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automatic pistol

a type of pistol having a mechanism that throws out the empty shell, puts in a new one, and prepares the pistol to be fired again.
Also called automatic.
1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Encyclopedia Article for automatic-pistol

automatic pistol

handgun that utilizes either recoil or blowback to discharge the empty cartridge after each shot, reload, and cock the piece. The automatic pistol dates from the very late 19th century, when developments in ammunition made possible cartridges and bullets that would not be deformed by their handling in automatic loading, as well as smokeless powder that burned evenly to provide smooth action

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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