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As far as I can see, most modern regulations regard "pistols" and "revolvers" as two distinct sets of handguns.

However, in Wild West times and beyond, revolvers have been regarded as pistols, and honestly: What else should they be?

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Is there an argument to declare an ancient flintlock muzzle-loading pistol and a modern semi-automatic pistol to be more closely related to each other, than either is to a revolver?

I think the explanation for the current usage is:

1. Historically and logically, a revolver is a pistol.
2. BUT: As semi-automatic pistols became the default (and almost only) version of pistols used, for simplicity the term "pistol" became assigned exclusively to them. So, for practical reasons, revolvers are no longer regarded as pistols, as otherwise you need more terms to be distinctive!

Do you agree? Or is there a design-related, meaningful answer to the italic question above?
 

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Definition of revolver


1 : one that revolves

2 : a handgun with a cylinder of several chambers brought successively into line with the barrel and discharged with the same hammer

Definition of pistol


1 : a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel broadly : handgun

2 : a notably sharp, spirited, or energetic person
 

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Definition of pistol

1 : a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel broadly : handgun

2 : a notably sharp, spirited, or energetic person

Definition of revolver

1 : one that revolves

2 : a handgun with a cylinder of several chambers brought successively into line with the barrel and discharged with the same hammer

Definition of handgun

: a firearm (such as a revolver or pistol) designed to be held and fired with one hand
 

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Revolver vs Pistol

Many use the term pistol and handgun interchangeably, but the majority of handgun experts make the distinction that pistols are a subset of handguns with an "integral chamber-barrel assembly." Pistols have one (or more) stationary integral chambers, whereas revolvers have multiple chambers inside a rotating cylinder. This means that both pistols and revolvers are subsets of handguns, but revolvers are not pistols.

Don't let the "(or more)" above throw you off. (The pepperbox falls into the "(or more)" category.) If you're buying a modern pistol for self defense, it's almost certainty going to have just one chamber. It's also going to be magazine loaded, in contrast with revolvers' cylinders.


 

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Wanna get technical?

Both are firearms
Both are handguns
One is a revolver
One is a semiautomatic pistol

Then... there's this: Revolver vs Semi Auto Pistols - Everything You Need to Know

What he said there but when it comes to law various places use various terms in their wording. Whenever the word pistol is used it essentially means handgun no matter what type it is. For instances here in NY you need a "pistol permit" to own any handgun with the exception of antique or reproduction cap and ball style handguns. If you plan on using them then even those need to be on your pistol permit.
 

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If you ever get "pistol whipped", you likely won't be able to tell the difference.

I call some pistols revolvers and some pistols automatics. I've never noticed any shortage of people who will correct my terminology.

I enjoy shooting most all of them, pistols and otherwise.


Alan
 

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It's easy when you think that the cylinder "revolves" ( move in a circle on a central axis ) and a pistol doesn't

But my pet peeve is still the "bullet" when talking about a cartridge/ round

Edit: I think the old advertisement used the name cause not too long before, everyone used "1 shot "pistols" so they used the term repeating pistols so peoples would understand
 

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"you know, I've met some revolvers in my day, but personally speaking, I'm a pistol." :cool:

I have always noted the difference between revolver and pistol, however, there are some who would argue there is no difference.

It's not that important to me how others define this revolver pistol thing. Simply put, as long as I know what they mean or are talking about, I'm good.

BTW- OTOH, I do get a kick out of the 9mm versus .45 thing. What a hoot.
 

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:cool:

I have always noted the difference, however, there are some who would arguie there is no difference.
Just like a bullet and a round, a clip and a mag etc.
 

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Names change as times change. You may find ads from Henry about horseless carriages. Categories change with advancements in technology. The Army Air Corps used to handle planes and flying tech advanced then the Air Force was born. The Air Force handles satellites and rockets but that will eventually fall under the purview of the Space Force.
 

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Just like a bullet and a round, a clip and a mag etc.
Since we are now talking pet peeves......

One of my biggest pet peeves is the casing and case thing. This one, for some reason, drives me up a wall!

One is for the bullet to go into, and the other is for sausage to go into. :whistle:

GET THEM RIGHT!!! 🤬
 

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The casing is designed to force the explosion and projectile to go only one direction and that is forward and out the barrel of the gun.
 

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and then some call a NAA mini revolver a derringer.......that has always bugged me....but not enough to debate......

now out in left field.....way, way back......there was "harmonica" handguns that sort of defy sub-catagories.....the chamber is not intergral.....and it don't revolve..the design died...but i guess she was the repeater of her era...for ever how briefly.

i guess the most successful harmonica gun was browning's harmonica rifle....
 

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Sometimes there is no time to debate the issue. Ie.

"You going to pull them pistols or whistle Dixie?"

Alan
 

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Or, "Jerk that smoke wagon and go to work."

Words evolve over time. Handguns were originally called "pistols." Didn't matter if they were revolvers (a type of pistol), derringers (another type of pistol), etc.

These days, the word pistol has come to mean a semi-automatic handgun (a type of handgun). A revolver (another type of handgun) is, more specifically, a handgun with a rotating cylinder. It was not always so.

During modern times, though, we carry our current terminology back in time which only means that if we're reading an older book or other writing, we have to take things into context, know the history of what was being discussed, etc.

In any case, as long as it's understood what's being discussed, who freakin' cares? If someone calls a magazine a clip, I know what he's talking about because of all the magazines on the table, the lack of clips on the table and fact that the guy is a newbie. I know what he's talking about and I'm not about to derail a shooting session with a discussion better had in the garage back home. It just doesn't matter that much.

--Wag--
 

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Sometimes there is no time to debate the issue. Ie.

"You going to pull them pistols or whistle Dixie?"

Alan
Yes! From one of my, all time favorite movies. (And I do not watch many movies.)
 

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because of all the magazines on the table, the lack of clips on the table and fact that the guy is a newbie.

Totally agree but personally I always point out the difference, because if no one tells the guy he will never know the difference. No one calls a bench a chair even though it serves the same function because everyone knows, learning is the key.
 
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