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Handguns are designed to be held and operated using one hand, while the other hand can optionally support the firing hand. The characteristics of the handgun make it more convenient and typically easier to use then its larger counterparts, such as the rifle, shotgun or long gun. Today, most types of handguns can fall into one of the following categories: single-shot pistols, derringers, revolvers, pepperboxes, semi-automatic pistols, and machine pistols. These general types of handguns can be found below.

Single-Shot Pistols

Some of the earliest handguns were single-shot guns with could be ignited by inserting a match cord into the touch hole. Some of the most popular models today include the Thompson/Center Encore and the bolt action handguns. The Remington XP-100 was the first bolt action pistol, introduced in the early 1960’s based similarly to the Remington Model 600 rifle.

Multi-Barreled Pistols

Towards the beginning of the creation of firearms, experimentation with multi-barreled weapons was conducted in order to shoot more than one shot before having to reload. Duck’s-foot pistols and Derringers were two examples of small handheld pistols. Pepper-box guns, also referred to as pepper-box pistols or revolvers, were also popular multi-barreled guns, first introduced in the fifteenth century. Howdah pistols were often created from double-barreled rifles and today is recognized as the “big game hunter’s weapon”.


During the nineteenth century, gunsmiths achieved their goal of a practical weapon that could deliver multiple loads in a handgun. Ammunition was fed through the revolver through a cartridge-filled cylinder, in which each cartridge had its own ignition chamber. They hybrid form of the traditional revolver is known as the automatic revolver. The Colt is a single action revolver, made famous with the popular Single Action Army, as well as the newer Cowboy model.

Lever Action Pistols

The first lever action pistols were developed in 1854 and based on a Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson patent. By 1855, the name was changed to Volcanic Repeating Arms Company, followed by New Haven Arms Company, creating an important even in Winchester’s history. Volcanic pistols only lasted until 1860. Two models were produced during this time: The Pocket Pistol .31 calibers with 3 ½ inch / 6 inch barrels and the Navy Pistol .41 calibers with 6 inch / 8 inch / 16 inch barrels.

Semi-Automatic Pistols

The next greatest development in the history of handguns is the semi-automatic pistol. The semi-automatic uses energy from the first shot to reload the chamber of the second shot. The recoil energy of the process is mechanically harnessed, but some larger calibers are gas powered. After the pistol fires a round, the gun then cycles and ejects the casing and chambers a new round. This allows for a new shot to take place immediately.

Machine Pistols

The machine pistol is a form of firearm that was developed to be fired using one hand. There are various types of machine pistols, including the Glock 18 and models of the Mauser C96. While some machine pistols have the ability to attach a shoulder stock, such as in the Koch VP70 and the Heckler, others add a forward handgrip, such as in the Beretta 93R. The addition of these two features was a design change to create a short-barreled rifle.

Which of the following is NOT one of the "Three Ws" that should be included in every hunting plan?

What firearm you are hunting with.
Who you are with.
When you are returning.
Where you are going.


What technique can be described as "slow, patient movement of the hunter into shooting position after game has been located"?

Stand Hunting
Still Hunting


Which species is there federal hunting laws for?

Wood Duck
Ring-knecked pheasant
Snowshoe hare
White-tailed Deer


Which field carry provides the most firearm control?



Which choice is NOT recommended when approaching downed wildlife?

Approach quietly from behind.
Poke animal gently with a stick.
Touch the eye gently, if there's no reaction, animal is usually dead.
Shoot it again before approaching to make sure it is dead.


What is the technique known as "driving"?

One hunter sitting in a blind waiting for game to come along.
One hunter moving slowly and patiently into shooting position after game has been located.
One or more pushers walk through an area trying to move game ahead of them into areas wehre blockers are waiting.
One hunter driving a vehicle and a second hunter in the back set shooting through the open window.


Scouting an area you want to hunt should include:

Walk around the area on opening day with your firearm or bow.
Walk around the area looking for animal movements and signs.
Look at maps and aerial photos of the area.
Answers B and C.


Which of the following is NOT a reason why you should develop a hunting plan for every hunt?

So friends and family know how to contact you in case of emergency.
So you can use your hunting plan to start a fire if you get lost.
So fellow hunters know where you are located.
So friends and family know where you can be found in case of a hunting accident.


Which of these items should be on every checklist included in your hunting plan?

Hunting license


Which of these does NOT violate a hunting safety rule?

Carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
Keeping your finger on the trigger while stalking game.
Two hunters shooting at the same game.
Identifying what lies beyond an identified target.