So I fired a Thompson sub-machine gun yesterday


Mar 17, 2012
Reaction score
Cool. Now I finally get it. Now, can we talk about pistol versus revolver? ;)

A revolver is a wheel gun, dating back to Sam. Colt in the 1830's. It is distinctive in that it has its rounds in a wheel/cylinder in the center of the gun, as the hammer is cocked, the cylinder revolves to index the next round in line with the barrel. (available in pistol or rifle, cap and ball or self contained round (cartridge) versions... i prefer cap n ball)

"Pistol" technically refers to any hand held firearm that fires a single round at a time. Dating back to 14th century, originally basically a cut down 'hand cannon'. Think flintlock duelling pistol.
You can cut down a double barrel shotgun to 'pistol' sized.

"Pistol - Semi Auto / Auto" refers to a firearms that uses a magazine (usually in the handgrip) to feed the rounds into the chamber. Production started around 1885 in Germany.

now to confuse things more - single action/double action
single action - you need to cock the hammer back before each shot. Double action, pulling the trigger cocks the hammer. Sometimes you have a single action that then becomes a double action (semi/auto pistols where the 'slide', etc. recock the hammer mechanism)

Round - one single 'shot' of a firearm (cannons down to pistols)
Cartridge - a round that contains both powder and projectile. Originally black powder and ball wrapped in nitrated paper, velum, etc. Now a metal container with primer, powder and projectile all self contained)
Cap and Ball - a type of firearm that loads black powder and lead 'ball' either into a cylinder or direct down the muzzle. The round is then set off by an external flash device (cap) shaped into cup shape and filled with a pressure sensitive chemical, set of by being hit by the hammer (percussion cap)

Pic shows cap and ball revolver, one with cylinder removed to show rear and 'nipples' that the cap goes over. The other thing is a reproduction of an 1860's box of ammunition.
Cylinder had to be removed to reload. Check out the end of Pale Rider for Clint using multiple pre loaded cylinders :)

peeps correct me if i screwed the description


edit, in the time it took me to write this (including a trip to the store), i didnt realize others had answered... doh for not reloading


  • IMG_20180709_164405.jpg
    294.8 KB · Views: 50
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
Reaction score
I have a Henry single-shot .22LR as well. It's chamber is also it's magazine.


A magazine is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. Magazines can be removable (detachable) or integral (internal/fixed) to the firearm. The magazine functions by moving the cartridges stored within it into a position where they may be loaded into the barrel chamber by the action of the firearm.

I have a Henry Single Shot shotgun. It does not have a magazine. Only a chamber.