A common misconception is that "handguns" and "pistols" refer 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.
List of weapons
|Pistol||The Pistol is the most basic firearm in the series, with average damage and generally versatile for every situation.||Grand Theft Auto|
|Pistol Mk II||The Pistol Mk II is an upgraded version of the Pistol, being a bit more powerful.||Grand Theft Auto Online (Gunrunning)|
|Dual Pistol||The Dual Pistol, or Twin Pistol, are simply two pistols wielded at the same time, doubling the ammunition and rate of fire.||Grand Theft Auto 2|
|Silenced 9mm||The Silenced 9mm is the suppressed version of the Pistol, having less stopping power, but lower chances of being spotted.||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas|
|Combat Pistol||The Combat Pistol is a compact-sized pistol with very similar statistics to the normal Pistol (same rate of fire and magazine capacity).||Grand Theft Auto V|
|SNS Pistol||The SNS Pistol is a small handgun with a small capacity and lower statistics than the normal Pistol.||Grand Theft Auto V (Beach Bum Update)|
|SNS Pistol Mk II||The SNS Pistol Mk II is an upgraded version of the SNS Pistol, being a bit more powerful.||Grand Theft Auto Online (The Doomsday Heist)|
|Vintage Pistol||The Vintage Pistol is an engraved handgun with a small capacity of seven rounds and mediocre accuracy.||Grand Theft Auto V ("I'm Not a Hipster" Update)|
|Ceramic Pistol||The Ceramic Pistol is a small, lightweight pistol with statistics that are similar to the SNS Pistol and the normal Pistol. As the name suggests, it has been crafted with ceramic parts to remain undetected through x-rays and metal detectors.||Grand Theft Auto Online (The Diamond Casino Heist)|
|Heavy Pistol||The Heavy Pistol is a pistol with great statistics over standard pistols, with high damage and a large magazine capacity.||Grand Theft Auto V (Business Update)|
|Pistol .44||The Pistol .44 is a medium-sized handgun with powerful rounds and great accuracy, dealing good damage over targets at the cost of a lower fire rate.||The Ballad of Gay Tony|
|Desert Eagle||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: Vice City (cutscene)|
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
|Marksman Pistol||The Marksman Pistol is a single-shot pistol with a very high damage, but its accuracy is poor and takes a while to reload.||Grand Theft Auto V (Ill-Gotten Gains Part 2)|
|Automatic 9mm||The Automatic 9mm is a fully automatic pistol with higher fire rate than semi-automatic pistols, but low damage and high recoil.||The Lost and Damned|
|AP Pistol||The AP Pistol is a striker-fired fully automatic pistol with decent damage, but high fire rate, great accuracy and low recoil, being an effective drive-by weapon.||Grand Theft Auto V|
|Python||The Python is a revolver with low fire rate and high recoil, but makes up for using powerful rounds, able to take out targets with a couple of shots.||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City|
|Double-Action Revolver||The Double-Action Revolver is a small revolver with good damage, fire rate and accuracy, being as versatile as most pistols.||Grand Theft Auto Online (The Doomsday Heist)|
|Navy Revolver||The Navy Revolver is an old handgun that has the lowest fire rate of all revolvers, but makes up for its high damage.||Grand Theft Auto Online (The Diamond Casino Heist)|
|Heavy Revolver||The Heavy Revolver is a heavy handgun with high damage, being also a threat to unarmored vehicles. However, it has low fire rate and takes a few seconds to reload.||Grand Theft Auto Online (Executives and Other Criminals)|
|Heavy Revolver Mk II||The Heavy Revolver Mk II is an upgraded version of the Heavy Revolver, being slightly faster and more damaging towards targets, as well as unarmored vehicles.||Grand Theft Auto Online (The Doomsday Heist)|
|Stun Gun||The Stun Gun is an electroshock weapon that is limited to incapacitate enemies and has low damage and fire rate, but makes up for its unlimited use.||Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars|
|Flare Gun||The Flare Gun is a weapon that launches a bright flare for signal and marking purposes, although can be used to ignite enemies and vehicles with a direct hit.||Grand Theft Auto Online (Heists Update)|
|Up-n-Atomizer||The Up-n-Atomizer is a futuristic raygun that, although not powerful, causes a serious knockback to enemies and vehicles, as well as having infinite ammo and recharges quite fast.||Grand Theft Auto Online (Arena War)|
- One of the advantages of some pistols in Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online 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.
- As of The Doomsday Heist update in Grand Theft Auto Online, the tactic of tapping the fire button was temporarily removed, reducing its fire rate and making it less effective of recoil and accuracy. This seems to have been later reverted back in The Diamond Casino & Resort update.
- This feature is also present in Grand Theft Auto IV and its episodes, though the differences are minimal and the recoil caused by holding the firing button is also avoided.
- Handguns in Grand Theft Auto V and Online are the only weapons that have proper reload animations, which differ if the gun still has a round on the chamber or not. This can be noticed in those with a slide, where it only locks back if the gun has no rounds inside.
- When firing a pistol, the hammer remains static and the slide will pass right through it. This is best noticed in first person view and using Michael's special ability.