In general, a small caliber firearm designed to be operated with one or both hands. Usually has a small capacity magazine and short barrel. Some design variants in use today include the revolver, semi-automatic, and break-action derringer. Most utilize iron sights, but some accept scope mounts. Popular calibers include the 9mm, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .22 Long Rifle.

Handguns go back centuries. The Stockholm National Historical Museum has examples of fourteenth-century handguns. In actuality, it was a miniature hand-cannon.


                          touchhole
                            _^____     bullet
  =========================|______   ---0 
   pole
                            tube

Black powder was packed into the tube and a bullet or stone was wedged into the opening. The pole was around three feet long, and the user tucked it under his arm. To fire it, an ember was placed on the touchhole, which ignited the powder. The barrel of the tube was usually about seven inches long.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.