An offensive formation where the quarterback is directly behind the center, but neither under center nor as deep as a shotgun position with a running back directly behind him.
The key to the pistol is not the position of the quarterback; it is the position of the tailback. When executing a running play out of the shotgun the tailback is usually running laterally to the line of scrimmage when he gets the ball. The pistol allows the exact same play to be called with the running back receiving the ball while running toward the line of scrimmage.
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