Probably from Middle French pistole, which probably via Middle High German forms like pischulle from Czech píšťala ("firearm"), from Proto-Slavic *piščalь, from *piskati, *piščati, from Proto-Balto-Slavic *pīṣk-.
Alternatively, from Middle English pistolet, from Middle French pistolet ("small firearm or small dagger"), from or related to Italian pistolese ("short dagger"), from Italian Pistoia ("a Tuscan town noted for its gunsmithing").
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