We have touched on this topic a number of times around here but there is a new blog out there, Revolver Guy, and this is question they deal with in one of their first posts (link). The author, Justin, is not just a regular guy. He doesn’t call it out on the site but he brings years of military, competition and combat experience to the table. He humbly posts that he is not a champion shooter but he skills the rest of us could only dream of. He is also a regular guy now with a real job, responsibilities and budgets. I will be following his posts closely to see how this project pans out.
Now, for my opinion on this question:
Of course, revolvers are viable for self-defense.
It would be hypocritical to say otherwise when I carry a Ruger LCR for self-defense almost every single day.
Now, with that said there are also plenty of times that I carry a semi-auto as well.
There are two drawbacks that are mentioned in the article that come into play for me. First is the thickness of the revolver. In many cases I find it much easier to conceal the flatter form of a Glock 43 than even my little snub-nosed LCR because of the thickness of the cylinder. This is particularly true when I am dressed for work or church. The second is capacity. Running around the house or my immediate neighborhood the five shot capacity of my revolvers is not a big concern for me. I am never more than a few dozen feet from another firearm or even gun safe when I am home. My neighborhood is pretty safe and fairly well patrolled by police so there are plenty of time I feel fine with just the revolver or the revolver and a speed strip on my person. Other times, depending on where I am headed and how long I will be gone the G43 and a spare magazine or two accompany me.
Another situation where I may chose something other than a revolver is a bedside gun. Since I only have to secure this when the grand kids are over and I don’t have to carry it or conceal it my bedside gun can be just about anything I want it to be. Typically this is a Glock 19 equipped with a weapon mounted light (I also have a standard flashlight next to it as well) loaded with Glock 17 magazines (two extra rounds in each).
There is another aspect of the revolver that some would consider a drawback and others an advantage; the long double action trigger.
On the one hand such a trigger takes some time and practice in order to match the speed and accuracy that comes with the (relatively) light break on the trigger of a modern striker fired semi-auto. On the other hand the longer trigger pull requires a much more determined trigger pull in order to send lead downrange. For those who don’t train a lot in maintaining trigger discipline or who are just a little more “excitable” this can be (literally) a life saver. Some experienced old hands in lots of police departments around the nation still consider this to be an advantage.
Another advantage of the modern revolver for casual shooters is the revolvers ability to withstand neglect. A revolver, properly stored, can go decades with no maintenance and still be counted on to be reliable. I am NOT recommending this but it is reality for many folks. While a similarly stored semi-auto is more likely to develop issues.
So, that is my $0.02 on revolvers for self-defense. What do you think? Would you bet your life on a revolver?