Really Reaching: The Revolver

SnubbiesA week or so back I highlighted an article from one of the major gun magazines that really seemed to be reaching for some way to justify the Mini-14 instead an AR platform rifle (link). Then I came across a similar “reach” to justify the use of a revolver (link). I dearly love my revolvers and trust the author, Grant Cunningham, as an instructor and educator on self-defense matters especially where it comes to revolvers but…I think he was really reaching on this one.


Here are his main points:

Revolvers are Efficient – No extra levers or controls, just aim, press the trigger and repeat. Correct. Which is why my semi-auto self-defense guns (Glocks) don’t have manual safeties. Nor do my wife’s self-defense guns (Smith & Wesson M&Ps) have them.

Revolvers are Reliable – True, they are, but so is are my Glocks and so are my wife’s M&Ps. With proper maintenance both platforms can be extremely reliable. That’s they key. Semi-autos do require more maintenance and attention to detail than a revolver. If you want a gun that you can buy, toss in a drawer or a Bug Out Bag and forget about and have it still work years down the road pick a revolver. If you will be shooting it regularly and performing proper maintenance either will do. One note, most pistol failures are magazine/feed related and can be cleared with a simple drill (tap, rack, bang) but when there is an issue with a revolver the gun is usually out of the fight.

Revolvers Will Fit Anyone – No matter what grips/stocks I put on them none of my snub-nosed revolvers will fit my son in law’s gorilla mits. For that matter neither will my little Kahr 9mm or my Ruger LCP. In contrast, no matter what grips/stocks are installed his big Ruger .44 Magnum doesn’t fit me either. He can carry a G19 as a pocket pistol (well, almost) but a G43 is about the best I can do in my pocket.

Revolvers Don’t Use Mags – On this I couldn’t agree more. I buy at least 9 magazines for each carry gun I own. I number them and record the magazine number and type of ammunition whenever I have a feeding issue. I track this to identify which magazines are having an issues that could indicate that they need a good cleaning or the springs replaced. I inspect they regularly. This is level of maintenance means that it is very unlikely to ever be a problem when lives are on the line. None of this matters with a revolver but should there be a need to reload in a violent encounter the revolver is definitely not the fast option.

The Revolver Trigger is Heavy – Another mixed blessing. he long heavy trigger pull of a revolver (or DA/SA pistol) can help prevent negligent discharges in high stress situations but it can have a very negative effect on accuracy and speed. Even with all the trigger time I have on a revolver and the sweet triggers on my LCR and 442 I can put holes into a target,  more quickly and more accurately with the relatively lightweight stock triggers in my Glocks.

Most articles like this are written to sell you something whether it is the latest widget or an old one that is no longer selling as well. The widget you use to defend yourself is probably the least important factor in a violent encounter. The training, skill and mindset you bring to the fight are far more likely to ensure the best possible outcome that the widget(s) you use.

God bless



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