wheel-gun-wednesday-banner

For the past few months we’ve been using Wheel Gun Wednesdays to explore issues related to self-defense revolvers and their viability in the modern world. A theme throughout the series has been whether revolvers offer any advantages to make up for their low ammo capacity. Up to this point, we’ve more or less assumed that being armed with only five or six shots in a revolver is a bad thing when you could have double that or more in a comparably sized semi-auto. But is the lower ammo capacity really a problem? After all, six shots is usually enough to get the job done.

Most of the time.

At least that’s the impression you get from looking at the majority of defensive gun use stories.

There are solid reasons for some people to consider a wheel gun over a bottom feeder for self-defense. But there are also some lousy reasons I’ve often heard that sound less like arguments in favor of revolvers and more like condemnation for anyone who is fool enough to think they need a semi-auto. It’s not uncommon to run across revolver apologists who insist that semi-autos are overkill or only for “spray and pray” shooting. After all, if you know how to use the gun, you shouldn’t need more than a couple of shots, right? The experience of others shows us that’s not always the case.

But if you prefer revolvers for whatever reason, it can be tempting to buy into illogical arguments like these because they validate choices we’ve already made. Unfortunately, believing myths that don’t match up to reality has consequences. It can prevent us from confronting the uncomfortable downsides of carrying a gun with lower capacity, which in turn makes us less likely to train and plan to overcome them.

So here are three of the more popular myths about the low capacity of revolvers along with some real life examples that challenge their veracity, and practical advice for how to prepare for these realities.

Myth 1 – “Six is enough if you know how to shoot”

Like most of these myths, this one has a kernel of truth to it. Almost everyone in the shooting world agrees that shot placement is a key aspect of self-defense. This myth takes that to an extreme, declaring that shot placement is all that is needed. It’s a sentiment that’s expressed in different forms, but I’m talking about any variation of the idea that if one is a competent and accurate shooter, five or six rounds should be more than enough to end any violent attack.

target

There are actually two myths here. The first is that a “good” shooter will always be able to make a solid vital zone hit with every shot fired in a gun fight. I don’t think that’s even remotely true, but I’ll concede that point for now. Let’s focus on the second part of the myth here — that six well placed shots will be enough to stop any attack on an armed citizen.

That might be almost true, but you’d have to ignore the possibility of multiple attackers. It is not at all uncommon for armed robberies or home invasions to involve two or more suspects working together. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to shoot one of them before the others run. But then there’s what we call a “determined attacker” — the ones who refuse to back down.

Reality

Maybe you’re familiar with the famous example of Lance Thomas, a watchmaker in California who survived four shootouts in his shop between 1989 and 1991. In the second of these fights, Lance was attacked by three armed men. They started the fight by shooting Lance four times with a .25 ACP pistol. Lance returned fire with a Ruger Security-Six .357 magnum. He hit the first suspect with five out of six shots, dropping him. But the other two guys stuck around and kept shooting. Lance emptied two more revolvers before the fight was over, with a second suspect dead and the third retreating outside to a waiting getaway car.

In total, Lance connected with 11 of the 17 shots he fired in that fight. By most gunfight standards, that could be considered phenomenal accuracy. And yet, if he only had those first six shots, he would likely not have survived the encounter. Accuracy is often the deciding factor in these incidents, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that more than a handful of rounds will be necessary in addition to accurate shooting.

Practical Takeaway

It’s no substitute for having more ammo at your disposal, but shot placement is important, and it becomes progressively more important the fewer rounds you have in your gun. Being armed with a six shooter in the face of multiple attackers, you can’t afford to empty the whole cylinder into the “vital zone” of the first guy until he stops. Lance Thomas had the foresight to place multiple revolvers within arms reach of his workbench. If, like most people, you only carry a single handgun, you’ll need to train to get maximum effectiveness out of each and every round. Practice the Failure Drill and master the double action trigger so you can reliably hit small targets with speed and precision.

Myth 2 – “Use a bigger bullet and you won’t need that many of them”

“It’ll only take one shot if you use magnum ammo”. Or a 45. Or 44. Fill in the blank with the caliber of your choice. Knowing that bad guys have an annoying habit of stubbornly shrugging off bullets from time to time, some people are convinced that the solution is not more bullets, but bigger ones.

.44 magnum

We’ll set aside for a moment the fact that magnum loads and big bore calibers are more difficult to shoot quickly and accurately under stress. Let’s once again assume for the sake of argument that the hypothetical armed citizen always hits his intended target in a timely manner. Surely a handful of slugs from the mighty [insert your favorite caliber] will stop any miscreant, no matter how determined. Right?

Reality

In a shootout with an armed bank robber, Sergeant Timothy Gramins fired 33 rounds of .45 ACP over the course of 56 seconds. Even with no drugs or alcohol in his system, the suspect was able to keep firing at the officer after sustaining six hits to vital organs in addition to 8 non-vital hits. It wasn’t until Gramins fired a series of shots that struck the suspect’s head that he was taken out of the fight.

This type of situation is not typical of armed encounters involving private citizens, but for our purposes the moral of the story isn’t about the tactics used or overall number of shots fired, but the amount of damage the suspect was able to absorb. Half a dozen rounds from what is normally considered a “big caliber” hit some pretty important stuff inside this bad guy, but he was able to keep throwing bullets back at the cop.

If you read about enough shootings, you’ll run across numerous odd examples of people taking rounds to the chest and face from all kinds of big bore handguns (as well as rifles, buckshot, and shotgun slugs) that don’t result in immediate incapacitation. It’s not that caliber is inconsequential, but bullets do weird and unpredictable things. And handgun bullets in particular can’t be counted on to do what you want them to do the first time, regardless of what number is etched on the headstamp.

Practical Takeaway

As with the previous example, shot placement is key, and to complement that goal you should choose your self-defense ammo wisely. Rather than counting on big bore calibers and magnum loads, choose a load that allows you to control the gun effectively so you can get multiple hits in the same spot. For revolvers, my self-defense load of choice is .38 +P Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel, which has moderate recoil and a respectable track record for reliable penetration and expansion, but there are plenty of other viable options. Give yourself the best possible chance of getting quick and accurate hits, even if that means using a smaller caliber or “less powerful” ammunition.

Myth 3 – “You can always just reload”

Just carry a speed loader or speed strip, and if things really go South and the wheel gun goes “click” instead of “bang”, load up another six.

That’s easier said than done. A few weeks ago, I covered some techniques for reloading a revolver. If you watched the video, you may have noticed that all of the different reloading methods have multiple potential failure points. Reloading a revolver requires a great deal of manual dexterity and well maintained equipment. Even then, the most skilled of revolver shooters will spend around 2.5 seconds getting an empty revolver back into action. That’s a long time when bullets are flying your way.

reloading a revolver

Reality

It may not be impossible to reload a revolver during a gunfight, but you’ll have a tough time finding any examples of it happening in the real world. Tom Givens, one of the most experienced and respected firearms instructors in the country, has been quoted as saying, “In 40 years I’ve been doing this, I have never found a case where someone successfully reloaded a revolver in a close range gunfight.” Since 90-95% of armed civilian gun fights happen inside the “close range” of 7 yards, I’d say your chances of pulling off that revolver reload are slim to none.

On the other hand, we have plenty of examples of botched revolver reload attempts under fire. To be fair, most of them occurred during police-involved shootings from the last century like the Newhall Massacre and the 1986 FBI Miami Shootout where the officers were not equipped with speed loaders. With good technique and modern loading devices, performing the revolver reload under stress today seems more feasible than fumbling with a handful of lose cartridges from a dump pouch. But the fact remains that it’s a relatively slow process that’s easy to screw up.

Practical Takeaway

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t attempt a reload if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of holding an empty revolver while being shot at. But maybe that shouldn’t be plan A. If you prefer revolvers but believe there is some likelihood of needing more ammo than what your cylinder can hold, you might want to consider carrying a second revolver as a backup gun.

I don’t think he ever reloaded until after a firefight was over… When they ran one gun dry, they’d drop it and grab another.

That may sound like an extreme solution to some, but it’s a proven strategy. In addition to the above example of Lance Thomas, if you carried a backup revolver you’d also be in good company with the late Jim Cirillo of the NYPD who probably survived more gunfights than any other cop in the latter half of 20th century. In Tales of the Stakeout Squad, Massad Ayoob relates that Cirillo did carry spare ammo in belt loops and speed loaders. However, Ayoob also says, “I don’t think he ever reloaded until after a firefight was over. He and his favorite partner, Bill Allard, both told me that when they ran one gun dry, they’d drop it and grab another. It was from that that I coined the term ‘New York reload.'” At times, Cirillo would carry three six-shot revolvers and a Walther PPK while on duty (though it’s worth noting that he completely switched over to semi-autos of various calibers in his later years).

Of course, hunting thieves and killers in the slums of New York City in the 1970s comes with some job hazards that probably don’t apply to the average armed citizen. Nevertheless, we can see a track record of success for the multi-gun approach whereas the historical support for success with a revolver reload is slim.

I hope it’s clear that my goal isn’t to discourage anyone from carrying a revolver if that’s the choice they’ve made, or that you’re for sure dead if you don’t carry some arbitrary number of rounds on you at all times. What I am saying is that carrying a gun with a lower ammo capacity does come with some risks, and you should understand those risks and make a calculated decision accordingly. And if you still find yourself scratching your head over the capacity issue, here’s a great article on how to decide if you’re carrying “enough gun”. Whatever your carry gun of choice, train hard and keep your perspective grounded in reality, not rhetoric.


Did you enjoy this article?

Share this article with your friends!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Leave a Comment Below

  • bruce lancaster

    The only real rule to follow to survive participation in a gun fight is: Have a gun. Ideally, one should avoid gun fights for safety sake… but if circumstances don’t allow that, the gun you’ve got is the one you’ll use no matter what type, style, or caliber it is.

  • Tompro

    How about the states and cities that restrict ammo to 10 rounds.. The revolver is usually not subject to jamming and no safety to release. I know the glock has no safety but one must have a round chambered to get on target quickly. You also have the option of using single action for a more distant or accurate shot. These are personal reasons having carried a revolver for Police work for many years.

    • Jonathan D Payne

      The Glock has three safeties. 10 rounds still beats 5 or 6. When a revolver does lock up there is no immediate action other than to find another gun. I still work with revolvers as a study and I like them, but they’re pretty much weapons of the past.

      • Tompro

        Wait till your semi auto jams and it happens more often with semi autos. Also if you don’t have an extra magazine try and reload one when seconds count. Speed loaders work well but if you don’t have one you can always load your revolver with single or double rounds and still keep a watch on your target. Don’t think I am against semi autos as I am not, these are just personal preferences I have and my personal opinion. Arm yourself with what you prefer but practice with it so when and if needed you are prepared and proficient. Revolvers Jonathan will always be available and not outdated. Where does the glock possess three safetys ? Only one I know is an empty chamber but you can’t carry like that if you need it in a hurry

        • Jonathan D Payne

          If you don’t know a Glock has three safeties how do you expect to debate me? Honestly your reply is so amateurish I considered not replying at all.

          • phil

            Though technically they do, not everyone conciders them safeties when they are all defeated by pulling the trigger. When people shoot g22 or any of my guns for the first time, I teach them that their finger is the safety, in the guard it’s off, out it’s on.

  • Steve

    more is better of course, but Jordan and many others had no problem defending themselves with 6 – just saying

  • Terry Shull

    I have to say you did not coin the phrase ” new york reload ” I have been hearing that for 40 years

    • That’s a quote from Massad Ayoob… hence the quotation marks.

      • OldRed

        A S&W 649-2 w/ a CrimsonTrace laser grip as a “New Your reload” or primary carry in case of being seated in vehicle riding under my right arm pit in a Ken Null SMZ.

        If I am in the drivers a CZ-75BD Compact, CZ-75 P-07 both with lasers or a Dan Wesson model 15 357 Magnum all in cross draw holsters would be the primary gun. If I was riding shotgun it would likely have one of the CZ-75’s in a IWB at 5:00 O’Clock.

        The Dan Wesson is a winter time carry in a cross draw holster as it need a jacket for cover.

        The kinematics of presentation while seated in a vehicle favor cross draw holsters and butt down shoulder holsters on the treat side. The down side is sweeping the driver with a right handed draw from a cross draw holster if your the passenger and the treat on the divers side.

        Red

        “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

  • malachai

    And the Glock 43 holds how many rounds?

  • Uncle Rice

    Caliber of bullet, number of rounds in a gun, bullet placement, bullet type, time needed to reload, gun reliability, all are relevant issues. People who want to distill it all down to one issue are buying trouble.

    • Wibbins

      “People who want to distill it all down to one issue are buying trouble.”

      And they’ve brought coupons

  • Rod De Leon

    You’ve made some good points, Chris. I’ve been shooting revolvers for thirty years. However, last year I bought a Sig P250sc because it was the most “revolverish” autoloader I could find, and 12 +1 should be better than 6 + none, right? I shoot it well enough, but I shoot my S&W model 64 2″ better. That gun points like my index finger and disappears in AIWB, unlike the Sig. I was considering picking up a spare Sig, but they are now hard to find. It seems Sig is currently favoring the sexy, “new and improved” P320 for production priority. I’m sorry, but no amount of training is ever going to make me feel comfortable carrying a striker-fired pistol AIWB. Sure the P320 trigger is really good, but, to me, it feels like carrying a 1911 in condition 0 (cocked and unlocked), always a dumb idea, but even dumber for appendix carry. I might go back to carrying a K-frame and adding a J-frame BUG. Of course, that would mean intensive training drawing and firing the BUG from concealment. Old dog, new tricks? Maybe. It seems there is no universally perfect solution, just solutions that MIGHT be good enough for a given person the majority of the time.

    • I understand the reluctance to carry a striker fired pistol AIWB. Have you looked at any of the Sigs with the DAK trigger? It’s kind of a light double action. It’s available with the subcompact P224 and most of the other P22x series guns. Might be tough to track down, though. A Sig dealer would probably have to special order it for you.

      • Rod De Leon

        Thanks for the feedback, Chris. Yes, I had considered the P224 DAK. And you’re right, they are scarce. I’ve run across a couple in .40 S&W, but I’ve yet to see one in 9mm (capacity being the whole reason for the switch from revolvers, I want the 9). I don’t mind the weight of the all-metal Sigs because I’ve found that with AIWB weight becomes less of an issue. The price, however, is an issue, particularly as I’m not yet fully committed to the autoloader idea. The HK P30SK with the light LEM trigger looks intriguing, but, as you might have guessed, I’m not what folks would call an early adopter. Also, the capacity is but 10 + 1 of 9mm (there’s that capacity thing again). I might wait to see if Sig plans to drop the P250. If so, I might suck it up and track down a 9mm P224 or possibly a P229 DAK–high class, you know, for bottom feeders.

  • Mark Holcomb

    If you depend on a revolver alone, you need more firepower. Yes, I was the ‘one gun’ man with one semiauto rifle between 1996 and 2007. Now I keep loaded a wonder 9, a 1911A1, and an AK-47. I hope to add eventually both a Rossi Circuit Judge, and a 9mm carbine/UZI. Think defending a Boer Farmstead or a WWI trench or a WWII pillbox. A PMR30 G2 is also possible. A brace of quality revolvers runs $900.00. My Wonder 9 is Canik TP 9 with 17 rounds of 9mm JHP. $340.00 at Cabela’s and its magazines and ammo are readily available, unlike the .327 magnum of recent infamy. Historically, Frank Hamer, Winston Churchill, and T.R; and they all got semiauto pistols after their first brush with combat, too. The trenches of WWI proved the revolver to be less reliable than the semiauto pistol, also. I personally seen a revolver to jam. Proper cleaning cured that mess, but any self defense weapon should be religiously maintained. Using a revolver as a part of a weapons system is indeed sensible. Get a plan and get prepared, and thrive!

    • Barefoot in MN

      good advice! I had shot a few rounds with my backup gun each month, just enough to let my hand remember “oh, wait, the barrel release goes the other way in this gun”…. then when using it as my gun of choice for a training session, it failed! many times! turned out the star was rounding on the edges. I was NOT happy but at least I found out in a non-self-defense situation. It’s at the gunsmith’s now. Training does indeed reveal things that need to be addressed. be safe —

  • Ray

    Of course with the move to sub sub-compact semi-autos, we’re back to 6 + 1 or 8 + 1 with an extended magazine. Most men and women who carry concealed will never find themselves in an extended fire fight, unlike those who carry a gun for a living. I’m often amused by this argument simply because for most of us it is an unrealistic scenario.

    • Yes, any of the above arguments could apply to the lower capacity semi-autos, with the possible exception of the reloads. As you said, an “extended firefight” involving a civilian is extremely unlikely. But attacks by 2-3 assailants are not rare. In a scenario like that, there is a big difference between an 8+1 semi-auto and a 5-shot snubby.

      • Tyler M

        The other thing is this. Things happen. Often at the WORST possible time. Base plate falls off, cartridge doesn’t strip clear of the mag and feed into the chamber properly, I could go on for ever of things that have happened ON THE RANGE.

        ON THE RANGE you don’t worry about somebody shooting back at you. OFF the range is another story.

        Ray? If your semi auto is so damn small that you can only carry one with a small capacity of 6+1 or 8+1? You need a new way to carry. I can carry a full size handgun (Glock 20 10mm Auto with a 15 round mag and a +2 on it inside a rather small suit and people thought it was a cell phone. Lots of other options too. I’ve gotten even BIGGER handguns in suits tailor made for concealed carry. The HK Mark 23 isn’t exactly small!

    • Marine Gunner

      Perhaps but if this is your true belief, there is no reason to carry at all. Just don’t. The very point of carrying a pistol, which is expensive, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, is to save your life and your family’s lives if and when the circumstance arises. We carry spare tires in our cars for similar reasons. Would you purposely carry a flat spare? No. Then why would you purposely carry an ineffective pistol?

  • Ewasher@cox.net

    If you want power get a s.&w 600. 50 cap, 500 gr.bullet

  • Earl Tower

    All good advice. I will have to weight conceal carry options again in the light of thinking along these lines.

  • MS

    That’s why I carry 15+1 in .40 on my hip (with another 15 on deck) and 5 .38spc on my ankle.

    • Wibbins

      What the hell do you do

  • Tom Eastman

    I distill down to one issue. My wife knows how to use it.

    • Marine Gunner

      That is precisely why I bought my wife a Glock 23; no manual safety. Just point center of mass and start pulling the trigger.

  • jimmarch

    This is why I upgraded my six-shot revolver to magazine feeding and gas-powered auto shell ejection. I carry with five in the cylinder and two in the short “carry mag” for seven out of the holster with auto switchover between cylinder and mag feeding. My two reload mags are 9rd and a foot long each – tubes that plug into a new home in the rear of the frame and inject rounds into the back of the very conventional cylinder… and if I sense trouble coming I Can swap the 2rd mag for the 9 for 14 rounds on tap.

    Yes, I’m serious… it’s probably the most tacticool single action revolver ever, rivaled only by Sedgeley’s custom SAAs that had quick-swap cylinders back in the 1920s…

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/03/03/maurice-frankenruger-magazine-fed-revolver/

  • 4x4moses

    In the 80s and early 90s, I was a small-town cop. My department allowed only .38 or .357 revolvers, and no more than 24 rounds of spare ammo (30, including the loaded weapon). Even with speed loaders and speed strips, and constant practice, high-stress reloading was slow and laborious. Our state trooper counterparts were even slower, equipped only with 12-round belt loops! Even though I love my wheel guns on the range, I’d never carry a revolver on duty again.

  • 4x4moses

    Having entered the weapons world as a “wheel-gunner,” I was slow to adopt a semi-auto. As soon as the “no safety” pistols came to market, I bought one – and I will never go back to a revolver for defensive use. All my revolvers stay locked away; but my pistols are strategically placed for easy access.

  • Scott Wilson

    Seems that the number of rounds and calibers were mentioned but not bullet type.In reality #2 the officer was using a 45 caliber bullet which was in all likelihood ball ammo or semi wad cutters since police are not allowed to use hollow points in most departments. Without proper expansion of the bullet all you are doing is punching neat little holes in your attacker.

    • Tyler

      Uh, I’d like to see any documentation that shows most police can’t carry HP??? I have worked with multiple police departs through Nevada, Arizona, Washigton, and Utah… All of those departments and states issue ONLY HP ammo, I think the opposite applies here that it was likely HP ammo and not ball…

  • Brandon Eichenlaub

    I carry a S&W .357. I carry that because I know it will fire. We have all had misfires. That round that just doesn’t fire. With a semi, you now have to rack a new round. With my revolver I can just keep pullin that trigger. It WILL fire. Now there are some of you that will ask why not buy better ammo? I don’t care what brand of ammo you buy, you cannot guarantee that you will not have a misfire. I do not intend on being that one in a million case that dies because of it.

    • Tyler M

      You lose 1 in 6? That leaves you with 5. I got 15 and because I look after my hardware and don’t by shitty ammunition? I don’t have a problem. I can rack just as fast as somebody with a double action revolver can pull the trigger BECAUSE revolvers fire in double action. So it’s a longer stroke which means more time consumed. Time you already don’t have if you find yourself in a gun fight.

      • phil

        In my area we also have four legged attackers, it’s rare but when someone is attacked they will instinctively block their face with one arm. Try racking a slide one handed while the other is being gnawed on. In the same manner if one is within arm’s reach of a bipedal attacker they may be restraining one arm, or at least you will be using it to put distance between the two of you. As you said in another reply, on the range we experience many malfunctions, all require both hands to clear with an auto, 5 reliable shots still beat 1 with a bunch of maybes.

        • Tyler M

          Proper training. It’s all about knowing your gear. I absolutely know how to rack with just one hand/arm because I trained with Israelis. I can shoot faster with a semi auto, I can reload faster, I can follow up much easier, a higher capacity for multiple attackers and the hand is not taking the full recoil of the shot.

        • Clarkward

          Seriously, if you can’t rack the slide on a 1911 one-handed, you’ve not trained with it enough.

          • phil

            I guess I shouldn’t have said you can’t, the point I was making was that under the circumstances it becomes difficult. It also induces a possible risk of accidental discharge injuring yourself. Practicing those techniques on the range is one thing, but being jumped, ending up on the ground in a ground n pound situation is a whole different thing. Bad guys don’t like fair fights, they will pick the time when your most vulnerable. They will only strike if they have a perceived advantage, numbers, size or surprise. So don’t assume anything about what you can accomplish, when you’ve been hit in the back of the head and have someone 100# heavier on you, things change. A revolver can be powerful and tiny, like my LCR .357, in those situations it is simpler to be able to press it to them a keep squeezing.

            When people carry as part of their job, they have the right to be in either a drawn or ready position and give orders to someone deemed a threat. Civilians however can get into a lot of legal hassles, or may escalate the situation if they are quick to draw on and make demands on those who haven’t attacked them. So all the examples of LEOs and their duty pistols aren’t relatable, their backup weapons perhaps. This is why I only have focused on the scenarios I mentioned where you are severely disadvantaged, and being assaulted. The liberals want us to blow a rape whistle and wet our pants while waiting for police, anything more and they want our heads for excessive force.(Zimmerman vs von Martin, Zimmerman was on the ground when he fired and he still was prosecuted and persecuted)

            For home defense that’s different, I believe a handgun is just for fighting your way to a more substantial weapon. I’m not a huge shotgun fanatic, but pumps have a lot going for them, various loads, tactical-topoff reloading, reduced collateral damage to neighbors, etc. I have my LCR & gp100 357’s handy, to get to an 8rd Mossberg500 with bucknball. If for some reason this is inadequate I’d grab my rra and beta with a 100rds of m855. Unless I got someone covering my six, I doubt being alive beyond that if my adversary is that determined. But if so, my m70ab2 with a few 75rd drums could keep me going til the situation comes to end. So I don’t hold much stock in handguns, they are what they are. They aren’t a primary weapon, but a secondary. I view them as a lifeboat, and reloading them like asking passing ships for supplies when adrift rather than a ride. Some people seem to feel they need their lifeboat supplied for a Sir Ernest Shackleton type 800mi journey.

            I’ve got three autos and hold them with little regard. If you like yours and shoot well with it that’s great, I just don’t think people should think capacity and reloading speed are the highest priorities in a SD gun. Reliability of both the platform and your ability to use come first, like billiards, it’s good to plan you next shots, but not at the expense of the first. I’d rather transition than reload.

          • Tyler M

            I’ve many cases of shootings where police HAD OTHER WEAPONS available to them in the shooting but didn’t get to them or weren’t able to get them. The rule is simple: What you have on you when all hell breaks loose is what you’re gonna have after the dust settles. Not 100% of the time but 98% of the time.

            Another case I present to you. A man was shot by NYPD 21 times in a shooting in Harlem and he survived even the worst of it. A quick search and you can find many, MANY MORE CASES just like this. All of which WILL PROVE BEYOND ALL DOUBT a wheel gun is no longer up to the standard.

            I’m sorry but this is not the 70’s or the 80’s. The manufacturers have got the memo about magazine problems YEARS AGO. You’re living in the distant past.

            You are NOT going to know if the suspect is wearing armor, if he’s high or if you even struck a vital area, which during such an erratic and fast paced incident??? IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL until after its long over.

            I tell you this. You get one life. Just ONE LIFE. You gonna chance it and HOPE the suspects are dead? Or you gonna make sure?

            In Israel??? You take NOTHING FOR GRANTED. You make sure the attacker is effing DEAD.

          • phil

            In my area home invasions are more common attacks, assaults in public are rare. So when I speak of backups, or going for more firepower it’s in my own home.
            I’ve never said or implied that it doesn’t sometimes require many more rds than a revolver holds. I also don’t believe someone can reload a revolver under duress effectively.
            What you aren’t grasping is that in many of the places in the US where you’re more likely to be assaulted, 10rds is the max, in some it’s 7.

            Another is that people won’t carry a full size everywhere they’d take a compact.
            The next is that people don’t maintain and practice enough. I agree it’s necessary, so are eating right, exercising, practicing safer sex… People fail at all of that which has daily consequences, yet you expect them to train like the mossad(who wouldn’t need a gun in many assaults anyway) for an event they don’t think about and rarely occurs.
            I haven’t said you’re wrong, it just is about getting something in peoples hands to give them a chance, how awesome your gun at home is or how reliable it would be if they maintained it, or how capable it would be if they trained with it, doesn’t matter when people are people.

          • Tyler M

            we don’t take anything for granted. just because its not common doesn’t mean a damn thing. There are all kinds of ways to hide a full size handgun too. no excuse for having less than 12 rounds and that’s with a .45.

          • phil

            First off, Israel 8m people, the US 320m, so people reading this are 40x likely to be from US. Of the 320m, 75m or roughly 25% are legally restricted to 10rds by state laws. Others vary from 12-15. Some states have local municipalities that restrict further.

            Some states, like Illinois(which allows full mags), make it illegal to be armed pretty much beyond your car or home( https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/illinois/ ). Where I live we carry what we want, but places that serve alcohol(whether you partake or not) are off limits. Almost weekly in the news are people arrested because someone noticed they were carrying and reported them. One recently was carrying a rifle from car to his residence. When officers responded, they found him drinking at his house, arrested him for handling a firearm while intoxicated.

            Why do say all that? Gun laws and public perception are getting crazy here. Concealment is very important for keeping your right to carry.
            An important thing for shooting handguns effectively is a good grip that fits your hand. A 10mm glock doesn’t fit me, and anything double stack 45 doesn’t fit most feminine hands. So the 3 extra rds over a 7rd revolver won’t justify the loss in control. 380 acp is the most common carry pistol now days, often with only 6rds, personally I’d rather have 5-6 of .357 with a hogue grip than a .380.

          • phil

            It gets chilly in winter by me, people complain constantly about it, and hide indoors being depressed those months. You tell them to wear warm clothes and they’ll be fine, they won’t because of the bulk, they’d rather not participate in life if that’s the option.

            For same reason even if they can, many won’t carry anything large because they don’t want to. As many have repeated here, something is better than nothing. If the capacity advantage is gone, the revolver loses nothing to an auto. Thats why my only gripe about the issue is people proclaiming it’s obsolescence, and that it has no place anymore. It’s people like you that push new shooters to a 6rd .380, when they may be better served by a .38 in the same size but more comfortable.

          • Tyler M

            They don’t understand the value? THAT IS THEIR PROBLEM. I have no sympathy towards them. The evidence is out and has been for ages.

            Trying to reload a revolver under extreme stress just isn’t practically feasible and with so many other options? There’s no point other than dangerous wild animals defense.

            You can easily find and even modify almost any firearm out there except for Desert Eagle and a few other examples to fit any hands. I have very small hands and I can manipulate and use almost any firearms out there.

            Sorry but there is no excuse. The gun industry has all kinds of tools and arms to use.

          • killerasteroid

            Your problem is that you are an absolutist. Most things in life are a trade off and here too there is a trade off but you don’t see it. Let me help you:

            The reality is that MANY people don’t like semi autos and if it were semi auto or nothing, they would opt to carry nothing. So, as with other trade offs in life, they carry a revolver instead which is far better than choosing to carry nothing. That’s the trade off. I can see that bothers you. Now that you recognize that carrying a revolver is better than carrying nothing, you can chill out and relax.

          • Tyler M

            it’s an absolutely old ancient stereotype. NOTHING MORE. You just don’t get it. Adrenaline. And after your 6 shots? YOU ARE EMPTY. Speedloaders fail thousands of times. Magazines don’t fail anywhere nearly as easily.

            It’s not me, it’s virtually EVERY SINGLE ARMY IN THE DEVELOPED NATIONS!!!! Except the UK which NEGLECTED their soldiers for decades and almost never issue sidearms at all.

            Just about every single police officer in almost all police agencies in the west carry semi autos.

            Your myths are horrendous and totally busted. GET OUT OF THE GODDAMN STONE AGE!!!

          • phil

            First off, Israel 8m people, the US 320m, so people reading this are 40x likely to be from US. Of the 320m, 75m or roughly 25% are legally restricted to 10rds by state laws. Others vary from 12-15. Some states have local municipalities that restrict further.

          • phil

            Some states, like Illinois(which allows full mags), make it illegal to be armed pretty much beyond your car or home( https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/illinois/ ). Where I live we carry what we want, but places that serve alcohol(whether you partake or not) are off limits. Almost weekly in the news are people arrested because someone noticed they were carrying and reported them. One recently was carrying a rifle from car to his residence. When officers responded, they found him drinking at his house, arrested him for handling a firearm while intoxicated.

            Why do say all that? Gun laws and public perception are getting crazy here. Concealment is very important for keeping your right to carry.

          • phil

            Some states, like Illinois(which allows full mags), make it illegal to be armed pretty much beyond your car or home. Where I live we carry what we want, but places that serve alcohol(whether you partake or not) are off limits. Almost weekly in the news are people arrested because someone noticed they were carrying and reported them. One recently was carrying a rifle from car to his residence. When officers responded, they found him drinking at his house, arrested him for handling a firearm while intoxicated.

            Why do say all that? Gun laws and public perception are getting crazy here. Concealment is very important for keeping your right to carry.

          • phil

            An important thing for shooting handguns effectively is a good grip that fits your hand. A 10mm glock doesn’t fit me, and anything double stack 45 doesn’t fit most feminine hands. So the 3 extra rds over a 7rd revolver won’t justify the loss in control. 380 acp is the most common carry pistol now days, often with only 6rds, personally I’d rather have 5-6 of .357 with a hogue grip than a .380.

          • Tyler M

            8 million people who are surrounded by over ONE BILLION MUSLIMS. Attacks virtually every single day and protesters and demonstrations who, given the chance can and WILL WREAK HAVOC!!!

          • phil

            You make my point exactly! Unlike our current administration, I was acknowledging your situation, and understand your need. That’s why I mentioned it, by sheer numbers of english speaking people, north americans are most likely reading this. We have different issues here, so when you say,”there’s no excuse for not carrying 12-20 rds”, well many people would be in prison if they did over here. I don’t agree with our laws, and feel they are unconstitutional. They will take everything away you wish to protect if you them though.

          • phil

            Our political and social climate towards firearms is based on many misconceptions spread by liberal media.

            Authoritarians in government want citizens disarmed, they hate the 2nd amendment granting us protection from them. Their loyal subjects believe only authorized and certified government officials should have guns to protect them. These are those who control most of our media. They preach to people who support gay rights, unions, abortion, and environmentalist & animal rights wackos. Those who follow liberal media distrust conservative media, and thus get misinformed on firearms, by unknowledgeable, ignorant individuals. They twist half truths, mix in emotion more than fact, all to sway public opinion to vote away freedom because of irrational misplaced fear.

            How this is relevant is, where you are in a physical “hard” war, we are in a “soft” war or one of the minds. Yours is a foreign enemy, ours are mostly domestic. Yours is defending your life, ours is defending our right to defend it. If we lose our freedoms we may find ourselves in your place.

            Liberals view murderers, rapists, and thieves as victims that society has failed. If we only gave them more, or better opportunities, they wouldn’t resort to crime. They believe in rehabilitation not punishment. They view the guns as the problem, certain types more than others. Capacity is often attacked as a reason why so many die in mass shootings, rather than addressing why so many were defenseless.

            Though they want all banned, revolvers and lever guns receive little flak. This is because they have “sportsmen” often on their side saying we don’t need high capacity for hunting. Defense, until recently, has never received much press(aside from negative). This is why many people view high capacity as the bad guys gun, and thus with disdain. Irrational, yes, but it’s up to gun owners change public opinion by taking nonshooters to the range. Let them try every type of firearm, whatever they like encourage them and help them. This will mean less vulnerable people, and more knowledgeable voters…a win for freedom.

          • killerasteroid

            So do something about it and nuke the bastards and quit talking about it!

          • killerasteroid

            OK, then why do the Israelis continue to let the mad man a few doors down continue to threaten them with annihilation?? Kind of makes that auto loader vs revolver issue look kinda meaningless, doesn’t it?

      • David Chapman

        You can’t rack a slide as fast as I can pull the trigger a second time. You know that as well as I do!

        • Tyler M

          On a revolver fighting against BOTH the trigger spring AND the cylinder itself? You still have a slower rate of fire and nobody dies in a single shot. Not counting a head shot but it’s next to impossible against a moving target.

          I get 15 or even more. You don’t get more than 6 on most wheel guns.

          • David Chapman

            If I’m pulling the trigger on any of my modern double action revolvers and I hit a dead chamber – and at the same time you are pulling the trigger on an automatic and have a FTF – its no contest. At the least, on a single action (1911 or whatever) you can pull back the hammer, pull the trigger again and pray. But you will most likely (999 out of 1000 times) have to rack the slide to clear the dead round. Which means you will have to drop the sights off your target, rack the slide and come back on target. Even if it’s an issue you can diagnose from looking at the weapon (stove-pipe, etc…) you have to rack the slide. I, on the other hand, keep pulling the trigger and the next round goes “bang”. All things being equal, on a Failure to Fire (FTF) I’m on the next shot much faster – even the Flash will loose that bet!

          • Tyler M

            Again, 1 shot is not anywhere NEAR ENOUGH to positively and absolutely END the threat. In the overwhelming majority of the time? It takes a lot more. Plus you STILL have not addressed MULTIPLE threats.

            I still have a better chance of survival OVERALL because of a double stack mag. The Israelis didn’t drop their revolvers just because autoloaders were trendy! They dropped them because they’re OBSOLETE.

            You’re lucky if you manage to stop ONE. I can stop one for sure and deal with a second. I don’t have to worry about the speedloader failing or releasing rounds PREMATURELY either. I don’t have to struggle with a speed strip, ZERO POSSIBILITY of burning myself on the forcing cone or forward edge of the cylinder chambers. No chance of finger slip either! I don’t have to worry about my fingers and/OR thumbs going up to the cylinder gap which will, AT MINIMUM, burn really badly and sever it at the WORST.

            A semi automatic will forgive what a revolver won’t. Especially when it comes to training new users who simply don’t have enough time to learn all of the extra techniques required to run a wheel gun.

            That and the hazards outlined above? Revolvers are not only obsolete but UNNECESSARILY DANGEROUS to a user without PLENTY of experience. Some people do NOT have the time it takes to perfect the skills needed. I can train someone in less than HALF the time to run a semi automatic AND be confident they will be not only SAFE but PROFICIENT.

          • David Chapman

            La de, la da. My Tuperwear Glock/super zoom 1911/Beretta de-cocker just stove-piped. Oh no; I have to rack the slide! But look at the revolver guy next to me. He had a dead cylinder. But he didn’t move his barrel. He’s pulling the trigger again – and it went boom!

            I have auto loaders and revolvers. The question between us was; who gets back on target faster with a misfire. You said you could get back on target faster with an auto. See my paragraph two above. Cut – paste – reread – end of discussion. AND – I’ll agree with you that I want to put more than one on target. BUT, if I have only one; I’ll pick a 357 over a 9 mm (or 40 S&W and actually a 45 ACP – but not a 357 SIG or 10 mm) any day. And now I will go look at the new Ahrends grips I bought for my 686 CS-1. Beautiful!

  • Kevin

    There is one very good reason to have a revolver, most people who buy a gun for self defense, never use it thankfully. You can leave a load revolver wrapped in oil cloth for ten years untouched and when you need it at lest one of those rounds will work.

  • Benjamin Cook

    Well written and thought out.

  • Bryan mccurley

    One thing you left out. I’ve been shooting competitively for over thirty years and have seen all brands of autos jam, and many more botched reloads with them. If I knew I were to be getting in a life or death situation it would be with my S&W performance center 8 shot revolver.

    • Marine Gunner

      I’ll bet I can tap, rack, and fire my Glock faster than you can reload your revolver and fire. And I’d bet my life on it. Would you? Of course my Glock COULD have a difficult malfunction to clear but then your revolver could as well. Everybody seems to think that revolvers never fail but that is a misconception; not true. I’ve fired hundreds of rounds through my Glock and through my Hk with zero failures of any kind. I’ll take my chances with my Glock and 13 rounds of .40 rather than a snub-nose and 5 rounds of .38+P any day. But that’s just me. What do I know?

  • jsl55

    I recently started shooting revolver in local competitions and enjoy it. A 2-1/2 second reload is very fast, much faster than me. I practice reloads with comp 3 speed loaders and find it difficult to make it in anything around 3-1/2 – 4 seconds after the “click” of an empty cylinder. I will keep practicing. Moon clips are faster, but nobody can realistically expect to ever be as fast as Jerry Miculek is at reloading a revolver. However, I can reload my semi-auto Glocks in under 1-1/2 seconds from a belt mounted pouch, and then have 10 more rounds (Commiefornia) if needed. I always carry 1 or 2 extra magazines in case of a magazine failure or additional rounds are needed.

  • phil

    The revolver vs auto? I’ve got both, yes auto may hold more and it may take that many to end the fight. Compacts, that you’re more likely to have with you when needed, don’t have a real capacity advantage and are usually in less powerful chamberings. When being attacked it’s natural to have one hand occupied by the attacker. If you have an awkward grip on an auto you may limp wrist it causing a malfunction, now your 15rd auto is a single shot. A revolver, if it needs to be cleared needs only another squeeze of trigger, unlike racking a slide requiring 2 hands.

    My best friends LEO brother just recently had been assaulted by a bad guy with a knife, he required 10 rds center mass from his 45 acp using hollow points to stop his attacker. So yes more rounds may be necessary, not every situation is the same. But when you compare a LEO to civilians it’s different because an officer more on the offense than civilians. This means a level of preparedness going in to the situation rather than simply reacting to someone or animal with the element of surprise in its favor.

    I just feel a revolver has the better odds of getting multiple rounds off. Besides shooter induced malfunctions, autos are more likely to have failures. My glock 22 just have 2 mags fail to feed last week the most rounds I got in a row were 3 or 4 out of 30.

    • Tyler M

      I don’t need to rack the slide. I drop it instead and get back to pumping lead. Don’t have a malfunction. If you look after your hardware like you’re supposed to? Won’t be an issue and you won’t have to rack. If you have a malfunction with a revolver? You’ve lost 1 out of 5 or 6 possible rounds (i.e. don’t buy shitty ammo) which means less lead you are throwing down range. If your semi auto malfunctions SOLELY because of limp wristing? You’ve got a shitty handgun. Get your money back or take it in to the armorer and get it fixed. Or better yet? Train with somebody who actually knows what the hell they’re doing.

      Nir Maman. Israeli. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKAafsWg3lk

  • Aurelian

    I feel very comfortable carrying my revolver. S&W model 10 using the chicago load. Two speedloaders.

    • Tyler M

      Then you didn’t really do any soul searching after reading this.

      • Aurelian

        Easy for people to type on a keyboard. Dont tell me what did or didnt do. I dont need to justify to u.

        • Tyler M

          No you need to justify it to yourself. Revolvers are a thing of the past. Only acceptable as last ditch with exception for bear defense. I can put 15 rounds down range with a Glock 20 in the same time it takes somebody to shoot a .44 revolver loaded with full power magnum cartridges. Probably less. And as was stated? Nobody has managed to pull off a high stress reload of a revolver without great difficulty under the same stress. Relies too much on fine motor skills.

          Israelis studied this extensively and had plenty of opportunities to do the same in live fire environments thanks to over 65 years of constant chaos interrupted with periods of full scale war. You lose all fine motor skills and there’s too many other things that can go wrong executing a revolver reload. Most frequently the malfunction is the means of reloading itself. The speedloader not being properly inserted or the speedloader prematurely releasing the rounds.

          In a gun fight? Your right hand isn’t going to wait for your left hand. Your body goes into sub-conscience mode. Survival kicks in and it wants to throw everything out there it can to survive. The Israelis know well what they’re talking about.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKAafsWg3lk

          • You got it. I don’t own it yet, but I’ve spent time shooting a FN 5.7 with a 20 bullet mag, and I just love that gun. Light recoil, extremely precise, precise shot placement, three mags gives you 60 rounds, ideal! Expensive gun though

    • ZENPATRIOT

      I am familiar with the FBI load – 158 gr. LSWHP +P; and the Treasury load – 110 gr. SJHP +P; but what is the Chicago load?

      • Aurelian

        Its the same as the FBI load.

  • justwine

    Good thought provoking article. Best weapon is the one you have ready. You can’t be ready for all possible contingencies, 1-10 attackers, but maybe hit the first bad guy and you can flee to a safer position. A S&W M+P 40 cal, can hold 15 rounds. That’s crowd control with a couple extra clips 45 rounds should give you some time to retreat.

  • phil

    You’re continually running down everyone on this comment board for THEIR choices in protection, which is a very personal choice. You’re coming at everyone from a combat training with a full size doublestack paradigm, this isn’t reality for most people for SD.

    If you know many LEOs you’d know they aren’t all gun fanatics, in fact some are antigun. If you talk with LEO armorers they sometimes talk of their frustration with officers lack of maintenance and practice. They have trouble getting them to practice, as a result some struggle to pass qualifications. This is especially true if it is on their own time and dime. When those who carry for a living, with their life on the line daily don’t put forth the effort, what’s the chance a mother of three will schedule time between doctor appointments, soccer, track, and dance class? Doesn’t she still have the right to have gun to protect herself and children? Many attackers have fled at the sight of a gun so she may still be effective.

    I agree with you about the need for training, maintenance, and that situations sometimes require more firepower. The reality is that people don’t train enough, or take care of their weapons. Often the only mags they have came with the gun and might sit loaded for a year or more unfired. You may be able to conceal a desert eagle 50, but a 5′ sub 100# gal would be quite limited in wardrobe with anything but a compact. So if someone has a 6rd compact with one spare mag, both have been loaded for 2yrs. Reliability of those mags would be questionable, a revolver would be fine though. In many places now laws limit capacity anyway. The advantages of an auto are capacity and fast reloads. The popularity of subcompacts and the way I see people utilize them negates any advantage. If they don’t maintain them they are less reliable. So why not a revolver for them?

    This isn’t about what you do and why they should too. It’s about what they will do. There’s plenty of unused previously owned exercise equipment, because people know what they want and need to do, but don’t. Revolvers can simply be left loaded and neglected for longer periods of time without detriment, except for hang fires. If they malfunction usually you keep squeezing(assuming the gun has no timing issues from whether factory defect or wore out) simple for an unskilled person in a high stress environment.

    • Tyler M

      Look, it’s TOUGH. Tough love. I just don’t accept that somebody should trust their lives to a pea shooter! Okay? I just don’t find that acceptable when you have guys out there who’ve been shot over 20 times by police and STILL SURVIVE! Take a look: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/harlem-shootout-gunman-lived-21-shots-broke-record-forensic-expert-article-1.203631

      Or this guy in Chicago! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qaYu8JMG60

      So having 6 just DOES NOT WORK!!!

      It’s tough love, okay? People have to got to wake up to this new reality because these kinds of incidents where people survive a lot more lead than they used to are INCREASING!

      The absolute ONE AND ONLY WAY for a revolver to actually work in today’s threat environment? Is the New York way. That is to say, the New York Reload.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUxYXwbP3nI

      Plus it’s ALWAYS better to have two. You know what they all say? 2 is 1 and 1 is none. If you got NONE in a gunfight? YOU DEAD!

      • ZENPATRIOT

        What you find acceptable is irrelevant to what others choose to defend themselves with. You may be right in everything you wrote, but your addittude is condescending and dismissive. It’s FRIENDS don’t let friends carry mouse guns…not anonymous pontificators on the internet.

    • Marine Gunner

      Truth:
      1) Any gun is better than no gun.
      2) If you rely on the bad guy running at the sight of a gun, all you need is a plastic replica; they’re lighter and there is no possibility of an AD.
      3) the presumption for carrying is a real attack and you being able to get your gun out in time to use it.
      4) at this point, your life relies on the piece you chose in the gun store on that fateful day.
      5) when the time comes, you will not be wishing that you had chosen the smaller, lighter, smaller caliber, cheaper pistol; you will be wishing that you had picked the Desert Eagle in .44 Mag with a 200round magazine.
      6) life is hard. It’s harder when you’re stupid.

      • phil

        I’m sorry I didn’t clarify, I would never imply that it is a good idea to plan on scaring off an attacker. If you pull a gun you should plan on using it, if you don’t have to it’s a good thing. Statistics show that quite often it happens that way, but it’s dangerous to rely on that. My mention of it is just make the point that even an unfired gun in someones hand often is enough, and something is always better than nothing.

      • killerasteroid

        General comment not directed at Gunner but rather at forum comments in general: I would think there is much less of a chance of an accidental firing with a revolver and that’s why people use them, that and easy to carry and knowing that it’s “pull the trigger and it fires”.

        The 99% solution is that you either have a gun of any sort to dissuade an attacker or you don’t. The mere sight of the gun (semi auto or revolver) is the first line deterrent. Using it is last line deterrent.

        Revolvers are also easy to pocket carry with no holster. Not saying more shots in a semi automatic is not better, just that there is a gun for every person. It makes no sense to say or imply that a person with say, a 357 5 or 6 shot revolver is somehow “not armed” or has done someone a disservice by carrying a revolver vs a semi automatic. Save that type of rhetoric for those who carry NO type of gun…….. 🙂

  • Marine Gunner

    I’m a Marine combat vet and long time shooter, including 1st Marine Division Rifle-Pistol Team and USPSA. I’ve tried about everything from .22 LR to .44 Magnum. For concealed carry, I first tried .44 Magnum S&W because I understand that all handguns are a compromise between throwing rocks and carrying a rifle. After spending time practicing with the .44, I concluded three things: 1) It has such heavy recoil that second-shot placement is seriously compromised. 2) having only six shots provides little or no margin for misses and, even though I might be considered an excellent shot and capable CQC shooter who is not easily rattled, achieving reliable double taps on multiple assailants in a real gunfight is highly unlikely with only six rounds in the hopper. 3) finally, no matter how much I practiced with my speed loader, adequately fast reloads were approachable but not reliably achievable. The “fumble-factor” was huge. Then, I bought a very nice and reliable Barerta 92 and carried it for a couple of years. It holds 15+1, which is great but even though I love the handling characteristics, I kept reading police stories about how ineffective the round proves to be in actual combat. Then, extensive U.S. Military reports concluded the same thing. So, I concluded that “nines” are inadequate and, contrary to urban legend, some rounds definitely have more stopping power than others. So, reliability being paramount, I bought and carried an Hk USP .45, possibly the best quality, most reliable handgun made, and loaded it with Federal Premium Hydra-Shok JHP. I would take this bad boy in any gunfight anywhere, anytime but it is a big, heavy pistol. When my wife decided to get her CHL, I needed a pistol that better suited her; smaller, lighter, simple to use, and reliable. I took her to a gun store and looked at s dozen or more pistols that meet these criteria and she chose a Glock 23 G4 in .40 S&W; a capable round with good stopping power. I’ve never been a fan of Glocks because they’re “ugly” but I have to say that shooting this pistol completely changed my opinion. I love this pistol. It is the easiest to shoot, easiest pointing, fastest recovery for multiple shots, “bullet hose” that I’ve ever fired in my life. It may be the perfect carry piece. Now, we both carry a Glock 23. It also comes with two spare mags, which is perfect.

  • John Brenner

    Just read through the discussions a and will agree with many of the presentations. Requesting practical suggestions for a pocket revolver to include the .22Mag.
    I carry a Walther PK380 with SJHP Ammo.
    Due to arthritis in both hands and thumbs, I am recoil restricted and with a revolver would use a DAO.
    I am a former member of the Single Action Shootiing Society and shot Ruger 45 Cal
    until “Uncle Arthur” intervened!
    Helpful suggestions appreciated!
    Johnny Ringo

  • John Brenner

    For information/clarification the posting using “Johnny Ringo”. is John Brenner

  • Jem

    Revolvers? pea shooters? You do realize revolvers are trusted by many over autos, and have saved many a life. One good revolver, 2 or 3 speed strips, problem solved. Nothing beats reliability of revolver.

    • Tyler M

      You mean “nothing beats running empty after 5 or 6 shots. You look after your gear? It looks after you. I have NEVER had a problem with ANY semi automatic handgun as long as I did proper maintenance and chose proper ammunition.

      Remember what Mr Ayoob said about trying to reload under extremely stressful conditions. Not to mention countless other instructors and vets of LE and military.

      A terrorist was shot a total of 15 TIMES with hollow points by an Israeli police officer at point blank and there was absolutely NO EFFECT ON THE TARGET!!!

      YOU ARE NOT JERRY MICULEK!!! You are not going to be able to reload easily. The Miami shootout with the FBI was covered in detail by Mr Ayoob as well. This was the end of revolvers in law enforcement.

      • Jem

        Your bias, and it’s obvious. Nobody needs to be Jerry. Practice makes perfect. I know what happens under stress. Many people using AUTO guns also know. Like I said, nothing beats a revolver…nothing. Ol’ reliable is just that. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been at a range and have witness auto jam. Good, clean automatics jamming. The revolver? Flawless. Keep reaching and spinning your bias logic.

        • Tyler M

          There is a reason why virtually every single military and law enforcement agency in the modern world no longer use them. Bias? Hardly. The only use a revolver has is as a backup or last ditch gun or for bear defense if it’s AT LEAST .44 Magnum. THATS IT.

          I have NEVER had a problem that wasn’t attributed to faulty ammunition.

          Get out of the goddamn Stone Age.

        • Dudes, give it a rest. No one’s changing anyone’s mind here. I’d rather not have to shut down the comments on this post, but it’s heading in that direction if I have to keep deleting posts from people who can’t keep it civil.

      • killerasteroid

        Get real. That person struck 15 times is an aberration. Hit most any person point blank with a 38 or 357 once or twice and they are down if not retreating. You miss the point about the millions who, if a semi auto were the only choice, would elect to carry nothing because for whatever reason, they fear the complexity of a semi auto. Would you rather they not carry anything?

  • Gary

    I live in South Africa, where a large amount of crime is committed by suspects armed with AK47 rifles. And yes, almost always there is more than one attacker. I have a Colt Trooper Mk3 in .357. I took ownership of the weapon for one simple reason – it was all I could get/afford at the time.
    Am I comfortable with one 6 shots, even though I have two speedloaders? No. I would love a 15+ mag capacity. But given the laws in South Africa regarding gun ownership, and my bank balance, I would have to probably go through a period of time with no weapon at all to be able to afford a decent semi. So I make do with what I have and I train with it as often as possible. As the gentleman (the former Marine) said, any gun is better than none. And ultimately, personal choice will play a role. Do semi-auto pistols offer more advantages? Damn right. And this coming from a guy who loves his revolver – but I’m not blind.
    But are you wrong for carrying a revolver? No, as there are many, many different reasons affecting different people. These reasons affect the decisions they make. And yes, more training is always needed and recommended. But we should respect the fact that different people face different circumstances. And consequently, we do not always know the personal situations of people. Advice and more information is always welcomed, at least for me.
    One other thing – my revolver has saved my life four times. Each time I was lucky; I didn’t have to fire a shot. Situational awareness and the presence of my FA saved the day. But then, as we all know, not one situation is exactly the same as the other. Go with what you can get, train with it as much as possible, do research, practice what you see shown in videos by professionals and look after your equipment.

  • Barefoot in MN

    when they make an auto pistol whose slide I am capable of racking, I will buy it. Till then I have to make do with a revolver because those damn springs in autos are too damn strong for my hand. Hey manufacturers, are you listening ?

      • Barefoot in MN

        that’s a great site – one of my favorites. & yes — I recently did have the fun & fortune to try out three different auto, courtesy of 2 kind fellow shooters at the gun range. It was fun; & they showed me how to rack the way that site does… but still my left hand ached for a couple days afterwards, & I only sent a dozen rounds through each gun. My weak hand was injured some time ago & has never been quite the same since. I liked the XD best…maybe someday I can find a pistol I can rack. I came darn close at a gun show once with a Sig Sauer, but couldn’t quite spring for it at that time.So I will keep looking. Thanks for the reply. 🙂

  • killerasteroid

    Again, many people feel more comfortable with a revolver and being armed with one does not make that person not value their life just because someone chooses not to accept others using a revolver. The main point is you either have a gun or you don’t. Anything beyond that is the secondary issue that we can argue about for years on end till the cows come home. The only topic seen more often in forums than this issue is in the “oil” forums for cars where they argue ENDLESSLY about one being better than the other. Hey, you either use oil or you don’t. Beyond that most major oils will work great in most cars. Same for most guns for the majority of self protection issues.

    As to the more practical point: many people are not comfortable using a semi automatic. For whatever reason (sliders, safety, clips, you name it) they rightfully do not want to have to remember that much to use a gun like this. Yes, to you and me it’s a no brainer but to them, they want the safety and ease of using a revolver. Pull trigger, gun fires. Drop gun, gun does not fire. Fits in pants pocket, small footprint, easy to access, no holster required, easy to load, no clip required, etc. Pretty simple.

    Bottom line: If the choice were semi auto or nothing, they would opt for nothing. We should all be thankful that millions of people who, for whatever reason, fear the complexity of a semi automatic gun choose to at least arm themselves with a revolver…. of any kind and of any capacity.

  • killerasteroid

    Chris, good article but you left out the trade off issue that haunts most decision making in life. Often there is not a best decision or a one size fits all solution. Same here. Many people for whatever reason don’t like the perceived complexity of a semi auto. Note the word “perceived”. For some there are too many moving parts and actions required to fire the weapon. Instead they like the ease of a revolver. If semi auto were the only choice many would elect to not carry. We should all be thankful that the world is a better place with their decision to carry a revolver over nothing at all.

  • slackercruster

    Great article!
    I like autos, but have had lots of jams with various guns. Ball ammo seems reliable more so than self-defense ammo from my limited tests. I pretty much use revolvers around the house now. Wife has a hard time with all guns except a .22 Snubby. I wish they still made .32 mag S&W snubs, maybe that would suit her for a carry gun. She can shoot the .380 auto if I load it for her and charge it. But she tends to hit the mag button and drop the mag after the first shot.

    • Cole Fuqua

      They have a 327 federal 6 shot ruger Lcr
      Also a 22 magnum 7 shot ruger and S&W
      Might be worth taking a look at for her.

  • Clive

    Wow! This is definitely the very best artcile on the argument of pistol over revolver. Your approach is impartial and immensely knowledgable. I am book-marking this page to pass on to my friends. I would say for a die hard revolver guy, he should always carry a revolver/snubby (such Charter arms 9mm, for ammo commonality) as a first gun for sure that it will work in a quick draw, and carry a second pistol (glock 19/26) for ammo capacity/back up. He/she won’t need mon clips or ammo strips for the 9mm revolver, just use Glock magazine to reload if the Glock malfunctions. One of each, the best of both worlds and no more if’s, yes’s and but’s! And as for devoted pistol guns, just carry 2 pistols using the ammo and magazine, yes- it is Glocks for reliability.

  • Thadeous Plinkton

    I carry both. My primary is a J-frame .38 riding in the front pocket and my G30 tucked underneath.
    And I’m feeling good.

    The guru’s will tell you not to switch back and forth to different platforms, which I agree to a certain extent, unless you keep that muscle memory in practice cause both handle differently as well as work differently.

    But it works for me and I feel very comfortable knowing my odds look good that one or the other is going to fire. I simply will never completely trust a semi-automatic but a Glock is about as close to reliability as a revolver is.

    My .38 is the quicker draw for me from the front pocket which there is no better carry position or draw for that matter. That .38 is to get them off of me or get me to cover and or buy some time.

    Then I draw the heat.
    And unload on them like Armageddon..

  • Logan Waltz

    Moral of the story: Only carry a high capacity rifle. Only carry a pistol if you can’t carry a long gun.

    It’s great that they make an article to say only reasons not to carry a revolver. A revolver is better than nothing. A gun you shoot better is superior to a gun you shoot worse. Why didn’t the article talk about how if you don’t carry a Glock you are also wrong? After all, the odds of any other handgun having a failure that can get you killed is often excessively high.

    Idiot article fails to point out… If you are outgunned, gtfo and use your gun to help you gtfo. Do not stay in a gunfight if you don’t have to. Reloading… How about leaving?

  • jimkimmons

    I don’t really see a comparison between the revolver and the common single stack carry small gun these days. I prefer a six shot small revolver (LCR .327) to a 6+1 semi-auto. Yes, I can reload a magazine faster than a revolver speed loader, but I don’t worry about my revolver going bang when I pull the trigger.

  • opinionated

    I really appreciate this discussion. I am a new gun owner. 🙂 My first weapon, I selected a Ruger LCRx 3″. Yes, I carry it. I also consider it to be a “starter” gun. I look forward to investigating semi-auto’s. Thank you again, for sharing your wisdom and experience.

  • camdogify

    Two .45s and a .32 upstairs. A .38 snub and a 7.62×25 Tok downstairs.

  • Leonknight

    Super Redhawk .454 Casull with 300 grain JHP rounds. Aim for center mass of the target.

    If six well placed shots isn’t enough with those bear stopping rounds, then nothing is.