On a firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...
or other tool, the pistol grip is that portion of the mechanism that is held by the hand and orients the hand in a forward, vertical orientation, similar to the position one would take with a conventional pistol
When distinguished as a subset of handguns, a pistol is a handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel, as opposed to a revolver, wherein the chamber is separate from the barrel as a revolving cylinder. Typically, pistols have an effective range of about 100 feet.-History:The pistol...
such as the M1911.
For firearms, the pistol grip is generally used by the hand that operates the trigger. Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...
s and shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...
s without pistol grips are generally referred to as having "straight" or "upland" (shotguns only) style stocks. Some firearms, such as some versions of the Thompson submachine gun
Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals...
, have a forward pistol grip which is used to stabilize the firearm in operation. The pistol grip often serves multiple functions such as a magazine housing, bipod, or tool storage. In some firearms, like the Finnish light machine gun Kk 62
The Kk 62 is a Finnish 7.62 mm light machine gun designed in late 1950s with the first prototype ready for testing in 1960. It was officially adopted as the standard infantry support weapon of the Finnish Defence Forces in 1962 as the 7.62 konekivääri 62; the first weapons were delivered in 1966...
, the pistol grip is also used as a handle to charge the weapon.
Pistol grips are a defining feature in United States gun law
A gun law is a law that pertains to firearms. Restrictions on gun ownership and use vary greatly both by country and the type of firearm used....
. A forward pistol grip on a pistol is restricted. Pistol grips which protruded below the weapon and not as a portion of a conventional rifle or shotgun stock are currently regulated in some states and was regulated by the now expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban
Federal assault weapons ban
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was a subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called "assault weapons"...
Tools with pistol grips run the range from hand saw
In woodworking and carpentry, hand saws, also known as "panel saws", "fish saws", are used to cut pieces of wood into different shapes. This is usually done in order to join the pieces together and create a wooden object. They usually operate by having a series of sharp points of some substance...
s to pneumatic nailers. Often the word "gun" appears in the name of pistol-gripped tools such as the glue gun, caulking
Caulking is one of several different processes to seal joints or seams in various structures and certain types of piping. The oldest form of caulking is used to make the seams in wooden boats or ships watertight, by driving fibrous materials into the wedge-shaped seams between planks...
gun and nail gun
A nail gun, nailgun or nailer is a type of tool used to drive nails into wood or some other kind of material. It is usually driven by electromagnetism, compressed air , highly flammable gases such as butane or propane, or, for powder-actuated tools, a small explosive charge...
. A number of tools, like firearms, have a forward pistol grip. Drill
A drill or drill motor is a tool fitted with a cutting tool attachment or driving tool attachment, usually a drill bit or driver bit, used for drilling holes in various materials or fastening various materials together with the use of fasteners. The attachment is gripped by a chuck at one end of...
s and grinder
-Machinery:*Angle grinder, hand held power tool*Grinding machine, used in a machining operation to refine the surface of materials*Tool and cutter grinder, a machine used to manufacture or resharpen cutting tools*Coffee grinder, a machine used for grinding coffee...
s often include this feature for added control.
One of the reasons the pistol grip style is so common in machinery is because it is possible to ergonomically position controls for ease of the user. For example, on the M16/M4 assault rifle, (for right handed users) the index finger can control the trigger and magazine release, while the thumb can control the safety or fire mode selector switch without physically moving the palm off the grip.