automatic pistol


automatic pistol
a type of pistol having a mechanism that throws out the empty shell, puts in a new one, and prepares the pistol to be fired again. Also called automatic.
[1875-80]

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weapon
      handgun that utilizes either recoil or blowback to discharge the empty cartridge after each shot, reload, and cock the piece. The automatic pistol dates from the very late 19th century, when developments in ammunition made possible cartridges and bullets that would not be deformed by their handling in automatic loading, as well as smokeless powder that burned evenly to provide smooth action.

      Although there are a few automatic pistols that are fully automatic, the term ordinarily refers to a semiautomatic or autoloading pistol, which fires only one shot at each pull of the trigger. By contrast, a fully automatic weapon continues to fire as long as the trigger is depressed. Unlike automatic rifles and shotguns, automatic pistols are virtually never operated by combustion gases. In relatively low-powered pistols, the blowback mode of operation may be employed. In this system, the breechblock or bolt does not remain locked in firing position until the bullet has left the barrel but is free to be thrust backward by the same burst of energy that propels the bullet forward; because it is many times heavier than the bullet, it moves much more slowly. The rearward thrust removes the spent cartridge from the chamber and ejects it, meanwhile storing energy in a spring; the spring projects the bolt assembly forward and injects a fresh shell into the chamber.

      In the recoil method of operation, the breechblock is locked to the barrel at the moment of firing. Thus, when the recoil of the gun forces the barrel rearward, the breechblock moves with it. As soon as the pressure of gases in the barrel has diminished to a safe level, the breechblock is unlocked from the barrel and continues moving backward; meanwhile, the barrel stops its movement. The rearward motion removes and ejects the spent cartridge and loads a spring, which pushes the breechblock assembly forward again, thereby loading, cocking, and locking the piece to fire again.

      Automatic pistols are valued because they can hold more ammunition in clips than revolvers in their cylinders, and because of their rapidity of fire. Except for target guns, however, their accuracy is significantly less than that of revolvers in most hands. Also, it is not possible to tell at a glance whether an automatic pistol is loaded, as is possible with a revolver. Automatic pistols are chambered in sizes ordinarily ranging from .22 to .45 calibre and their metric equivalents.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Automatic pistol — may refer to* Machine pistol * Semi automatic pistol (in popular usage) …   Wikipedia

  • automatic pistol — noun a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released • Syn: ↑automatic • Derivationally related forms: ↑automatic (for: ↑automatic) • Hypernyms: ↑pistol …   Useful english dictionary

  • automatic pistol — Colt pistol Colt pistol (Firearms) A self loading or semi automatic pistol with removable magazine in the handle holding seven cartridges. The recoil extracts and ejects the empty cartridge case, and reloads ready for another shot. Called also… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • automatic pistol — /ˌɔtəmætɪk ˈpɪstl/ (say .awtuhmatik pistl) noun a pistol which can be fired automatically or semiautomatically …   Australian English dictionary

  • automatic pistol — small firearm which continuously loads and fires supplied ammunition …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Semi-automatic pistol — A semi automatic pistol is a type of handgun that can be fired in semi automatic mode, firing one cartridge for each pull of the trigger. This type of firearm uses a single chamber and a single barrel, which remain in a fixed linear orientation… …   Wikipedia

  • Mars Automatic Pistol — Type semi automatic pistol Place of origin …   Wikipedia

  • Ortgies Semi-Automatic Pistol — Ortgies 7.65 mm semi automatic pistol with grip safety engaged Type Semi automatic pistol Place of origin …   Wikipedia

  • Pistol model 2000 — Type Semi automatic pistol Place of origin …   Wikipedia

  • automatic — n. 1. light machine gun. Syn: automatic rifle, machine rifle [WordNet 1.5] 2. a pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released; as, a .45 automatic. Syn: automatic pistol. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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