Previous Post
Next Post

“Law enforcement statistics tell us that the average gunfight is over after just a few shots have been fired, often no more than two to three rounds. However, the smart defensive shooter doesn’t practice for the times when everything goes right. He practices for the times that everything goes wrong . . . Learning to do a smooth, fast-speed reload with a revolver is more critical than with an autoloading pistol because, even with lots of practice, the operation takes a bit longer, and it involves more fine motor skills.” – Jim Wilson,

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. According to Benjamin Franklin, it’s better to be a pessimist and pleasantly surprised than an optimist and constantly disappointed.

  2. What if you are not in an “average” gunfight? By definition, some gunfights are less than average, and some are more than average….whatever that means!?

    As our friend, Tom Givens, from Range Master says: “If you have one foot in ice and one on fire, on average you are comfortable.

    Train for winning all gunfights, not average gunfights.

    PS: The true definition of an optimist is a person with a revolver and a speed strip 🙂

      • I love revolvers, I’ll take a .38 snub over a .380 pocketgun any day if I need something really, really small.

        Like at my work. They don’t allow carry. I’d rather not disarm in an building that’s been targeted before and has no real security except an old system that gets armed only at night. I’d also rather make anything I carry really hard to notice so I don’t get fired. Solution: .38 in an ankle holster. 8 years in, still never had anyone make that I’m carrying.

    • Also my feelings, except that I prefer the XDm. I like having a lot more than five or six rounds on board and I like having the reload being a relatively easy process. I am considering getting a revolver as a backup, though.

        • Two things:

          1) Your screen name is making me think of the SNL “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketches, and therefore think other inappropriate things.

          2) The ability to make contact shots is a great thing to have in a backup gun, but I’m willing to trade that away for much greater capacity and easier reloads in my main carry gun.

        • I’m glad someone got the name 🙂

          I’m mostly poking at the idea that one model of gun is the ideal for everyone. There’s no free lunch, everything has its strengths and weaknesses.

          Reliability, capacity, reload time, rate of fire, safety, and stopping power are things that should be weighed by a gun owner and as responsible adults, they should make up their own minds.

      • I can count the tupperware malfunctions I’ve had on one hand with fingers left over, and in each of those it was something easy to clear like a stovepipe or bad primer.

        I’ve had as many malfunctions with revolvers for various reasons, so, for me it’s a question of choice to prevent a 0.000001% chance of a semi malfunction, or, say, a solid ~25% chance I wouldn’t be able to reload a revolver fast enough when it matters.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love revolvers. But there’s a G20 in the nightstand for a very good reason, even though I don’t particularly appreciate the aesthetics of Glocks: It always goes bang, and in somewhere around half a minute I can put 30 big holes in something, or lots of somethings, accurately.

        • even though I don’t particularly appreciate the aesthetics of Glocks: It always goes bang

          That’s not my experience.

  3. I  prefer wheel guns like the ultralight 340 PD and the 8-shot 327 with its light rail, (both S & W and both .357 Magnum) and I also like 5-Star speed loaders best, but you must practice with your speed loaders–a lot! At home, I practice with dummy rounds in my speed loader, and at the range I reload each time with my speed loader. Using the loading blocks with the speed loaders makes “loading the loaders” fast and easy.

    Maybe an optimist is just a pessimist who practices. In any event, the Sheriff is correct: Practice!

    • .357 is a small handgun is a big mistake. Follow-up shots are slow and most likely ineffective. Great self-defense round that needs a proper gun.

      • Right, but I don’t stock it with .357, instead I use .38 special +P. I just like my guns, like my cars, “overbuilt.” I do use the .357 in the 327, though.

        We’re not far apart. As a car guy, I’d bet you drive a car similar to mine, too.

  4. There is something wrong with the America that used to build hot rods for fun. I’m old enough to have known many fathers of friends who brought .45 govt’s back from the war. I didn’t know a single one to say “this might not work when I need it. I’d better pick up a .38!” When I was 18 and 19 I didn’t conclude that, either. How can guys have trouble running a semi-auto when folks kept them running in TRENCHES. In the foreign ghettos of Shanghai? In the humidity and rain of ‘Nam? In the deserts of Arabia? Are they made that badly today? Fairbairn would think we were nuts! Laugh.

    • Nice to see Fairbairn mentioned!

      I also agree with your sentiments towards the 1911. It has acquitted itself with aplomb for decades but somehow it’s now considered outdated in some circles. There are some designs in this world that are damn near perfect from the get go and the 1911 is is of them.

  5. It’s true that statistics, studies, history, and theory can only be relied on so much when making plans.

    Some very good points in the article and above about hoping for the best and planning for the worst. Murphy’s Law does ‘occasionally’ occur. Overall, in life, it is better to be an optimist. In general, optimists are 80% correct and pessimists are also 80% of the time correct. In the real world of HD/SD preparation we need to recognize the strengths, and real or potential weaknesses of our chosen type of defensive tool. We could take this to an extreme and rhetorically ask if a semi-auto handgun in .40 cal with a 30 round magazine is the wrong tool or defense concept IF five armed thugs enter one’s home at 2AM armed with fully automatic weapons, wearing night vision headgear, and supported by attack dogs.

    I agree with the article’s advice that a gun owner who has chosen a revolver as the HD/SD gun needs to practice even more with doing reloads because of lower capacity. Another issue to discuss is an increased importance of having a second fully-loaded back-up gun that can be brought to firing in quick order.

    I have chosen the Ruger 5-shot SP101 revolver as my primary go to gun. I am also considering taking steps or preparing to include the Ruger LCR revolver. Some may wonder why I don’t just go with a semi and a large capacity magazine. Revolvers work better for me.

    Robert, thanks for this article. I appreciate it and the link.

    • I am thinking of buying a Ruger GP-100 or SP101 for home defense to augment the 870. I have a Colt Peacemaker and a Walther PP which really are not the most ideal for a home defense hand gun. Actually, the Peacemaker is really not a terrible gun in some respects and I actually am fairly familiar with it.

      • The SP101 is not the most ideal for HD either.

        The GP100 has superior ballistics, control and capacity to the SP101 for an additional $120.00 MSRP.

        You may also want to check out the S&W 686 Plus at $90.00 MSRP above the GP100.

    • “Some may wonder why I don’t go with a semi……”
      I wonder why you don’t go with a Ruger 4.2″ 6 shot GP100 or S&W 686 Plus 4″ 7 shot instead of the Sp101?

      My first carry gun was the SP101. I carried it about five years and I still love it. But the SP101 and LCR pretty much fill the same role, carry.

      For HD you have no size concerns ( if your physically able) and with the GP 100 / S&W you get superior ballistics and better control + 1 or 2 extra rounds.
      As for cost, the superior ballistics / control and 6th round of the GP100 cost $120.00 MSRP over the SP101 and the 7th round of the S&W cost $90.00 MSRP above the GP100. ( In my opinion the extra $90.00 also buys a better trigger.)

      Since your a revolver guy, either the GP100 or S&W combined with the LCR should have you set for life.

      Just wondering.

  6. My personal motto is that “Murphy” was an optimist. Having said that, my go to gun is a Glock model 17. My #2 is a Dan Wesson revolver in .357 with speed loaders. I’ve had the Dan Wesson longer and shot it more, but haven’t practiced with it in quite a long time, so it dropped to number 2. Have any of you guys seen Jerry Miculek reload a revolver? He is as fast as any mag change I have seen in a semi-auto. Will I ever be that fast? Nope, but practice with speed loaders, as mentioned above will certainly improve anyone’s time.

  7. I don’t take this advice as an inherent weakness of the sixgun. It’s just a fact of life, in the same way that use of a semi-auto requires practice in clearing a mis-feed.

    Hopefully you and I won’t ever need to draw our carry handguns. If I do, hopefully I won’t need more than 6. If you’re a semi-auto shooter, hopefully you won’t limp wrist under stress and cause a misfeed. However, but we’re all better off being ready for the big “What If”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here