hand·​gun | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌgən How to pronounce handgun (audio) \

Definition of handgun

: a firearm (such as a revolver or pistol) designed to be held and fired with one hand

Examples of handgun in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

News and Politics The local chief confirmed that an officer had his handgun out. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "A Black Student Picking Up Trash Outside His Home Was Confronted by Boulder, Colorado, Police," 8 Mar. 2019 The two men then ran into a nearby wooded area and Donald reloaded his handgun, before pursuing to the edge of the woods and waiting for more officers, Donald testified in court. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, "Brothers’ lawsuit against Olympia police officer who shot them can move forward, judge rules," 12 Feb. 2019 The War Department got its handguns, serial number series S800001-S800500, but the company was unable to live up to the pace of 100 guns a day. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "When the Singer Sewing Machine Company Built the Best .45 Pistol Ever Made," 21 Sep. 2018 Colorado officials released video Monday showing the moment a man who was fatally shot by police opened his truck door and pointed a handgun at deputies during an August traffic stop. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Man pulls gun on Colorado deputies during traffic stop, dramatic body camera video shows," 18 Sep. 2018 While in the car, the officer was approached by an individual who pointed a handgun at him, a police spokesman said. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Teen shot by Chicago police charged with aggravated assault," 6 July 2018 Venezuelan guardsmen got out, holding rifles and handguns over their heads, and were received by Colombian migration authorities. José De Córdoba And Daniela Blandón, WSJ, "Violence Erupts in Venezuela Border Showdown," 23 Feb. 2019 Chism searched the car finding 45,000 MDMA pills, marijuana and two handguns, one stolen. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Snellville officer given national award for record MDMA bust," 13 July 2018 Smith previously pleaded not guilty to attempted unlawful transfer of a handgun, a Level 5 felony, court records show. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Judge lowers bail for man charged in Gary shootout with ATF agents," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handgun.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of handgun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handgun

Statistics for handgun

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handgun

The first known use of handgun was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for handgun



English Language Learners Definition of handgun

: a small gun (such as a revolver or a pistol) designed to be held and shot with one hand

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on handgun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handgun

Spanish Central: Translation of handgun

Nglish: Translation of handgun for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handgun for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about handgun

Comments on handgun

What made you want to look up handgun? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!