The History of Handguns

In the last two years, firearm purchases have accelerated. The number of adults who became first-time gun owners doubled compared to 2019, according to a survey in the Annals of Internal Medicine. A significant percentage of those sales were handguns, which are typically used for self-defense or target practice. If you are considering purchasing a handgun, you may be interested in learning more about their history.

What is a Handgun?

A handgun is a short-barreled firearm that is designed to be held and fired with one hand. Many handguns are semi-automatic. These firearms use the energy from a fired bullet to eject the spent casing and get the next round ready to fire in the chamber. Others use a manual action.

A pistol is type of handgun that is designed with the chamber as part of the barrel of the gun. Many modern pistols are semi-automatic but they can also be single-shot, striker-fired, hammer-fired, and break-action.

A revolver is a handgun in which the user must manually cock the hammer to fire it. You can purchase single-action and double-action revolvers, which differ in the ease of the trigger pull.

The First Firearm

To understand the history of the handgun, you must first understand the origins of modern firearms. The first firearm is believed to have been developed in China in the 10th century. These fire lances, or metal or bamboo tubes filled with gunpowder and attached to the end of a spear, laid the building blocks for cannons in the 1300s. Cannons later evolved into hand cannons, which developed into modern firearms in the 15th century.

The Evolution of Handguns

The first mechanism invented to facilitate a hand-held firearm was the matchlock. It held a slow-burning match in a clamp that dropped down to ignite the gunpowder when the user pulled the trigger. The next big advancement that aided the development of the handgun was the invention of the wheel lock. This tool created a mechanical spark to propel the bullet forward rather than relying on a burning wick.

The first practical and mass-produced handgun, the Colt revolver, came a few centuries later in the 1830s. Up until this point, handguns were only carried by the upper class because they were expensive and had limited uses. The Colt revolver, invented by Samuel Colt, was capable of firing five shots in rapid succession. It revolutionized handguns by reducing reload time and making them available to a larger population.


The revolving chambers used in the Colt revolver meant the user had to manually pull back the hammer to use the next bullet. Semi-automatic guns were created to ease the hassle of reloading. What is believed to be the first automatic pistol was designed by Joseph Laumann in the late 1800s. The Laumann 1891 was refined and began widespread use in the 1900s.

Today, handguns are widely circulated and used as sidearms for law enforcement officers and the military, as well as with civilians for self-defense and target practice.

Purchase a Handgun at The Hub

At The Hub, we offer a variety of handguns, from bolt-action to revolvers to semi-automatic. Our knowledgeable staff can assist both gun experts with in-depth questions as well as first-time gun owners who need basic information.

For more information on our handgun selection, visit The Hub today or browse our inventory online.

What is Bullet Grain?

If you are a new gun owner, you might have wondered what the abbreviation “gr” on the side of a box of ammo means. “Gr” indicates the grain of the bullet, which makes a big difference in how your weapon fires. Bullet weight is an important factor that can impact other variables like recoil, accuracy, and ballistics. Understanding grain will help you get the most out of your firearm.

Defining Bullet Grain

Bullet grain is equivalent to the weight of the projectile. It is an extremely small unit of measurement, equal to 1/7,000th of a pound or 1/437.5th of an ounce. For context, a sheet of paper weighs about 77 grains. A higher grain indicates a heavier bullet.

Why Is Bullet Grain Important?

Bullet grain is important to consider depending on what you are using your gun for. For activities like plinking and close-range shooting, the weight of the bullet does not have much of an effect on your performance. When you are using your firearm for self-defense, hunting, and precision shooting competitions, however, grain matters a lot.

The weight of the bullet can determine how well the shot will travel through the elements, including wind, rain, and even gravity. It is crucial to use the correct bullet grain when hunting in these conditions so your shots are as accurate as possible. For shooting competitions, precision is the key to success, and the right grain can make or break your shot.

Different Types of Bullet Grain

Ammunition comes in a wide range of sizes. Some of the smallest bullets weigh in at 15 grains, while others can be upwards of 700 grains. There are multiple bullet weights that are compatible with each caliber of gun. The most popular for 9mm loads are 115, 124, and 147 grains, while a classic AR-15 commonly uses 55-grain bullets.

How to Choose the Correct Bullet Weight

When choosing the correct bullet grain for your weapon, it is important to consider what you are using your gun for so you can weigh the pros and cons of light and heavy grains. For distance target shooting, lighter bullets are more effective, while heavy bullets are well-suited for self-defense and hunting big game.

Lighter Grain

Lighter grain ammunition generates more speed overall than heavy bullets. This results in maximum accuracy and a straighter trajectory over a longer distance.

While light grain bullets are fast, they sacrifice energy to maintain their accuracy. Less energy makes them more susceptible to wind and can be easily blown off-target. Light ammunition will also do less damage to your target.

Heavier Grain

Heavier grain bullets are way less affected by wind and other elements than light bullets are, making them a great option for hunting. Their weight generates a lot of stopping power as well, which better penetrates the target.

Due to their weight, however, heavy ammunition struggles to maintain the velocity needed for a stable flight path. They will not go the same distance that a lighter grain bullet will. Heavy bullets are also known to generate a greater recoil.

Your Source for Guns and Ammo in Arizona

The Hub is your source for all things firearms. We have a large selection of guns, ammunition, and accessories available. You can even try out different firearms at our shooting range and receive a discount if you choose to make a purchase.

To browse our inventory, visit us at any of our Arizona locations or look through our website.