One of the common misconceptions is that handguns and "pistols" refers to the same category of weapons, while in reality, pistols are a type of handgun fed with a magazine and uses a slide that loads a single round into the weapon's barrel.
In the Grand Theft Auto series, handguns are the cheapest weapons, usually given to the player at the early stages of a game, often at the same time he/she practises shooting. Handguns are also frequenly used by small criminals and police officers, however it will remain as a rare sight among specialized agents (SWAT or Military officers), often used for last resort.
As the most basic firearm in the series, the Pistol appeared in all Grand Theft Auto games. On each game, the Pistol is based on several models that are usually available in the game's current timeline:
- Grand Theft Auto 1: The icon resembles the Soviet Tokarev TT-33.
- GTA London: The pistol is based on the AMT AutoMag II by the HUD image.
- Grand Theft Auto 2: The design is rather generic and slighty oversized to fit the game's futuristic setting. The gun's general design seems bigger than the main grip.
- Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The pistol is based on the Colt M1911A1, though it is incorrectly stated to be a 9mm handgun, whereas the real weapon fires .45 ACP rounds.
- Grand Theft Auto Advance: The weapon's HUD seems unclear in which pistol it would be based.
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: The Pistol resembles a Glock 17, being one of the most accurately depicted Pistols in a 3D Universe GTA game.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories: The Pistol is based on a Beretta M9, the military version of the Beretta 92. The magazine capacity of 17 rounds is slightly larger than the Beretta's 15.
- Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City: the Pistol is an incorrectly modeled Glock 17. "22" is inscribed on the slide, albeit inaccurately. It is unknown what version of the Glock Rockstar intended for this Pistol, as the in-game model has the exterior of a Glock 22, but has the caliber, magazine capacity and traits of a Glock 17. The sights on the model are also incorrect; the gun's front sight is a duplicate of the twin-post rear sight.
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: The weapon HUD suggests that the Pistol is still based on the GTA IV version, retaining most of these details.
- Grand Theft Auto V: the pistol resembles a PT92AF (which is based on the Beretta 92 seen in Vice City Stories). It has a 12-round magazine which would make it closer to a PT92C; 10, 15 and 17 round magazines are standard on the PT92AF. Said weapon's slide seems to be modified to resemble a Colt M1911 in some aspects. In the enhanced version, it appears to have a brown grip instead of black.
The Dual Pistol, or Twin Pistol, are simply two pistols wielded at the same time, doubling the ammunition and rate of fire. Dual pistols appeared only in Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (through the "Hitman" skill level), Grand Theft Auto Advance and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
The Dual Pistols on each game are based on their single counterparts.
Featured only in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the Silenced 9mm is the suppressed version of the pistol, having less stopping power, but lower chances of being spotted. This version is usually wielded by Carl in missions requiring stealth.
The Desert Eagle is a powerful version of the standard pistol, having less ammo and rate of fire in favor of more firepower and accuracy.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The Combat Pistol takes the form of an IMI Desert Eagle, and it is commonly referred as such. The weapon is based on the .50 caliber Desert Eagle.
- Grand Theft Auto IV: Referred to as "Combat Pistol", the weapon retains its Desert Eagle design, this time modeled after the .357 variant of said weapon.
- Grand Theft Auto V: Referred to as "Pistol .50", the weapon takes the form of a Desert Eagle with a multitude of changes made to the design: besides the removal of the famous "Beaver Tail", the slide-mounted safety has been removed, the frame mounted slide release is missing, the cocking serrations on the gun are chunkier, an underbarrel rail has been added, the barrel lock has been omitted, a sliding safety has been added in place of the slide release and the trigger guard has been redesigned. In addition, the muzzle has been shifted downwards towards the middle of the barrel, and is noticeably larger in diameter. It holds 9 rounds per magazine, which is inaccurate, as the Desert Eagle chambered in .50 holds 7 rounds per magazine.
The Combat Pistol is a compact pistol featured in Grand Theft Auto V. It closely resembles a Heckler & Koch P2000, combined with a Beretta Px4 Storm, and has very similar statistics to the normal Pistol (same rate of fire and magazine capacity).
The SNS Pistol is a small handgun featured in the Beach Bum Content Update for Grand Theft Auto V. It resembles the Colt Junior 25, with some design elements from the AMT Backup. It is one of the smallest pistols and has six bullets per magazine.
In The Ballad of Gay Tony, the Pistol .44 is modeled after the AMT AutoMag, a handgun which was designed to bring the .44 magnum power to a semi-automatic pistol, making it the first .44 Magnum pistol to appear in the HD Universe. The pistol has a long, thin, barrel, a rounded trigger, and a wooden handle. The pistol itself is coloured silver. The pistol is designed to hold 8 rounds per magazine.
The handgun's design appears to be that of a modern tactical handgun. It features a small grip safety to prevent accidental discharge, a small rear right and a full-length tactical rail underneath. The Heavy Pistol resembles the Entreprise Wide Body 1911.
The Python is a revolver featured in the GTA series.
As the name suggests, it is primarily based on the Colt Python, a .357 Magnum caliber revolver.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: Modeled after the 6-inch barrel version of the Python and named .357, this weapon has six bullets on its barrel and can deal more damage than a pistol, though having a huge recoil and slow rate of fire, appart that it does not allow the player to move and shoot at the same time.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories: Renamed the Equalizer, the Python acts much like its VC/LCS counterpart. This weapon adds a large scope, which only gives cosmetic changes.
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: Same as their previous appearances, the Revolver remains as the most powerful handgun in the game. The HUD suggests that this time, the revolver is based on either a 4-inch barrel version of the Python, a snub-nosed .38 Smith and Wesson or a Colt Detective Special.
The Automatic 9mm is a weapon introduced in The Lost and Damned.
It is based on the automatic variant of the CZ-75. It's one of the first automatic pistols featured in the series and is balanced in terms of firepower.
The Armor-Piercing Pistol, known as the AP Pistol is a weapon featured in Grand Theft Auto V.
The AP Pistol is a striker-fired fully automatic pistol featured in GTA V. It is chambered in 9x18mm. It is much like the Automatic 9mm from The Lost and Damned. It appears to resemble a Colt SCAMP with elements from the OTs-33 Pernach. However, the Colt SCAMP is outdrew from agency and rare up to date. It also has similarities to the Glock pistol series, especially the Glock 18 in performance and having the ability of full-auto firing, as well as to 17C/24 in appearance due to their long barrels.
The pistol resembles a Thompson-Center Contender G2, which is a handgun commonly used for hunting. It looks like a small rifle and has an ergonomic grip. Like the Flare Gun, it is a break-action weapon. Its size is the same as the Sawn-off Shotgun, but the player still holds it with one hand when not in First-Person View.
Also known as the Taser, the Stun Gun is one of the "non-lethal" weapons featured in the series.
The Stun Gun is used to paralize people by discharging an electric charge, falling to the ground and incapable of getting up. It is one of the first electroshock weapons featured in the series.
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- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: Its design loosely resembles that of the X26 Taser, with a pair of probes that attaches to the target when used.
- Grand Theft Auto V: The Stun Gun is remminiscent of a M26 Taser, adquiring a pistol-like design and having the lowest damage possible of all weapons.
The Flare Gun appears to be based on the Orion Brand Flare Gun with some inspiration from the British Very Pistol from World War I. Its base colour is red and fires red flares, similar to common flare guns in real-life.
Grand Theft Auto V
- One of the advantages of some pistols seen in the HD Universe is that the player can tap the firing button, increasing the fire rate of these weapons more than if the player holds the same button. This also avoids the recoil, giving also more accuracy.
- However, as of the Doomsday Heist DLC, the tactic of tapping the fire button has been removed, reducing its fire rate and making it less effective of recoil and accuracy. It isn’t confirmed whether or not this is a glitch.
- Handguns in Grand Theft Auto V are the only weapons that have proper reload animations, which differs if the gun still has a round on the chamber or not. This can be noticed in those with a slider, where it only opens if the gun has no rounds inside.
- When firing a pistol, the hammer remains static and the slider will pass right through it. This is best noticed in first person view and using Michael's special ability.