In Praise of the Service Revolver

Smith & Wesson Highway Patrolman

courtesy icollector.com

Recently, the NYPD announced that it would finally be phasing out the last of their remaining .38 Special revolvers, with a sunset date of August 31, 2018. At that point, wheel guns will be verboten and all sworn officers of the NYPD can choose between a (modified) GLOCK 17, GLOCK 19 or the SIG SAUER P226 in DAO as their duty gun. New York City, for those who are unaware, requires all duty guns to have a stiff trigger pull; usually eight pounds or more. Any and all officers have to complete semi-automatic training and qualify with one of the new sidearms.

It’s astounding anyone is still using a revolver as a duty gun; apparently 150 officers still carry them despite the fact that 9mm semi-autos having been standard issue for New York’s Finest since 1994.

While they’ve been all but completely eliminated from use in the line of duty, the service revolver still has a place as a personal defense firearm. They aren’t the best fit for daily concealed carry as they’re on the large side, but these wheelguns can still serve well in other roles.

The primary advantage of the double-action revolver, of course, is that they are incredibly simple. Aim, squeeze, repeat. Reload as needed. Provided the shooter can handle the trigger (rarer these days due to how lazy striker guns have made people the reduced popularity of revolvers) and isn’t consumed with the idea of needing more rounds, a service revolver is about as user friendly as it gets.

M1917 revolver courtesy imfdb.com

Some models should only get the occasional serving of high-pressure loads, but with a bit of care they last decades. There are M1917 revolvers that people still shoot fairly regularly, and those revolvers are about a century old. Simple, reliable, accurate…outside of not being too big for concealed carry and only packing six shots, there aren’t too many downsides.

And part of revolvers’ appeal and their longevity is that, if you can handle it, they’ll shoot anything. Many semi-autos didn’t feed hollowpoints all that well (and most hollow points that made for them weren’t that good) until gun and ammunition makers got around to solving those problems.

Colty Python courtesy imfdb.com

Today, the best roles for the medium revolvers like the S&W Model 10, 586 or Model 66, Ruger GP100 – or among the classics like the Colt Trooper, Lawman, Python, or New Service, the S&W Model 19 or Ruger Security-Six – is as a home defense pistol or truck gun. Unless you find an appropriate holster (which can be a challenge) they don’t make great CCW pistols, because there are snubbies for that.

In many areas, they also make a decent woods gun, as the stouter .38 Special loadings or a .357 Magnum round will more than do for most critters in the Lower 48 other than grizzlies, which are mostly confined to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

So there’s no downside to having at least one of these classics in your safe. It’s a handgun you can always hand off to a newbie in a pinch and know that they’ll be able to make it go bang if they really need to. Plus, they’re just a hell of a lot of fun to shoot.

What about you? Do you have a medium to large wheel gun that you use for anything other than your daily carry? Sound off in the comments.

 

Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at Alien Gear Holsters and Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also contributes regularly to Ammoland, Daily Caller and USA Carry.

comments

  1. avatar John says:

    I have a mid-80s Ruger Security Six, .357Mag. It is a wonderful wheelgun, easily my favorite at the range (with .38 Spcl rounds, generally). I carry it less frequently – I use an old Uncle Mike’s holster when I do – but when I do, I feel like a complete badass! It is fun to have and shoot.

    1. avatar Bill B says:

      Totally agree with John.
      I have an early 80s Ruger Security Six .357 in stainless. Love the gun. It is mostly responsible for turning my wife into a wheel gun fanatic.
      Easy to shoot, accurate, just fun on all fronts, and looks are tough to beat.

      I’d love to OC this one more when brushing snowmobile trails in fall, but can’t seem to find a decent/affordable holster with decent retention and full trigger coverage. Suggestions?

      1. avatar BobS says:

        The GunfightersINC Kenai chest holster comes in models for quite a few revolvers, though I don’t see your Security Six. Might be worth asking them about it.

        For carrying defense against furry fangy inhospitable indigenous fauna when I visit them in the woods, I’ve been very happy with the Kenai for 1911s (both 5″ and 6″ barrels) and for Glock 20/21.

      2. avatar Art out West says:

        I also love my early 80’s 4′ SS .357 Security Six. Great fun gun, and home defense gun. For CCW, I think the 642 is wonderful. Nothing against autoloaders. They are great too.

        The revolver just has a lot of charm to me.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    I have a variety of firearms. Including semi auto pistols. But my daily carry is a j frame. Occasionally I will carry my model 10 when I’m in the boondocks.

    I prefer revolvers. Simply put, I shoot better with a revolver. I have been a soldier. Never been a cop. Have worked security. If I was to ever do the first two I would want the latest and greatest wonder pistol. But for the life I live now the revolver serves just fine.

    My S&W 9mm takes mags that are upwards of near 40 bucks to replace. It’s getting hard to find milspec mags for my Makarov. Mags ain’t an issue with revolvers.

    And CA has a 10 round limit on mags.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      Love Smiths! My latest is a Performance Center 657 snub in .41 Mag.

  3. avatar Dcj says:

    Ditto. Six inch Security Six. Deadly accurate, 100% reliable. Has quite the presence either on the hip or in the hand. Always on hand when I might need the support of a non user.

    Then of course there is the LCR for the take the dog out pjamas pocket. And the Judge Public Defender just because.

    1. avatar lean4wardhereitcomesagain says:

      A friend let me shoot his Judge during one range trip. Shot a couple cylinders of 410….because shotgun pistol 🙂 The “experts” can go on all they want about how the Judge is impractical or whatever. All I know is out of every handgun I’ve ever shot, from HK’s to Desert Eagles to 45/70 BFRs to 1911s, the Judge was one of the most fun I’ve ever experienced at the range. The DA trigger was so smooth, it puts the DA on my Ruger SP101 to shame, and I love my SP101.

  4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I CC a GP 100 3″ Wiley Clapp.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      Yeah, Gov, you know everyone was waiting for you and I to sound off with your GP100 and my SP101…
      I’d still like to join the guys here showing their love for their Security Sixes but the finances just won’t let that happen for me for a while.
      Still nice to have read about the homage to the Six that Ruger announced with their Security Nine… although the word “security” is the only common characteristic between those two guns. 🤠

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Just saying that it’s not that hard for a grown man to conceal a mid-sized revo lver if you strap a piece of leather around your waist and don’t dress like a metro-sexual.

        I’ve still got too many new production GPs to buy, not to mention Blackhawks, Vaqueros and Redhawks to expand into nostalgic Rugers. Guess that’s the downside of them making too much cool stuff. And if I go down that road what I’d like to collect is early(ish) 20th cen tury revolve rs before S,R&co. The next two additions are probably going to be long gu ns, so that’s going to fill my wishlist for next year.

  5. avatar Steve in TX says:

    I don’t carry it, but I have a Colt M1917 that’s always a conversation piece at the range when the moon clips full of 45 acp come out.

    1. avatar Wedge259 says:

      I have one as well, a Brazilian Contract, but I haven’t put together the money for a carry holster when a 1911 carries more of the same round and is easier to carry!

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I love a good revolver and I love a good semi-auto pistol.

    In terms of daily self-defense carry, I don’t carry any revolvers. (I carry a full-size Smith and Wesson M&P40 which is accurate and crazy reliable.)

    In terms of camping, hiking, and hunting, I carry a revolver. Sometimes that is a Ruger GP100 revolver with a 6-inch barrel. Other times that is a Taurus model 44 revolver with a 6-inch ported barrel in .44 Magnum. Both are exceptional firearms.

    As for recreational target shooting, I far-and-away prefer revolvers.

  7. avatar Just another Mike says:

    My default daily carry is a J-frame Centennial (IWB, pocket holster or small pack when I’m running). When it gets cold, I carry my K-frame 66 4″ barrel IWB. When I have a longer jacket on, I also carry OWB (4″ N-frame). If I need something really tiny, I can carry my NAA 22 revolver.

    I also have a variety of bigger revolvers for hunting / shooting / fun. One semi (1911) handgun, but I don’t shoot it that often … I reload, and chasing brass isn’t any fun. A couple of single shot handguns.

    I find revolvers – even full sized ones – to be easier to conceal than a semi auto for me – I’m tall and skinny. The blocky shape of the grip frame is hard to conceal. Long barrels, not so much 🙂

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    I carry a S&W M642 every day, and my Ruger Vaquero .357 is a nice range toy that will do the self-defense business in a pinch. I expect to add another revolver soon, just because they have soul (for lack of a better description), and modern Tupperware guns are merely appliances.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Ralph,

      Not sure exactly what direction you are thinking for a new revolver — may I suggest Ruger’s GP100 series? They are built like tanks and last forever. And you can get really nice aftermarket grips for them if you like.

      If you are thinking of using it primarily for fun shooting at the range as well as a home-defense firearm, those GP100s with 6-inch barrels are exceptional. That long barrel has several advantages:
      (1) Extra weight to tame recoil
      (2) A long site-radius which is nice for target shooting
      (3) Stout .357 Magnum loads with 125 grain bullets will approach 1,700 fps!

      And, Ruger just started selling .357 Magnum revolvers with 7-round cylinders. I cannot picture any human being on the planet being able to absorb seven, 125 grain, .357 caliber bullets at 1,700 fps and still be operational. Heck, I cannot imagine any human being on the planet absorbing two of those and being operational.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        IMHO the rubber grips with wood side panels for the GPs are the most comfortable grips of any g un I’ve ever shot. The new 7 rounders have them and Altamont makes them with several options for the side panels. The Altamonts aren’t terribly expensive either.

        The 6″ is the first thing I’ll shoot you with if you break into my house at night, but I’ll be launching a 158gr SJHP at 1500fps.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Governor,

          For reasons that I don’t fully understand, those .357 caliber, 125 grain hollowpoints impacting at 1,600+ fps to the middle of the chest seem to be guaranteed (for all intents and purposes) to stop attackers.

          My pet hypothesis is that those relatively light bullets decelerate rapidly in the attacker’s chest and basically create the equivalent of an explosion in the torso — and the massive sensory response overwhelms the brain causing immediate unconsciousness.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          True, a lighter faster projectile will not penetrate as deeply as a slower heavier one given the same energy on impact. The energy is dispersed outward of the bullet’s path.

          My logic going with 158gr is this; Most factory loads are neutered down to at most 1450fps in 125gr and 1250fps in 158gr from a 4″ bar rel. So I suspect that the bul let makers build their bu llets to perform at these velocities, but pumped up an extra 250fps could make these bul lets more or less frangible. So I’d prefer the heavier tougher bu llet out of full pressure loads. On the other hand I prefer 125gr in the not-so-magnum loads and in fact keep a good stock of Rem. 125gr just in case of a zombie epidemic. I also believe that gel tests usually penetrate deeper than actual flesh since you c an just poke your finger into the gel, so I don’t think that last 4 inches or so would actually occur in flesh. At any rate, I suspect a full grown man will slow down the 158gr enough to be minimally dangerous. Fully mushroomed hol low points have really lousy ballistic coefficients.

          What I’d really like to find is a full pressure 140gr SJHP load for my 3″ Wiley Clapp. I should get around 1400fps out of that (1600fps out of the 6″). I’d probably switch to that for both if someone made it.

        3. avatar ironicatbest says:

          I think they’ve developed the gel to enhance the bullets actual performance. I use wet paper and don’t get near the “look” of the gel, or the penatration

        4. avatar Just Sayin says:

          ^I agree with the Ruger rubber/wood panel grip synopsis.
          Best ever.
          You MUST check out this site for handmade Ruger grip panels:
          http://chigsgrips.com

          Just put some on my SP101 & GP100 (both are stainless steel).
          Turned them into instant BBQ guns. Beautiful upgrades.
          He also makes grips for Ruger single action models.

      2. I’m not trying to start an argument and not trying to be belligerent.

        I agree that .357 Mag ammo with 125gr hollowpoints has long had a reputation as being a very good fight stopper, going back to its introduction in the 70s. As handgun ammo goes, it destroys a lot of soft tissue. The high velocity and kinetic energy give it better ability to shatter bone and keep going without deviating than most handgun rounds.

        But human beings can be very hard to stop, when they are very determined. I heard too many stories from Vietnam about VC or NVA absorbing multiple 7.62x51mm rounds through center-mass and getting back up and fighting until they bled out.

        There was a law enforcement situation not far from me in November in which a state trooper pulled over a fellow who, it turned out, was a habitual felon with multiple priors, who also had warrants out on him for felony murder. The bad guy produced a cheap potmetal .380 with six rounds of ammo in it, and no spare mags, and dumped all six at the cop–hitting him once, in the neck, causing injuries that eventually cost his life. The state trooper returned fire with a Glock 22 loaded with .40 caliber Gold Dot hollowpoints, fifteen in the mag and one in the chamber. He shot to slide lock, did a commendably fast mag change, and shot to slide lock a second time, before succumbing to his injuries. He expended thirty-one rounds at conversational distance–and hit the bad guy twenty-three times. Six of the hits were peripheral, but seventeen were within the body cavity.

        The perpetrator sprinted off and when backup arrived they had to follow him by his blood trail. They had to corner him in an alley blocks away and taze him and cuff him before they could get him into the ambulance, and he was still fighting when they got him into the operating room–with seventeen .40 caliber bullet wounds in his torso. Does it sound so implausible? A 100-pound whitetail deer with its heart torn to fragments by a high-powered rifle bullet will sometimes run half a mile before it dies.

        He died on the operating table, but it is worth noting that the autopsy revealed that the bullets had adequate penetration. Some bullets exited the body and some did not, but no recovered bullet had failed to expand in soft tissue. Exit wounds were ragged in character in a manner consistent with bullet expansion and some expanded bullets were found in the perpetrator’s clothing on his off side.

        And no, no drugs were found in the perpetrator’s system. Apparently he was a three-time loser and knew there were felony murder warrants out for him, and he was just that determined not to go back to prison. He was just that determined to keep fighting and keep running, even when he was carrying around so much lead that the sheer weight of it should have slowed him down a bit. None of the bullets was a brain or spine hit, so he kept right on running and fighting until he went into shock on the operating table, probably from blood loss, and his heart stopped.

        Yes, this incident was a statistical outlier. Yes, almost all lethal force incidents are over one way or another before the third or fourth shot, and when that isn’t the case it usually turns out that someone shot to slide lock in a panic and didn’t get the hits. Well, this state trooper got the hits. It is pretty sobering. The .40 caliber 180 grain Speer Gold Dot hollowpoint is no slouch and every test shows it in the short list of top-end duty loads that work about as well as we know how to make them work based on what we know today. He soaked up a lot of them and they tore him up pretty good inside. Maybe the bad guy just didn’t notice that the caliber began with a “4” and was supposed to knock him somersaulting into the air on the first hit.

        I am not convinced 125 grain .357 Mag hollowpoints with the same bullet placement distribution–call it one miss, two hits to limbs, and three to the boiler room, then maybe a speedload and six more distributed the same way–would have done any better, not with this guy.

        Jeff Cooper would have said the cop should have been trained to use the Mozambique drill and tried a head shot when the first few hits didn’t have the desired effect. I don’t know how many people can do that under stress, but that’s not the conversation we’re having anyway.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Humans, like most animals, are easy to kill but hard to stop.

        2. avatar Marc says:

          Great story……good luck concealing your 12 gauge shotgun.
          People carry handguns for a reason; here’s a hint, it’s not because they are devastating fight stoppers.

        3. avatar ll says:

          i don’t think there is any evidence explaining why the .357 has better one shot stopping power than 9 or 45, other than small sample size

          I assume without other justification that the noise helps. When a 357 goes off, everyone around knows that something Terrible has just happened. I’ve been at the range shooting 9mm and wondering what jerk is firing a cannon a lane or two down, only to switch to a .357 and have the jerk lean back out of his lane to shake his head my way

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          ‘i don’t think there is any evidence explaining why the .357 has better one shot stopping power than 9…’

          I’m guessing the fact that a 9 launches a 124gr. bul let at 1150fps and a .357 launches a 125gr. bul let at 1450 (and that’s not even a full pressure load) might have something to do with it.

          Your issue at the ra nge might be partly because the cylinder gap. I would think that it would work a bit like a muzz le brake and divert sound to the sides whereas a semi-au to focuses the sound more forward.

  9. avatar Ovidio Gentiloni says:

    A wonderful S&W 29-5 with 6” barrel.
    Love that toy.
    Shoots great, has the usual fabulous Smith trigger and makes my hands dirty.
    What’s there not to like?

  10. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    All value is subjective. Given the very low chance that I, a very cautious rural recluse, will ever have to use a handgun for fighting. A well fit and finished all steel (and ivory or wood) revolver gives me a ‘warm fuzzy’ feeling where polymer auto-loaders leave me cold. The aesthetics and other (perhaps emotional) intangibles outweigh the utilitarian advantages of the the polymer auto-loader for me.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Well stated Vic Nighthorse.

      Having said that, I beg to differ that semi-autos are “cold”. On second thought, I cannot ever recall seeing a semi-auto pistol and getting all warm and fuzzy. I have seen revolvers, however, that get me warm and fuzzy.

      At any rate, isn’t freedom grand when we can choose what we have for our own personal reasons?

  11. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

    I have 10-5 that I love to shoot, and when in the boonies I OC it in an old leather holster. There is a Zen to wheelguns that just ain’t there with my (reliable and accurate) SR9c EDC.

  12. avatar Jackass Jim says:

    Quote Sam Hoober: “It’s astounding anyone is still using a revolver as a duty gun”

    What is even more astounding are web bloggers that bloviate ad nauseam defending the their beliefs that a rectum and a post hole are one and the same.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      So you’re saying you don’t want someone to shove a fence post up your rectum?

      1. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

        NTTAWWT!

      2. avatar jwm says:

        High 5, guv, High 5.

  13. avatar matt o says:

    i’m curious about these last revolvers being phased out, were they j-frame backup guns? were they on the hips of desk jockeys and never saw the street? were these officers who just liked to stay qualified on the old iron but actually carried a G17? I know people who try and stay qualified on every approved type but only actually carry a modern gun on duty.

  14. avatar Robert Geiger says:

    I began to tear up as I gazed upon all of the revolvers illustrated in the article.It was like seeing pictures of dearly departed family members you had all but forgotten about. I owned a couple of Pythons, a couple of Model 19’s (4″ and 6″), a Model 10 HB (never issued, NIB police surplus) 2 different GP-100’s, (4″ and 6″), a 4″: Security Six, a Model 27 Highway Patrolman, a Colt Detective Special, an Agent, and too many J-frames to list.
    There were a couple of N-frame .44 mags and a Ruger SA Super Blackhawk along the way as well. All except for a Model 38 Body Guard lightweight J-frame and my wife’s 442 have gone away at various times, for various reasons, usually involving needing money at the time…Let’s not even talk about 1911’s, or high-end over/unders…

    1. avatar Robert Geiger says:

      I forgot the Iver Johnson .22, and the Charter Bulldog.44 special. The Charter was actually well-made, but ammo was extremely expensive. I still have a hankering for the new L-frame .44 S&W, and have wanted a 4″ Redhawk .44 for awhile, but I prefer my semi-autos 99% of the time. EDC is a Glock 43. Boring, but reliable and easily replaced…

    2. avatar TXGunGal says:

      Oh the horror of selling Colt Detective 38 Special.
      I have one and will never part with it. Would sell a Kidney before that one and Ruger GP 100 3” barrel WC version and 2nd one out on loan to sister in law since living on a ranch with cattle, Long Horns. They can take care of themselves for defense but their small dogs and outside cats can’t😳 she packs 357 when walking the dogs since cayotes are common and now bobcats are showing up, not to mention raccoons with very bad attitudes.
      I have more handguns than shoes. 7 revolvers and 8 semiautomatic pistols. Since I ‘m retired I can dress for concealed or semi open carry if walking in neighborhood wildlife park with rattle and coral snakes. Fellow walkers are alway glad to see me packing a gun, especially other dog owners. Everybody knows me and my husband knows our Golden’s says hello to them before saying hello to us

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        ‘I have more handguns than shoes.’

        Tell me, is there a Mr. TXGunGal?

        Doh! I see I should finish reading comments before replying to them…

  15. avatar Ken Lacoste says:

    My Taurus model 66 is still one of my best shooters.

  16. avatar anarchyst says:

    I think having cops revert back to wheel guns would be a good idea. Far too many cops use their firepower to the extreme, which actually endangers the citizenry. Being limited to 5 or 6 shots before having to reload would make them THINK about what they are doing.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Considering how rare it is for a cop to fire his g un in anger, I seriously doubt that it would make much difference. Both in the misuse of firearms by police and in the ‘whatever it takes to make it home’ mentality. Despite the occasional mag dump, the odds of even a cop not getting the job done with 6 ro unds of .357 are pretty small.

  17. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    As I’ve shared a few times, my first duty pistol as a reserve deputy back in 1991 was a 4″ Smith 686. At the time our sheriff thought that automatics were “too complicated” for lowly reserve officers. We elected a new sheriff three years later and he was okay with automatics so I went out and bought a 4006 since I was a Smith and Wesson guy. I still have the 686 and take it to the range a couple of times a year. I have a good quality nylon military style flap holster for my Smith that works well for a walk in the woods.

    My old captain, who was the state pistol champion for a couple of years back in the 70s, carried a 4″ Model 19 until he retired in 2004. He still reloaded from belt loops and was faster through our qualification rounds than most guys were with automatics.

    I occasionally carry an older Smith 640 .357 loaded with .38 +Ps as an off duty pistol. I also have a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 special with Crimson Trace grips.

    These days I carry a double stack 9mm on duty but I think that I’d be well served by my old Smith if I had to go back to a wheel gun for some reason. I’d just carry the snub in my cargo pants for a quick reload and break out the 870 if the fight got serious. Old school still works.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      If I were limited to revolvers over semi-auto pistols, I would simply carry two 7-shot revolvers with 6-inch barrels in .357 Magnum loaded with 125 grain hollowpoints.

      As I suggested above to Ralph, those 6-inch barrels launch stout 125 grain bullets at 1,700 fps. Very few people on this planet will remain upright after taking just one such shot to the middle of the chest. And having two revolvers means having a total of 14 shots before having to reload. Assuming that you can put rounds on target (and I realize that is not a safe assumption), 14 rounds is plenty to save your a$$ in an ugly situation.

      1. avatar Dave Lewis says:

        I’d agree that two stoutly loaded .357s would be great for social interactions, but in a duty scenario there just isn’t enough room on my belt for two pistols. As an old well padded guy I’ve got a 38 – 40″ waist and when I hang one pistol, magazine or speed loader carrier, cuff case, pepper spray, knife, taser, and radio on my belt there isn’t room for anything else. The high sheriff’s head would explode if I showed up with two pistols on my belt. In the old days when I carried a wheel gun I did the 686 and a backup in my left pants pocket. When I started the backup was a Beretta Model 21A .25 auto because that’s all we had and it was all that I could afford ($150 if I remember correctly). When I could afford it I graduated to a second hand Smith Model 38 and then to a new 640.

        If I was in civvies and open carrying a revolver(s) I still think that two duty size pistols is a lot of iron mongery to hang off your belt. I have trouble keeping my pants up when I’m carrying one pistol and wearing suspenders. Maybe I’m just not tactical enough.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Dave,

          That is where you have to get creative: with two, seven-shot revolvers on your hip, you could ditch the speedloader altogether and carry your cuffs on your ankle! Or something like that.

      2. avatar DrewN says:

        LOL, I’d like to meet the man who can conceal 2 6″ N Frames at once.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          LOL!!!

          I am still laughing.

          I was definitely thinking of open carry!

        2. Didn’t the late Chic Gaylord show up on a TV show called “What’s My Line” with six or eight 6″ N-frames and 5″ 1911s on his person, back around 1958?

          Of course, he was an uncommonly talented maker of custom concealment holsters, and was wearing a formal three-piece suit for the show, too.

  18. I will take a revolver any day, never had one jam, and although there is supposed to be times when they can malfunction, and I am sure some may have, I never had a problem. even Clint Smith commented that at Thunder Ranch he observed more times when a semi-auto had problems compared to revolvers.

  19. I would also like to say that there are times in the winter when a 4″ barreled revolver can be carried as a ccw, as well as the 2 or 2.5 inch variation. which I have used. companies like Galco can sell you a nice holster for it. and shooting defense rounds though them is a lot more pleasent then a small light weight snubby.

  20. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Kickkin my ass for selling Colt Trooper MK Iii. What was I thinking?

    1. avatar DrewN says:

      Still reasonably priced, though not $250 anymore. The Python effect hasn’t really spread to the rest of the line, even King Cobra’s and Anaconda’s aren’t that bad.

  21. ok, one mre comment, I have carried a S&W M10 2″ in my front pants pocket as well as both my M19 and M66 with their 2.5 inc barrels and gotten away with it. and in the summertime all 3revolvers have been in an IWB holster that has a high clip ( up paased the cylinder) that only had the grips sticking out past the waistline . had on a t- shirt and no one new those guns were there. I also carry my Taurus M817, 7 shot 38 special like that as well as my S&W M12 ( they really, really should bring that one back). so you can carry these. my 3 inch M65 also has been carried this way.

  22. avatar Ian says:

    I have a S&W model 69, 44 magnum for carry and home defense. Usually loaded with .44spc for 2 legged threats, which even here in Alaska, are a bigger problem than the 4 legged ones. Have a backup speed loader with 240 gr hard cast in case of encounters with angry critters.

  23. avatar Hank says:

    I love my S&W 629 .44 mag. The power, the bang, the flash, the recoil. Feels like a real gun. It’s really not bad to carry either. I carry it hunting and hiking in a speed bees holster. I’d even open carry it all the time if my state “allowed” it for EDC (Florida 😡). But I do wish someone would make a holster like the safariland ones with a lever release for revolvers. I haven’t found a revolver holster I like that also gives me peace of mind if someone tried to snatch it. The speed bees one is great for drawing and it secures pretty well though.

  24. avatar pwrserge says:

    Going to have to disagree here. The revolver is going the way of the tactical arquebus. In the 21st century there is little that a revolver offers that a good polymer framed striker fired semi-auto doesn’t do better at a fraction of the weight and several times the capacity. While they will always have uses (like predator defense), the revolver is sadly ready to become “An elegant weapon… for a more civilized age.”

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I would find it hard to believe that S&W and S,R&co would both be making over a quarter million aquebuses (aquebusi?) every year, but they manage sell all those revolvers just fine. ( https://www.tacretailer.com/2017/04/03/revolvers-still-sellable/ ) Not to mention Taurus, Charter, Chiappa, Kimber and Colt, etc.

      There are many advantages of a revolver over a striker pistol, but the striker pistol has only one advantage over a revolver and that is capacity, which virtually nobody ever actually needs. In fact the hottest selling striker pistols these days are the single stack 9mms that maybe hold a one round advantage.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        “(aquebusi?)”

        That there was funny Governor!

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        Weight is not a minor advantage. My Glock 34 with a light on it (my EDC) weighs in at about the same weight as most revolvers.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          A S,R&co LCR weighs 13.5 ounces. Your move.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          So you’re going to compare a polymer snubbie to an extended slide duty pistol?

          Ok… LC9. Effectively same ammo (.38sp is about the same as 9mm in my experience), 2 extra rounds, far slimmer package. Now show me a revolver that can keep up with my Glock 40MOS with a MRO and 17 rounds of 10mm. (Still need to find a good holster for that damn thing.)

          As you said… Your move.

        3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Kudos for comparing .38special to 9mm rather than .380. While muzzle energies of the .38 are closer to that of the .380, the slower heavier .38 penetrates much better and is probably much more comparable to a short barreled 9mm semi-auto than a .380 in effectiveness.

          As to your G40, despite the claims that the 10mm is almost a .41 magnum, in truth it’s almost a .357 magnum if you’re comparing full pressure ammo in each. Both rounds suffer from an abundance of neutered loads. So typically a hot .357 from a 6″ revol ver will net more energy than your G40, but your G40 will more than make up for that in extra capacity, which I’ve already conceded. Now you’re left with weight. But the fact that there isn’t currently on the market a 28 ounce polymer 6″ revol ver in .357 doesn’t constitute an inherent advantage of striker pistols over rev olvers. That’s only a reflection of the popularity of cheap polymer striker fired pis tols. HOWEVER, there is the S&W 329PD, which is neither chambered in .357 nor made of polymer, but weighs in at 25.2 ounces and offers .44 magnum from a 4-1/8″ bar rel, substantially more powerful than 10mm. Now if 6 rou nds of .44mag doesn’t get you out of trouble you really need to reexamine your life choices.

        4. avatar pwrserge says:

          The thing is, you can’t make a polymer revolver in .357. The stress on the frame is too much for even top end materials.

          As for your .44 Magnum idea… I like follow up shots and double taps. When your munitions are not laser guided, 6 is not enough. Ask the Air Force. Oh, and unlike your wheel gun, my G40 has a tritium red dot and a vis / ir light.

        5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          The beauty of the .44 magnum is you don’t need double taps to put down your enemy.

          True, you’re not going to make a .357 revolver frame out of plastic, but then you’re not going to make a 10mm slide out of it either. The LCR(x) in .357 weighs in at 17 ounces, though you’re probably back to dealing with recoil issues like the 329. The fact that revolvers can handle heavy magnum loads does not constitute an inherent disadvantage, rather the opposite.

          BTW, you can put lasers and lights on revolvers too.

        6. avatar pwrserge says:

          Lasers / lights? Maybe. I have yet to see a revolver with a reflex sight.

        7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I’ve seen plenty of scoped revolvers. That would probably be much more challenging on anything with a reciprocating slide.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      pwrserge,

      Your comment is very accurate.

      There is yet one more niche that I see for revolvers — and it is the subject of an article that I wrote about 6 months ago and intend to submit to TTaG. I think you will be surprised at the concept and might even agree on a new role for large revolvers.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      Serge. We’re not all tactical warriors. There are firearms that are not AR’s, AK’s or polymer. Firearms can be fun as well as practical. My most advanced combat rifle is a mosin nagant. Cause, guess what, I will never be in combat again.

      I actually plan on buying no more firearms. I have ample now. But if a Beretta .25 shows up at the fun store, I’m on it. Cause I want a Beretta .25.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        It’s not about being a “tactical warrior” it’s about picking the best tool for the job. I carry a weapon because I realize that if I need to use it, I will be so far up shit creek, that the paddle will be in another state. Sure revolvers are fun to shoot. I own a 6″ raging judge and it is still one of the most fun range toys I own. But when your life is on the line, as mine will be if I ever need to USE my EDC, I want no compromises to the primary mission of my firearm. Keeping me breathing. I don’t carry a gun as a security blanket, I don’t carry one to feel like a big man, I most especially don’t carry one to look cool. I carry a gun with the inherent understanding that I might actually have to use it.

        As for single stack 9mm micro pistols… That’s where concealment and comfort of carry come in. A lot of those little guns, you can easily forget you’re carrying. For me, 100% concealment is not a mission requirement. Thus, I went with a long slide semi-auto with a light. Comfort of carry is a wash. I use a OWB kydex holster covered by an open shirt, so I don’t really have the gun digging into anything. (Especially since I started trimming inches off of my waist.)

      2. I certainly hope I’ll never have to fight for my life. But I don’t know what the future holds.

    4. avatar Hank says:

      To a degree, yes. However, the power you can get out of revolvers mean they’ll never go away. You just can’t mimick the power of a .44,.454,.460, or .500, out of a semi auto. It’s been done but Deagles aren’t exactly reliable. There’s been many that claim that 10mm or .460 Rowland are game changers, but neither of those rounds really come close to hot .44 and up. When it comes to raw power in a handgun, Big Fucking Revolvers can’t be beat.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Yes, but at what point are you getting benefit from your extra power? To me, anything above .44 Mag is gross overkill for 99.99% of situations. If you expect to shoot bears, sure… otherwise…

        1. avatar Hank says:

          Well that’s what I was referring to. For larger animals or even medium sized animals a I’d rather have a “BFR” in .44 mag on up. Now, when it comes to bipedal animals semi autos currently reign supreme. I would argue however that body armor and physical size can be a game changer in that regard. I don’t care how big and bad you are, if you take a .44 mag to the chest you are going down, period.

      2. avatar David says:

        Concur with the observation about BFRs. I happen to have, among other wheelguns, the Magnum Research BFR in 45-70 Gov’t. I named it Mjolnir. The immediate reaction when you cook one off from that is what is commonly referred to as a shit-eating grin. No Sasquatch or Tyrannosaurus will ever rampage freely here.

    5. avatar Son of Alan says:

      There maybe one other reason. California is slowly turning into Revolverfornia, as semi-autos continue to fall of the roster. They maybe the only thing you can buy. I don’t know how long Glock can be making gen3’s, or Springfield 1st gen XD’s. Sorry but I have never been a revolver guy, never liked the DA triggers.

  25. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I find it humorous that people talk about themrevolver being …..
    …too hard to master for cops or perosnal defense
    ….Too slow to reload for cops or personal defense
    …..hold too few round for cops or personal defense
    Then they state how a revolver is great to hand to a newb when the SHTF.

    Revolvers are more natural for most people to wrap their hand around (e.g. Kframe).
    Easy to load and unload (maybe not fast) fof the average person.
    Can be had in serious calibers like 357 (and hot 38s) in a relatively compact package.

    Those who can shoot a DA revolver can usually shoot just about anything the pushes bullets.

    People who learn only on modern striker-fired pistols usually look spastic trying to shot a DA trigger. Short stroke is common.

    Nothing against automatics – I have a few – but i dont feel at a disadvantage with a loaded 38 Smith.

  26. avatar DDavis says:

    4″ S&W Model 28 backed up by an S&W 642. Not undergunned.

  27. avatar Southerner says:

    Service revolver carry:

    Carried a Colt Police Positive in a Roy Baker pancake holster during the early nineteen eighties. This light weight 4 inch revolver was loaded with 125 grain Remington JHP 38 Special +P rounds that clocked just over 1100 fps through the screens of an analog Oehler chronograph. This was before the 38 Special +P round was neutered by pressure reductions in the last decade of the 20th century.

  28. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    There’s a huge difference between the military, the police and those who CCW. I carry a S&W hammerless model 642 J-frame in order to get me out of very short range problems that might arise around Detroit when I travel on business. At home I’d turn to a model 686 plus (7-shots) although I own a great range gun semi-auto (after some adjustments and it probably it proves to feed more reliably than in the past we will see…).

    The big advantages I see are 1) absolute reliability under stress. 2) the ability to fire in-contact with a threat. 3) easy concealment 4) the ability (hammerless J-frame) to shoot from a coat or jacket pocket if necessary.

    If I were going to war I’d want a rifle (or an aircraft carrier lol). My cc is there to help me escape not to play cop or spec ops.

  29. avatar Scooter says:

    642 regularly with me, but otherwise I’ve ended up with a pre-model 10 that’s rough but ready, Security Six, model 66,model 64, and a .357 model 10… and the last one’s not a typo!

  30. avatar Alex in Oregon says:

    Any time I’m in the woods I have a Super Redhawk in 454 Casull on my hip for predator protection. I know for sure there is at least one bear that hangs out in the area I deer hunt in (found a tree pretty chewed up last year and visited that tree again this year and could hear it “huff huff” but never saw it) as well as cougar all over the state (found a kill last year and have seen tracks on both sides of the mountain). Fun range toy as well. Almost always turns heads when I touch one off!

  31. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

    In commie kalifornia, the list of approved “semi autos” shrinks every month. Leaving the wheel guns the best option. You see folks, the overlords that have rule over their serfs know that most semi auto GUNS are just to dangerous in their unwashed hands.
    Now if only I can find some ammo………………..

  32. avatar GS650G says:

    I like my Colt official police .38 special. It’s easy to shoot and very accurate. Mild recoil. And .38 hollow points will get the job done.

  33. I got a Colt official police, and a 3″ police positive special ( and a post 72 police positive which was really a pps) a 2″ M10, M15 , M12 ( m10 with an alloy frame) and just love them. even got an assortment of detective specials, cobra’s and agents , both pre 72 and post 72. and recently finished qualifying with the pre 72 agent. and I have 2.5, 4. and 6″ S&W M19s . and also the new m21, m22 S&W service revolvers.( a Thunder Ranch run, and the M21 44spec is one of the first runs) these are all fine revolvers that you can bet will help protect you in a crisis.( I also have plenty of S&W J frames as well as a few Taurus around). I do like and have semi autos , but fell better with a revolver . and your M10 357 was a run for the NY state police which then resulted in the M13/M65. good gun. and lets not forget how many time a revolver went to war, even in the gulf with our forces.

  34. avatar 33Charlemagne says:

    Dual stack semi autos have an advantage when you know you are going into combat (although the appropriate shoulder arm would have an even greater advantage). Revolvers on the other hand are a better “emergency'” gun.

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