pistol

pistollike, adj.
/pis"tl/, n., v., pistoled, pistoling or (esp. Brit.) pistolled, pistolling.
n.
1. a short firearm intended to be held and fired with one hand.
v.t.
2. to shoot with a pistol.
[1560-70; < MF pistole < G, earlier pitschal, pitschole, petsole < Czech píšt'ala lit., pipe, fife, whistle (presumably a slang term for a type of light harquebus employed during the Hussite wars), akin to pištet to squeak, peep]

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Small firearm designed to be operated with one hand.

The name may derive from the city of Pistoia, Italy, where handguns were made as early as the 15th century. It was originally a cavalry weapon. The two classes of pistol are revolvers and automatics. Automatics have a mechanism, actuated by the energy of recoil, that feeds cartridges from a magazine in the butt.

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weapon
      small firearm designed for one-hand use. According to one theory, pistols owe their name to the city of Pistoia, Italy, where handguns were made as early as the 15th century. The pistol was originally a cavalry weapon. The military advantages of a firearm that could be operated by one hand, leaving the other free for another weapon or for defense, were clear from the earliest days of gunpowder, and the pistol evolved simultaneously with such shoulder weapons as the harquebus and musket.

      There are two important classes of pistol: revolvers (revolver) and automatics. Revolvers embody an element that revolves; in early revolvers, sheaves or bundles of tubes serving as barrels were revolved by hand to allow more than one shot without reloading. The modern revolver employs a short, many-chambered cylinder positioned behind a single barrel so that the cartridge in each chamber is brought successively in alignment with the barrel. Pulling the trigger revolves the cylinder, brings a fresh cartridge in line with the hammer, locks the cylinder in place, and releases the hammer to discharge the cartridge.

      Automatic pistols have their mechanism actuated by the energy of recoil when a bullet is fired; cartridges are fed into the mechanism through a magazine in the butt of the pistol. Though devotees of the automatic pistol have predicted the decline and disappearance of the revolver, there is little evidence that this is happening. Both weapons are used by the military in many countries, in which context they usually serve as sidearms for officers. Their use by police and security forces varies, with the revolver favoured in the United States and the automatic used elsewhere. Both types are used extensively for sport and target shooting. See also automatic pistol; revolver.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pistol — Pis tol, n. [F. pistole, pistolet, It. pistola; prob. from a form Pistola, for Pistoja, a town in Italy where pistols were first made. Cf. {Pistole}.] The smallest firearm used, intended to be fired from one hand, now of many patterns, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pistol — Pis tol, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Pistoled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Pistoling}.] [Cf. F. pistoler.] To shoot with a pistol. To pistol a poacher. Sydney Smith. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pistol — [pis′təl] n. [Fr pistole < Ger < Czech pišt al, pistol, orig., pipe, prob. < pisk, echoic word for a whistling sound] 1. a small firearm made to be held and fired with one hand 2. such a firearm in which the chamber is part of the barrel …   English World dictionary

  • pistol — (n.) small hand held firearm, c.1570, from M.Fr. pistole short firearm (1566), of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be from Ger. Pistole, from Czech pis tala firearm, lit. tube, pipe, from pisteti to whistle, of imitative origin, related to Rus …   Etymology dictionary

  • pistol — index gun Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • pistol — [n] revolver firearm, forty five*, gun, handgun, piece*, rod*, Saturday night special*, six shooter, thirty eight*; concept 500 …   New thesaurus

  • pistol — ► NOUN ▪ a small firearm designed to be held in one hand. ORIGIN French pistole, from Czech pi t ala, originally in the sense whistle , hence a firearm by the resemblance in shape …   English terms dictionary

  • pistol — PISTÓL1, pistoale, s.n. 1. Armă de foc de dimensiuni mici, mânuită cu o singură mână; revolver. ♢ Pistol mitralieră = armă automată uşoară, mai scurtă decât puşca mitralieră, cu bătaie mai mică şi mai uşor de mânuit; automat. Pistol de… …   Dicționar Român

  • pistol — n. 1) to cock; fire a pistol 2) to aim, point; level a pistol at 3) to load a pistol 4) to draw, whip out a pistol 5) an automatic; dueling; starting; toy; water pistol 6) the pistol fired, went off; jammed; misfired * * * [ pɪstl] dueling fire a …   Combinatory dictionary

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