Is the modern revolver making a comeback in the concealed carry world? I don’t have any statistical data, but Smith & Wesson and Ruger don’t seem to be the hurting for wheelgun business. And interest in carrying revolvers is greater than I have seen in a long time. The question is: is it a good idea?
Revolvers get a bad rap by many a gun guru. The problem: a lot of their arguments have valid points.
The revolver’s long double action trigger requires skill to master. Wheelguns are lower capacity firearms. Reloading is crucial — and challenging to master. When your life may depend on hitting your assailants, these are no small matters.
You will notice assailants is plural. One of the main drawbacks I see with carrying a revolver every day: it’s a “one man” gun.
Many armed Americans carry a revolver and hope for the best. They hope that the mere presentation of a firearm will deter an attack. Or that perforating one bad guy will make the rest scatter. And it might.
I’m more inclined to prepare for the worst. In my mind, any lethal confrontation is a worst-case scenario. Add multiple attackers and a revolver owner may truly be in a bad way.
Some people only carry a revolver as a backup weapon to their primary semi-automatic firearm. While I have done so more times than I can count, I’m not comfortable carrying a different platform from my primary gun. Not only is the platform different, the guns fire different ammunition (usually 9mm and .38).
As training resources are limited, I have a hard time justifying spending time practicing with something I may use versus something I most likely not use.
The time you have to put into shooting smaller more recoil-sensitive “back-up” revolvers isn’t the issue. With lighter, less recoiling training rounds you can increase the round count volume to gain the expertise you need.
It’s the time needed to master revolver reloads, along with the challenges of carrying these reloads that presents the greatest challenge.
Proficiency volume is relative. Maintaining strict standards, the higher the volume, the higher the proficiency level. Getting more time on the longer double action triggers should be a top priority — balanced with the ability to reload under a variety of conditions.
Whatever your preference for carrying revolver reloads — loose rounds, speed loaders or speed strips — practice is the key. Marksmanship requires lots of live fire training. Use that time to practice reloads.
When it comes to marksmanship I remind folks that it’s the Indian not the arrow. Even short-barreled revolvers with low profile sights are still plenty accurate.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll never have to shoot your snubby at longer distances. But be proportionate in your training. If you think there’s an 80 percent chance of using your revolver at close range (inside five yards) then expend 20 percent of your time shooting at greater distances.
You don’t have to master the skill of revolver shooting Miculek-style, you just need to be proficient. Another way of looking at that is you want to suck less than the bad guy.
Modern day revolvers really didn’t go anywhere, more people are recognizing they’re not just a backup option. The benefit is not without a higher demand for practice and training.
Jeff Gonzales is a former US. Navy SEAL and preeminent weapons and tactics instructor. He brings his Naval Special Warfare mindset, operational success and lessons learned unapologetically to the world at large. Currently he is the Director of Training at The Range at Austin. learn more about his passion and what he does at therangeuastin.com.