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Friday, 3 March 2017

Pistol

The pistol is a small firearm designed for one-hand use.

The pistol first appeared in the 15th century, when early handguns were produced in Europe. Their evolution closely parallels that of the corresponding shoulder arm.

European hand cannon (Germany, about 1475)
The English word was introduced in ca. 1570 from the Middle French pistolet (ca. 1550).

Former US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was shot by US Vice President Aaron Burr in a pistol duel near Weehawken, New Jersey in 1804.

Samuel Colt received a U.S. patent for his pistol with a six-chamber, revolving barrel on February 25, 1836. With a pocket knife, Colt had whittled a wood model while stationed on the S.S. Corlo.

Henry Deringer's pocket pistol, the Derringer Philadelphia, found a ready market during the 1850s and 1860s, especially on the frontier.

The Derringer (the extra 'r' was inserted by mistake) became infamous for its use by John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Lincoln.

John Wilkes Booths Deringer

The Schönberger-Laumann 1892 was the first semi-automatic pistol. It was invented by the Austrian inventor Joseph Laumann in 1892.

The M1911 single-action, semi-automatic pistol developed by American firearms designer John Browning became the standard-issue side arm in the United States Army in 1911.

When Louis Armstrong was 13, he celebrated New Year's Eve by firing a .38 pistol that belonged to one of his "stepfathers." As a result he was sent to the Colored Waifs' Home for Boys.

In his quest to become an honorary undercover agent for the DEA and do his bit for the never-ending war on drugs, Elvis Presley was invited to the White House to offer his services to Richard Nixon. The king gave the president a chrome-plated Colt .45 pistol as a gift.

US black activist George Jackson was shot in San Quentin jail by guards who were convinced he was hiding a pistol in his bushy afro.

Up until 2006, Russian cosmonauts carried pistols into space, to be used when they returned to Earth and landed in the Siberian wilderness.

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