In a time where semi-auto pistols seem to dominate the shooting world, revolvers are sometimes treated like a forgotten step child. Let’s face it, in this day and age wheel guns just aren’t seen as cool and there is no shortage of younger shooters who consider them obsolete as fighting guns. Personally, when I think of revolver shooters, I think of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, real men, not some wimpy Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis with their terrible Beretta pistols. Just kidding! Beretta makes a fine pistol, the actors on the other hand, ehh…
Here is the main thing about revolvers; they are very reliable, but not infallible. I still get my share of revolvers in the shop for repair but unlike semi autos they are nowhere as susceptible to shooter induced malfunctions. Yep! That’s what I said, shooter induced malfunction. I’ll go over this later on when we discuss mid size semi auto’s, but it is possible for a shooter to cause their pistol to malfunction by not utilizing proper grip technique (one of the few things I can’t fix at my bench!). Revolvers, alternatively, can be shot one handed and upside down with your pinky pulling the trigger. If you can give them a few pounds of pressure, they go bang! There is only one way that I know of that the shooter can induce a malfunction on a revolver and that’s by short stroking the trigger. If the trigger is not allowed to move completely through its full range of motion between shots, it is possible for the hand or pawl to bind in its window or on the ratchet. It isn’t a common problem though and is usually experienced by those who do not have the finger strength to pull the trigger on a double action revolver or those that are trying to shoot as fast as Jerry Miculek (Google his name you’ll be impressed). The good news for those individuals is that most popular revolvers can be tuned, timed, and the triggers can be lightened. The exception to these modifications would be the new polymer frame revolvers and most rimfire revolvers. For what it’s worth, if you scratched your head when I was talking about pawls and ratchets earlier, you should have a gunsmith do this for you. Many classic revolvers have died a gruesome death on the kitchen table, so if you have a quality gunsmith near you, let him help!
Now for the icing on the cake! If you can’t find what you want in a revolver, it can’t be found period. Revolvers come in as many configurations as semi auto’s pistols. Modern revolvers are built from synthetic polymers, steels, aluminum, titanium, and even more exotic materials like scandium. They can be aimed with fixed or adjustable sights, with tritium of hi-viz inserts, plus a wide variety of lasers are available for all of the top selling models. Grips are plentiful, and whether you are chasing hard functionality or old world craftsmanship, there are few sweeter moments than when the right grip gets installed on your wheel gun. Some folk complain about capacity and reload speeds, but 5-8 rounds will probably be more than you need statistically speaking, and just remember, revolvers protected good guys against the Nazis, the KKK, and New York Mob in the 70’s. If they could be used against those threats, who are we to say it can’t keep up?
One of my favorite revolvers to carry is the Smith and Wesson 642. It’s light, hammerless and is chambered in 38 special. Because of its internal hammer, this revolver can be brought to use from inside a coat pocket. I can’t think of any other defensive handgun that can be so ready to use while being totally reliable. A semi auto will probably grab loose material and jam, if it isn’t pushed out of battery first, and I doubt that the slide will operate unhindered anyway. In this case, five (bullets) in the hand is certainly better than 15 in the bush (or on the belt). If you see me leaving my favorite store with my hand in my pocket, now you know why. Total concealment, reliability, and ready at a moments notice? Please, tell me how superior your semi-auto poly wonder gun with its giant ammo supply is better when its safely tucked in your belt snug under your jacket.
Revolvers are easier to maintain, require less training, gobble up whatever ammo you feed them and that’s why I think they are the most reliable handgun bar none. If that doesn’t make the perfect recipe for a conceal carry firearm, I don’t know what does.
Now! Get ya some!