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.
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.