don't work for the government. For that matter, a Title II (NFA'34) "firearm" is not the same as a Title I (GCA'68) "firearm".

jdh
February 25, 2012, 03:21 PM
[qoute=rcmodel]Revolve, Rotate, same differance.
Would you call them Rotators instead of Revolvers?

reˇvolve [ri-volv] Show IPA verb, -volved, -volvˇing.
verb (used without object)
1. to move in a circular or curving course or orbit: The earth revolves around the sun.

2. to turn around or rotate, as on an axis: The wheel revolves slowly.

rc[/quote]

Clip/magazine same thing right?

That the Earth revolves around the sun is correct. What does the earth do about its axis? Rotates.

There is a correct explanation as to why a rotating cylinder firearm is called a revolver.

murf
February 25, 2012, 03:42 PM
the cylinder rotates. the cartridges revolve.

murf

mike.h
February 25, 2012, 03:51 PM
Here's the easy answer: Own at least one of each. Then when asked, "pistol or revolver", the simple reply is, Yes.

Jim K
February 25, 2012, 08:39 PM
I hate to tell you folks, but "WE", meaning gun people, came up with the nonsensical idea that a "revolver" could not be a "pistol" and that a new term, "handgun", was needed to cover both. That happened way back before civilization, in about 1950, and I was there. There were big arguments in the few gun magazines, angry letters to the editor to "correct" news reports, etc.

Prior to that time, the term "pistol" meant "handgun", and "revolver" was one kind of pistol. The term "automatic pistol" was used for guns like the M1911, and no one thought that it meant "full automatic".

So don't blame the writers of dictionaries (who only report the language - they don't make it up), blame US. In this case we really did meet the enemy and he is us.

Jim

aryfrosty
February 26, 2012, 12:24 AM
A revolver is not a pistol. Proper nomenclature is not a nickname. I learned at my Aunt Catherine's table. She was married to the late Colonel Douglas E. Morrison and travelled the world with him for his career. They retired in 1945. I also learned in my military career what the difference was in a revolver and a pistol. Any vet...combat trained, that is should also know the difference. Bottom line is that youse guys can call them whatever you want to call them but it doesn't change the facts. Old Fuff, I ain't throwing no stones your way. Colonel Morrison was around before and during the 1900s. He was the quarterback at Georgia Tech 96 years ago in 1916 when Tech beat Cumberland College 222-0 at home. Colonel went on to serve a very distinctive 25 years in the artillery in the Army, retiring as a full bull Colonel with a patent on a gunsight system to his name. He had a 1917 S&W and a 1911 Colt that he brought home with him and he wasn't bashful about which was which.

rcmodel
February 26, 2012, 12:56 AM
I thought I read for a fact Colonel Douglas E. Morrison carried a brace of horse pistols (Colt Walker revolvers) in his breeches during the charge down Little Medium High Big Mountain in 1883.

Unfortunately, one of the Walker horse pistols in his breeches discharged when his whiskey flask became dislodged from his frock coat, and whacked the hammer of one of his Colt Walker horse pistols.

Whether it was the left one or the right one it hit is still a mystery. It could have been both of them? Never mind, it doesn't matter anyway.
The Colt Walker revolver was a very powerful pistol to dischaarge at close range in your breeches.

After he recovered, he gave up the old Walker horse pistols and started carrying modern pistols such as the 1917 S&W pistol and 1911 Automatic pistol.
Until he was forced into early retirement by his little known and often unspoke of disability.

After his forced late retirement, he became known as Aunt Catherine Morrison.
And she often embellished stories of Colonel Morrison's war time service with his pistols..

PS: Sorry, De Debble made me do it! :D

rc

TennJed
February 26, 2012, 03:38 AM
Where I come from all sodas are "cokes" and all pain relievers are "aspirin" BUT a revolver is a revolver and a semi is a pistol

jdh
February 26, 2012, 11:43 AM
murf got it.

bhk
February 26, 2012, 12:34 PM
I am an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor . I guess I can't teach anything about revolver shooting .

buck460XVR
February 26, 2012, 01:21 PM
I'm thinkin' this is one of those "every house is a house, but not every house is a home" kinda thing. This discussion, like the infamous dreaded mag/clip or cases/casings discussions makes the rounds on these kind of boards every coupla months. For the life of me, I don't know why. Everybody knows what folks are talkin' about and nobody is even close to being confused. But before you know it, the Google definitions and the name calling starts.:rolleyes:

Jim K
February 26, 2012, 05:42 PM
While we are arguing over this kind of silly nonsense, the antis will solve the problem by banning all guns no matter what silly purists call them.

Jim

PBR Streetgang
February 26, 2012, 06:01 PM
All I'm going to say is "Webley-Fosbery Self-Cocking Automatic Revolver" :D

Cactus Jack Arizona
February 27, 2012, 05:38 AM
Fascinating. Nobody has bothered to ask why this topic was even being discussed on NPR. :eek: Their track record hasn't exactly been friendly to all who hold the 2nd Amendment dear. Their motto should be "NPR. We imagine a world with no guns". :rolleyes: Has something changed over there? I am truly puzzled. :o

Greg528iT
February 27, 2012, 11:51 AM
I thought the progression was... Pistol (hand held).. Revolver.. the everything else is a GLOCK. ;)

exavid
February 27, 2012, 02:20 PM
Nah, there are only two kinds of firearms. Glocks and assault rifles. If it's small and black it's a Glock, if somewhat longer and black it's an assault rifle. These are terribly powerful weapons and shouldn't be allowed in civilian hands. Assault rifles are high powered and can fire hundreds of times per second, Glocks are dangerous because they are high powered and can fire hundreds of time per second. Just ask any news reporter.

spearpoint
February 29, 2012, 06:35 PM
The language is what it is despite these technicalities, and whatever their origins.

Technically, handguns aren't even guns.

exavid
February 29, 2012, 09:46 PM
Strictly speaking they should be called rifles or hand rifles unless they were smoothbore.

Fishslayer
March 1, 2012, 03:13 AM
Am I the only one who did not know a revolver is not a pistol?????? If so I'll crawl back into the corner and do remedial training

Among people who frequent gun forums you might be in the minority but most of us consider it merely a meaningless legal definition. Colt (and many others) sold quite a few "pistols" with revolving cylinders back in the day... ;)

19&41
March 1, 2012, 09:00 PM
Where I work, anyone under 30 that mentions any hand held firearm regardless of design principle calls it a Glock. Any shoulder fired firearm is called an AK. Trying to discuss the previous thread with them would be equivalent to urinating up a rope. Clips, grips and bullets are also extraterrestrial discussions.

CajunBass
March 2, 2012, 12:59 AM
Yea, I've known that for about 40 years or so.

I still don't care. If it's a handgun, it's a pistol.

mnrivrat
March 2, 2012, 04:02 AM
A projectile weapon, of the pistol type, having a "breechloading" chambered cylinder...

Does that make my 1862 Police a rotating pistol ? :D

tipoc
March 2, 2012, 05:19 AM
It won't make any difference but here...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v432/tipoc/pr.jpg

Before semis were widely available, a century and more ago, folks did at times call revolvers "pistols". As semis became common a distinction evolved and in common daily language that distinction stands. But we also hear folks call a revolver a pistol which is the older way. Both work. I don't worry on it much.

tipoc

Sullyman
March 2, 2012, 06:03 PM
Fascinating. Nobody has bothered to ask why this topic was even being discussed on NPR. Their track record hasn't exactly been friendly to all who hold the 2nd Amendment dear. Their motto should be "NPR. We imagine a world with no guns". Has something changed over there? I am truly puzzled.

It was interesting. The host was trying to suggest that Glocks are the pistol of choice when committing crimes. The author being interviewed was clear in saying quite the contrary. Glocks are expensive and, yes they have been used in high profile shootings, they are not the pistol of choice for criminals. She seemed to push some more but he would not relent and agree with her. He was also real clear how anti-gunners stepped on their ties, so to speak, about them being the hijackers guns because they were plastic and could not be detected by x-rays. He said the anti's had to do allot of back peddling when the truth came out.

All in all it was not a real anti gun interview. It was more about the history of Glocks and their inventor.

jmr40
March 2, 2012, 09:43 PM
As has already been mentioned, this is what Colt's thought:



Colt called it a "Revolving Pistol", a name meant to be distinctive from a "pistol". After time the pistol part was dropped and revolvers became known as revolvers. It seems pretty clear to me that Colt tried to use 2 different terms even years ago.

Personally I have always tried to use the number of chambers as the way to define the two. A pistol is a single shot, lever action, bolt action, break action, semi-auto, or any other type of handgun with a single chamber.

A handgun with multiple chambers that rotate and fire through the same barrel is a revolver.

Derringer's, pepperboxes or any other type of handgun are separate, and different categories of handguns.

I think it is important that we as gun owners should be aware of how the guns got their names. I also realize that over time the definition of different words and objects change and many folks now use the term "pistol" to define any handgun. I would prefer they not, but I ain't gonna change anything, so I don't lose any sleep over it either.

Gato Montés
March 3, 2012, 12:01 AM
I still don't care. If it's a handgun, it's a pistol.

+1

Let the busybodies be as technical as they want, historically revo's, or any firearm fired from a single hand, are pistols. Always were, always will be.

outdoorsman1
March 3, 2012, 12:17 AM
I own both a revolver and a auto loading pistol...

I carry either one in a holster on my right hip...

That makes them both my "Sidearms"....

Outdoorsman1

mope540
March 3, 2012, 09:58 AM
Call 'em all "guns", just to be safe and stay out of trouble. kinda like calling the wife and/or girlfriends "sweetie", "darling", etc. at all times.

tipoc
March 3, 2012, 02:41 PM
Fascinating. Nobody has bothered to ask why this topic was even being discussed on NPR. Their track record hasn't exactly been friendly to all who hold the 2nd Amendment dear. Their motto should be "NPR. We imagine a world with no guns". Has something changed over there? I am truly puzzled.

It was an interview with Paul Barrett, the author of the book "Glock: The Rise Of America's Gun". Barrett is an editor and writer at the magazine Bloomberg Buisness Week and focuses on Gaston Glock's business model.

Here is a link to the article and interview...

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/24/145640473/how-the-glock-became-americas-weapon-of-choice


tipoc

jackpinesavages
March 3, 2012, 06:27 PM
I guess my S&W JM revolver won't shoot ACP then? :neener:

wgsigs
March 3, 2012, 08:41 PM
At some point in time a revolver was a pistol. Like the OP I didn't get the memo. I discovered this change just last year when there was a thread asking "Which pistol had the best out-of-box trigger?" and I responded "Colt Python". :p

brother1
March 3, 2012, 08:46 PM
is anyone there

MuleRyder
March 3, 2012, 09:06 PM
Nothing to see here...move along

4thPointOfContact
March 6, 2012, 01:34 PM
The pistol came first; matchlock, wheel lock, flint lock.
Later the revolver was invented and distinguished from the ordinary pistol with a snazzy new name.
Later still the autopistol, or semi-auto was developed.

They are all still pistols, but an autopistol doesn't revolve and a revolver isn't an automatic.




Except for that weird Webly-Fosbery abomination that murder fiction writers love, the 'semi-automatic revolving pistol'.
http://www.thegunzone.com/images/webley-fosbery-lg.jpg

38riverrat
March 7, 2012, 02:48 AM
I hope that revolvers are indeed pistols, since my Washington State concealed carry permit is called "license to carry concealed pistol", and I carry a S&W M442.

rat

Snubshooter
March 7, 2012, 01:59 PM
So you were listening to an anti american station (npr) Where an employee of that anti american scum(bloomberg) was discussing how bad Glock is at his personal relationships.
WELL, Isn't that like watching brokeback mountain because the media said it was a western?

Sullyman
March 7, 2012, 07:18 PM
I guess we're finished here.

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