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Easy Guide to the Handgun Laws

Easy Guide to the Handgun Laws

Handgun laws in the United States are complex and confusing. Each state has enforced a distinct set of handgun laws, making the firearm’s regulation asymmetrical across the nation. As oppose to going over every state’s individual interpretation of handgun law, we will break down the varying interpretations into four specific groups: shall issue states, may issue states, unrestricted, and right denied areas. All of these terms have to do with permits and licenses regarding ownership, possession, carrying, and concealment of handguns.
A shall issue state is one that only requires a permit to carry a handgun when concealed, but does so through a granting authority, assuming all of the criteria has been met. The application procedure to obtain a permit to conceal requires residency questions, meeting a minimum age, submitting fingerprints, passing an instant background check, attending a certified handgun safety class, and a small fee.
Procedures vary based on state, some do not require safety classes and the waiting periods can range from 3 days to as many as 60. Shall issue states are regarded as having the weakest handgun laws of any state, and typically do not require a permit for purchase, a license to document ownership, or registration.
The following states are considered to be shall issue and generally possess weak handgun laws: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. As you can see 31 of the 50 states are have shall issue handgun laws and are considered very casual. Nearly two thirds of our country has weak handgun laws.
Alaska and Vermont are home to weakest handgun laws in the country. These two particular states are considered to be unrestricted, and do not require a permit, license, or registration of any sort. These states have such lenient handgun laws that they don’t even require a permit to conceal a loaded handgun.
May issue areas are generally states that possess more stringent hand gun laws than those found in shall issue states. May issue jurisdictions require permits to carry a concealed handgun, and are granted at the discretion of authorities at a local level. May issue states include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. Handgun laws in these various states will range significantly in terms of permits for purchase, license of ownership, and regulations regarding ammo size, amount of purchases, and gun shows.  The following may issue states require a permit before purchasing a gun: 
       New Jersey
       New York
       North Carolina
       Puerto Rico
Handgun law in these states are considered rigorous and will severely enforce such scrupulous regulations. The permit necessary for purchase requires a similar process to conceal; fingerprints, background checks, and a waiting period are all common procedures necessary to obtain a permit to purchase in such states.
The direct antithesis of unrestricted states are jurisdictions that have adopted a no-issue or rights denied policy for handgun law. This does not imply that these areas possess the most scrupulous stances on hand gun law, but instead simply means that the right to conceal a handgun does not exist in these jurisdictions. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. are currently the only states in the US who have formerly adopted a no-issue policy into their hand gun law.  
There is great differentiation in regards to handgun law between states and even jurisdictions. If you are an avid handgun enthusiast or user, having knowledge of the varying state handgun laws is crucial to avoid stress and even worse-a jail sentence.  

Quick Handguns Overview

Quick Handguns Overview

Handgun Types
Handguns are considered any type of firearm that can be properly discharged using only one hand. There are five recognized types of handguns; each form is distinct based on rate of fire, loading techniques, caliber, and mechanisms used to discharge. Single shot pistols are considered the earliest form of handgun.
The single shot version is similar to a hand held cannon; only one discharge is available before the user must manually reload the weapon. Multi-barreled pistols were developed shortly thereafter, and enable a user to fire multiple (generally 6 shots) rounds before a reload is required. Similar to the concept instituted by the multi-barreled pistol, the revolver also enabled a user to fire multiple shots before a required reload. The revolver used a cylindrical chamber, which “revolved” and fired a fresh bullet each time the trigger was depressed.
The revolver came in two forms (single and double action ) and contained 5 to 8 rounds of high powered ammunition. As technology advanced the handgun evolved intosemi and fully-automatic versions. The semi-automatic handgun uses the energy created from a discharge to automatically reload the chamber for a subsequent shot. Using gas or recoil energy, the semi-automatic pistol will fire a single shot with each depression of the trigger.
In contrast, the full-automatic model will rapidly fire rounds so long as the trigger is held down. Referred to as machine pistols, the fully-automatic version is rare in society, and often difficult to control because of its lightweight and rapid firing capabilities. 

Handgun Laws
shotguns and rifles (weapons used for hunting/sport) are regulated casually; an individual will be able to obtain a long gun without any severe procedural requirements or red tape. In contrast,the use of semi-automatic and fully-automatic weapons are over sought scrupulously by the federal government; the obtainment of such weapons is exceedingly difficult.
This leaves handguns as the only form of firearm that is regulated locally, and possess complex and varying laws. The levels of regulation vary so widely from state to state that some areas completely outlaw the sale or purchase of such weapons, while others do not require a permit, a license of ownership, or a registration.
Although the mean interpretation of handgun laws is casual in the United States, the penalties for violating a particular areas handgun laws are fierce. Possessing a complete understanding of the varying state laws is necessary to avoid stress or punishment.

What Are The Types of Handguns

What Are The Types of Handguns


Exploring the World of Handguns: A Comprehensive Guide to Types and Categories


Handguns are among the most prevalent and versatile firearms in the world today. They come in a wide variety of types and categories, each designed for specific purposes and preferences. Whether you’re a firearm enthusiast, a law enforcement officer, or someone interested in personal defense, understanding the different types of handguns is essential. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of handguns, exploring their various categories and providing insights into their usage, history, and characteristics.

Chapter 1: The Basics of Handguns

Before diving into the different types of handguns, it’s crucial to understand the fundamental characteristics and components that define this class of firearms.

1.1 Handgun Definition

A handgun, also known as a pistol or a sidearm, is a firearm designed to be operated with one hand. Unlike long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, handguns are compact and portable, making them suitable for personal defense, law enforcement, and concealed carry.

1.2 Handgun Components

   – Frame: The frame is the central component of a handgun and houses the trigger mechanism, barrel, and magazine. It provides structural support and defines the firearm’s size and shape.

   – Barrel: The barrel is the tube through which the bullet travels when fired. It determines the handgun’s accuracy and range.

   – Slide: The slide covers the barrel and moves back and forth during the firing cycle, ejecting spent cartridges and chambering new rounds.

   – Trigger: The trigger is the part of the handgun that the shooter pulls to release the firing mechanism.

   – Grip: The grip is the handle of the handgun, allowing the shooter to hold and control the firearm.

   – Sights: Sights are devices, often consisting of front and rear elements, that help the shooter aim accurately.

Chapter 2: Categories of Handguns

Handguns can be categorized into several types based on their action mechanisms, intended use, and design. Let’s explore these categories in detail:

2.1 Revolvers

Revolvers are one of the oldest types of handguns, known for their simplicity and reliability. They feature a rotating cylinder that holds multiple rounds of ammunition. When the trigger is pulled, the cylinder revolves, aligning a fresh round with the barrel.

   – Single-Action Revolvers: In single-action revolvers, the shooter must manually cock the hammer before each shot. Pulling the trigger only releases the hammer to strike the firing pin.

   – Double-Action Revolvers: Double-action revolvers allow the shooter to both cock the hammer and fire by simply pulling the trigger. This makes them quicker to operate than single-action revolvers.

Revolvers are popular for their ruggedness and ease of maintenance. They come in various calibers and are often used for personal defense and sport shooting.

2.2 Semi-Automatic Pistols

Semi-automatic pistols, also known as autoloading pistols, are the most common type of handguns in use today. They use the energy generated by firing a round to eject the spent cartridge, chamber a new round from a detachable magazine, and cock the firing mechanism for the next shot.

   – Single-Action Semi-Automatics: In single-action semi-automatics, the hammer must be manually cocked before the first shot. Subsequent shots can be fired in double-action mode, where pulling the trigger both cocks the hammer and fires the gun.

   – Double-Action Only (DAO) Semi-Automatics: DAO semi-automatics have a consistent trigger pull for each shot, making them popular for concealed carry due to their safety features.

   – Striker-Fired Semi-Automatics: Striker-fired pistols use a striker mechanism instead of a hammer. They are known for their consistent trigger pulls and are commonly used by law enforcement agencies.

Semi-automatic pistols offer higher ammunition capacities compared to revolvers and are widely used for self-defense, law enforcement, and target shooting.

2.3 Derringers

Derringers are small, compact handguns known for their simplicity and concealability. They typically have two barrels and can hold one or two rounds of ammunition. Derringers are often used as backup guns or for concealed carry due to their small size.

   – Single-Shot Derringers: These derringers can only fire one round before requiring manual reloading.

   – Multi-Barrel Derringers: Some derringers have multiple barrels, allowing for multiple shots before reloading.

2.4 Pocket Pistols

Pocket pistols are compact semi-automatic handguns designed for easy concealed carry in a pocket or small holster. They are typically chambered for smaller calibers and are popular among individuals seeking a discreet self-defense option.

Chapter 3: Calibers and Ammunition

In addition to the various handgun categories, it’s important to understand the different calibers and types of ammunition used in handguns. Caliber refers to the internal diameter of the barrel and influences factors such as recoil, bullet velocity, and stopping power. Some common handgun calibers include:

   – .22 LR (Long Rifle): Often used for target shooting and small game hunting due to its low recoil.

   – 9mm Luger: One of the most popular handgun calibers for self-defense and law enforcement due to its manageable recoil and capacity.

   – .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol): Known for its stopping power, it’s favored by some for self-defense.

   – .38 Special: Used in both revolvers and semi-automatic pistols for self-defense.

   – .357 Magnum: Known for its powerful performance, often used for self-defense and hunting.

   – .380 ACP: A compact caliber suitable for concealed carry.

   – .40 S&W (Smith & Wesson): Used by law enforcement agencies for its balance of capacity and stopping power.

Understanding ammunition is crucial for safe and effective handgun use. Different types of bullets, such as full metal jacket (FMJ) for target shooting and hollow-point (HP) for self-defense, serve distinct purposes.

Chapter 4: Handguns in History

Handguns have played significant roles in history, shaping military tactics, self-defense, and law enforcement. Here are a few historical highlights:

4.1 Early Hand Cannons

The earliest known handheld firearms, known as hand cannons, date back to the 13th century. These early firearms used black powder and resembled small cannons. They marked the beginning of handheld ranged weapons that would eventually evolve into modern handguns.

4.2 The Colt Revolver

Samuel Colt’s invention of the Colt revolver in the 19th century revolutionized handgun technology. It featured a rotating cylinder that could hold multiple rounds, making it a game-changer in terms of firepower.

4.3 The 1911 Pistol

The Colt M1911, designed by John Browning, became the standard-issue sidearm for the United States military in 1911. This

 semi-automatic pistol played a pivotal role in both World Wars and remains a classic firearm to this day.

Chapter 5: Legal and Regulatory Aspects

Handgun ownership and use are subject to strict regulations and laws in many countries. It’s important to be aware of these legal aspects before acquiring or using a handgun. While specific regulations vary widely, they often cover:

   – Background Checks: Most jurisdictions require background checks to ensure that individuals purchasing handguns do not have a criminal record or mental health issues that would disqualify them.

   – Permit and Licensing: Many places require individuals to obtain permits or licenses to carry concealed handguns in public.

   – Storage and Transportation: Laws often specify how handguns should be stored and transported to prevent unauthorized access and ensure safety.

   – Prohibited Persons: Certain categories of individuals, such as felons and individuals subject to restraining orders, are typically prohibited from owning or possessing handguns.

Understanding these regulations is crucial to staying within the bounds of the law and ensuring responsible handgun ownership.

Chapter 6: Handguns for Personal Defense

One of the primary reasons individuals choose to own handguns is for personal defense. Handguns offer a compact and effective means of protecting oneself and loved ones in case of threats. Here are some considerations for using handguns for personal defense:

   – Training: Proper training is essential to ensure safe and effective use of handguns. Seek out certified firearms instructors and practice regularly.

   – Home Defense: Handguns can be used for home defense, but safe storage and quick access are crucial to prevent accidents.

   – Concealed Carry: If you choose to carry a concealed handgun in public, ensure you are in compliance with local laws and receive the necessary training.

Chapter 7: Handguns for Sport Shooting

Handguns are also popular for sport shooting, offering a challenging and enjoyable pastime for enthusiasts. Some of the popular shooting sports that involve handguns include:

   – Target Shooting: Precision shooting at stationary targets, often involving various distances and shooting positions.

   – IDPA and USPSA: International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) competitions involve dynamic shooting scenarios, emphasizing speed and accuracy.

   – Bullseye Shooting: A precision shooting sport where competitors aim for the center of a target at fixed distances.

   – Action Shooting: Fast-paced shooting competitions that incorporate movement and shooting on the move.

Participating in these sports requires skill development, dedication, and adherence to safety protocols.

Chapter 8: Handguns for Law Enforcement and Military

Handguns are essential tools for law enforcement officers and military personnel. They serve as secondary weapons to long guns and are often carried as backup firearms. Key considerations for law enforcement and military use of handguns include:

   – Training: Extensive training is required to ensure officers and military personnel can effectively use handguns in high-stress situations.

   – Duty Holsters: Holsters are designed to securely retain handguns while allowing quick and reliable access.

   – Ammunition Selection: Law enforcement and military agencies carefully choose ammunition that balances stopping power with over-penetration concerns.

Chapter 9: Future Trends and Innovations

The world of handguns continues to evolve with advancements in materials, design, and technology. Some notable trends and innovations include:

   – Modularity: Handguns with interchangeable components, such as grip modules and slides, offer increased customization options.

   – Optics Integration: More handguns are designed to accommodate red dot sights and other optics for improved accuracy.

   – Polymer Frames: Polymer-framed handguns have become increasingly popular due to their lightweight construction and durability.

   – Smart Gun Technology: Ongoing research explores incorporating biometrics and electronic safety features into handguns.

As technology progresses, we can expect further improvements and innovations in the world of handguns.


Handguns are a diverse and essential category of firearms, serving a wide range of purposes, from personal defense and sport shooting to law enforcement and military applications. Understanding the various types and categories of handguns, as well as their historical context and legal regulations, is essential for responsible ownership and use. As the world of handguns continues to evolve, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest trends and innovations in this field. Whether you’re a seasoned firearms enthusiast or someone considering their first handgun purchase, knowledge is the key to safe and responsible handgun ownership.

Handguns are firearms that can be operated and carried with only one hand. A unique weapon, the handgun is among the most popular form of firearm in the United States-of the 193 million guns in the United States nearly 38% of them are handguns. As a result of its prevalence, the handgun is the most violent firearm in circulation-75% or 7,575 of the 10,100 murders in the United States were committed via handguns in 2005.

There are currently five different classifications of handguns, all possessing unique characteristics in terms of rate of fire, loading technique, and caliber used. The five different types of handguns are:Single shot pistols, multi-barreled pistols, revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, and automatic pistols. Although many handgun experts believe there is a distinction between pistols and handguns, for this purpose we will be using the terms synonymously.

Single shot pistols

The earliest form of handguns, single shot pistols, are regarded as the most basic form of the weapon. In essence, the single shot pistol is like a miniature hand-held cannon, discharging one explosive round of ammunition followed by a manual reload. These handguns were generally labeled as “pocket pistols” because of their ability to conceal. Although archaic, single shot pistols are still available today for big game hunting purposes. Popular models include the Derringer, and the Thompson/Center Encore.

Specs for the Thomson/Center Encore hunting pistol.

Break action chamber that accommodates a wide variety of cartridges.

Calibers range from .22 rim fire to .45/70.

Barrel lengths are generally 10 to 14 inches but some bigger models come with a 16 1/4 inch barrel.

All T/C single shot pistols come with either iron sights or optical sights for more advanced hunters.

Multi-barreled pistols

Were produced shortly after the creation of the single shot pistol. Multi-barreled handguns were created to enable the operator to fire more than one shot without having to reload. Famous examples of multi-barreled handguns include:pepper box guns, the .577 Snider, and the .476 Enfield.


Revolvers were created in the 19th century and accomplished to the task of multi-loading a handgun through a rotating cartridge-filled cylinder. These cylindrical chambers contained anywhere from five to eight rounds depending on the make. The cylinder would rotate each time the trigger is depressed, filling the chamber with a fresh round. When compared to other types of handguns revolvers are more accurate and possess powerful forms of ammunition.

Revolvers come in two different forms:single action and double action. The single action revolver is the western style, and requires a thumb cock before it can be fired. The double action is a typical police style weapon and can be fired in succession with a harder trigger depression. This form of handgun has a long and rich history in wars, crime fighting, and the wild west. Popular makes of revolvers include the .44 magnum, .45 Long Cult, and the .357 Magnum.

Specs for the .44 magnum

The .44 Magnum fires a large, heavy bullet at a high velocity

Bullets are approximately 11 mm in diameter

The accuracy of the gun is very good however it can only shoot about 100 yards before dropping off

Holds 6 high powered rounds

Semi-automatic hand guns

The next innovation following the revolver, a semi-automatic pistol uses the energy of a discharge to automatically reload the chamber for a subsequent shot. Semi-automatic handguns are either gas powered, or used recoil energy to reload the next shot. These pistols are used by infantrymen in the United States military as a sidearm. Popular models include the Smith and Wesson .45 ACP, the TEC-9, and the Desert Eagle.

Specs for the 92 Beretta

First produced in 1975

Weighs 34 ounces

8.5 inches in length

4.9 inch barrel length

Feeds through a detachable magazine which can contain between 10-20 rounds

Uses 9X21 mm ammunition

Automatic hand guns

Automatic hand guns or machine pistols are capable of rapid and consecutive fire with one simple depression of the trigger. Usually machine pistols have selective fire, which alternate between fully automatic shots and 3 round burst per trigger squeeze. These forms of handguns are rare, and difficult to control because of their lightweight and ability to rapidly fire. A popular example of the machine pistol is the Beretta 93R.

Specs for the Beretta 93R

Designed in the late 1970s, the Beretta R is meant for military or police use

This form of automatic gun fires 3 bursts per trigger squeeze making it more accurate

Can fire 1100 rounds per minute

What Are Some Handgun Concerns

What Are Some Handgun Concerns

Of all the firearms available for purchase, no such form has inflicted so much pain, brought about more controversy, and yielded more concern than the handgun. Due to its accessibility, ease to conceal and operate, the handgun has taken more lives and caused more harm than any type of legal firearm on the market.
According to the Brady campaign’s research there are approximately 283 million guns in circulation; of those 283 million, roughly 113 million were handguns, or 40%. An overwhelming percentage of deaths via firearms are caused by shots from handguns-around 75%. This combination of availability and violence makes handguns arguably the most disturbing consumer product in America. Along with this frightening combination, handguns also possess great economic, and cultural concerns.
Society’s general concerns regarding handguns are not cryptic. The firearm poses a tangible threat that has effected millions upon millions of individuals living in the United States. Since 1964 there have been over 1.2 million murders in the United States via firearms. Of these 1.2 million murders, nearly 60% or 720,00 were committed via handguns. These statistics are the more conspicuous concerns in regards to handguns. Violence is an inherent characteristic for any firearm, and handguns are no exception.
The handguns greatest burden is administered on the youth and family’s of America. The following statistics from the Brady campaign will reveal the dangers imposed by handguns on America’s family’s and young people: 
In 2006, nearly 6 children under the age of 19 were killed with handguns everyday-2,087 children die annually from a handgun.
From 1993 to 1997 7,400 murders via handguns were committed by children under the age of 18 years old. 
 From 1999 through 2005, an average of 1,000 children took their lives with a handgun.
The presence of a handgun in one’s home quadruples the risk of homicide and quintuples the risk of suicide.
Gunshot wounds from a handgun are the most common causes of death for women in the home, accounting for nearly half of all homicides and suicides.
In 1998, for every one time a woman used a handgun to kill a stranger in self-defense, 302 women were murdered in handgun homicides (FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report, 1998)
From the statistics one could conclude that handgun ownership severely increases the likelihood of suicide, accidental deaths, and homicide in the home. Proponents for gun rights constantly point to the fact that handguns are a necessary means for self defense, however, the statistics reveal that homicide trumps acts of self defense by 43:1. In addition to murder and suicide handguns also pose an economic cost on society in the form of negative externalities. The following statistics (taken from the Brady campaign) reveal the economic cost of handgun violence. 
Including all direct and indirect costs-medical, lost wages, and security costs, handgun violence costs the nation roughly 75 billion dollars a year.
Including medical costs, the prosecution of the assailant, and the subsequent imprisonment a murder via handgun will cost as high as 2 million dollars.
If thought about logically the impact that handgun murders have on our society is extremely costly. Someone has to pay for medical costs, the trial, the imprisonment, and the lost wages incurred. Unfortunately this bill is picked up by the taxpayers; roughly 80% of these costs are paid for by society.
This analysis doesn’t even include the mounting opportunity costs created by handgun violence-unmeasurable variables such as time are impossible to conceptualize. Precious hours that could have been spent working or doing something productive, are instead wasted arranging a funeral or grieving. As one can see concerns over handguns come in different forms, both tangible and abstract.