Let’s Talk About Revolvers

The vast majority of handguns sold these days are auto-loading pistols. And according to our Concealed Carry Magazine readership survey (we need to do another of those), most of our readers carry and shoot auto-loading pistols. But I still get lots of questions about revolvers. People seem to really want good solid information about revolvers (I think).

So, I’m putting it out there for all to comment on. To paraphrase a famous comedian: “What’s the deal with revolvers?” Please, don’t start in with statements like, “Revolvers never jam.” First, it’s not true. Second, it doesn’t matter.

We here at the USCCA would much rather know what you want to know about revolvers. What questions do you have? What answers should we find for you? What myths can we dispel? Is there something you’ve heard that you want proven true or false?

One of the things I have been rolling through my head in recent weeks is this: Why do so many people suggest that women should shoot revolvers? I’ve had some people tell me that revolvers are simpler to use and make it easier for women to learn the manual of arms. Well, that seems not only a bit misogynistic, but, to my way of thinking, it might also be technically incorrect. First off, every woman I know is certainly smart enough to learn how to operate an auto-loading pistol. Good training will see to that. Maybe the people who claim pistols are more complicated than revolvers are simply not the best trainers, but I digress.

Technically, yes, auto-loading pistols are more complicated than revolvers. Most pistols have more moving parts than revolvers, but in reality, both pistols and revolvers are complex machines. In each of them, everything has to happen in a certain order with all the pieces working together for the gun to go bang. Think about it. To load and make ready a pistol, you need to load a magazine, insert the magazine into the magazine well, retract and release the slide and engage the safety (if the pistol is equipped with one). To load and make ready a revolver, you need to depress the cylinder latch, open the cylinder, insert a cartridge into each chamber and close the cylinder. Looks to me like basically the same number of steps.

To fire the pistol, you need to disengage the safety (if the pistol is so equipped) and operate the trigger. On the revolver, you need only to operate the trigger. That is one more step with the pistol, but it is not a complicated step. If you wish to fire the revolver in the single-action mode, you need to retract the hammer, so the steps are again equal.

If a pistol quits working, there are a number of things the shooter can do immediately to make the pistol work again. If a revolver quits working — call a gunsmith.

The only real difference I’m seeing is with capacity. And why would you say that women should have fewer rounds to fire against an attacker? Inquiring minds want to know. This topic should not be revolvers versus auto-loaders; that’s just too simple, and we want to look deeper into the needs of shooters.

So, please, reply to this column and tell us what you want to know about revolvers and their use and why you want to know those things.

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