Browse through hundreds of models of handguns at Omaha Outdoors, your place for gun sales online. Revolvers, semi-autos, derringers, polymer frame handguns – they’re all there. We have Glock guns for sale, along with Heckler & Koch, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson and many other well-known manufacturers. You can search the selection by handgun type, manufacturer, price range, caliber and even finish or color. Each handgun listing comes with a detailed list of features and a review section where you can read what other buyers thought of a particular model – or write a review of your own! You can also create a wish list online, to help you keep track of which one is next on your list. If you have any questions, just email us or call. We can even help you find a local FFL holder in your area, to make it easier for you to buy a pistol online. Remember that at Omaha Outdoors, we don’t buck around.
A handgun is a type of firearm designed to be fired without the use of a shoulder stock. Although there are many different types and styles, in general handguns are divided into two basic types: pistols (in which the firing chamber is integral with the barrel) and revolvers.
The earliest handguns were single-shot muzzle-loading pistols using black powder. By the early 19th century, several models were designed to allow the shooter to fire several rounds in succession without reloading, but the first practical multi-round handgun was a revolver developed by Samuel Colt in 1836. This system uses a cylinder with several chambers, each loaded with powder and a projectile, fired by a primer cap. The first widely-used revolver was the six-shot Colt Dragoon revolver, introduced in 1848. This also used black powder and was loaded from the front of each chamber in the revolving cylinder. The first revolver using self-contained cartridges was introduced by Smith & Wesson in 1856.
There are several types of pistols, including single-shot and derringers, but the semi-automatic is the most common type. Semi-automatic (or self-loading) pistols were first developed in the 1890s, with the first successful models designed by Paul Mauser of Germany and John Browning of the United States. This type of handgun uses multiple cartridges stored in a detachable magazine which are fed into the firing chamber automatically. As each round is fired, the recoil causes a sliding mechanism to eject the spent (fired) shell and load the next cartridge.
Handguns are also divided into the type of trigger action used. Originally, revolvers used the single-action-only (SAO) system, which requires the shooter to manually cock the hammer to advance the cylinder to the next chamber. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer is released, falls forward and strikes the firing pin, causing the cartridge to be fired; the hammer must then be manually cocked again to fire the next round. Later models of revolvers were designed with a double action operation, which allowed the hammer to be cocked automatically as the trigger was pulled; this increased the rate of fire that a shooter could achieve. Note that double-action revolvers also allow the shooter to manually cock the hammer, which reduces the amount of trigger pressure needed to fire. Double-action-only (DAO) revolvers do not have an external hammer and can only be cocked and fired with the trigger. The advantage of this design is that, without an external hammer, there is less likely for the revolver to be snagged by a holster or pocket while being drawn.
Originally, semi-automatic pistols used a single action (SA) operation. When the first cartridge was loaded into the chamber (by pulling back on the slide), the hammer was automatically cocked. The pistol could be fired or the hammer manually lowered without firing for a safer method of carry. Even though a round was in the chamber, the pistol could not be fired until the hammer was manually cocked. Later in the 20th century, double-action (DA) semi-automatic pistols were designed, which allowed the pistol to be fired by trigger-pull alone; these DA semi-automatics can be distinguished from SA pistols by their triggers, which are configured similarly to revolvers.
Although there are many different styles of handguns, made by many different manufacturers, some are particularly popular. The polymer frame semi-automatic, typified by the Glock series of pistols, is probably the style with the greatest popularity. It is not only carried by a large number of law enforcement agencies, but has been adopted by many civilian shooters as their favorite type of handgun. The 1911 style, developed by Colt and once the standard sidearm for the United States military until the 1980s, still has a strong following among civilians. Double action and DAO revolvers, while less popular since the late 20th century, are also well represented.
Handguns can be chambered for almost any existing cartridge, but there are some that are more commonly found among law enforcement and private handgun owners. The 9mm cartridge, although developed more than a century ago, is still the single most popular, but the more powerful .40 Smith & Wesson is a close second. The .38 Special is among the most common revolver calibers, while the .380 ACP is often found in small-frame semi-automatics, particularly those used for concealed carry. The .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge is still popular for both revolvers and pistols, both for target shooting and concealed carry/self-defense because of the relatively low cost of the ammunition and lighter recoil.
When choosing a handgun, the primary consideration is usually its use. These are commonly divided into target shooting, hunting and self-defense. Although some handguns work well in several capacities, many new owners are looking to fill a specific need. Almost any pistol can – and is – used for target and casual shooting, but many new shooters seem to enjoy a caliber and type that is simple to use, has low recoil and uses ammunition that is less expensive. Hunters use handguns that are either small-caliber (such as .22 LR, .22 Magnum or .17 HMR) for small game or much more powerful calibers (such as .44 Magnum, .454 Casull or .500 S&W) for deer, wild boar and other large game. Choices for a self-defense handgun are more problematic: Not only caliber but type and action are usually considerations. When a handgun may be used in a life-saving scenario, the most important factor for the owner is the confidence he or she has in the firearm and the ability to operate it reliably and accurately.