What Is a Handgun?

A handgun is a short-barrelled gun, typically a firearm, that is designed to be usable with only one hand. This is in contrast to a long gun, such as a rifle, shotgun, submachine gun, or machine gun, which must be held with both hands and braced against the shoulder in order to be used effectively. Revolvers and semi-automatic pistols are the two handgun kinds that are used most frequently nowadays, however other handgun types like derringers and machine pistols are also occasionally used. handguns for sale

Before they were produced in large quantities for commerce, pistols were frequently viewed as a badge of office, similar to a ceremonial sword. The few who could only afford to buy them carried these pistols due to their limited utility and higher cost compared to the long weapons of the day. The Colt Paterson, the first practical mass-produced revolver, was designed by Samuel Colt in 1836, and it immediately gained popularity as a defense weapon. As a result, the adage “God created men, but Colt made them equal” was coined.

Handguns are mainly utilized by police and military personnel as sidearms nowadays in the majority of the world. Nonetheless, pistols are also freely available to citizens in the United States and some other nations and are frequently carried for self-defense.

Types of Handguns

There are single-action (SA) revolvers that require you to manually cock the hammer to fire. An example is the Ruger Super Blackhawk. SA revolvers look like the handguns you see in western films. These days they are used mainly for hunting or target shooting.

With a double-action (DA) revolver, you don’t have to cock the hammer before shooting. Pulling the trigger automatically cocks the weapon. Most modern revolvers are DAs and typically hold five or six rounds.

Semi-automatic handguns or pistols can hold the most rounds out of any handgun because they use magazines. Each pull of the trigger means one round is fired. The model and make of the gun and the size of the magazine determine how many rounds it can fire before you need to reload.

Pistols come with standard magazines, but larger aftermarket magazines may also be available. For example, a Glock 19 with a standard magazine holds fifteen rounds but can also take magazines that hold seventeen, nineteen, or thirty-three rounds. A Glock 17 holds seventeen rounds standard.

The advantage of a pistol over a revolver is that you can carry any number of spare magazines that simply clip into the handle and you are fully reloaded and ready to shoot again. Reloading a revolver means you have to turn your attention to the gun while you feed the new rounds one by one into the chambers.

Small handguns designed for concealed carry, such as Derringers, also have chambers but are not revolvers as there is no spinning cylinder. They are easily hidden in a purse or pocket and in the early days, could only fire one shot before they had to be reloaded. Pocket guns are classically single-action guns, but in more recent times, manufacturers have made double-action derringers that can hold four rounds.

How Many Rounds Can A Handgun Hold?

Handgun’ is a generic term for the wide variety of short-barrelled weapons out there – the kind that can technically be fired with only one hand. A 9mm pistol called the Calico Liberty III is for those particularly worried about running out of ammo. It comes standard with a fifty-round magazine that can be upgraded to a one hundred round magazine.

Capacity depends on the type of handgun. A revolver typically holds between five and six rounds in its rotating chambers, while a pistol uses magazines inserted into the handgrip. Pistols usually carry between six and nineteen rounds, but extended magazines can frequently be purchased as an extra.

There’s a difference between an automatic pistol that uses magazines and a handgun with fixed chambers – think revolvers and derringers. The chambers holding the rounds are an integral part of the gun and not replaceable like a magazine.

A 38 Special is an example of a type of revolver made by various manufacturers that usually chambers between five and six rounds.

How Many Bullets are in a Pistol?

Several variables affect how many rounds a handgun can hold. We have pointed out one of them already – the type of handgun. Other variables are caliber size, handgun size, make and model, magazine type, and the availability of aftermarket magazines.

Handgun Make and Model

Many pistols come in compact or full-size. The compact version is easier for concealed carry, so you need to think about the model as well as the make. A compact gun may not always hold as many rounds as its full-sized cousin. The average for a compact is between six and fifteen rounds, depending on the make.

Because it is designed for concealed carry, a compact pistol is often smaller and typically holds fewer rounds. For example, the full-size Glock 17 carries seventeen rounds plus one in the chamber, while the compact Glock 19 carries fifteen rounds plus one. The full-size CZ P10 F carries nineteen rounds plus one, while the compact P10 C carries fifteen plus one.

The terms “compact” and “full-size “have different meanings for different gun manufacturers and are not standard throughout the trade. For example, one manufacturer’s full-size may be as big as another manufacturer’s compact model.

To add to the variety, there are also sub-compact pistols that can be carried in a pocket. They tend to have magazines that hold around seven to twelve shots, but this varies between makes and manufacturers.

Model size affects round capacity because a small gun can only hold a small magazine. Full-size models tend to have a few more rounds than their compact versions. The capacity of revolvers is fairly limited, usually half or less than half that of a pistol because of their design.

Aftermarket Magazines For Automatic Handguns

Aftermarket extended magazines for popular brands of handguns such as Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Beretta, and Walther are pretty plentiful. The Glocks tend to be the biggest, but you can also have a custom magazine made for your particular automatic.

Some American states have laws banning large-capacity magazines. The maximum capacity differs from state to state. For instance, in Colorado, the legal capacity is fifteen rounds, while in California, it is ten.

In November 2021, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the California ban on magazines holding ten or more rounds, saying it didn’t violate the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

Other states that limit magazine capacity are Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. In Canada, there is also a ten-round limit for handguns.