I understand that full-size means "it's full sized", but I am not sure relative to what?

This is a full-size pistol.

Does "full-size" mean something is within the normal size range within a gun class when used for guns? For example, a shotgun that's the size of a full-size pistol would be called a compact shotgun. Is this the case or not? I am asking, because looking up a dictionary doesn't really help to get the meaning right.


We use 'full-size' to say that something is a normal size for its type, and often included in the meaning is that smaller-size versions are possible. A full-size pistol is distinguished from a small or miniature pistol. A shotgun the same size as a full-size pistol would be a very small shotgun.

full-size adjective (also full-sized)
of the normal size, not of a reduced size:

The company's latest mini-netbook comes with a full-size keyboard.

Full-size (Cambridge Dictionary)

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