When is a pistol not a pistol?

    James has written an interesting post discussing the modern trend of not calling a revolver a pistol. Technically any handgun is a pistol from the early matchlocks to single shot handguns to autoloaders.

    I personally use the following terminology:

    A revolver: revolver
    A single-shot: pistol
    A Derringer: Derringer
    An Autoloader: pistol (unless it is also a revolver. I would call that an automatic revolver)
    A Matchlock: pistol
    A fully-automatic handgun: machine pistol (if it was specifically designed to he held like a pistol, otherwise it is a submachine gun)
    A handheld cannon: handheld cannon, hand cannon or Handgonne

    The futuristic looking Mateba Auto Revolver (from Wikipedia)

    800Px-Yuan Chinese Gun
    Chinese Hand cannon (from Wikipedia)

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!