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Pistols are broken down into two subgroups – semiautomatics and revolvers. The semiautomatic pistol uses a magazine located within the grip of the gun. This magazine feeds cartridges into the chamber as the trigger is pulled – all the shooter needs to do is keep pulling the trigger until the pistol goes empty, and then reload another magazine. A revolver uses a rotating cylinder to store cartridges, usually between 6 to 8 depending on the model of revolver and caliber. Here are the pros and cons of each:

Semi auto pistols:


  • Detachable magazines mean ultra fast reloads. Most pistols have magazine capacities that are 10 at a minimum, and can be as high as 20 rounds depending on the model of pistol. That equals lots of firepower.
  • The calibers most semi autos use are also in use by the military and law enforcement, meaning there is always a good pool of ammo out there to draw from.
  • The police and military have overwhelmingly selected semi auto pistols as their go-to side arms.


  • Semi auto pistols are initially more complicated to shoot than revolvers, and have more buttons, knobs, and levers than any revolver.
  • Semi auto pistols quite simply have more moving parts.
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