It is a one handed weapon that has a short barrel and a breech lock-and-load firing mechanism.
Recognized as a short ranged weapon, it has become standard equipment for most police departments around the world.
The pistol comes in many forms, from the flintlock to the modern machine pistol.
The primitive handgun was created in the fourteenth century, but did not become practical to use, until the sixteenth century.
It was then, that the flintlock pistol was introduced and used by gentleman and military men alike.
The flintlock is often remembered in duels and its long barrel provided acceptable accuracy.
In 1836, the six-shooter was introduced by Samuel Colt.
It was useful because it fired numerous shots without having to stop and reload.
The first semi-automatic pistol was the Maxim, which took in clips that were placed into the handle.
The browning pistol was a high powered semi automatic gun.
and was designed by John Moses Browning.
It was a common side-arm in World War II, and was often used to get out of a bad situation with great firepower.
The machine pistol is an automatic weapon and can fire in bursts and often has a long, folding metal butt that sometimes resembles a military assault weapon.
Most modern handguns operate in a similar way.
To fire a bullet, the safety must first be turned off.
The case that holds the bullets is called a magazine.
The magazine is slid into the handle and the hammer may be pre-cocked to allow easy operation of the trigger.
Otherwise the trigger can be pulled with increased force which automatically cocks and releases the hammer.
When the trigger is pulled, the hammer strikes a firing pin which ignites the gunpowder and fires the bullet.
The pistol is the most widely seen gun today, and over 2 centuries later, Americans are still debating whether we should continue to have the constitutional right to bear arms.
This will never be an easy question to answer and anyone can see that handguns will continue to play their role in sporting games, crimes, law enforcement and life in our modern society.