Pistols and revolvers are the weapons of direct assault and defence at short ranges, that is up to 50 m. Their light weight and small size enable a person to carry constantly these weapon by him and be quick to open fire from various postures. Firing is performed mainly with one hand and con sequently, constitutes the main feature of this type of personal weapon during its entire history of existence. The great majority of modern combat pistols feature the firing mechanisms with «self cocking» (double action).
This allows the user to rapidly fire the first shot, if the cartridge is in the chamber. These self loading pistols are operational in the role of auxiliary weapons intended for sol diers, sergeants, officers, as organic weapons for senior and high rank officers and are widely used by special purpose subunits. The combat pistols of 7.62 - 9 mm Cal. fed from a 8 - 18 round magazine are in a rather wide use. The personal weapon is rather conservative, since its Models remain in service for a long time. From the family of 9 mm pistols are worth mentioning the widely used Models, including «Browning High Power», «Beretta», 92SF (American M9), P1 «Walter». In some Armies the large caliber pistols (11.43 -12.7 mm) with its strong resemblance to American Model «Colt» 11.43 mm M1911A1 are adopted for combat service. The «pocket» pistols Cal. 5.6 - 9 mm are used for self defence purposes and special missions. The known Model of Soviet made «pocket» pistol 5.45 mm PSM and American Model 9 mm M11 («SIG sauer» P228). By the way, the Makarov 9 mm pistol may also be considered as a small size weapon.
The revolvers were discarded from combat inventory of the armies of developed countries, but still remained in use by paramilitary formations and armed forces of underdeveloped countries. The revolvers are now basically used as «Police» and «Civic» weapon.
The important and basic criteria for developing the modern personal combat weapons are small size and weight, since they are usually an additional weight and not the main one, increased of fire accuracy and armour piercing capability, due to the wide use of individual protection means. As an example, the advent of the Russia made pistol cartridges with bullets of increased piercing capa bilities of 7N25 (9x18 PBM) or 7N31 (9x19 PBP) with retaining stopping action capacity.