Stick a gun at crimsons head
 The importance of having good pistol skills
The pistol is probably one of the most important weapons in the game. Every character has it, yet not a lot of people understand its usefulness. To use the pistol to its maximum effectiveness, the first step is to remember to load it! That's right, anytime you start out and change characters, do a quick swap over to weapon 1 and wait for the load, then you're ready to go!
Let's say you're a Black Hand Sniper, and just have encountered a Havoc. The Havoc is already damaged and has about 10 health left. What do you do? Try to shoot him once with your Sniper Rifle, or once with your pistol. The answer is obvious.
The pistol does 10 damage anywhere on the body, except the head, where the damage is 50. Many people I've encountered in public servers believe that the pistol does 30 damage when a head shot is achieved, when in fact, the damage is 50. That means that 4 head shots with the pistol will destroy any basic infantry unit. It only takes 5 head shots for cheap characters, 6 for medium and 7 for 1000's. A good pistol can win a fight against an inexperienced player with an advanced weapon (which usually leads to a lot of cheater accusations in public servers, as well as clan games).
Even on light armored vehicles, the pistol does noticeable damage, but is not really worth using unless the vehicle is near death. Using a pistol on a heavy armored vehicle is beyond pointless, your better off killing yourself to get back to base and defend.
Having a good pistol is even more important on rush maps, like: Volcano, Complex, Walls_Flying, Canyon and Islands. Where (in a true AOW game) the success of the early rush can often decide the winner. Tearing through an early engineer rush on any of those maps and eventually getting your own C4 off, will put you at an advantage, and also use up your opponent's time if he/she wishes to disarm your timed C4. NOTE: It is not wise to place a timed C4 on the MCT if your opponent is already in the building, since they will only gain 30 points from it, having more than enough time to disarm it.
Tips for using the pistol:
Always aim for the head. Unless of course your opponent is at extremely low health where 1 or 2 body shots will kill them. Try to follow the pattern in which your opponent dodges, and fire in the same pattern. Some players may not follow any particular pattern, thus making for a more challenging fight. DON'T BE AN IDIOT. Use your common sense, if it's clear that you are going to lose the fight, try and C4 your enemy. If this doesn't kill them, it will take off a big chunk of their health, making it easier for them to kill later on. Of course, do not do this if they are a considerable distance away.
PS- Keep your pistol loaded at all times, especially if you're a sniper.
Stealth and the pistol:
One of the most important times to have elite pistol skills is when you're playing as the stealh black hand. It's pretty safe to assume that veterans will pick up on you when you use your laser rifle, since it is a very distinct and audible noise making weapon. You fire, they come looking for you... If you're going for stealth kills... use your pistol instead. This is very effective when sneaking around the enemy base or inside of an enemy building. If you happen to see an enemy lounging around, whip out the pistol and aim for the head. It is unlikely that anyone on the enemy team will think more than twice about the noise since every soldier has that weapon. If you find yourself in a desperation escape route, flee toward a secluded spot and try to avoid other people detecting you, then again, aim for the head and kill away. If you're successful, you'll kill the person that spotted you and you won't bring any more enemies toward you with the laser rifle sound.
Good luck, and happy shooting