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handgun

[hand-guhn] /ˈhændˌgʌn/
noun
1.
any firearm that can be held and fired with one hand; a revolver or a pistol.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English handgone. See hand, gun1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hand gun

handgun

/ˈhændˌɡʌn/
noun
1.
a firearm that can be held, carried, and fired with one hand, such as a pistol
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hand gun

handgun

n.

1680s, from hand (n.) + gun (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for hand gun

handgun

any firearm small enough to be held in one hand when fired. It usually fires a single projectile or bullet, and additional ammunition may be available in a revolving mechanism or magazine. Handguns may be used for target shooting, hunting small game, or personal self-defense. Automatic handguns are illegal in many countries, and private ownership of any handgun is restricted in most of the world. See also automatic pistol; pistol; revolver.

Learn more about handgun with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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