Assuming that a DA revolver and a Semi-Auto pistol have similar recoil, trigger pull/travel, and are fired by the same insanely-skilled person, which one would be quicker to get to 6 rounds off?
I guess the question boils down to whether revolvers or pistols are mechanically capable of being fired faster?
Just a hypothetical question that's been bugging me.
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October 24, 2006, 04:21 PM
My guess is that a revolver would be faster, slide has to travel farther than a revolver cylindar.
October 24, 2006, 04:23 PM
Jerry Miculek (spelling?) uses both revolvers and pistols; he's just as fast with both.:)
October 24, 2006, 04:26 PM
I think that, mechanically, a single action revolver would be the fastest. All that is required is the hammer to be pulled back and dropped, the cylinder rotates as the hammer goes back. On an auto loading pistol, you have to wait for the slide to recoil and return, pushing the next round into battery.
I think that if you hooked a revolver and and auto up to a machine that worked the triggers as fast as posible, the revolver would fire faster.
October 24, 2006, 04:36 PM
Would be in favor of the autoloader. I've never actually seen a timed comparison though. Like a lot of guys, i own revolvers and semi-autos, and i can shoot any of them pretty darn fast. It just seems to me as if the autos have the edge. I too would be interested to learn the true skinny from anyone who has actually done or seen a real life demo.
October 24, 2006, 05:17 PM
I would have to lean towards the auto as well. Seeing the full auto Glocks run through 30 rounds like there's no tomorrow is quite impressive. Timing that out by hand with seperate trigger pulls would certainly be a task though.
October 24, 2006, 05:36 PM
I remember hearing once that Miculek said he would rather shoot a revolver because autos were "too slow".
October 24, 2006, 06:31 PM
Ed McGivern, probably the most "insanely-skilled person" ever regarding revolver shooting, was timed shooting five shots in .45 second using an out of the box S&W. That's a cyclic rate of 660 ish rounds per minute. Increadibly fast for a DA revolver. But nowhere near fast enough to indicate that the mechanism on a self-loader would have trouble keeping up. What is the cyclic rate of for example a Glock 18? 1200 or more?
I doubt it is humanly possible pull the trigger of either a revolver or self-loading pistol fast enough to approach the mechanical limit of the gun.
Watch one of those videos of Jerry Miculek and keep in mind that an auto pistol converted to full auto is mechanically able to go at least twice as fast.
That does not however answer the question; which is theoretically faster, a revolver or an auto pistol? The self-loading mechanism has more visible movement, but with a revolver you also have to set in motion a big lump of mass, the cylinder, and bring it to a complete stop for each shot to be fired. Who knows?
I think both Miculek and McGivern can/could achieve a higher cyclic rate with a SA auto than a DA revolver, but not necessarily with the same accuracy. That's where ergonimics and recoil characteristics come into the picture.
October 24, 2006, 07:02 PM
Started out with autos, but gave up on them when he got faster than they were. It is possible for a human to get fast enough to "out speed" an autoloader. By this I mean that the (uncommonly rare) skilled individual could be ready for another trigger pull before the autoloader has returned to full battery and reset the trigger mechanism. At least that was what McGivern claimed. He also had to design and build his own timing devices, as there was nothing in the world at the time that would do the job he needed.
And remember that this was 80+ years ago.
A full auto pistol would be faster, because the semi requires releasing the trigger so it can reset. That small movement takes time, time not needed with the full auto pistol.
In the hands of a skilled pistol shooter, the semi auto is the fastest for repeat fire. In the hands of an extremely skilled (and gifted) pistol shooter, the DA revolver is faster.
This is not for draw and fire, this is for repeat shots. Draw and fire is a different game. And for that, I wouldn't be able to guess between an SA or DA revolver, or a cocked and locked 1911.
October 24, 2006, 07:23 PM
I believe Bob Munden demonstrated, on film, that a revolver will cycle faster than an auto.
October 24, 2006, 07:38 PM
44 AMP has a good point about trigger reset.
October 24, 2006, 09:27 PM
I can shoot a Auto faster then a revolver by a little (we have timed them) but I am more accurate with the wheel gun. Far from an expert but thats what Happens for me
October 25, 2006, 09:22 AM
On a DA revolver there is time lost while the trigger resets over a pretty substantial distance compared to the reset on a SA auto. The reset time and the time it takes the hammer to fall are going to be a factor of the springs and the mass of the parts involved and will not be influenced by how quickly the shooter can pull the trigger.
October 25, 2006, 09:47 AM
Faster than I could be :eek: But, I would concur that SA semi auto (ie. 1911 or BHP) would be fastest :)
October 25, 2006, 10:08 AM
the revolver can be driven faster since their is no limit to fast the trigger can be indexed, the auto is limited by how far and how fast the slide travels.
Ie their is a limit to the auto's speed which can not be broken, the same is not true of revolvers. How ever aside from Mr. Miculek, most humans would not be able to match an auto's speed with a revolver.....and I'm a self avowed revolver guy.:D
October 25, 2006, 10:57 AM
their is a limit to the auto's speed which can not be broken, the same is not true of revolvers.
That just isn't true. Allow me to repeat:
1. The time it takes for the hammer, in either design, to fall is determined by the mass of the hammer and the strength of the spring and the distance the hammer travels. No matter how fast you pull the trigger, the hammer will fall at the same speed.
2. The trigger is returned to its starting position by a spring in both SA autoloaders and DA revolvers. How long that takes will be determined by the mass of the parts and the strength of the springs as well as how far the trigger must travel to be reset. How fast you pull the trigger will not make it reset faster.
Assuming you have really fast fingers, at some point you will be limited in how quickly you can fire the revolver by the time it takes these parts to act. There is an upper limit.
October 25, 2006, 12:56 PM
Comparing the speed of a revolver to a full automatic is apples to oranges comparison. A revolver is faster than a semi-automatic pistol as a pump shotgun is faster than a semi-auto. In both DA revolver and semi auto the shooter must pull the trigger for each round, add the cycle time to of the semi auto to the lock time of the action and you find the reason the revolver is quicker. A SA revolver fanned by a professional is quicker yet. Bod Munden gave a demonstration on American shooter showing this with a .45 SA Colt vrs a 1911 Colt.
October 25, 2006, 01:08 PM
I have read many times that you can empty a Model 12 Winchester shotgun faster than a semi auto shotgun, by simply holding the trigger back and racking the slide. How this would pertain to the revolver/semi auto question, I don't know.
October 25, 2006, 05:04 PM
A revolver shooter can start the second or more shots as soon as the first one is fired. A pistol shooter must wait to fire until the slide has cycled both ways. If he pulls the trigger too soon the disconector will tie up the gun until he releases the trigger and then pulls it again. For most of us this doesn't make a difference, but those like McGivern, Jordan and Miculek (not to mention Munden) have proved that a revolver can be fired faster then a pistol. Full-automatic's don't count.
October 25, 2006, 10:18 PM
Full auto takes trigger reset out of the picture and makes it apple to oranges. Comparing a revolver to a semi-auto (one shot per pull of the trigger) it has been proven by several shooters that the revolver can be faster than the semi-auto. The cylinder has to rotate a much shorter distance than the total distance a slide has to travel. The semi-auto gets off the fastest first shot because the revolver has to cycle first, but the revolver can win with every following shot becuase of the difference in cycling.
October 26, 2006, 01:20 AM
Majic has made what I consider the most cogent point thus far.
October 26, 2006, 10:06 AM
i always thought in the matrix movie how they could see bullets moving and thus they would have to wait for their guns to cycle to fire the next shot, where-as if he had a double action revolver he could just zip em off right in a row/pattern and shoot the bad guy. so in my opinion, if someone was superfast, a DA revolver would have to be faster because there is no possibility of having to wait on the gun.
October 26, 2006, 02:19 PM
The revolver is the fastest action to cycle.
It is also the faster action to go through several hundred rds. if you only give the operators one or two magazines and speedloaders apiece.
October 27, 2006, 12:31 AM
The difference is theoretical.
The revolver can go faster, theoretically, but it's not practically relevant.
I've heard people talk about waiting for the slide to cycle, but the slowest cyclic rate I've ever heard of on a full auto version of a typical autopistol is well over 1000rpm
Let's take that number--realizing that it's low. The math says that 1000rpm works out to between 16 and 17 shots per second, 0.06 seconds between shots.
When I start hearing about people shooting FASTER than 0.06 second splits then I'll concede that there's someone who is fast enough to actually wait on the slide of an autopistol to cycle. ;)
October 31, 2006, 01:03 PM
to add to what john said, if someone could indeed shoot that fast, the would empty a revolver in .3-.4 seconds, give or take.
i'm not quite that fast.
October 31, 2006, 04:38 PM
Doesn't really apply if you can't hit what you are aiming at. I've seen a guy at a range empty what appeared to be a Glock 17 with a 30+ round magazine at a bullseye type target 7 yards away. From what I could tell, I think he hit the target maybe 7 times :eek:.
For me personally, I can shoot my semi auto a little faster, but I am far more accurate with my revolvers. I suspect that human beings are not capable of "outrunning" either design.
October 31, 2006, 04:58 PM
I think it has been proven over time that the speediest pistoleros in history could shoot a DA revolver faster than any semiautomatic pistol, and yes, they were accurate, even at those speeds.
I'm not sure the original gist of the thread was meant to include fully automatic weapons, but then do we count the various miniguns as "revolving" weapons, since their barrels rotate on an axis?;)
October 31, 2006, 05:03 PM
The wheelgun is faster than a semiauto, no question. The human hand can cycle the action of the wheelgun faster than the human hand can work the semiauto action. Comparing either to a full auto is apples and oranges, for the reasons stated above.
November 4, 2006, 12:01 AM
Comparing either to a full auto is apples and oranges, for the reasons stated above.There are several examples of full-auto variants to common semi-auto pistols. If anything, these guns are modified to SLOW the cyclic rate compared to the standard semi-auto configuration. Even so, the cyclic rate of these variants is always more than 1,000 rpm--usually significantly more. 1,500rpm would be a more generally correct number.
By using 1,000rpm as a comparison speed (knowing that it's a low number), it's pretty obvious that there is no one currently shooting a DA revolver as fast as a typical semi-auto can cycle.
I have seen an SA revolver fanned faster than that (using thumb for one shot and little finger of the same hand for the second) which proved that a revolver is capable of shooting faster than a semi-auto. However, I have yet to see any evidence to suggest that anyone has a finger fast and strong enough to work a DA revolver faster than the slide can cycle on a typical semi-auto.
November 4, 2006, 08:20 AM
John, you're not understanding what's being explained. What they are saying is, in full auto, you don't have to reset the trigger. In a semi-automatic pistol, you have to release the trigger enough to reset it before you can pull it again. Therefore, the semi-auto is slower.
Everybody forget about fully automatic pistols....they have no reason to be brought up in this thread.
November 4, 2006, 11:57 AM
The original question was 'theoretically' which is faster? Of course, the auto would be as no one could EVER 'wait on the slide'.
Watch slo-motion film of the aforementioned 1911 firing...it has cycled and fed the new round before it has fully recoiled in the hand.
Now, in Real Life, the revolver might just be faster...mainly because of the much stronger trigger reset spring. Most autos' don't have very strong springs pushing the trigger mechanism back (ala reset) in the interest of a light pull.
If you built an auto with a 12lb SA pull, and if you practiced with it, and if you are a mutant human like Mr. Miculeck, I have no doubt that the auto would be faster just from the reduction in trigger movement needed to accomplish the deed.
So, in theory, the auto wins. IMHO.
November 4, 2006, 02:42 PM
What they are saying is, in full auto, you don't have to reset the trigger. In a semi-automatic pistol, you have to release the trigger enough to reset it before you can pull it again. Therefore, the semi-auto is slower.If trigger reset were the issue that is slowing down auto-pistol shooters, then the LONGER trigger reset of a DA revolver would slow down revolver shooters even MORE.
The fastest revolver shooters can NOT go through a full trigger cycle (trigger pull, trigger release/reset, trigger pull again) as fast as an autopistol slide can cycle. That means that the autopistol slide has already cycled and is WAITING for the shooter's trigger finger in EVERY case.
The ONLY situation I am aware of in which it has been demonstrated that a revolver can actually be shot faster than a semi-auto can cycle is by fanning an SA revolver using the technique I mentioned earlier.
November 6, 2006, 10:32 AM
I would say the fastest gun I've ever seen fired is a single action 1873 Colt type revolver and it was fired by Jim Ogelsby. He fired 3 rounds so fast that even with recording equipment I couldn't distinguish between the individual shots. He also hit 3 different targets.
This isn't Jim, but I did a Youtube search to find an example (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u11NxeZIatE) of what I'm talking about. This guy is using blanks, but Jim uses live ammo. The times I've seen Jim do it, he was using 45LC or a .44 Mag.
Jim owns Oglesby & Oglesby Gun Makers in Springfield Illinois and has been a featured shooter on Guns and Ammo television.
November 6, 2006, 11:15 AM
Several people mentioned McGivern so I'm surprised no one brought up the machines he developed to mechanically actuate triggers. With those machines, he did find that the DA revolver was capable of a higher cyclic rate than the semi-auto. And yes, both action types were/are capable of firing about twice as fast as McGivern's 5 shot speed records.
I will try to find an online link to those experiments, but don't hold out much hope. Despite the recent revolver resurgence, searching out detailed info about McGivern, Jordan, etc. hasn't been very fruitful for me.
November 6, 2006, 04:45 PM
No one mentioned that Commander Style or Officer Model pistols have a shorter slide stroke than do full size Gov't models, and the 9mm is a shorter case than the .45. This means that a Officer's model 9mm would cycle faster than the larger guns in larger calibers even if trigger reset is equal. The Single action revolvers that are "speed shot" or fanned are not stock guns. They have short actions in them and extended hammers to make fanning easy. So if you can't count full auto pistols, then you can't count these tricked out SA revolvers either.
Ordinary people with equal training will generally learn to shoot the semi-auto pistol faster than they will a revolver.
November 9, 2006, 10:32 PM
This question has been discussed to death for many years. While I full well understand the notion that the mechanics of a revolver make it (in theory) capable of firing faster than a revolver, in practical terms, the advantage (if there is one) isn't apparant. For instance, figure out the splits on Jerry Miculek's speed record, then look at the splits of countless accomplished IPSC shooters who use bottom feeders of the 1911 variety. Even the best revolver shooters in the world can't keep up with the 1911 split monsters.
November 10, 2006, 12:35 AM
But the question wasn't on split times.
Jerry and Ed can do it faster than anyone with an auto pistol I've met. Obviously not 'ordinary people.'
I've got a buddy who is a photographer that started accidently double tapping my BHP clone. He was used to a camera that you hold down the button to focus and could feel the reset.
The bad thing was he was doing this BEFORE he was fully back on target so the second round would go high. But with practice, and due no doubt to his highrened sensitivity he could probably learn to make that thing sound like a full auto. Don't know anyone who can make a revolver do that out of the box.
For most it's an auto, for a select few elite it's a revolver.
November 10, 2006, 01:36 AM
Wasn't the question about "mechanical capability"?
November 10, 2006, 03:30 AM
An auto's slide does it's duty way faster than any human can pull the trigger again.
A human can't 'outrun' either gun, so it's not real important.
November 10, 2006, 09:06 PM
I believe a revolver can run faster but that's very hard on it's mechanism. I prefer they run right and last long.
I can double the rate of cetain semi-autos using light loads to reduce the amount of slide over-travel. They don't mind :D
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