The Pistol is mainly used at the start of the game as the first weapon the player obtains, or later when the player has run out of ammunition for other firearms. It is a reliable backup weapon, but not one that should be used as a primary, as it is outclassed by many other weapons in damage, fire rate, and overall effectiveness.
The pistol frequently varies in design throughout the series, taking the form of many popular handguns.
In GTA 1 and GTA London, the Pistol closely resembles the AMT Automag II by the HUD image, although the GTA 1 Icon resembles the Soviet Tokarev TT-33. In GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas, the pistol is likely to be based on a Browning Hi-Power 9mm. This is due to the fact that, as well as its visual similarity, it is referred to as a "nine" (9mm) in GTA II, as well as the fact that it has a 13-round magazine, which is similar to the 12-round magazine found in the GTA III version (expanded to 17 rounds in later games). It is also visually similar to the Colt M1911, which is much more popular amongst civilians, leading to some confusion among gamers as to whether the pistol was intended to be based on the M1911 or the Hi-Power, even though it is technically closer to the Browning. In the introduction cutscene of San Andreas, where all three members of C.R.A.S.H. arrest Carl Johnson, Jimmy Hernandez and Eddie Pulaski are holding Glock 17 Pistols, instead of the normal Hi-power Pistols like the ones in gameplay. Given the fact that the in-game Pistol's magazine capacity (17 rounds) is incorrect for a Browning Hi-Power but correct for a Glock 17, it may be that the developers originally intended the player to use the model seen in the cutscenes, but this feature was left out for some reason. The Glock 17 can be used in-game by switching and swapping the Browning pistol's model/texture with that of the Glock's.
In GTA Liberty City Stories, the Pistol resembles the Glock 17, being one of the most accurately depicted Pistols in a 3D-era GTA game. In GTA Vice City Stories, the Pistol is based on a Beretta M9, the military version of the Beretta 92. The reason for this is likely to do with the fact that the M9 is the standard issue sidearm for the US military, and the game starts off with the protagonist Victor Vance serving in the army. However, the game is set in 1984; the M9 replaced the Colt M1911 as the standard US army sidearm in 1985. Also, the magazine capacity of 17 rounds is slightly larger than the Beretta's 15.
In Grand Theft Auto IV, the Pistol is an incorrectly modeled Glock 17. "22" is inscribed on the slide, albeit inaccurately. It is unknown what version of the Glock Rockstar intended for this Pistol, as the in-game model has the exterior of a Glock 22, but has the caliber, magazine capacity and traits of a Glock 17. The sights on the model are also incorrect; the gun's front sight is a duplicate of the twin-post rear sight.
In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, the Pistol's HUD icon and artwork including the weapon suggests that it is designed as a Browning Hi-Power Practical.
In Grand Theft Auto V, the pistol resembles a Taurus PT92 (which is based on the Beretta 92 seen in Vice City Stories). Said weapon's slide seems to be modified to resemble a Colt M1911 in some aspects.
In its original form in Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2, the pistol is one of the least effective firearms, firing only one bullet every second or so, at a rate slower than a machine gun.
From Grand Theft Auto III onwards, the 9mm Pistol is given generally poor stopping power, average accuracy, and a fairly short range. In GTA San Andreas the weapon is significantly more effective than it's previous iterations, having higher range, damage, and accuracy. Coupled with a one shot headshot capability, it is much more effective as a weapon.
In Grand Theft Auto IV the Pistol performs well. Unlike previous GTA games, in which the Pistol is soon usurped by other weapons, the Pistol in GTA IV can be used effectively throughout the entire game. By using cover strategically, being patient, and making your shots count, it is possible to complete most missions in GTA IV and its episodes with just a Pistol. It can be fired from cars, and its availability, ammo capacity, and higher fire rate make it more desirable for drive-bys and chases than the Combat Pistol. However, submachine guns are always a better option than pistols if available, mainly because of their fully automatic capability, fire rate, and in some cases, higher damage.
In Grand Theft Auto V, the Pistol performs similarly to the one in GTA IV, but the power, range, and low recoil of the weapon make it significantly more useful despite the pistol hold five less bullets per magazine. This time it comes with a magazine carrying 12 bullets, though it can be upgraded to 16 bullets with the "Extended Clip". As an addition, the rate of fire can be increased by repeatedly tapping the fire button instead of holding it down. Other attachments include a Suppressor, which lowers damage and range but allows for more quiet kills, and a fashlight, which can be turned on/off.
This Pistol can be purchased at every gun store across Liberty City/ Vice City/ San Andreas. As well as being found in the various locations listed below, all Police Officers carry this Pistol as their standard service weapon and therefore the player can easily gain control of one if they haven't yet unlocked any gun stores or are in need of more ammunition.
Customization (GTA V)
- Flashlight (provides light when aiming) - $472
- Suppressor (silences but slightly reduces damage and range) - $1822
- Default clip (12 rounds) - Equipped by default
- Rounds (24 rounds) - $19
- Extended clip (16 rounds) - $387
- Black (default) - Equipped by default
- Army Tint (Desert sand) - $100
- LSPD Tint (Metallic Blue) - $600
- GTA III
- Red Light District, Portland Island - Available to buy from Ammu-Nation for $250 after completion of Pump-Action Pimp ($4,000).
- Callahan Point, Portland Island - On the north ledge of the large building next to and south of the Callahan Bridge.
- Near every hideout after collected 10 hidden packages.
- Behind the safehouse in Trenton near the staircase.
- Used by the LCPD, SWAT, FBI and the Military. (they will drop it once they are killed)
- Used by the Triads.
- GTA Vice City
- Vice Point - On the first floor of the main building under construction at Fairground Point (in Avery's Building).
- North Point Mall - Available to buy from Ammu-Nation from start of game ($100).
- Ocean Beach - On the patio between Pier 1 and Pier 2 for the parking garage at The Piers.
- Ocean Beach - Available to buy from Ammu-Nation from start of game ($100).
- Used by the VCPD.
- GTA San Andreas
- Ganton, Los Santos - Corner of a wall in the northwest corner on Grove Street.
- Las Colinas, Los Santos - Beside a wall in an opening between two houses.
- Santa Maria Beach, Los Santos - Beside a lifeguard post.
- Pershing Square, Los Santos - Inside the Los Santos Police Headquarters.
- Dillimore, Red County - Inside the police station.
- Garcia, San Fierro - Near the southern end of a big block with lots of thin paths through it.
- Tierra Robada, Las Venturas - Under stone support beam for the railroad track.
- Roca Escalante, Las Venturas - Inside the police station, where some body armor, a shotgun and a nightstick also spawn. The player incurs an instant 2 star wanted level after picking up this pistol.
- Willowfield, Los Santos - In Emmet's after the mission "Nines and AKs".
- Flint Range, Flint County - Found inside Helena's barn in her farm as a reward for dating her.
- Available to buy from Ammu-Nation after completion of "Doberman" ($200).
- Receivable from most of the gangsters in the Ballas, Vagos, Grove Street Families and other gangs, some prostitutes, drug dealers, most street criminals and some pedestrians.
- Receivable from all cops and even, but rarely, from soldiers depending on your wanted level.
- GTA Advance
- Can be bought from Ammu-Nation for $250.
- Near every hideout after collected 10 hidden packages.
- GTA Liberty City Stories
- Saint Mark's, Portland - Available at the safehouse upon collecting 10 hidden packages.
- Red Light District, Portland - Available to buy from the Ammu-Nation after the mission Snuff ($240).
- Used by the Triads.
- GTA Vice City Stories
- Fort Baxter Air Base - Inside the barracks up to the mission "Conduct Unbecoming", the barracks are again available to enter during Over the Top and the pistol is still there.
- Near the other safehouses after bursting 10 Red Balloons.
- Vice Point - Spawns next to some stairs by the mall.
- Downtown - Next to a statue south of the dirt track.
- Downtown - Available to buy from the Ammu-Nation after the mission Soldier for $240 (or $180, if completed Phil's Shooting Range).
- GTA IV
The Pistol can be purchased from the back-alley gun shops for $600, and each additional magazine is $35. It can also be purchased from Little Jacob for $420, with each additional magazine costing $25.
- Firefly Island - Can be found to the right of the Go-Kart wall mural to the right of Wappinger Ave.
- Hove Beach - Can be found atop the Perestroika club, on a walkway on the roof.
- Rotterdam Hill - Can be found across the street from Michelle's house in a gated lot, behind some dumpsters.
- East Hook - Can be found on the first-floor ledge of a cylindrical silo-type structure off Mohanet Ave. The player can easily reach it with a tall vehicle like a Cavalcade or an Ambulance.
- Willis - Can be found behind and to the left of the parking lot off Freetown Ave. This parking lot is also located to the left of the small parking space where you obtain Stevie's Comet during the mission No. 1.
- Broker Bridge - Can be found midway across the bridge, on the pedestrian walkway.
- Liberty - Can be found on a giant rock in the West River just east of Westdyke, Alderney. You can see the rock from the Hickey Bridge as well.
- Northern Gardens - Can be found in the women's bathroom of the Triangle Club. Note: this pistol should be attempted only as a last resort, because once picked up the player will receive a one star wanted level and the patrons and guards will begin shooting at the player.
- South Bohan - Can be found on the sixth floor of the apartment complex across the street from the South Bohan Safehouse.
- Northwood - Can be found on the edge of the roof of a gutted-out warehouse off of Vespucci Circus.
- Middle Park - Can be found on the island in the pond, next to a tree.
- The Meat Quarter - Can be found on the west side of the driving range of the Golden Pier Golf Club, next to a sand trap.
- Westdyke - Can be found on the roof of the abandonded casino featured in the mission Out of Commission.
- Westdyke - Can be found on the roof of the garden shed at the very back of a mansion on Owl Creek Ave. The mansion is the same one where the Turismo is parked for Stevie's car thefts.
- Berchem - Can be found in the alley behind the TW@ Internet Café, atop a small garage.
- GTA Chinatown Wars
- It can be purchased from the AmmuNation.net for $200 (or $100 with the discount acquired), after the mission Pimp His Ride.
- Found in various red dumpsters throughout Liberty City.
- GTA V
- Given to Franklin during Reposession. Michael will already have this weapon after completing Complications and Trevor will have it by default during Mr. Philips.
- Can be purchased at all Ammu-Nation, for $350
- Can be looted from dead LSPD officers or Gruppe Sechs security.
- Can be looted from dead pedestrians particularly gang members and residents of Blaine County
- Can be looted from dead robbers.
- Joshua Road, Harmony: Back porch of burned down house.
- Paleto Forest: Next to roadside drain.
- Richman Glen: Behind the gas station.
- La Puerta: On wheel cover inside the junkyard bus.
- Pacific Bluffs: In open grave at Hill Valley Church.
- Rancho: Power station alleyway.
- Grand Senora Desert: Beside the radio station dumpster.
- The Pistol and Rocket Launcher are the only GTA weapons to appear in every GTA game to date.
- The Pistol from GTA: CW has the same sound from the 9mm Pistol in the first Max Payne, also published by Rockstar.
- In GTA San Andreas, once the player achieves the Hitman level weapon skill, they receive a set of dual Pistols which share the same ammunition stock.
- In the GTA III era, police officers are usually the only characters who hold Pistols with two hands instead of a single hand.
- If CJ recruits unarmed GSF members in San Andreas, they will always automatically receive a Pistol.
- Unlike Franklin, Michael and Trevor already have the Pistol in both of their inventories when unlocking them both as playable characters. Franklin himself doesn't acquire one until his second mission.
- In the GTA V mission Complications, Michael refers to the gun as a 9mm, while Ammu-Nation advertises it as a .45 caliber. This inconsistency must be a developer oversight; however, the real-life Taurus PT92 is in fact a 9mm handgun. It could also mean that it's depicted in-game as being chambered in both 9mm and .45 caliber.