Sunday, July 12, 2009

Handguns for Survival - Part One - Advantages of Revolvers

When choosing a handgun, there are several different factors that should be considered when deciding what will work the best in your set of circumstances. All the advantages and disadvantages should be carefully considered before making a decision about whether to purchase a revolver for defensive purposes.

Revolvers generally provide easier use and are less complex for the average person. This is especially true in the case of a new gun owner. Basically take aim and pull the trigger in the case of double action revolvers or cock the hammer and then pull the trigger in the case of single action revolvers. There is generally no safety or other complicated procedure to follow when using a revolver, although some single action revolvers employ a hammer block mechanism as a safety.

Revolvers also provide a great deal of reliability for the average person. Malfunctions rarely occur in revolvers and rounds which fail to fire can usually be cleared by merely pulling the trigger which will cycle the cylinder and place the next available round in a firing position. There are several types of malfunctions that are fairly common in semi-auto pistols that require more extensive actions on your part to clear a malfunction. Single action semi-auto pistols generally require you to rack the slide at a minimum to clear certain malfunctions. Double action semi-auto pistols will allow an additional impact on the firing pin if a round fails to fire and are better in this regard.

Revolvers can also be visually checked to see if they are loaded and loaded rounds are more easily seen in a revolver. Semi-auto pistols can still have a round chambered even with the magazine removed and will generally not be visible upon performance of a visual inspection.

Revolvers also have a very sturdy design which allows them to shoot more powerful handgun rounds. This allows for better stopping power with rounds that are generally designed for revolvers only. This is due in part to the generally heavier construction of revolvers. They can also be stored loaded for long periods of time without any problems due to weakened springs that can affect semi-auto pistol magazines.

Revolvers are also a reloader’s dream. The spent cartridges remain in the cylinder while spent cartridges in semi-auto pistols are ejected. No hunting for your brass required.

Revolvers also have a distinct advantage when it comes to cleaning your firearm. Most revolvers require little or no disassembly to clean them properly and are therefore easier to maintain and generally stand up better when proper cleaning is neglected. They also don’t require extensive knowledge of disassembly and reassembly procedures required by most semi-auto pistols. You also don’t have to worry about losing or misplacing critical parts when cleaning does become necessary.

For the new handgun owner, a revolver can be a good choice due to their ease of use, a generally heavier design which makes them more durable, limited problems with malfunctions which make them more reliable in many cases, and they will generally stand up to more abuse and neglect when proper cleaning doesn’t occur on a frequent basis which increases their sustainability.

These are just a few of the many factors that should be considered. Consult family members and friends about their handgun experiences and what has worked well for them. Many times you can avoid problems by doing a little research ahead of time. They can also usually recommend a competent gunsmith whom you can consult about any problems or questions you may have about a particular handgun, whether it is a revolver or a semi-automatic pistol.


Proper training in the use and care of your handgun is also a very important factor. Like any tool, you will need to have the proper training and knowledge to operate a handgun safely, effectively and with confidence in your abilities. Your knowledge, skill and training will ultimately influence the effectiveness of any handgun choice you may make. Learn and follow ALL safety guidelines at ALL times when using a handgun.

Handguns for Survival - Part Two covers some of the disadvantages of revolvers.

Staying above the water line!


17 comments: said...

There is certainly something to be said for less complicated mechanisms that can fail in the field. I tend to prefer this kind of simplicity because of the rough use my gear tends to get.

Mayberry said...

Yup, I like revolvers. Keep It Simple!!

The Other Mike S. said...

I teach a, "Which gun is right for me" class. Nine times out of ten, it's a revolver. People - mostly guys - like the look of a semi-auto, as well as their ability to hold more rounds, and buy on those grounds. That usually ends up being a mistake.

They don't take the time to practice regularly, and that can mean problems.

My women students tend to be more pragmatic, and say straight-up, "I'll only go to the range once or twice a year." Revolvers are the answer for all of those folks.

riverwalker said...


Revolvers do tend to be a little more forgiving when subjected to some minor abuse.Thanks Ron!


riverwalker said...

To: Mayberry

Simple and for me!


riverwalker said...

To: The Other Mike S.

Great to hear that you are teaching that class. The "macho" thing sometimes get in our way when we should be using a little common sense and be a little more practical in our decisions about which handgun we are going to use. Appreciate the insight about making a proper choice. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Great post RW. Revolvers are a lot more reliable.

Kentucky Preppers Network

riverwalker said...

To: matthiasj

Revolvers are extremely reliable but semi-auto pistols also have their place, so don't make the mistake of ruling them out. Thanks.


Ken said...

...i've used and trained with the auto-loaders almost exclusively,however,due to the times,i've recently aquired a Ruger GP101 in .357...i'm not a big fan of the wheelguns but,got to give credit where credit is due,it shoots real post...

riverwalker said...

To: Ken

Ruger GP101...nice gun! For myself and most likely the average person, revolvers make a lot more sense from a practical standpoint. Semi-autos are great also but without extensive training they are probably better left to those with experience in their use. Thanks Ken!


westside mom said...

Just today I took the 12 hour class to get my license to carry. I don't yet own a gun. Am getting the knowledge part first. The gun I am leaning toward is the Glock 17 which I rented for the class range time. I watched a woman use her revolver (don't know what kind) as she struggled to fire it. More importantly she was a new enough user that she didn't always know if all of the rounds had been fired. Using the Glock, I always knew when the mag was empty as the chamber stayed open after that last round.

When you are in a worst case scenario you don't need to be wondering if you still have bullets in your gun. Practice, practice, practice.

So women out there, test fire several different types. I'll continue to work with the Glock 17 and 19 to find out which is best for me. And if I have the time I will retest other guns now that I have had some more experience in firing several rounds.

As a side note I REALLY enjoyed the firing in the dark segment of the class!

riverwalker said...

To: Pam

Sounds great! Don't forget to check how difficult it is for you to load the magazine. Some springs have a lot of tension and people sometimes have difficulty loading a full clip.

The person struggling with the revolver may not have "done her homework" prior to going to the range or a revolver may simply not be a good choice in their particular case. Thanks for the great comment and best of luck.


Anonymous said...

Excellent advice - .22 revolvers in particular are a bargain. Having a good time getting acquainted with a small bird gripped Heritage .22lr/Magnum, cost less than $200 NIB! Can be purchased used for much less.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 1:05

The 22 Magnum pistol in the picture is one I happened across for only $75 and shoots really well. It did need to be cleaned good when I got it but was not a problem since I clean and check the action before any extensive use to make sure it is in good working order. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Itoo prefer a revolver I also like the twins. One argument I have had since my days in the military was the reliance on more rounds with a smaller caliber vs. one round with a manstopper. aka. 9 mil. vs 357 mag. I showed my point with plastic milk jugs. My friend hit the jug 5 times with the 9 mil. and had 5 water leaks. I hit the jug once with the 357, jug destroyed!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, wheel guns are reliable...unless you get a "hangfire". You cycle to the next chamber, and then the "dud" decides to go off! Rare, but messy! Be sure you're using high quality ammo!

Anonymous said...

guns for survival?

advantages of revolvers?

There´s no advatages of revolvers, they were invented to KILL people! not to survive.

I believe if all the people will have a gun, the world will be a shitty and unsafe place.

Just think a little.

That´s crazy.

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