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Yesterday, TTAG had a to and fro about the wisdom of using a single action weapon for for self-defense. Today, reveals that gun guru Jeff Cooper’s inheritors at Gunsite training have created a new course called Single Action Defensive Pistol. (SAD P? Really?) “To my knowledge, it is the first time professional self-defense firearm techniques have been fine-tuned specifically for single-action revolvers,” scribe Rick Hacker reports. And for lots of good reasons. Here’s one . . .

“The detriment of a single-action is that it takes more time to reload, but typically you’re only firing one or two shots, so a single-action will absolutely do the job.”” said Ed Head, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, retired U.S. Border Patrol field operations supervisor and Gunsite operations manager.

That’s it? No other reasons why someone entering a gunfight for their life might want a double action revolver or, I dunno, a semi-automatic loaded with plenty ‘o bullets?

“I don’t think that anybody who has a single-action should feel deprived in any way,” noted Il Ling New, one of Gunsite’s premiere defensive handgun, rifle and shotgun instructors—and a licensed guide who has hunted throughout the world. “You really should fight with what you have. Why not use your single-action as your defensive handgun? Those five or six rounds in the chambers can win the fight for you.”

As could a single-shot Derringer, I suppose

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  1. I have a Ruger Blackhawk in .357 magnum that can do what no other pistol in my collection can do – hit the target, first shot, every shot, any distance, period. I don't need "plenty 'o bullets" with that hogleg, just one well aimed shot.

    Now maybe it's mental, maybe it's just ergonomics, maybe it's the fact that I shoot the Ruger about 10 times more than any other pistol. But yeah, I've carried it for self-defence and never felt bad about it.

    I understand the drawbacks of a single action revolver (and there are many). But I've also had jams on every single auto I've ever fired, too. So pick your poison. The biggest truth is that I trust it more than the others, and that level of confidence feels good.

  2. Maybe next year they'll offer a Walther P22 specific course! I also heard rumors of a 25ACP course coming next spring. I should make a recommendation for some super large-bore classes; I always wanted to learn personal-protection techniques carrying around a S&W500.

  3. Actually, there was a fairly recent big-name gun school seminar specifically about

    pocket pistols, like .25s and .32s and .380s.

    I think it might have actually been Gunsite.

    There are a ton of folks who carry those tiny little pocket pistols.

    I own a few myself.

    Might was well know to use them.

    Same for single actions.

    Here's a situation that could easily, and I do mean easily, happen within a few hundred yards of where I'm sitting in front of my computer screen.

    Hunter Jim Bob is out looking for whitetails with his Ruger Blackhawk in .44 mag.

    While stalking through a likely-looking thicket, Hunter Jim Bob accidentally surprises Otis Methhead busy mixing up a batch of his special recipe meth.

    Otis has his cousin Cletus along with him as armed security for the portable meth lab they've set up in Jim Bob's favorite deer thicket, only Cletus is so high and crazy on meth that he doesn't see or hear Jim Bob until Jim Bob also sees him and Otis stooped over the pot set up on a kitchen hot plate hooked up to a car battery.

    Hunter Jim Bob might really need to know how to use his Ruger Blackhawk defensively in that situation.

    • Well by your reasoning, Jim Bob should also know how to use a bolt-action rifle defensively too – just in case he brings his old huntin’ rifle with him. For Jim Bob’s sake, I hope it isn't a newer model 700, because he'll probably only get off one shot before the extractor breaks.

      Learning how to use a SAA for defensive purposes is like taking a step back into the 1800’s. Should the guys who carry these pistols defensively also know how to ride a horse? Maybe Gun Sight could offer a 3-gun course – SAA in 45LC, Winchester 1866 in 44-Mag, and an SxS 12-ga.

      Is small-caliber defensive pistol training really much different than "normal" defensive pistol training? My guess is that the probably stress shot placement more, because even 9mm JHP rounds can leave one wanting in the 'stopping power' department. I’d be curious to find out if there are training “differences” with baby guns…

  4. I respect the idea of desiring to the the best you can be with whatever tool you find yourself using. Single-action revolvers are often highly accurate, and their reliability is legendary. Many of us, myself included, have an affection for them that is all out of proportion to their utility.

    Clint Smith and cowboy action shooters can do amazing things with their Blackhawks and Single Action Army's, but there any better tools to use if your life is in danger. If you have the foresight to equip and prepare yourself for such situations, use that time and wisdom to choose a more effective tool. Remember, you want to give yourself *every* possible advantage.

    If you're not Hunter Jim Bob, a single-action revolver should not be what you have in your hand if you need to defend your life or family.

  5. Shoot what ya got….one, two ….or 6 times. While reloading, think how stupid you are not to have practiced enough to hit in 6 tries.


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