3 Reasons It Still Makes Sense to Carry a Revolver

TTAG reader submission

[ED: RF’s take on why wheel guns still make very viable concealed carry guns from the archives.]

Some thirty years ago the American gun-buying public began to see semi-automatic pistols as reliable firearms. Once semi-autos cleared that hurdle, their superior capacity and quick re-loadability ruled the day. When cops switched to semis, as the Brits say, it was all over bar the shouting.

And yet revolver sales are still going strong — and for good reason! Here are three reasons revolvers make very good sense for concealed carry and self-defense.

JWT for TTAG

Simplicity

Gun guys find it easy to load, unload and reload semi-automatic handgun magazine and firearms. They know when and how to rack the slide. They have little trouble disassembling and re-assembling a semi for cleaning. Some are cool with manipulating frame-mounted safeties. Beginners and non-enthusiast shooters? Not so much.

A revolver couldn’t be easier for novice gun owners. Open the gate, insert cartridges (bullets face forward), close the gate. Aim. Squeeze the trigger. When the gun goes click instead of bang, open the gate, remove the casings, replace them with new cartridges. To clean, shove something through the cylinder chambers (i.e., the holes).

While a revolver surrenders capacity to a semi (and how), and some say the definition of an optimist is a revolver owner who thinks he can reload in a gunfight, the wheelgun is the most user-friendly concealed carry firearm money can buy. For millions of Americans who can’t or won’t be bothered to master a semi-automatic, a revolver is the right choice.

TTAG reader submission

Reliability

With proper care and feeding, a modern semi-automatic pistol is a supremely reliable firearm. But a semi has a lot more moving parts — bits that can become damaged or wear-out — than a revolver. The most likely part of a semi likely to fail? The ammunition magazine. How many mags does a wheelgun have? None.

Yes, revolvers can fail (click here for proof). But the bottom line remains: a revolver is more reliable than a semi-automatic handgun. Not to mention the fact that you can’t “forget” to do anything to a revolver before shooting (aside from loading and having one). And if a revolver doesn’t fire for some reason, you just pull the trigger again.

Nate Parker for TTAG

Compact Stopping Power

Some gun guys reject the idea of “stopping power.” Shot placement is everything. Period. And there’s no question that it’s generally more difficult to shoot a double-action revolver accurately than a relatively light-triggered semi-automatic pistol. But all things being equal, it’s better to shoot a bad guy with a bigger bullet than a smaller one (they make a bigger hole).

If you have a concealed carry permit and want compact (i.e., easily concealable) stopping power, you can carry a .357-firing snub-nosed revolver in your pocket. There are relatively small .45 ACP semi carry guns, but you can’t buy a .357 magnum semi-automatic “mouse gun” for personal defense pocket carry. And as far as shot placement/accuracy goes, it’s a lot easier to dry fire a revolver than a semi-automatic pistol. Practice really does make a difference and that’s the best way to improve your shooting.

comments

  1. avatar joel says:

    semi-autos have fewer moving parts than a revolver. Other than that comment, i agree whole heartily with the article.

    1. After I saw the youtube video of a guy shooting both types through his jacket, I bought a 642 S&W. Can’t find a comfortable holster for skinny people with no belt. Any suggestions?

      1. avatar DrewR says:

        Why not just wear a belt? A good gun belt will always make carrying more comfortable, ankle carry excluded, obviously.

        1. avatar George burns says:

          I also can’t wear belts for the past 25 of the 48 years I have carried a gun daily, “and at home”. I have multiple bad disks, Degenerative condition, that makes wearing a belt impossible for more than a few hours. I either pocket carry a small 9mm or 45 Shield. Or IWB a Glock 19 without a belt. I have found several Gym type pants that don’t require a belt to stay up. I can if I have to, wear a Gun belt with jeans. I started with revolvers in the 70’s, but like to have at least 8 rounds in my firearm. FBI statistics show that half of all shots fired in gunfights are complete misses, and it takes 2-4 rounds to put a man down unless you can make head shots while both, “or more” of you, are moving, so 5 shots is really pushing the envelope for self defense, especially if there are 2 or 3 guys trying to break into your home, “which happened to me in 1980.

        2. avatar Kendahl says:

          Pocket carry works fine provided the gun is carried in a holster that protects the trigger and nothing else is carried in that pocket. There are purses with a dedicated compartment for a gun. However, they have the usual vulnerabilities associated with carrying off body.

          Two good resources for women are The Well Armed Woman and Cornered Cat.

        3. avatar Robert says:

          @ George Burns you might want to look into direct Umbilical Cord stem cell injections for your back. They are donated after c-section births by the mother. There are several hundred studies. It actually might grow the disc in you back, reversing your condition. Also Lyon Legacy is a magnet belt manufacturer, I think someone else bought them or they merged with another company of late but their belts work great to relieve pain. Sorry for your condition. I wear a tactical belt everyday works great.

      2. avatar FreeCA says:

        If you are carrying holstered on your hip why would someone shooting through a jacket pocket be relevant considering your method of carry? As for a holster… a less than 1 inch thick semi auto will be pretty comfortable for skinny people in most any holster.

      3. avatar joel says:

        I am going to assume Victoria is a woman’s name and recommend looking up carry options for women online. there are a lot of options out there. I would bet some form of soft shoulder holster or belly band would work. an appendix IWB from a quality manufacturer may be a good option too.

        Plan on spending a little money. Maybe $40-$75 on a good carry system. This includes clothing selection. And if one system doesn’t work, try another. I was initially shocked when i realized the price of the gun was just the beginning, but it is what it is.

        I have always gravitated to the simplicity of pocket carry. This does mean buying clothes that work with pocket carry, but it was the way to go for me.

        1. Yea, I’m a woman. I just hate belts. I gave up purses when I gave up the diaper bag. I like the idea of pocket carry, but bought 2 velcro belly bands from TWAW site, on a recommendation. How do you guys get it out quickly? I was fumbling with my shirt fabric to reach it, both of them. Then, I bought a sticky holster. It started getting expensive. Maybe I just need to practice more, or never tuck my shirt in. Thanks for the advice.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          VictoriaIllinois,

          Cover garments can always be a problem no matter what type of holster (including belly bands) you use. That is why some people prefer openly carried handguns because there is never a cover garment to possibly interfere with drawing.

          Alas, Illinois will imprison you for exercising your unalienable right to carry an openly visible handgun. My advice is to carry your handgun in a nice pocket holster or to spend quite a bit more time practicing drawing from concealment.

          In case it is not obvious, always unload your handgun (and that means unloading both the magazine AND the chamber in semi-auto pistols) when you are going to practice drawing from concealment.

          Two more pieces of advice when you practice drawing from concealment:
          (1) Pull the trigger about half the time. This instills “muscle memory” that pulling the trigger is optional — which is a good practice because you may not always want to pull the trigger after drawing your handgun.
          (2) Concentrate on slow and smooth at first — and speed will come later with practice. It is better to have a smooth draw that takes two seconds than to have a fast draw that would have taken one second but ends up taking four seconds because you tangled yourself in your cover garment.

        3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          VictoriaIllinois,

          Oh, I forget to add a detail to my previous comment about practice: the times that you do decide to pull the trigger after drawing your handgun, consider pulling the trigger more than once.

          There is an important reason for this: in spite of Hollywood portrayals, handguns are actually poor manstoppers and victims often have to shoot their attackers multiple times to stop them. The last thing you want to do is practice drawing and always shooting only one time when you do decide to pull the trigger. That could literally be fatal in a real-world self-defense event.

        4. avatar Clark Kent says:

          Fugggitttabout ANY pocket carry, holstered or not. You want a secure, stable, repeatable platform to draw from EVERY TIME. The LAST thing you want in a defensive shooting is fishing around in a pocket (or purse) for your handgun.

        5. avatar Practice safe always says:

          Whenever you practice your draw or dry fire exercising do not just remove the ammunition and clear the weapon by checking the chamber or cylinders in a revolver. You should also remove all ammunition from the very room you will be practicing in. Then before you begin your actual practice once more point your firearm in a safe direction and check one final time that it is clear. Then practice away, always pointing the weapon in a safe direction (for that “it can never happen to me” situation). Remember once that trigger is pulled on a live round, there is no pulling it back.

        6. avatar Centralva says:

          airweight j frame or similar for pocket carry rocks. DeSantis nemesis, 45 degree angle cut pockets in khakis or cargo pants or shorts. Most importantly if you recognize a shady situation approaching, pocket carry is the one method where you can literally have your hand on the grip and raise little to no suspicion or concern.

        7. avatar LarryinTX says:

          U_S, fine for your plans, but for myself, I do not plan to *ever* draw without firing. This equates to me drawing a bit later than you might, perhaps, and perhaps firing a trifle sooner, but when I curl my fingers around the butt, my decision will be complete, no more waffling. If I ever begin a draw, my target has fractions of a second to discover my intentions and get face down or beating feet very fast away from me. The idea of waving a loaded gun around in the dark and with possible multiple assailants frightens the shit out of me. Drawandfire is a single word.

      4. avatar Junior says:

        I use a ulticlip that I added to my kydex holster. They clip on to fabric rather than a belt. You could also look at belly band holsters.

        1. avatar Bruce Quaintance says:

          I just started using the multiclips with a kydex holster. It makes the holster even more concealable when used with a belt as it hides the clip behind it, if you are tucking in the shirt.

      5. avatar Keith Hodge says:

        Crossbreed makes several very comfortable concealed carry holsters for revolvers.

      6. avatar specialist38 says:

        One option is a Ken Null shoulder holster designed for double naught spies.

        Come in leather or thermoplastic.

        Will require a covering shirt or vest kind of thing.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Only if you wish to conceal.

      7. avatar frank speak says:

        belly=band holsters work for everybody….

      8. avatar 22winmag says:

        Who uses anything besides a Blackhawk #5 soft IWB for their 5 shot J frame?

      9. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        The jacket part is what’s important. Everyone gives ZImmerman crap about his PF9, but at the same time most any semi will have issues if there’s physical stuff happening. Also you can’t short stroke a revolver because you’ve got your hand in a weird position grappling someone.

      10. avatar Socks says:

        After carrying concealed pistols for 33 years I can say they have never been comfortable when carried in any manner that is properly accessible. If you insist on comfortable go with an alloy and titanium 5 shot revolver in a good pocket holster. I think that’s as “comfortable” as you can get.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      The moving parts of a revolver are simple and operate in concert with the trigger while semi guns rely on several operations.
      And if you add the magazine components and magazine itself along with trigger parts I’d bet revolvers DO have fewer parts.

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Depends on the semi-auto. Classic semi-autos tend to have a few to a number more moving parts than a revolver.

      Eg, if we’re comparing a Glock to a DA/SA revolver like a S&W, then the Glock might win on “fewer moving parts.”

      If we’re comparing a Luger or Beretta 9x vs. a Colt DA revolver, then the Colt revolver will win.

      Generally speaking, revolvers have fewer-than-average moving parts vs. a semi-auto handgun.

    4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      What matters is the type of moving parts. When pushing the limits of an auto engine it’s never the rotating parts that fail, it’s the reciprocating parts. You can spin the crank to a billion rpm and not have problems, but piston and valve speed are hyper-critical. Among the moving parts in a semi-auto pistol are the barrel and the ammunition. It’s a lot simpler to rotate a wheel than to pull a spent case out, eject it from the weapon, strip a fresh round from the magazine, shove it into the barrel and move the subsequent rounds up in the magazine. Imagine the DA pull if the trigger did the job of racking the slide compared to just rotating a wheel and cocking the hammer.

      1. avatar ck says:

        Fortunately, we don’t have to imagine the DA pull of a pistol racking the slide, because that’s not how that system works… At all…

        There’s a good reason why police and military DON’T carry wheel guns anymore…

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Your missing the point. It takes a lot more energy to cycle a semi-auto pistol than a revolver. There’s a lot more work going on there. Semi-autos simply wouldn’t work if not for the energy scavenged from the burning powder. Whether there’s more moving parts in one or the other is moot.

          As far as law enforcement is concerned, other than perhaps one of the rarely justifiable SWAT raids, there’s no need for semi-autos. Very, very few officers ever fire their weapons in anger, and while there may be the occasional mag dump they’re virtually never necessary. LEOs carrying semi-autos is more fashion than substance.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I sure agree with that! 6-round revolvers should suffice when you are surrounded by 20-30 of your closest friends, similarly equipped. Those of us who may expect to be alone may want higher capacity.

    5. avatar BigMikeU says:

      Well i have thought your comment over for quite a bit and then even went as far as to pull out my 38Spl. +P and my Glock19 and looked them both over and have to say the Glock semi-auto dose in fact have more moving parts im sorry to tell you…..You pull a trigger on a Revolver and it hits the round and a wheel turns with rounds The entire mechanism and its moving parts add up to less then the Glock.So im sorry to say you really should just agree with the entire article.lol If im ever able to carry i carry both. Im sorry to say i live in a blue state that i have grown up in and have grown to hate and am just not in a position to move out of it any time this decade! If i cant get out of it within the next 5 to 7yrs im going to be too old to seriously train and hunt and unable to enjoy my later years the way id like to with my firearms! :>/ But thats why they are dreams.But if my wife wont leave Communist New Jersey i wont either.:>/

      1. avatar ck says:

        Smith N-frame revolver has no fewer than 85 parts, depending on caliber and size.
        (cited source: https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-manufacturer/smith-wesson/revolvers-sw/29-3)

        Glock pistol has a grand total of 35 parts, including the 5 in the magazine, and all pins and springs.
        (cited source: https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-manufacturer/glock/17-glock)

        So no, your revolver does NOT have fewer parts than a Glock; you just can’t see all of them moving until you take the side plate off (which 99% of revolver owners are too intimidated to do, mainly because of all the little parts and springs)…

        1. avatar joel says:

          Thanks CK. That was what i was trying to communicate with my original comment. i did not specify internal vs. external moving parts.

          Unlike many, i have pulled the side plate off of several revolvers, and there are a BUNCH of moving parts in there! I believe Charter Arms, and Ruger have the simplest DA designs. (they are actually quite similar.) A single action revolver is a different story. simple, reliable, and robust.

          Revolvers ARE simpler to understand and operate. I prefer shooting them too. and carrying them.

        2. avatar Michael Christenbury says:

          Revolvers are not reliable, if you get any amount of dirt inside a revolver’s very intricate parts it becomes a hammer, until you completely disassemble the revolver and thoroughly clean out the dirt! Most semi-auto pistols will work when dirty and if they do not cycle properly you can manually cycle the slide between each shot to make it function.

    6. avatar frank speak says:

      a revolver makes more sense for a beginner…or those planning to buy only one firearm [for protection]….slap a trigger lock on it and you could use it for a paperweight…making accidents unlikely…even when kids are around….

    7. avatar Silence DoGood says:

      All moving parts are not created equal. Parts that reciprocate as a result of firing the weapon are much more problematic. The revolver has none of these.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    All of the above is why my wife carries a j-frame in 38 special. She’s actually a better shot with my glock but prefers the simplicity of the revolver. I also carried a revolver back in the mid 70s as a duty weapon, contrary to popular wisdom you are well armed.

  3. avatar Enuf says:

    I keep my old Charter Arms Off Duty around, loaded. Five shots of .38 Special HP’s. By “around” I mean in one of those fast opening pistol safes. It’s not my main gun, but it’s got history going for it and I like it, simple as that.

    1. avatar joel says:

      I’ve owned four different brand 5 shot “snubbies” in the last 7 years. my favorite was a cheap 1st gen Charter Arms. the SP101 comes in second, my Taurus 85CH third, and the 637 comes in dead last i am sad to say. maybe i just got a bad one, but it didn’t shoot point of aim. it had one of the better triggers too! A performance center model. I still haven’t owned an LCR but i have shot one. When i get back into buying guns again i will be actively searching for one…

  4. avatar FreeCA says:

    Competently carrying a j frame is for experienced shooters. As far as just having a gun around the home for self defense, a larger frame revolver makes the most sense for someone who isn’t into shooting. Both of my parents are older and don’t shoot often but they will know how to use their revolvers. Racking the slide is too difficult for mom and both would have little chance of clearing any semi auto malfunction in a timely manner.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      FreeCA,

      Competently carrying a j frame is for experienced shooters.

      If you plan to engage someone who is 30+ feet away, sure. If your primary/only concern is defending yourself from attackers at contact distances, you do NOT need to be an experienced shooter.

      1. Thank you. That’s why I bought the 442.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Victoria,

          You are most welcome. Would-be muggers and rapists will immediately find a reason to be some place else when you draw your handgun (especially if you pull the trigger).

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          You carry an Oldsmobile?!? On or off body?

          I know, we need the edit button back…

        3. avatar Pmac says:

          Best J frame out there.

      2. avatar Dick Giddings says:

        For a house gun, nothing beats a short 12 gauge. Concealment isn’t a problem. I like the Smith Model 36 for concealed carry. I don’t figure on having to deal with more than two assailants, or I will be dead no matter what my weapon of choice would be. I have a Smith 469 in the car, readily available. But, I love my Chief’s Special!

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          For a house gun, nothing beats a…

          BFR. When the Chinese delivery guy rings the wrong doorbell at midnight on a Saturday night you can hide it behind your back and he won’t have to change his underwear, but if it turns out he’s not really a Chinese delivery guy you’re all set to make him soil his drawers.

      3. avatar Pmac says:

        Small revolvers can be shot well at distance. I used to have to qualify with my duty weapon. A 1911. Each and every one I might carry. That was several. Also, any off duty/backup weapon I might carry. Several of those too. Backup was a 442. Longest shot was 25 yards. 12 rds with mandatory reload regardless of weapon capacity. Necessitated two reloads for a J frame. I scored 100% every time, but I shot and trained a lot. Mostly on my own. Before I retired Standards and Training dumbed down the course of fire. Longest shot now 15 yards. Sigh. Some of my colleagues used to scratch their heads when I would stay late after qualifications to practice at 50 yards. Sometimes 100 if a rifle range was open. Extend your practice range. The close shots will seem like a gummies.

        1. avatar Pmac says:

          Gimmes. I don’t eat candy.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          You should have used the “edit” button!

      4. avatar frank speak says:

        just bought a “judge”…pretty hard to miss with this thing!….

      5. avatar Larry says:

        This!

        Seriously if you are going to carry a 5 shot revolver is the easiest thing too carry. It is much safer too especially if you are going AIWB and re-holster.

        Statistically speaking you have less than a 1% chance of ever having to use a gun in a self defense situation. Of that 1% statistically speaking that use of your self defense gun is going to happen at 7 yards or less and 3 or less rounds will be used.

        So yank the revolver from cover, point at the perp 10 fee away and pull the trigger 3-5 times and either you or the perp will be done.

  5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Go with a 3″ .357 and use the hot (not +p) stuff and you’ll get 600+ft/lbs out of the muzzle.

    1. I remember the Olds. My sister dated a guy who had one. It was 4 barrels, 2 doors and what? Wheels? I don’t remember. Fast car tho.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        4 barrel carb, 4 speed, dual exhaust. That’s the way I remember it from back in the day, anyway.

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          4 barreled carb….4 speed transmission…(2) dual exhaust…raced one once through the middle of town!…bad-assed machine!..those were the days!….

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        This looks like a good excuse to post some more of my weird music.

      3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        …and I thought my wife’s purse was huge!

      4. avatar Geoff "Jingle *this*..." PR says:

        “I remember the Olds. My sister dated a guy who had one. It was 4 barrels, 2 doors and what? Wheels? I don’t remember.”

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          In my earliest memories in life, we had a Pontiac station wagon with a 400. My mom once took it up to 120mph. Yeah, you’re mom was probably a lot cooler than you think when she was younger.

        2. avatar frank speak says:

          had one of these…[actually, two]…when we shot “Kingpin”….even got to drive it once…

      5. avatar specialist38 says:

        442 stood for different things, depending on the year.

  6. avatar George from Alaska says:

    When my daughter was younger I bought her a semiauto .380 that she could easily rack, insert mags into, flip levers and hopefully not press the mag release in a confrontation…. When she turned 21 I bought her a Ruger LCX .357 short barreled revolver.. maybe all the LCX’s have the same short barrel. We shoot a lot with 38 specials and a considerable amount with full power .357’s. Put a Crimson trace green on it. Got the expensive DeSantis IWB holster, had to Dremel just a tad for the laser. It’s a very comfortable setup for her and all she has to do is pull it out, aim and pull trigger. No levers, no mag slap, no press check… in short no confusion. We are going to the range to figure out which semi-auto 9 she will like, probably going to be a SIg of some variety.

    1. avatar Stdenis37 says:

      George, if you’re looking at sub-compact SIG’s I’d recommend the P365 (striker), P938 (SA Only), P290RS (DA Only), depending on what style/ capacity she’s wanting. I own all 3 and they’re all great in their own way. The P365 is a great gun if you get a good one, its selling so well Glock rush-released the G43X to compete. The P938 is the best micro 9 on the market if you prefer an exposed hammer (1911 feel). They stopped making the 290RS (think a reliable Kel-Tec P11) but they can be found. Holsters are easily found for all 3. All great choices for a carry 9.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Popular concealed-carry revolvers are fine self-defense firearms that will serve you exceedingly well when defending yourself against one or two thugs looking for an easy score. And popular concealed carry revolvers also work well against a single animal attacker up to about 100 pounds or so.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, we should mention that popular concealed-carry revolvers may be lacking in less-common self-defense events involving attackers who will not stop until physically incapacitated (e.g. a stalker or terrorist) and/or when facing several attackers.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If you’re not facing a pack of jihadis you only need to take out the closest guy and the rest will scatter like cockroaches when the light comes on.

      As far as a determined attacker, if you’re comparing a double stack 9 to a 5 shot snubby .38, you’ve got an excellent point. But full power .357 is about twice as powerful as 9mm, so if you can do your part the non-psychological stop may be more likely with the .357 than a 9mm, especially a single stack 9.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Governor,

        I was thinking some more about a “determined attacker” event. If you can quickly put all five shots from your j-frame revolver into the vital area of your attacker, I have to believe that will promptly stop your attacker every time, even if you are shooting generic .38 Special rounds.

        The caveat with a j-frame revolver is being able to quickly dump all five rounds into your determined attacker. I can easily imagine a myriad scenarios where you miss with some of those five rounds and realistically cannot reload. In those situations a double-stack semi-auto pistol in 9mm Luger would give you some room for error (misses).

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I just consider a J-frame or LCR (except maybe in .357) to be comparable to an LCP or other pocket .380, which would if anything, be more useless in that kind of situation than the J-frame. Personally I carry a 3″ GP100 Wiley Clapp loaded with Double Tap 158gr SJHPs. It’s comparable to carrying a 4″ semi-auto (albeit on the heavy side) and cranks out as much muzzle energy as 12 rounds of 9mm (more downrange). Of course if that doesn’t do the trick I’ll hopefully find some corner I can hide out in while I reload from a speed strip, which will probably take 20 seconds.

        2. avatar frank speak says:

          have my undercover loaded with multi-plex rounds…five shots…fifteen slugs…in a perfect equilateral triangle a foot wide at fifty feet…can’t seem to find that ammo anymore….

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Insofar as a determined attacker, or 3, I’m pretty sure that after putting 2 holes in the first guy, 2 in the second guy, and one in the third guy, I am just the manly man who can kick the asses of all 3 at the same time. 5 is plenty, even with jihadis, unless you spend all your range time practicing unaimed mag dumps.

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Revolvers have two additional significant advantage over semi-auto pistols:
    (1) Revolvers do NOT require you to shoot 200 rounds to “break-in” the firearm.
    (2) Revolvers do NOT require you to ALSO shoot 200 rounds of your preferred self-defense ammunition to find out if your pistol cycles reliably with THAT particular type of ammunition.

    When you acquire a new revolver, load any generally available factory ammunition you want and you are good to go. (There is no need to fire several hundred rounds to determine whether or not your particular firearm and ammunition combination is reliable.)

    Caveat: my guidance above assumes that you are not shooting maximum pressure Magnum loads with heavy bullets out of ultra-lightweight revolvers where the bullets can “jump crimp” from the excessive recoil and jam the cylinder.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I just thought of another advantage of revolvers over semi-auto pistols that this article did not really explain.

      If you have multiple magazines for a semi-auto pistol, some of the magazines could operate perfectly and be totally reliable — and other magazines may not be reliable at all. So, not only do you have to verify whether your semi-auto pistol operates reliably in general and specifically with a particular self-defense ammunition, you also have to determine which magazines operate reliably!

      1. avatar Busterdog says:

        UNCOMMON SENSE: I can answer that quagmire real easy, if a magazine gives you a problem SHIT CAN it and get another one. Why would you keep a mag that doesn’t feed your pistol reliably?

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Busterdog,

          Bad magazines are relatively common and you have to put enough rounds through a magazine to know whether or not it is reliable in the first place. That means you should shoot at least 200 rounds through each magazine that you plan to carry for self-defense. If you plan to carry three magazines (one in the gun and two spares on your hip), that requires 600 rounds of ammunition. And then you have to decide whether you want those 600 rounds to be range ammunition or (expensive) self-defense ammunition.

          Furthermore, a magazine that previously proved itself reliable could easily go bad in storage and no longer be reliable until you are in the middle of a self-defense event.

          Those factors are reason enough for some people to opt for revolvers.

          As for always tossing bad magazines in the garbage, I would keep at least one bad magazine for practicing malfunction drills during training. Just make sure you mark it clearly so that you don’t accidentally start carrying it for self-defense. (I use a paint pen to put several large/thick Xs on such bad magazines.)

        2. avatar Broke_It says:

          “If you plan to carry three magazines (one in the gun and two spares on your hip), that requires 600 rounds of ammunition.” You say that like it’s a bad thing. I know there’s a cost component to it but I bought the gun already, might as well shoot the damn thing. Just got 2 spares for an SR1911 I picked up, looks like it’s time to get to work.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      You can even reliably cycle a SWCHP (aka ‘deer grenade’) in a revolver. – https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=232

      1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        I know from experience that is one devastating deer round.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I wish they made one in .357 for self defense.

    3. avatar Zundfolge says:

      Revolvers may not require 200 rounds to “break in” but I’d still recommend that any shooter put at least that many rounds through any new gun they get before they trust their life to it (even if its used and already “broken in”) just to make sure you’re proficient with it and you know what ammo it likes.

      Most fixed sight tiny revolvers will take you close to 200 rounds to figure out which ammo will actually give you POA=POI.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        some people…especially these days…buy a gun and never shoot it…just assuming it will perform as expected…despite your disapproval, that’s becoming more common….

    4. avatar racer88 says:

      Or you could get a Glock. No break-in needed. Will eat any ammo. 😛

      Got three glocks… about 12,000 rounds through them. I have yet to find a cartridge that will choke one of them.

      PS… I carry a Glock or a S&W 642, depending on my dress situation. 🙂

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        racer88,

        I purchased a brand new Glock Model 22 in .40 S&W and it did NOT cycle reliably even with ball ammunition. (It would have some sort of failure about once per magazine.) I also purchased a new 1911 that would not cycle reliably. And my dad purchased a brand-new semi-auto pistol (of a different manufacturer) that did not cycle reliably.

        So, it is important to test a new (whether brand new or new-to-you) pistol. There are plenty of examples of semi-auto pistols that do not cycle reliably for various reasons.

        1. avatar racer88 says:

          As long as we’re sticking with anecdotes… My Gen 2 Glock 19 did have a trigger spring failure… at about 7,500 rounds. I should probably shit-can my Glocks, then, eh? 😉 Just kiddin’ around.

          But, honestly… My G19 has never choked on a single round. I’ve had the G19 the longest. The others (G23, G27) haven’t choked, either. But, I haven’t had them as long or as many rounds. But, they’re each over 2,000 rds.

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        glocks are not recommended for break dancing!…..

    5. avatar tdiinva says:

      The 200 round reliability test for JHP is one of those conventional wisdom facts that is absolute BS. If you fire 100 rounds without failure why would the ammo stop feeding at 101? If the first 50 rounds fed why would it stop working after round 51? If your pistol eats a box without a problem chances are that any future failure is not an ammo problem.

      Modern pistols don’t require a break-in period and for those that might you are going to take the shiny new thing to the range and blow through 200 rounds anyway.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        tdiinva,

        There are rock-solid engineering and statistical rationales for shooting a semi-auto pistol and ammunition combination 200 times to declare it “reliable”.

        From a simple engineering standpoint, no manufacturing process is flawless and some number of production units will succumb to “infantile failure”. Most people want to be sure their self-defense handgun makes it past “infantile failure”. And you need to put something through its paces for a bit to determine that.

        Second, from a statistical standpoint, design and manufacturing tolerances mean that some production units will be marginal and their function will be unreliable. The more reliable we want something to be, the more we have to test it to be sure it will work reliably. Thus, the standard of cycling a semi-auto pistol 200 times is about ensuring a sufficient confidence level of operation for self-defense purposes.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          You are misapplying the “tock solid” engineering data. It has nothing to do with the ammunition, nor is it break-in. It is the gun, not the ammunition. If it is going to fail at 200 rounds it’s going to fail no matter what ammunition you use. And a revolver is subject to the same manufacturing tolerance issues as a auto.

          My RIA 1911/10mm was the last the pistol I have bought that actually had a break in period and I have purchased a half dozen since then and none of them actually required a break-in. It’s not 1950 anymore.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I hate to say it, but I have to side with tdi on this one (and we never agree on revolvers). I had a factory new 6″ GP100 that twice in the first fifty or so rounds locked up. I think the firing pin was a little rough and stuck in the primers. Just took a little jiggling to free it up, but there’s no limit to the number of manufacturing defects that could be present in a brand new gun. The GP was rock solid after that, but it could have been something more serious. I would say though, if you had to trust your life to a brand new gun straight off the shelf I’d rather trust the revolver. Brand new magazines are too stiff to be trusted. A lot of semi-autos will jam until you’ve run two or three loads through the mags.

      2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        Respectfully disagree with your break-in comment.

        Page 56 of the current Kimber owner’s manual for their 1911 firearms states under the heading of Break-in Period:

        “Before firing the firearm for the first time, field
        strip and clean the firearm following proper
        procedures (see Disassembly, Cleaning and
        Lubrication and Assembly instructions in this
        manual). For proper break-in, fire 400-500
        rounds of 230 grain (or heavier) full metal jacket,
        high quality factory-fresh premium personal
        defense ammunition. Clean and lubricate the
        firearm after every 100 rounds or after each
        shooting session, whichever is first, or more
        often as needed, such as when the firearm is
        exposed to dirt, moisture or perspiration.”

    6. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      You are correct, and your caveat is well-founded, but I think you missed a place where your caveat is more applicable:

      This fad of using moon clips (etc) to shoot non-rimmed cartridges that were intended for use in semi-auto handguns in revolvers gives a wonderful opportunity for bullets working their way out of the case and possibly jamming a revolver.

      eg, when I see someone getting excited about a 10mm auto cartridge in a revolver, I have to shake my head and ask “In the name of all that does not suck, why?” The reason being that there is a perfectly good 10mm-diameter round for revolvers: the .41 Magnum. Why not just use that?

      Rounds used in a defensive revolver should have a roll crimp into a cannelure, especially on magnum cartridges in revolvers. This has been habit and practice for a long time. There’s no need to re-invent this already quite round wheel…

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Dyseptic Gunsmith,

        Yeah, good point on revolvers that shoot “rimless” cartridges with moonclips. I was only thinking of traditional rimmed cartridges such as .38 Special / .357 Magnum and .44 Special / .44 Magnum

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        ‘…there is a perfectly good 10mm-diameter round for revolvers: the .41 Magnum.’

        Not to mention that in full bore loads the .357 magnum is a bit more powerful than 10mm auto given equal barrels (vented or non-vented). The .41 is far superior to the 10.

    7. avatar Larry says:

      200 rounds sounds like an average range trip for me.

  9. avatar Zundfolge says:

    All of this is the same myths I’ve been hearing regurgitated for half a century.

    A polymer, striker fired, semiautomatic is no more complex than a revolver (DA/SA and SA autos with manual safeties, maybe they are, but not your average modern Glock-like pistol).

    Modern semi-autos are no less reliable than a revolver and revolvers aren’t super reliable (also if a revolver does mess up its usually only fixable by a trip to a gun smith, whereas a typical poly, striker fired auto-loader just needs a tap-rack-roll and its back in service)

    “Stopping power” is a myth with all handgun calibers … if you ever need to use any handgun you’re going to wish it was a 12ga with slugs. Unless you’re talking about magnum revolvers, you’re not beating a 9×19, .40S&W or .45acp by enough to make up for the lower capacity.

    All that said, my current EDC is an early 70s vintage J-Frame (a model 38) because where I’m working temporarily I can’t be found carrying and it conceals the best. :p

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘Unless you’re talking about magnum revolvers…’

      Non-magnum revolvers are basically comparable to pocket .38acps. If you’re making a comparison to any mid-full size semi-auto then yes, you are talking about magnum revolvers.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        .380acps.

        Where’s the edit button?

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      “Stopping power” is a dumb phrase but it isn’t totally a myth. “Knock down power” is, unless you’re talking about some very large bullets. “Stopping power” really aught to be referred to simply as “damage” though. For instance, there’s an inarguable difference in the ability of a 9mm and a .44 mag to “stop” someone. What that difference is, is what people mean by “stopping power.” What should we call that difference? Damage? Wounding capacity?

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        How about just ‘power’.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38mE6ba3qj8

        I gotsta know…

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        people have been known to “walk-thru” any pistol round…or even shoot back…a frightening occurrence to those who have experienced it….

  10. avatar Pmac says:

    My handgun battery is about evenly split between revolvers and autos. I prefer an auto for defense, but have no problem with a wheel gun. In fact, I carry one often. I’ve given both to my son over the years. When my daughter went out on her own during junior year I gave her a Colt Detective Special. Both my children, now in their 20s, have been shooting since they were around 5 y.o.a. They’re both really good.

  11. avatar Busterdog says:

    It makes absolutely no sense buying or carrying a revolver. Did I miss a major event while I slept last night? Did the world somehow go back in time to pre 1911? Are we now back in the cowboy days of the old west? Why would anyone consider a revolver over a semi-auto pistol? Mind boggling…

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Semi-autos are weak and shoot puny rounds designed for girls.

      1. avatar LazrBeam says:

        Damn sure don’t wanna break a nail! Now, having written that, semi’s have their place but I still fancy my Ruger .327 Fed Mags (LCR, LCRx, and SP 101 w/3 in barrel). Potent round and 6 in the cylinder.

      2. I think Busterdog is kidding. I think of revolvers as manual transmissions. They’re not as smooth as an automatic, but sometimes they work better getting out of the mud/snow than the auto t’s. A different mechanism for different situations.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Well I was half kidding. I do love me some magnum revolver.

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Some of us carry magnums.

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Busterdog,

      See all my comments above that explain how semi-auto pistols are often less reliable than revolvers.

      Note: I almost exclusively carry semi-auto pistols every day for self-defense — semi-auto pistols which I put through their paces to ensure suitable reliability.

    4. avatar Pmac says:

      Nothing new under the sun. Semiautos came along not long after the Colt SAA. Revolvers worked then. They still work today. Big bullets worked then too.

    5. avatar frank speak says:

      revolvers are less intimidating for novice gun owners…the mechanism is observable and easy to understand…

    6. avatar Larry says:

      Wow it is only 1/2/19 but your post is in the running for the “Not the smartest thing to say online 2019” award.

      Revolvers are stupid simple to use with no buttons or levers to push to make it go bang. They do not have magazine or feeding issues. If a bullet does not go bang, keep pulling the trigger as the next one probably will. Models like the Ruger LCR conceal very easily. They are MUCH safer to carry AIWB.

      For the average person that has a 1% or less chance of ever getting into a defensive gun use situation at 7 yards or less a revolver makes a lot of sense.

  12. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    There are two situations in which I strongly recommend a revolver over a semi-auto for a person:

    First, the person in question isn’t going to go to the range often enough to learn the manual of arms for the semi-auto in question, in particular, how to deal with FTF’s, FTE’s, double-feeds, etc. eg, start with the tap-rack-bang drill. For the revolver user, all problems come down to “pull the trigger again.” Well, that’s probably what they’re going to do by mere instinct, so that works out well.

    Second, the gun user in question might have minimal grip strength and they’re not going to be capable of quickly racking the slide in an emergent situation. This applies to a lot of people as they get older, and some women who never had high grip strength.

    For those armchair toughs who think that will “never be them,” I’ve got a newsflash for you: I’ve met old men who were ass-kicking Marines and Army infantry when they were younger, and now are in a situation where they’re rapidly losing muscle mass. It happens even to men who were card-carrying badasses when they were in their prime. Sure, exercise can slow the development, but from my observations, even formerly strong men who have (one or more of) CHF, COPD, liver diseases, have had to go a round (or more) with cancer and chemo – they all can lose significant muscle mass and strength, sometimes quite quickly.. Older, frailer people can be even more at risk of crimes against their persons, and they need something that works.

    Revolvers work.

    The “revolvers don’t have enough rounds!” objection is rarely going to be an issue for most people. The vast majority of DGU’s are over and done with in two, perhaps three rounds of fire from the law-abiding citizen.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I don’t think you have to be weak or elderly to fail to clear a jam by racking the slide in an emergency situation. There’s this little thing called ‘panic’ and besides that there’s the possibility that one or both of your hands will be covered in slippery blood or you may be laying on the ground with your assailant on top of you stabbing you. Pulling the trigger again not only is intuitive, but easy to do in most any circumstance. And doesn’t require both hands.

      As far as limited capacity, you’re far, far more likely to get struck by lightning than to be in a situation where 5 or 6 rounds isn’t sufficient but 8-16 rounds is.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      First statement is clearly false. A revolver may require less training to make it go off but it takes a lot more practice to make it go off and hit what you are aiming at. Most revolver guys toting magnum revolvers vastly overestimate their ability to hit the target under stress. This last statement probably applies to most people.

      Point to is probably false. A person with weak or arthritic hands is going to have trouble accurately shooting a double action revolver or a DA/SA auto.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Two not to

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          As for point two:

          I’m talking about sarcopenia, not arthritis.

          And I’ve met plenty of people who can shoot revolvers, but cannot rack a slide. You just have to put aside your Operator Operating Operationally perspective to meet these shooters. Then again, my community’s demographics tilt towards the geriatric…

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          I can sit calmly at the range and put five rounds into center mass at twenty yards with pretty much any gun. You don’t have to be an operator to understand that a DGU doesn’t look and feel like that if it was so easy then even a police officer could do it. I think you have it backwards. It’s because the average person is not a skilled operator that he has to practice. An operator who operates operationally is the guy who can just pick up a gun and put 5 rounds center mass at 7 yards without thinking about it. Maybe you’re that guy but most of us aren’t. And if you are I bet you practiced a lot to get there. A person who has a pistol sitting around in the house just in case isn’t going to be doing a combat reload. A G42 will be just as easy to use as a revolver and he/she will be more likely to hit the bad guy even with the crappy Glock trigger than a double action J-frame. A 380 isn’t that hard to rack the slide.

        3. avatar oldandshaky says:

          Thank you, Dyspeptic, for teaching me a new word. I’ve entered early old age and now have a problem with weakness on my right side, where my grip strength is about half that of my left. I dry fire my S&W Pro Series revolver every day now and can reliably stage the trigger almost every time quickly. From there I can finish the trigger press with a reasonably good sight picture. I can still rack a semi-auto too, though I don’t know if I will be able to much longer. I am terrified that revolvers and semis will both become inaccessible to my weak hands before I lose the desire to go to the range.

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        tdiinva,

        As I stated to another commenter above, pretty much 100% of the adult population can shoot a revolver accurately enough to get the job done at contact distances without any target practice.

        And since that covers about 95% or more of all self-defense events, that means a revolver will work exceedingly well for just about everyone, just about every time.

      3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I’ve yet to meet anyone who cannot put five or six rounds out of a revolver into a “center-mass” zone on a life-sized silhouette target at seven yards. For home defense, there’s damn few people who live in such a mansion that they’re going to be sniping across a 50′ long living room with a handgun. Most DGU’s in their homes or in public are at close distances, from 10 yards down to bad-breath distance.

        If we’re talking of shooting at bullseye ranges (50 feet) or longer ranges, sure, I agree with you on snub-nosed revolvers. On 5″ (or longer) revolvers that aren’t some ear-crushing magnum on an indoor range (ie, a .38 Special, .44 Special, etc), I see plenty of people do quite well with a little coaching, starting with “cock it with the hammer.” As soon as they do that, you’d be surprised at how well even novice shooters are layin’ them in there.

        But here’s the kicker about revolvers: Having the correct grips on a revolver make even less-experienced shooters good “natural” shots. Many revolvers have grips too small for large hands, and too large for small hands. These people will (respectively) tend to shoot low and high.

      4. avatar Larry says:

        I agree with you but in the average defensive gun use we are talking 7 yards or less 99% of the time and most of the time its 3 yards or less. You wont even use the sights. Point and shoot at a man size target 10 feet away.

    3. avatar LazrBeam says:

      You mentioned several debilitating conditions that can have an adverse impact on operating a handgun. Another worth mentioning is peripheral neuropathy which is often secondary to diabetes, a disease which is rampant in the U.S. A typical symptom of neuropathy is numbness in the extremities. If experienced in the hands it can make it difficult for someone to tell if they have a good grip on something and, concurrently, how much strength or purchase is required to perform a function such as racking a slide, squeezing a trigger, or even getting a firm grasp of the firearm.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        You are quite correct. I’ve not yet met patients with neuropathy in the hands/arms – only in their feet/legs. It has materially affected their balance, ability to take a shower while standing, etc. I can imagine that it would be very detrimental to handling a handgun…

        1. avatar oldandshaky says:

          I replied in the wrong place. Please see my comment above from 01:28 1/1.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Yeah, I have the neuropathy in my lower legs, but it seems just about the same time I developed jittery hands to the point that holding on target is much more difficult than the past 50 years. And, of course, the eyes ain’t what they used to be, either. Seems to me like it would be fair to give me some compensatory advantages, don’t you think? How about allowing me to convert my suppressed .300 SBR to select fire? A much more reliable home defense weapon for old farts!

    4. avatar frank speak says:

      some people never go to the range…nor do they plan to….

  13. avatar gary moore says:

    I got back from Nam in 1965, bought a 1911 the next day. Carried it for years in college and out, found a Python started switching off, Today I still carry a 1911 a lot however it is a custom commander size, or a S & W model 19. both have been shot a lot !! I think it just depends on how much time you spend shooting what you carry !

    1. avatar Busterdog says:

      Gary you’re right. Shoot what you feel confortable with. I also own a couple revolvers but they’re buried in my safe somewhere. I went the whole gambit of buying a .357 and .44 in the 1970’s. But besides the sound when you shoot it even with hearing protection, I never liked the recoil. Why shoot something that you can’t enjoy? 9mm and .45 cal ACP is all you will ever need 99.9999999% of the time in 99.999999% of the situations related to self defense. If you’re in bear country, sure then carry a .44 revolver or 10mm. Semi-auto. But any other time, why bother? Most self defense cases happen inside 4 to 8 feet.

  14. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    A small J-frame revolver excels at the kinds of contact distances required in a self defense scenario and is seriously intimidating when pointed in your direction. I find my 642 easy to conceal even in suit pants and blazer. The laser site I originally scoffed at has proven a useful tool in dry firing to improve trigger control and would be extremely useful on a dark street or in a parking garage.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      small revolvers work well in ankle holsters…whether while sitting in your car….or after being knocked to the ground and curled-up in a protective, fetal position…a normal, natural response to being attacked….

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        …..also difficult to disarm someone armed with a small, short-barreled revolver…..

  15. avatar Peter N. says:

    Thanks, but no, thanks. As my grandfather, a WWI vet, used to say, “never bring a revolver to a glock fight”.

  16. avatar Truckman says:

    I like a auto but all of the ones I Have are heavy to carry for me but I have a Taurus ultralite in 38 5 shot that I carry on belt holster and wear long Tail pocket tees and it stays covered

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      And thereby, that little Taurus satisfies Rule #1 of gunfights:

      “Rule 1: Have a gun.”

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        ….which justifies the NA mini…just slip in in your pocket…and don’t leave home without it!

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          where’s that damn edit button???????

  17. avatar NRA Training Counselor says:

    I am the poster boy for the problem of loss of muscle mass. Five years into a battle with cancer and post stem cell transplant, I have major problems with any semi-auto. I carried semi-autos for 20 years as a police officer but revolvers for the first 11 of a 31 yr career. I also have trouble with speed reloads of a revolver. I now carry 2 38 special small frames and practice regularly. I teach CCW and NRA courses, including certifying instructors. Selection of weapon I recommend semi-auto if you can easily perform the manual of arms. Revolvers if you can’t. If my student is interested in home defense only and has low upper body strength. I recommend a medium frame revolver. If concealed, I recommend the LCR.

  18. avatar Aaron Walker says:

    “High-capacity, Semi- auto-mechancal Assault Revolvers…”? Lol…

  19. avatar Mikial says:

    Sorry, and no offense to any of you who support a revolver but I can’t get behind this article. I understand that there may be physically debilitating conditions that make a revolver preferable but it’s not the right gun for a new shooter just because they’re new. Rather than telling a new concealed carrier they should carry a revolver because they’re simpler to operate, how about just teaching them how to be proficient with a pistol? Revolvers are fun, I own two but I never carry them as my EDC. It’s articles like this that set new concealed carriers up to be killed because they can’t deploy their firearm fast enough to save their own life or the life of a loved one. Believe it or not there’s a reason police and the military don’t carry revolvers anymore. Think about it.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      that’s largely a response to the bad guys…cops are always trying to catch up….

    2. avatar joel says:

      I am neither the police, or the military. I carry what fits my needs instead.

  20. avatar Ken says:

    I have 4 semi-autos from 11 ounces through a full sized 1911 in addition to 2 mid-sized ones. However, my normal carry gun is a J Frame size 605 Taurus 357 Magnum. I carry it because I know it will go bang when I pull the trigger and I don’t have to cock it. I also feel that I won’t have an accidental discharge with it as it has a concealed hammer and the DOA trigger takes a little effort to pull. I got it because I was worried about carrying a semi-auto with one in the chamber and no safety.

  21. avatar PaulWVa says:

    I guess I’m firmly astride the fence in this Chevy vs Ford argument. Most days (90%) I carry a S&W 642 Airweight. Performance Center J-frame. I load it with Liberty Civil Defense .38 +P ammo. I’ve tried and tested many different loads and the high speed 50gr LCD is very accurate and hits like a truck. Plus the light bullets make a very light easy carry. I would never carry a small .357 mag … too much recoil and muzzle flash for self defense. Love the maggies for range or hunting. But on some occasions I do pack a Sig 320 sub-compact, 9mm. With a load of 12+1 it’s still an easy, all day carry. And with 13 rounds on tap I don’t really worry about reloading. If I need more than that I should have brought a rifle. The “first rule” of having a gun is the key … a gun that you will carry everyday, everywhere is better than the big, powerhouse, high capacity cannon that you leave at home or in you car. My little .38 Airweight goes everywhere.

    1. avatar 22winmag says:

      I’m happy with around 1,400mv with .38Spl Liberty Ammo out of a concealed J frame or other snub.

      The alternative is 1,850mv with Liberty out of my Walther PPS-40 with 5+1 or 6+1 capacity.

  22. avatar Kendahl says:

    The biggest advantage for a revolver is that, compared to a semiautomatic pistol, it can’t jam due to shooter error. For example, when was the last time a revolver jammed because the shooter had a limp wrist? Its biggest disadvantage is its heavier, and often grittier, trigger. That can be overcome by lots and lots of dry firing practice. Because of the width of the cylinder, the smallest revolvers (e.g. J-frames) are harder to conceal than the smallest semiautomatics (e.g. Kahr CW380).

    During practice, concentrate on keeping the sights aligned with the target while pulling the trigger slowly and smoothly. You need to get your finger to the point where it no longer knows there is any other way. Don’t worry about being too slow in a fight. Adrenalin will take care of that automatically.

    When shooting revolvers, I wrap my support hand thumb over the base of my strong hand thumb. My support hand fingers wrap wound my strong hand fingers as usual. The advantage is that my support hand keeps my strong hand closed during recoil. (This isn’t possible when shooting a semiautomatic because the slide would hit my support hand thumb.) If I need to thumb cock the revolver, I use my support hand thumb. I’ve had instructors criticize my technique but it works too well for me to give it up.

    The capacity of a Glock 43 isn’t much greater than that of a J-frame. If you’re not content with five, carry a snubby K-frame or a Kimber K6s.

  23. took my first qualification shoot with a 5 shot Taurus m85 stainless 38 spec. with 158gr swhp+ps and aced it. I usually carry a revolver, sometimes 5 shot, sometimes 7 shot in an appendix carry, under a tee shirt. no one knows it is there. I also like pocket carry, and in a relaxed pair of jeans I have carried k frames there as well. I wish I had a S&W m22 45 auto/auto rim revolver with a 2.75 inch barrel. mine has a 4 inch. but I would carry in winter the 2.75 inch on me. would be a good gun to have. otherwise I have a 38 or 357. Colt , S&W or Taurus ( the old ones, nowadays you have to really check out the Taurus before you leave the shop to make sure you don’t leave with a lemon). I feel confident with my choices. I do own semi autos but find them a little “blocky” to carry sometimes.and find the revolvers shape more comfortable. but different things for different people. and revolvers are also more versital. different loads giving different recoil can be used in the same gun. and guns like 357s can be used with 38specials , 44 mags can use 44 special etc.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      the long, hard, double-action trigger pull of a revolver functions as a safety factor….although it won’t matter a whit in a high-adrenaline situation…also,..as demonstrated in the movies…cocking the weapon into a single-action mode frequently induces some hesitation even in a determined opponent….one of those “uh-oh” moments that demonstrates the seriousness of a situation as it becomes obvious even a novice shooter could easily touch-off a round…even inadvertently…trying to disarm someone in that instance becomes much riskier….

  24. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    None of these reasons trumps the main problems with carrying a revolver: capacity and reload time. And don’t bother citing the discredited “two rounds” statistic which is both false and irrelevant. You don’t plan for a life-threatening confrontation based on statistics.

    They also don’t support themselves. Reliability? If you carry gun isn’t being maintained properly, that’s on you, not the firearm. Also, that’s the main reason to carry two carry guns – and carrying two revolvers is harder than carrying two semi-autos due to the size of the rotating chamber. Stopping power? Carrying a .22 revolver makes no more sense than carrying a .22 semi-auto. And shot placement is NOT everything. Under the stress and movement of a handgun combat incident, you can NOT count on shot placement. Caliber DOES matter. Which is why nothing short of a caliber which starts with a 4 or higher is reasonable carry.

    This is just another attempt by revolver enthusiasts to claim their underpowered Smith and Wesson .38’s are somehow decent combat handguns – after virtually every police department on the planet has given them up – and the term “New York Reload” was created by the New York Police Union after numerous failures of .38 Special revolvers necessitated carrying TWO revolvers.

    Give it a rest. Semi-auto handguns in 9mm, .45, .40 and 10mm are the only rational concealed carry handguns (larger calibers are only for those who can control them properly or properly conceal the necessarily larger magazines.)

    This is also just another click bait article intended to start a flame war.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘…after virtually every police department on the planet has given them up…’

      And I’d wager a years salary that since they gave up the revolver there hasn’t been one single LEO saved because he had a semi-auto instead of a revolver. The vast majority of LEOs never even once fire a single shot in anger, let alone 7+ during their entire career.

      Assuming by ‘revolver’ you mean .38 special is like assuming by ‘semi-auto’ you mean .380 acp. That said, the .38 special is superior in that comparison due to it’s higher SDs and lower velocities leading to deeper penetration.

      From the purely tactical standpoint, there are advantages to a semi-auto and there are also tactical advantages to a revolver. There’s a very good chance that your personal self defense shooting will be at very, very close range. As in, you might be on the ground in the mud being stabbed repeatedly before you even have a chance to draw your weapon. In this particular case, a revolver is much better than a semi-auto. First, there’s the contact shot. Try it with a semi-auto and you’re probably going to push the slide out of battery and, no bang. Not only that but the slide probably isn’t going to go back into battery by itself and putting it back in will require two hands, of which you’ll be damn lucky if one of them is free. And one or both of your hands is likely to be drenched in blood. And God help you if your muddy, bloody semi-auto has a malfunction.

      I could sit here all night and come up with dozens of scenarios where a revolver would be advantageous, but if you’re too stupid to understand the first one, you wouldn’t understand the others. Willful ignorance is a terrible affliction.

      The odds of your sorry hide being saved by rounds 7-16 are about 1% of the odds you’ll be struck by lightning. People that prefer revolvers understand these odds and prefer enhanced performance for the first 5 or 6 over the subsequent (nearly 100% unnecessary) rounds. YMMV.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      all that carries great weight with experienced shooters…but matters little to the inexperienced ones who are frequently left to their own devices…there’s a growing number of them out there…particularly in urban areas…very few laws restrict revolvers…or are likely to in the future…

    3. avatar 22winmag says:

      Good grief.

      What about the girl who blasted the serial killer who restrained her from behind?

      One behind the back shot with her J frame rearranged his cranium! She probably would have flubbed it or shot herself with an automatic. You and I probably would have too.

      Contact shots with 158 grain wheel-gun slugs will be providing dirt naps for many years to come.

    4. avatar Larry says:

      Revolvers have been getting the job done for civilian self defense for a very long time.

      Comparing the firearms needs of cops vs civilian self defense needs is a joke that invalidates basically everything you said.

    5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Who, other than cops who are busy hosing down an entire neighborhood or pumping multiple magazines into an innocent man, are having to reload in a non-LEO DGU?

      I’ve yet to meet even ONE person who has used a gun defensively who ever, EVER had to reload a magazine on a semi-auto. Doesn’t matter whether they were packing a Glock or 1911 Government Model with seven rounds. Most non-LEO DGU’s are over without firing a shot.

      Cops? Sure, I can see why they need the magazine capacity and rapid reload capability. They’re busying hosing down the entire street, multiple bystanders, loading up innocents with dozens of rounds. But “civilian” defensive shooters don’t have the impressive legal immunity to such outlandish tactics that cops have, and aren’t about to start hosing down streets, bystanders, etc.

      The reason why cops got rid of revolvers is because cops are gear whores. They think that they need some new bit of kit to do their jobs effectively every year. They want new toys, new cars, aircraft, military surplus vehicles, new radio systems costing the taxpayers 10’s of millions of dollars. Of course they want the “new hotness” in firearms – how else can they impress the common rube (ie, taxpayer) that they’re “professionals” other than by having the latest gear?

  25. avatar specialist38 says:

    Cause revolvers are handy.

  26. avatar possum the red nose Serialdeer says:

    Novice: Revolver- No familiarity. Success rate 7. Novice; Semi-Automatic- No familiarity. Success rate 1. …In my opinion semi-automatics are for more experienced shooters. IMO if your auto jams and you turn it sideways to evaluate the problem your not auto experienced. Disregarding malfunctions I would rather have a semi auto. Disregarding experience I would be served better with a revolver.

  27. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    If you don’t go to the range very often. If you don’t dry fire practice with snap caps. Then carry a small caliber revolver is your best option. Semi auto hand guns have too many other points of failure, when you need a gun the most.

    You can dry fire with snap caps. Its free. I do it all the time. A belly ban holster might be a good potion for those who don’t like wearing a belt.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      btw
      The ruger 327 federal revolver might be the gun for those who are recoil sensitive. While 327 bullets are hard to find, this gun does shoot at least 3 other calibers, that ready readily available. I’m looking into it myself.

      1. avatar scott says:

        I’m eyeballing the GP100 4″ as I type this. I have no need for it, but I’ve a huge want for it.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      like us old,fat guys that live in sweatpants!….

  28. avatar PaulWVa says:

    Trying to compare the .38 loads that police carried back in the day to today’s modern loads is ridiculous. The old standard of 158 gr round nose to today’s high performance JHPs is like comparing a ’57 Chevy to a new new ’19 Corvette. Today’s ammo is far superior in every way from bullit design to materials to performance. Sorry but that is a really bad argument.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      one’s a classic…one isn’t….most of us couldn’t fit in the one, let alone wring it out…but would be very comfortable in the other….

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        You won’t be all that comfortable in TX, let me tell you. A ’57 with A/C is gonna be a bitch to find.

    2. avatar raptor jesus says:

      Yet Paul Harrell shot the your grampas 158 grain lead soft nose bullets (while wearing your grampas leisure suit) and found them to still be very effective.

      https://youtu.be/2Ru1SldF5BM?t=223

  29. avatar Craig in IA says:

    During the first 3 years I started to carry every day, I packed an S&W 638 J Frame. It’s small, can handle enough +P ammo to practice with and I always felt that if I had to somehow touch off a round leaving one of my rehearsals or concerts downtown late at night and it didn’t connect, I’d be leaving no empty case (evidence) behind should the cretin just run like hell. Why open myself up to anything if there’s no need… ?

    After 3 years of carrying it and thankfully never having to use it, I decided to let it rest and picked up a Shield in .40 cal. I still carry that one on the running path, I’ve graduated to a Glock 43 now for EDC. Still, I would not feel undergunned were I to go back to the 638 unless I was storming the Bastille or something. Practice with what you have, often. That’s the most important aspect.

  30. avatar little horn says:

    good read and good write up!

  31. avatar raptor jesus says:

    I shoot my Chiappa Rhino faster and more accurately than my Sig Sauer X5. So that’s what I tend to carry.

    ALSO – my Kimber K6S drops in a pocket or inside a suit jacket and carries as easily as my Sig Sauer P238. Except the P238 fires six rounds of anemic .380 whereas the Kimber fires six rounds of powerful .357 Magnum (ok, ok, I admit, I usually fill it with .38 Special +P Remington Golden Sabers . . . . . )

  32. avatar mark s. says:

    I reside in WV which allows open carry of fire arms to any law abiding citizen over the age of 21 to carry openly and I have also been a cc permit holder for many years and have gone from a Colt 357 concealed , in the 80’s to a Ruger P95 45 cal to a P95 in 9mm to a Walther P99 to a Kel Tec PF9 and finally to a Kel Tec PMR 30 concealed and now , I’m full circle plus .
    I now conceal my PMR 30 about 11:30 appendix and usually my 357 GP100 is open carry on my right hip as a go to back up , depending on what I may encounter . I like the dependability of my revolver and the firepower of 30 rounds snug in the grip of my lightweight PMR 30.

  33. avatar RGP says:

    Actually the big reason for the switch from revolvers to autos was that 30 years ago S&W and Colt had some serious quality control problems. They were making crap.

    That’s why they switched to mostly European made semi autos instead of sticking with revolvers or anything else that was made in the USA.

    1. avatar mark s. says:

      I can’t say that I would agree that the end run of the Colt Python’s would be considered crap , but I never owned one either , but I can say that I did own a Colt Trooper Mark III , and I believe it was manufactured in the mid to late 70’s and it was both a good shooter and I can’t recall ANY issues with it . I sold it just before Y2K and for I think $400.00 , which was about what I paid for it , but I wish I still had it . It was so freaking heavy , physically and in the trigger but the fit and finish was real nice . I carried that boat weight concealed for several years until I went with something lighter , a RUGER P 95 ……………. I know , another boat anchor , but still an improvement , it carried better .

      1. avatar RGP says:

        I don’t think I ever saw either a bad Python or a bad Diamondback. They were making lousy 1911’s though and I remember an entire shipment of the Double Eagles that had the rear sight missing and Colt’s brown quality control check tag hanging from them. I’m still irritated at them because of that Single Action Army that cost me more in parts than I spent on ammunition for it…

        1. avatar mark s. says:

          I would concur with all this .

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Interesting. I have owned 4 Pythons, think it’s a benchmark for quality. Every Diamondback I’ve handled seemed like a total piece of shit, resembled a Python visually but had an action like two pieces of sandpaper grinding on each other, and somebody forgot to apply a finish. This included the guns I fell in love with when I was 14, couldn’t buy either, circa 1960.

  34. avatar Paul S Strickland says:

    Find what you handle and shoot well. Find a gun that you ” will” carry. Find practice ammo with similar loading to your carry ammo. Then make regular practice a part of your life. Practice promotes skill, skill promotes confidence. Skill and confidence makes for a safe gun carrier..

  35. avatar piper says:

    1. You like a trigger that takes so long from start to finish you have gotten hungry during the process.
    2. You like a trigger pull that weighs a metric ton.
    3. You love the archaic and obsolete so much you even miss lead in gasoline.

    The only real use of a revolver nowadays is to use those of large caliber against furry creatures when you have to stick it right against their fur hides and start pulling the trigger.

    That’s the sum of it until makers start innovating with triggers, ergonomics, weight, picatinny rails, red dots, etc…

  36. avatar Tom RKBA says:

    All three reasons are wrong. 1) Complex reload process plus failures tend tomrewuire a gunsmith, 2) Revolver reliability is a myth and as Chuck Taylor put it: “Anyone who says that never ran a police gun range.” and 3) Snubby stopping power is compromised. Speer Gold Dot 124’s don’t even expand out of my LCR 9mm, but penetration is 24”+ (it had barely enough energy to move a stick, but the bullet exited the test media).

  37. avatar Lara Rios says:

    Find what you handle and shoot well. Find a gun that you ” will” carry. Find practice ammo with similar loading to your carry ammo.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      Fact!

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