Pistol Vs. Revolver - What Are The Differences?

Pistol Vs. Revolver - What Are The Differences?

Pistols and revolvers are two of the most commonly used weapons. They are both classified as handguns. Many people don’t know the difference between them and use these terms interchangeably. However, there are fundamental differences between both weapons' functionality, build, design, and process. Read on to learn how these weapons differ from one another. 


A pistol is a type of handgun with a short barrel that is not more than 10 inches long. The firing range of pistols is short and does not exceed 100 yards. Pistols have rifled barrels. They have removable magazines where the bullets are stored. The magazines are arranged in a gripping pattern. When a shot is fired, the bullet casings from the pistol are ejected, and they fall to the ground. 

For pistols, the level of trigger pull is low. Therefore, less energy is expended in firing a shot. In addition, pistols are lightweight. Civilians and members of law enforcement agencies use pistols for self-defense purposes. 


  • Pistols magazine capacity is three times higher than a revolver, which translates into fewer reloads and less interruptions during a shooting session.
  • Pistol jams are easier to clean and take less time. 
  • Pistols are safe to use. If the safety is in place, the pistol should not misfire even if it is dropped accidentally.
  • They are lightweight, concealable, and easier to carry. 
  • Pistols are affordable, making them an excellent weapon for self-defense purposes. 


Revolvers are a type of handgun with a rotating cylinder. The cylinders are located at the breech end of the barrel. The ammunition is placed in the cylinder. A shot is fired when the cylinder rotates. To fire a shot, the hammer is cocked, and the cylinder rotates. As a result, the next cartridge is brought in line with the barrel. Revolvers can be single-action or double-action

Unlike a pistol, the casings from the bullets stay inside the barrels rather than ejecting and falling down. To fire a shot, the trigger pull level is higher, meaning more energy is required to shoot at the target. The presence of cylinders adds weight to the revolvers; hence they are heavier to carry.

Revolvers are used by members of law enforcement agencies and skilled professionals. 


  • Revolvers are less complex, more efficient, and easier to use. Shots can be fired just by pulling the trigger.
  • They are sturdy, durable, reliable, and less prone to mechanical failures. 
  • A wide range of ammunition can be used in revolvers. 


Some significant differences between revolvers and pistols are summarized as follows:


  1. Ammunition is stored in removable magazines.
  2. The removable magazine can accommodate eight or more cartridges.
  3. Pistol casings are ejected, and they fall to the ground. 
  4. The level of the trigger pull is low. 
  5. Pistols use one or more stationary chambers. 


  1. Ammunition is stored in the cylinder.  
  2. The magazine can accommodate seven or fewer than seven cartridges. 
  3. With every shot, the casings remain inside the barrels. 
  4. The level of the trigger pull is high; hence more energy is needed to fire a shot.
  5. It uses multiple chambers inside a rotating cylinder. 

With this you should have a good idea of the differences between a revolver and a pistol.