The politically correct term for a handgun that one carries for self defense. The use of this word suggests that you only carry your firearm as a precaution and implies the truth that a handgun is only a weapon for use against unexpected attacks. Remember you only use a pistol to fight your way back to your rifle.

Pro RKBA groups will urge you to use this term over "semi automatic pistol", or just plain "pistol", as it does not sound as evil to the stupid public.

The HCI types, Brady types, or Milling Mall Moms folks and other such gun grabbers will use the most evil terms they can use to refer to guns as to make the public believe that they are inherently evil. Silly and nonexistent names like the "Semi Automatic Bolt Action Rifle" is one of the funnier results of this propaganda taken to silly extremes.

Me, I'll keep my SatanArms(TM) Evil Gun model 666.