The character is Master Chief....but whatever...
The pistol was toned down beause in Halo 1 is was basically the only weapon you needed. It severely unbalanced multiplayer when the pistol was one of the best long AND short range weapons.
What good is it? i mean in the Campaign mode you can allways run away and hide until your shields restore...
I remember running away and hiding until my shields restored a LOT in the original halo...you know, because you had recharging shields in that game too.
Pistols never knocked anyone off of a ledge either...the only gun with enough kick to actually MOVE people in Halo 1 was the rocket launcher.
And it makes sense that Mater chief can fall a really long ways without being injured, he has a new body suit. It's all super awesome now, and it protects him from such falls.
In the end, I've never had as much fun on Xbox live as I have with Halo 2.