Jean Paul Sartre must have been fun at parties. But then who isn’t? I’ve been known to regale guests at swanky soirees with stories of home invasions, armed robberies, police shootings gone bad and concealed carry killers. During these ballistic BS sessions, I get a large number of “you’ve got pin lice on your eyebrows” looks. I’ve taken to calling my antagonists I-NOGs. “I would never own a gun,” they tell me, as if that settles the matter. For both them and me. Which is how Rhode Island got to be a “never-issue” states.  I digress . . .

I-NOGs are usually women. Oddly, their husbands would own a defensive gun in a New York—make that Vermont minute. Sometimes they do. And it’s almost always a fancy schmancy semi-automatic pistol. It should be a revolver.

Imagine a couple of home invaders entering your house (concealed carry scenario to follow). There you are. You and your family.  Who are these uninvited guests going to take out first? The alpha dog. The guy. You. You might as well have a big target on your shirt. You’re going down.

News flash: felons aren’t feminists. Anyone who wants to do a family wrong is going to start by wailing on the husband. If nothing else, he’s the tallest and the strongest. Once the alpha’s down, his pack will more readily accept the invading alpha’s authority.

I know some of you guys reckon you’ll be quicker on the draw than any potential home invader or invaders. Granted—assuming you carry a gun on your person at all times in the privacy of your own home and live la vida paranoico. ‘Cause if you don’t, the home invader will own you.

Perhaps you keep your weapon in a gun safe in an inoperable condition, as required by some extremely foolish Nanny states. Even if you get to the gun safe before you’re attacked, adrenalin will turn your hands into flippers. And if the safe’s already open, what the hell is your gun doing in an unlocked safe?

Chances are you’re not going to make it. Sorry. That’s the way it is. It’s possible. But tactically, you need to assume you’re going to lose round one. So now what? Now, your wife. (Or, dare I say it, one of the kids).

So the Mrs. hears you screaming (knife’s like that). Or a gunshot followed by screaming. Or, worst of all, a gunshot followed by silence. She needs to do something. Calling 911 is an excellent response—as long as she knows to punch the numbers, throw the phone somewhere and hide.

Getting a gun whilst dialing 911, gathering the kids and hiding is even better. But wait! She hates guns! Oh, hold on. She’s changed her mind! Huh. How about that. The woman who said you can have a gun in the house “over my dead body” suddenly doesn’t want to become a dead body. Or raped. Or watch her children suffer unspeakable cruelty.

She knows where your gun is (if only because she used to detest the thing). She gets it. Now she’s going to aim it at the bad guys and pull the trigger. That’s it. She’s not going to turn off any safeties or rack a slide. Just point and shoot.

As sure as eggs are eggs she’s going to miss. AND she’s going to limp-wrist it.

In her valiant effort to save your ass she’s going to instantly render your fancy Glock, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, Ed Brown .45 or whatever inoperative. With the first trigger pull.

That’s going to really annoy your as-yet-unmolested attackers.

And how’s this for fun: she might mistakenly depress the magazine release. Your very own Quentin Tarantino moment!

D’oh! You could have had a revolver. And then all her indoors had to do is what she was going to do anyway: point and shoot. Do you think that the average non-gun owner, the average gun hater could figure out how to use a revolver without ever having fired a gun in their life? I bet they could.

Next question: could she hit anything?

With a snub-nosed revolver, even an experienced shooter has to get up close and personal. In most home invasion scenarios, your better half would have to move towards the bad guys to shoot them effectively. At the exact moment that every muscle, cell, nerve and fiber of their body is telling them to get the kids and run like hell.

So not only do you need a revolver for that special someone who’s never fired a gun in their life (presumably), but you also need one with which she can hit someone from a non-face-to-face distance.

Smith & Wesson 686 or Ruger GP100, four inch barrel.

Never mind about the weight. With all that adrenalin flowing through your significant other’s bloodstream, that’s not going to be a problem. Recoil? Sure that’s an issue—if you use .357 ammo. Keep hollow point .38s on board and she’ll fire either gun without knocking herself unconscious. With the right ammo the Smith and Ruger are pussycats. Hell she might even like it.

Did I just say that? I didn’t mean to say that. I meant to say she will not fall to pieces after the first shot. So there might be a second. Or a third. With a bit of luck you’ll get back in the fight as your attackers lose their first mover advantage.

The four-inch barrel is an ideal length. For one thing, it looks like a cannon. Aiming one of these revolvers at someone is the visual equivalent of racking a pump shotgun. It may not intimidate the bad guys. But it might.

Even if it doesn’t, the longer barrel does wonders for accuracy. When push comes to shove, accuracy is just as important for a total newbie as it is for an experienced marksman. Maybe more.

OK, scenario two: concealed carry.

You’re in a restaurant or shop or walking downtown. Uh-oh. You get shot. Suddenly, you don’t feel like returning fire, even though you really should. Even if you do maintain motivation, you might not feel up to the task. (Something to do with that extra hole in your body).

Lucky for you, your anti-gun wife has become vastly more open-minded about the advantages of gun ownership. Given your dramatically reduced physical condition—and the potential that she might suffer the same fate—your wife will probably re-prioritize the dangers of shooting a firearm.

Here’s an idea: share the love. Give her the gun. Or a friend. Someone on your team. Go team go!

What kind of handgun would you prefer to hand to a novice: a nine mil that requires a firm hand, one of those fussy little .380 jobbies or a small (you’re outside the home now) revolver? The semis will have more rounds, but really, are you expecting someone with no training to get into an extended gunfight?

The revolver creates self-defense options you can’t get with a semi-automatic pistol. The big downside—reduced ammunition—is not that much of a drawback when you factor in the 3-3-3 rule (most gunfights use three rounds in three seconds from three yards).

That’s why I reckon a wheel gun is the way to go for home defense and concealed carry. Of course, there’s an even better way to defend yourself with a handgun: train your S.O. to handle a semi, carry a semi and keep/carry a revolver as a back-up.

In any case, don’t let the perfect (a 1911) be the enemy of the really useful (a reliable revolver). Oh, and Sartre is the French egghead who said hell is other people. But then so is salvation.

17 Responses to Why You Need a Revolver for Self-Defense

  1. About 25-30 years ago I used to travel a lot for work. My (now ex-) wife wanted a pistol for protection. So I get her a PPKs… figure good for small hands, .380, she'll do fine. Oops… she can't pull the slide back. I trained her with my 6" Colt Python with .38s in it and that's what she kept by the bed.

    I'm getting married again later this year and have been teaching my fiancée how to shoot. She's doing well with the .22, and she's ready to move up and start shooting larger calibers. I'm in the process of picking up a nice 4" Model 66 for her to train with and use as a bedside gun. I'll also be setting it up with .38 hollow-points.

  2. I agree with you for the vast majority of the population. There are the statisticly rare females who like and are confident with a semi for the remainder not only is a revolver easier to operate it seem to be less intimidating for a newby.

    Best wishes

    NukemJim

  3. For the home, articles like this are why I've been leaning towards a pistol-caliber carbine for many people. They're still pretty small and maneuverable, are easier to point and shoot and control than a handgun, have more rounds than a six-shooter, little recoil, etc.

    Yeah, you still need more practice with them than a revolver, which anyone who's ever seen a movie should be able to point in a general direction and shoot, but it shouldn't take much. Everyone in a house with guns, (or without guns, but hey), should be taught the basics of gun safety Anyway. So, yeah, revolvers certainly have advantages, but small carbines do as well if the person is willing to not be a total noob. And with guns in the house, no one should let themselves be a total noob.

    Of course, it can be harder to fit a carbine into one of those small fingerprint gun safes if that's how you store your "right-now" gun.

    This might be a little chauvinist, but I'll say it anyway for your own good. If you and your wife/gf have guns in the house, but she doesn't like them, then be a man and make her like them enough to know the basics. Whether you do it with charm or a promise to take her on a cruise or whatever, just get it done. The life saved just might be your own. 😉

  4. I'm a woman, 120 lbs. I learned to shoot with a .45 hollow point. I think everyone should know gun safety and how to operate a weapon. I don't like the way this article makes women sound. Did you ever consider how many women are in the military or use and operate guns? Just so you know we aren't all weak and helpless and yes we are smart enough and strong enough to use a gun.

  5. I love the article but, lets give women a fair shake. I know a lot of men who would fold under such pressure, and that’s understandable it’s human nature. Try this; run or jump rope for say a good 2 minutes get your heart rate pumping (simulates elevated stress levels in a hostile situation, to some degree) now grab your gun and shoot the target. Chances are you are going to miss. Heart rate, rapid breathing, tunnel vision will make even the best marksman a poorer shot. This is why it is important as this article conveys to have the simplist operational firearm the revolver.

    The artilce does is a bit misleading saying: “you also need one with which she can hit someone from a non-face-to-face distance.” If you are in your home you will certainly be in a face to face distance. As the article says: “is not that much of a drawback when you factor in the 3-3-3 rule (most gunfights use three rounds in three seconds from three yards).”
    No one will ever know how they will respond and for a situation like this,you can train but, it’s never going to be the “real thing” but it is important to practice and drill so that god forbid if a situation happens you can be more prepared which may be all the difference.

  6. You realize that the concept of a safety-off double action also describes many auto pistols too…right? 🙂 The limp wrist point for follow up shots I can see…but the safety thing: all my pistols are double action designed to be stored/carried safety off & round chambered with the long trigger pull as the safety (similar to a revolver)……yet all of them are autos.

    The concealed carry part is not thought out at all. Thinking about what weapon is best for someone with zero training/understanding that wants to concealed carry is…well…can we see the problem with that? Anyone that decides they can concealed carry can train. The scenario of an untrained person in the home grabbing a pistol that she previously hated made sense…but if she’s later decided it’s ok to carry a concealed pistol then she’s also decided it’s ok to get trained.

  7. Hi,

    Since I did armed duty and did a lot of shooting with our issued Sig Sauer handgun I believed that gun was the answer for my civilian need thereafter. Now years later, all the skills way back in memory with a family I got the idea of an emergency drill in my home. I found out that a shotgun was to long to be used quickly inside my home, never mind the rifle, so I ran through the pistol exercise, I did OK, my wife did not, neither my daughter. They have no interest in learning so that is a challenge, they don’t like guns.
    My old man have a 4″ model 10 and I re-ran the test with 5 blanks and hammer on empty and all my family reacted great, no safety no thinking just point and click.

    I have now ordered a 4″ model 64 as a family house gun, and that is my nuts and bolts self defense at home from now on.

  8. Carry a Charter Arms .38 Undercover DAO everyday everywhere , wife can shoot it too , live rurally , used to be a Deputy , know response time here so I am armed and ready at home and not ashamed of it .Don’t care for my family or myself being a statistic , would rather get rid of some of the slime that festers in our country . If everyone with no felony record could carry nationwide then most crimes of any type would decrease to almost nothing , with the upswing of ccw , it is a proven fact that crime rates have dropped already . Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

    • A .38 for home defense???? That’s pathetic. And a Charter Arms at that? That’s a Saturday Night Special throw down gun. That’s what you stake your life on? LOL…sad.

      • Did not say it is my house gun , it is my ccw gun , and I have a lot of faith in it . Oh and my house gun is a Ruger GP-100 , loaded with.38+P 158 grain SWCHP , this is another proven stopper . Me also thinks you are a gun snob that doesn’t know about the real world of firearms . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

        • Also I was a Deputy Sheriff before retirement , I have seen folks shot dead with a .22 lr or .38 special and die , and have seen folks shot with a 9mm , .40 S&W , and .45 ACP and live , so what matters most is shot placement , you can shoot someone all day with a larger caliber but if you don’t hit the vital organs you haven’t accomplished anything , and I was always taught that whatever you shoot the best with and feel the most comfortable with is what you need to use , by the way the Ruger GP-100 is what I carried on duty . I do have autos but I trust revolvers more . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  9. Sorry, this whole idea about a revolver being perfect for people that dont know how to shoot. Just aim and pull the trigger…it’s simply not true. As a shooting instructor I often let beginners try out different firearms, and they almost never hit anything with a double action revolver at ten yards. With a minimum of instructions most people shoot best with a SA pistol. No doubt.

    • You missed the point. the article is about people who DON’T want to train and have ZERO familiarity with guns yet having to use a gun in an emergency situation. Under those circumstances, simpler is better, hence the author’s suggestion of using a revolver over a semi-automatic.

  10. You missed the point. The article is about people who DON’T want to train and have ZERO familiarity with guns yet having to use a gun in an emergency situation. Under those circumstances, simpler is better, hence the author’s suggestion of using a revolver over a semi-automatic.

  11. I doubt I’d have married someone that was an I-NOG… That being said, I recently bought a Taurus 709slim, a nice small, carry auto an found that even with such a small gun that my wife had problems pulling back the slide. That factor alone means a revolver is necessary in our home. If she ever fired it and it jammed that’d be it, game over for her. Getting her a snub .38 for her purse, got me the Taurus Public defender. Problem solved. Keep it simple stupid! Not that autos are a poor choice, just require different style and ability. I personally don’t have the money for multiple guns, she only had limited amount of time to spend at range, the “house gun” needs to be something we can both easily use under pressure= revolver…with buckshot/ .45long colt, shot gun in the closet for backup.

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