A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and operated by one hand. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a
general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns (which are mounted against the shoulder).
Major handgun subtypes are the revolver and pistol; other subtypes include derringers, single-shot pistols, semi-
automatic pistols, pepperboxes, and machine pistols.
The overlapping variations in meaning of the words "pistol" and "handgun" are discussed below.
Although handgun use often includes bracing with a second hand, the essential distinguishing characteristic of a handgun
is its facility for one-handed operation.
Multiple senses of the word "pistol"
The word "pistol" is often synonymous with the word "handgun". Some handgun experts make a technical distinction that
views pistols as a subset of handguns. Sometimes in American usage, the term "pistol" refers to a handgun ">