Size isn’t everything, especially in the world of firearms. Even though some rocket launcher will naturally cause massive damage, a gun doesn’t need to be big to be effective. Handguns are indispensable if you cannot afford to walk with a heavyweight rifle over your shoulder. No other firearm is suitable for concealed carry and can be easily operated with one hand. While there are two major types of handguns, this page is dedicated to pistols in particular. 

A pistol is a handgun in which the chamber is an integral part of the barrel. In the modern world, this word is mostly associated with semi-automatic handguns. Obsolete single-shot pistols usually make an appearance only during historical reenactments, lever-action pistols tend to be parts of classic gun collections, and automatic pistols are exclusive to law-enforcement and military officers. So, a semi-automatic pistol is the only type left. What does this ‘semi-automatic’ part mean? It implies that after the shot is made, this pistol will automatically insert another cartridge into the chamber but will need you to pull the trigger once again to discharge another shot. So, one pull, one shot. In contrast to semi-automatic pistols, automatic ones will keep discharging while the trigger is pulled. Since actual automatic pistols hardly ever appear on the market, the word ‘automatic’ became a synonym to semi-automatic and any self-loading pistol in colloquial speech, but we are all gun experts here and will use the proper terminology, right? Right..?

Anyway, pistols are as varied as people. They are distinguished by the type of action, caliber, cartridges, and triggers. They come in dozens of combinations, and it might be challenging to tell one from the other. We offer a brief guide to let you know what kind of pistols you can find on Gritr Sports.

Hammer-fired vs. Striker-fired

Hammer-fired pistols are older than strikers, and they haven’t changed much since the moment of their invention. Not because they are too obsolete and not even worth it, but because they don’t really need it. Hammer-fired pistols are as good today as they were several generations ago. What sets them apart is, unsurprisingly, a hammer. It’s a part of the triggering mechanism and is often visible at the rear of the slide. In such pistols, the hammer strikes the firing pin once released by the trigger. After that, the firing pin is driven into the cartridge primer, beginning the ignition process. 

Striker-fired pistols lack the hammer part, so the firing pin is not stricken by any component. Instead, it is released when the trigger is fully pulled. Simply put, these pistols release the firing pin without any middleman, which makes pulling easier and the overall weight lighter. 

Single-action vs. Double-action

Those are two types of hammer-fired pistols. In single-action handguns the trigger does one thing: drops the hammer. Single-action revolvers need to be cocked after every shot, but semi-automatic pistols are more convenient in that regard. The hammer needs to be manually cocked only before the first shot, after which recoil will let the slide recock the hammer for the next shot automatically. 

Double-action pistols are different in that the trigger does two things: cocks the hammer and then drops it, all in one pull. Here, the hammer doesn’t need to be cocked manually, as the trigger does all the work. However, as the trigger does two actions at a time, the pull is heavier than in single-action pistols. To combine the best features of two action types, a Double-Action to Single-Action pistol was invented. That is the most common type of modern pistol. The first round fired is a double-action, which cocks and releases the hammer, but all follow-up shots are single-action, as the hammer is cocked by the slide, reciprocated by recoil. 

There are double-action-only pistols, in which every single shot is a double-action, but they are relatively rare. 

Rimfire vs. Centerfire

That is a division according to the cartridge type, which is closely connected with a caliber. Rimfire cartridges require a firing pin to crush their base to ignite the primer, whereas centerfire cartridges have an external primer at the base of the case. Rimfire cartridges are compatible with lower caliber firearms only, and due to their lightness are more suitable for training rather than for self-defense and long-distance shooting or hunting. Centerfire cartridges, on the other hand, are utilized in pistols of all calibers.


.22 Long Rifle is the only type of rimfire caliber found in handguns. The 22 caliber pistols are an excellent option to introduce someone to firearms, and .22 ammo is by far the cheapest one. The most popular centerfire calibers include 9mm pistols, .45 Auto pistols, .40 S&W pistols, and .380 Auto pistols.

.380 Auto pistols are probably the lower margin of self-defense calibers. Of all mentioned calibers, this one utilizes the lightest bullets. 9mm pistols are by far the most popular choice among shooters. That is a standard of U.S. military and NATO forces. .40 S&W and .45 Auto produce more energy when fired but have heavier recoil.

That concludes our summary on types of pistols found on Gritr Sports. As you can see, the choice is pretty varied, not to mention all the brands whose products you can pick from. The renowned Glock pistols, Sig Sauer pistols, CZ pistols, Smith & Wesson pistols and many more. We have hundreds of pistols for sale.