by: Gun fans • 166
When distinguished as a subset of handguns, a pistol is a handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel, such as a pepperbox revolver - as opposed to a standard (single-barrel) revolver, wherein the chamber is separate from the barrel as a revolving cylinder.
The pistol originates in the 16th century, when early handguns were produced in Europe. The English word was introduced in ca. 1570 from the Middle French pistolet (ca. 1550).
The etymology of the French word pistolet is unclear. It may be from a Czech word for early hand cannons, píšťala "flute", or alternatively from Italian pistolese, after Pistoia, a city renowned for Renaissance-era gunsmithing, where hand-held guns (designed to be fired from horseback) were first produced in the 1540s.
The first suggestion derives the word from Czech píšťala, a type of hand-cannon used in the Hussite Wars during the 1420s. The Czech word was adopted in German as pitschale, pitschole, petsole, and variants.
These types of handgun were mainly seen during the era of flintlock and musket weaponry where the pistol was loaded with a lead ball and fired by a percussion cap. However, as technology improved, so did the single shot pistol. New operating mechanisms were created, and due to this, they are still made today. They are often used to hunt wild game.This type of gun is oldest.
These were common during the same time as single shot pistols. As designers looked for ways to increase fire rates, multiple barrels were added to all guns including pistols. Some examples of multi-barreled pistols are Derringers and Duck's foot pistols.
Fighters were developed in World War I to deny enemy aircraft and dirigibles the ability to gather information by reconnaissance. Early fighters were very small and lightly armed by later standards, and most were biplanes built with a wooden frame, covered with fabric, and limited to about 100 mph. As control of the airspace over armies became increasingly important all of the major powers developed fighters to support their military operations. Between the wars, wood was largely replaced by steel tubing, then aluminium tubing, and finally aluminium stressed skin structures began to predominate.
By World War II, most fighters were all-metal monoplanes armed with batteries of machine guns or cannons and some were capable of speeds approaching 400 mph. Most fighters up to this point had one engine but a number of twin engined fighters were built, however they were found defenseless against single engine fighters and were relegated to other tasks, some becoming night fighters, fitted with very primitive radar sets.