A handgun is a short-barreled firearm designed to be fired with only one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today, are the revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.
In the days before mass production, handguns were often considered a badge of office, much the same a sword. As they had limited utility and were more expensive than the long-guns of the era, handguns were carried only by the very few who could afford to purchase them. However, in 1836, Samuel Colt patented the Colt Paterson, the first practical mass produced revolver. It was capable of firing 5 shots in rapid succession and very quickly became a popular defensive weapon, giving rise to the saying "God created men, but Colt made them equal."
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