Is a revolver a pistol?
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Thread: Is a revolver a pistol?

  1. #1

    Is a revolver a pistol?

    Got into a heated discussion today with a buddy over the question"Is a revolver a pistol?" My understanding has always been that handgun and pistol are interchangeable, but I have also found that the term pistol refers to a weapon in which the chamber and barrel are an integral assembly. Are there any hardcore fireams experts out there that can help answer this question?

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  3. #2
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    The term "handgun" can be used to describe a "pistol" and a "revolver". Some folks loosely use the word "pistol" to describe a "revolver". Technically this is not correct, but generally understood by most. A "revolver" is a specific term being that the root word "revolve" is in reference to the "revolving" cylinder.

    Hope I've cleared it up for you.



    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

  4. #3
    so does the word pistol refer to a non revolver handgun only?

  5. According to Wikipedia:

    " In American usage, the term "pistol" refers to a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel, making pistols distinct from the other main type of handgun, the revolver, which has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers. However, Commonwealth usage makes no distinction at a technical leveló"pistol" may refer to revolvers, semi-automatics, or muzzle-loading/cap-&-ball handguns"

  6. #5
    wolfhunter Guest
    Yes, a pistol refers to non-revolvers, but the term is commonly used to mean handgun. The definition must be determined by the context. Obviously, if a comment is made discussing the cylinder of the pistol, someone is using the term "pistol" in the loose version of the definition.
    Handgun = Pistols and Revolvers
    Revolver = Revolver
    Pistol = Single Shot, Semi-Auto, or other non-revolver
    The general masses say "Pistol" to mean all of the above.

    Ask GF if he has any clips for your semi-auto pistol.

  7. #6
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    Have you ever heard the term Pistolero or Pistoleer? Better yet, was the term pistol in use before semi-auto handguns were even invented? There are newspaper and book accounts from the 1800s and even before to show the term was widely used, and it applied to revolvers of the time, and even single shots before that.

    All revolvers are pistols, not all pistols are revolvers.

    From the newspaper "The Black Hills Pioneer", announcing the funeral of Wild Bill Hickok. Note the cause of death.

    "Died in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876, from the effects of a pistol shot, J. B. Hickok (Wild Bill) formerly of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Funeral services will be held at Charlie Utter's Camp, on Thursday afternoon, August 3, 1876, at 3 o'clock, P. M. All are respectfully invited to attend."
    StateMaster - Encyclopedia: Wild Bill Hickock

    If folks want to say the definition has changed, they are entitled. I'll stick to the above proofs.

  8. #7
    [QUOTE=Stiofan;75366]Have you ever heard the term Pistolero or Pistoleer? Better yet, was the term pistol in use before semi-auto handguns were even invented? There are newspaper and book accounts from the 1800s and even before to show the term was widely used, and it applied to revolvers of the time, and even single shots before that.QUOTE]

    I have run across those terms, but if the terms are older than the revolver, then I think the pistol definition is still accurate, because the barrel and chamber of a cap and ball or muzzle loader still would have been integral.

    I do still agree with you on the comon usage arguement, though.

  9. #8
    I would never correct someone for calling a revolver a pistol and I have always considered any handgun a pistol. However much like the word gay has taken on a new meaning the word pistol has taken on the meaning of semi-autos only. Sort of like does you car have an engine or motor.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfhunter View Post
    Yes, a pistol refers to non-revolvers, but the term is commonly used to mean handgun. The definition must be determined by the context. Obviously, if a comment is made discussing the cylinder of the pistol, someone is using the term "pistol" in the loose version of the definition.
    Handgun = Pistols and Revolvers
    Revolver = Revolver
    Pistol = Single Shot, Semi-Auto, or other non-revolver
    The general masses say "Pistol" to mean all of the above.

    Ask GF if he has any clips for your semi-auto pistol.

    I can get my hands on some stripper clips that would facilitate loading magazines for an AR-15 pistol.



    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

  11. #10
    A revolver is a type of pistol because Sam Colt said so in his patent documents.
    RG 103, Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company Inventory of Records
    Samuel Colt (1814-1862) received U.S. Patent No. 138 in 1836 for the first revolving cylinder pistol ...
    People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome.--River Tam

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