A pistol is a type of gun that is small and can be used with only one hand. Many pistols are used for defending yourself. They are usually smaller and lighter than most guns, like rifles, which makes them useful for hiding and carrying around. They also have shorter barrels.
Pistols usually only fire one shot every time you pull the trigger. Some special pistols, called machine pistols, can fire more than one at a time. Some famous pistols are the Colt M1911 and the Beretta 92.
Pistols were not commonly used in the western United States during the 1800s. The first commercially successful pistol was the Borchardt C-93. Designed in 1893 and became available in 1894.