The Collaborative International Dictionary
machine pistol \machine pistol\ n. A fully automatic pistol; a small submachine gun.
n. A lightweight submachine gun, capable of being fired with one hand
n. a fully automatic pistol; a small submachine gun [syn: burp gun]
A machine pistol is typically a handgun-style, magazine-fed, self-loading firearm, capable of fully automatic or burst fire, and chambered for pistol cartridges. The term is a literal translation of Maschinenpistole, the German term for a hand-held automatic weapon firing pistol cartridges. While the dividing line between machine pistols and compact submachine guns is hard to draw, the term "submachine gun" usually refers to carbines designed for automatic fire of pistol cartridges, while the term "machine pistol" usually refers to a weapon built up from a semi-automatic pistol design. Machine pistols are generally more compact to be concealable and can be operated one-handed, while submachine guns are usually designed to be two-handed and tend to have longer barrels for better accuracy.
As a small, concealable weapon with a high rate of fire, machine pistols have numerous applications. Bodyguards from government or private agencies sometimes carry concealed machine pistols when they are protecting high-risk VIPs. Criminal gang members such as narcotics traffickers also use machine pistols, often cheaper guns such as the MAC-10 or the Tec-9 which have been illegally converted to fire in a fully automatic fashion. In a law enforcement context, machine pistols may be used by tactical police units such as SWAT teams or hostage rescue teams which are operating inside buildings and other cramped spaces, although they tend to use submachine guns instead.
In a military setting, some countries issue machine pistols as personal defense side arms to infantry, paratroopers, artillery crews, helicopter crews or tank crews. They have also been used in close quarters combat (CQC) settings where a small weapon is needed (e.g., by special forces attacking buildings or tunnels). In the 2000s, the machine pistol started to be supplanted by the personal defense weapon: a compact, fully automatic submachine gun-like firearm which fires high-velocity armor-piercing rounds instead of pistol ammunition.
Usage examples of "machine pistol".
An Uzi machine pistol was slung across a shoulder, and a bulging canvas bag hung at his side.
A machine pistol within the area the Tech Detachment tent had covered fired a short burst downward.
At the same moment he fired his machine pistol into the blocking van, aiming at the tires and the engine.
Gareth ran towards the rest with the machine pistol juddering in his hands.
With that bloody quiet bike of his, he could be anywhere and I wouldn't know it until he cut me in half with his machine pistol.
A large bloodstained bandage on his flushed forehead marked where the German with the black mustache had struck him savagely with the butt of his machine pistol.
He slammed against the Dutchman, staggering him, twisting the machine pistol out and up and delivered a stunning blow to the side of the man's head.
The dark-skinned man was coming not with a shotgun or a MAC-10 machine pistol, but with a small-caliber handgun.