"Why would anyone buy a revolver?"


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RyanM
September 1, 2007, 01:36 AM
Most of this will be well-trodden ground for THR regulars. This thread is intended to outline the basic pros and cons of semi-automatic pistols versus revolvers, for people new to handguns, or even to guns in general. I've noticed people that are just starting out will often look at the number of rounds modern automatics hold, and go "why would anyone ever buy a revolver?" This thread should address that.

If it seems dumbed down in places, just remember that you weren't born knowing what you do now.

To start with, let's look at a fairly typical automatic.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63290&stc=1&d=1188621708

Many people, including me, find the Glock 23 to be a nearly perfect balance between concealability, power, controllability, and magazine capacity. As long as you don't mind .40 S&W recoil, it's a great all-around gun.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63291&stc=1&d=1188621708

The SP-101 has quite a following. Rugers are often underestimated by gun snobs, but it's a very solid weapon. An S&W J-frame snubnose would be smaller and lighter--much lighter if it's alloy-framed--but recoil would be proportionally worse. The SP-101 strikes a good balance between wearing it comfortably and shooting it comfortably.

So both guns are very good compromises between size and power. In either caliber, either platform, you could go smaller or larger. But I'd say both guns are representative of a compact belt gun, intended for daily concealed carry under light clothing. So how do the two stack up next to each other?

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63292&stc=1&d=1188621708
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63293&stc=1&d=1188621708
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63294&stc=1&d=1188621708

Sizewise, they're pretty similar, though the SP-101 has a slight advantage. The G23 is about 8.5" diagonally from muzzle to butt, while the SP-101 is 8." The main difference is the back of the G23's slide.

In terms of weight, similar yet again, though this time the Glock takes the lead. The G23 is 25 ounces with an empty magazine, 34 ounces loaded with 13+1 rounds of 180 grain ammunition, though mine has a tungsten recoil guide rod. A stock G23 would be one ounce lighter. SP-101 is 25.5 ounces empty, 28 ounces with 5 rounds of 158 gr ammo.

For power, they're similar yet again, if you don't handload.

But first, one thing you need to keep in mind about barrel length. Revolver barrel length is measured from the front of the cylinder, while automatic barrel length is measured from the breech face, where the back of the cartridge rests. To compare the two more directly, you need to add the length of the cylinder, plus the thickness of the cartridge rims, which stick out of the back. For the SP-101, this adds about 1.64". Using a caliper to measure the actual distance from the muzzle to the breech face, we find that the Glock 23 has a barrel length of 4.03", and the SP-101 is 3.94". Not too much of a difference, which shouldn't be surprising, given how similar the guns are in overall size. Thus, a 4" barreled revolver actually has an equivalent barrel length to a 5.64" automatic.

.357 magnum is a much longer cartridge, however, so less of the barrel length of a revolver will actually be used. A 180 gr .40 caliber bullet in a 4" auto will have about 3.45" of actual distance before it exits the barrel, while a 158 gr .357 caliber bullet through a 4" (5.64" equivalent)-barreled revolver has around 4.68". However, you should go by the equivalent barrel lengths instead, as this will tell you more about how large the gun is likely to be, overall.

Anyway, on to the comparative power levels. From a 4" barrel in both cases (keeping in mind the difference):

.357 magnum (Federal):
130 grains at 1410 feet per second
158 grains at 1240 fps
180 grains at 1080 fps

.40 S&W (Remington):
155 grains at 1205 fps
165 grains at 1150 fps
180 grains at 1015 fps

I would have preferred to compare the same brands, but Remington and Winchester both use 8" barrels for their 180 grain .357 loads, and Federal's .40 numbers are pretty weird in some weights, since they make some reduced recoil type stuff.

From those numbers, it's fairly clear that .40 S&W and .357 magnum factory loads would be just about identical in power, if fired through truly equivalent barrel lengths. If you make your own ammo, and go for power above everything else, the edge goes to the .357 magnum. But maximum power .357 ammo through an SP-101 sized gun would be very uncomfortable to fire.

Unless you're a magazine writer of course, in which case anything is "controllable," regardless of what the pictures appear to say. http://www.gunblast.com/images/Ruger-SRHAlaskan454/MVC-021F.jpg "While recoil with full-power .454 loads was stiff, the Alaskan proved to be controllable with all loads fired." No disrespect to Jeff Quinn intended, that's just one of my favorite picture-quote combinations.

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10-Ring
September 1, 2007, 01:48 AM
More me, I like both, carry both & like both A LOT! :cool:

RyanM
September 1, 2007, 02:20 AM
So, other than potential for more powerful ammunition in the same sized package, what other benefit is there to using a revolver?

The main one is ergonomics. An automatic's grip has to accomodate a magazine in it, while a revolver's grip only has a spring or two. A Glock would be one extreme of the spectrum. If you don't like a Glock's grip, there's very little you can do other than have a very expensive grip reduction. With a revolver, there are inevitably many aftermarket grip options, which can change the shape of the grip completely.

Here's a Kahr MK40 with the grip panels removed.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63296&stc=1&d=1188625108

That's pretty much all the grip customization you can do to most automatics. Change the thickness and the backstrap shape, and that's about it.

On the other hand, the Ruger barely has anything under the grip.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63297&stc=1&d=1188625108

Want something other than the factory grip? Bigger? Smaller? Different angle? Different shape? No problem. You could even hand carve a set of grips yourself, with some basic woodworking skills. The sky is the limit.

Then there's the "manual of arms," the things you need to know to operate the weapon effectively. A lot of revolver advocates claim that revolvers have a simpler manual of arms, but that's not entirely true. Many modern automatics, like everything made by both Glock and Kahr, lack manual safeties, and have the same "point and shoot" functionality as revolvers.

The main difference is loading the gun. A revolver is simpler and easier to load using loose cartridges, but an automatic is much easier to load if you have magazines already loaded up. With a revolver, you have to open the cylinder, eject the empty cases, line up the rounds in the speedloader with the holes in the cylinder, insert them, then close the cylinder. With an automatic, you just eject the empty magazine, insert a new one, and release the slide if it's locked back. Personally, I'd say that both platforms are equally difficult/easy to learn, overall.

Many revolver advocates also claim that revolvers are mechanically simpler than automatics. Maybe back when the Luger was state-of-the-art this was true, but today, it really isn't.

Here are the innards of the SP-101, the main parts responsible for making it go bang.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63298&stc=1&d=1188625108

And here's the Glock.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63299&stc=1&d=1188625108

Neither one is particularly complex, but both are the simplest of their respective breed. The edge definitely goes to the automatic in this case.

Standard wisdom also says that revolvers are less prone to jams and other failures than automatics, but this is again not entirely true. In reality, revolvers are somewhat more tolerant of inept handling, but are no more mechanically robust than an automatic under normal operating conditions, in the hands of a skilled individual.

With both the G23 and Ruger SP-101, I've never had a stoppage that wasn't my own fault, and I've actually had a roughly equivalent number of problems. The Glock, I had a couple to feed due to limp-wristing, when I first got it, and that's been it. With the Ruger, the trigger failed to return once, after I installed a lighter trigger return spring, and the cylinder bound up once when I decided to fire some homemade black powder cartridges.

Under less than ideal conditions, either platform can fail. The main difference is that with the Glock, both jams were easily cleared by whacking the bottom of the magazine. That was enough to make the slide close the rest of the way, no manual racking required. With the SP-101's trigger, I had to disassemble the gun at home, and polish off a small burr that was only a problem with the lighter return spring (though it may have eventually been a problem even with the original spring). With the BP ammo, I didn't have any cleaning supplies at the range with me, so I ended up throwing the gun in a mud puddle, then wiping the front of the cylinder with my fingers. It worked fine for another 5 rounds, but it had to go back in the puddle every 5 rounds, to keep it from binding again (I've also tried putting my Glock through the mud puddle test, and it did fine as well).

The main advantage of a revolver in terms of reliability is, once again, its slightly greater tolerance of operator error. You can't make it jam by not holding on tightly enough. It won't jam if it's over- or under-lubricated. But most modern automatics do fine under poor conditions as well. And I almost forgot, it's very possible to mess up the trigger pull on a revolver, if you're not practised. If you don't allow the trigger to return all the way forward before pulling again, it won't fire. Some revolvers, especially some Colts, can actually be damaged by doing this. You can also bind up the cylinder and prevent the gun from firing, if you're using an improper grip, that puts pressure on the cylinder. Those can be real problems if you're just starting out. I'd call this one a draw, too. Both platforms have their own unique operator error problems.

Revolvers are also more reliable with different types of ammunition. Modern semi-auto designs are very tolerant of different bullet shapes, weights, and velocities, but there are still limits, and you often need to change recoil spring weights to use vastly different power ammo. A magnum caliber revolver, on the other hand, can fire anything from very wimpy, light ammo, to extremely heavy, wrist-breaking loads, without changing any parts.

Another definite benefit to using a revolver is the amount of hand and arm strength required. Loading and firing an automatic requires relatively high strength to load the magazine and rack the slide. Even big, strong men often need a little practice before they can proficiently handle an automatic, while a revolver only needs the finger strength necessary to pull the trigger.

Finally, there's the question of size to power ratios. Both platforms can excel, but under different conditions.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=63295&stc=1&d=1188625108

Comparing an MK40 to the SP-101 hardly seems fair at all. The MK40 is .40 caliber and only slightly less powerful than the Glock due to its shorter barrel. It holds 5+1 shots in the gun, and 6 shots per extra (extended length) magazine. It's much, much smaller, yet still holds an extra shot compared to the SP-101. And mine has been 100% reliable since day one, even when I've tried to induce limp-wrist jams.

Then there's the potential ammo difference. A .357 magnum snubnose can potentially use ammunition that's much more powerful than an auto, but it has to be a certain size to begin with. The S&W J-frame is the practical lower limit for all DA revolvers, really, while autos can be made much smaller, even in major calibers like .40 S&W and 9mm.

In general, automatics have a monopoly over the lower end of the size scale, while revolvers have the high end. You can get very, very tiny semi-autos that are still adequate power, like the Seecamp LWS32 and 380. http://www.seecamp.com/LWSCherryPhone.jpg No revolver could possibly hope to match that in size. The NAA Mini revolvers come close, but they're .22 caliber and single action.

But then there's the infamous .500 S&W mag. I don't think there'll ever be any automatics chambered in something that powerful! http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=14778&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y

So, to sum up, the pros of each platform:

Semi-auto pistols:
Many more shots for a given size
Can be much smaller
Faster and easier to load if you have loaded magazines

Revolvers:
More ergonomic with the right grips
Wider variety of ammo can be used
Faster and easier to load with loose ammo
Less hand and arm strength required
Can use much more powerful ammunition

Which ones apply to a particular gun will depend on that gun, but for just narrowing it down to one platform or the other, those are the points to keep in mind.

In my case, I'm keeping my Glock 23 and MK40, and selling the SP-101. It's a fine gun, but a close friend of mine wants it more than me.

I like having more shots. I like being able to reload quickly, and always keep my magazines loaded. I like how tiny the MK40 is. The Glock 23 fits my hand like it was made for it, so ergonomics isn't an issue. I prefer to use only one power ammunition (180 gr at 1000 fps). I've got enough hand and arm strength (for now) that loading the gun isn't an issue. And I have no need of an incredibly powerful pistol; if .40 S&W won't kill it, I'd rather reach for a rifle than a bigger pistol. So semi-autos are definitely the platform for me.

Which one you choose should be based on your own preferences and needs.

sm
September 1, 2007, 02:28 AM
RyanM,

Thank you for taking the time in writing such a well thought out thread topic; complete with wonderful, and useful pictures.

Steve

Cosmoline
September 1, 2007, 02:48 AM
But maximum power .357 ammo through an SP-101 sized gun would be very uncomfortable to fire.

Not true at all. The SP is more than heavy enough to absorb the recoil of full powered .357. I put Hogue wraparounds on mine and could fire five after five very quickly. I put many thousands of Fiocchi .357's downrange in my old SP, and have put quite a few through my Speed Six since. There is no comparison with something like an Alaskan with powerhouse Casulls. Not even a little. I've also owned a G23 and found it to be considerably less comfortable to fire. Not because of recoil but because the shape is not as ergonomic. I'm not a recoil fan, either.

Triggers are another issue, and a critical one for many veteran shooters. As wheelguns go the SP has a pretty heavy trigger, but even without lighter springs it's a far better and smoother trigger than the G23's. The Glock's trigger feels mushy to me, and I could never really get into it. It's not bad, but it's no comparison to a good wheelgun.

For me it comes down to this. I can get a revolver drawn, aimed and in action considerably faster and with less conscious thought than nearly any semi. There are not adjustments to my grip or stance. There are no adjustments to get my sights lined up. I'm up, on target and firing in one motion. I know there are people who can do that with a doublestack semi, but I'm not one of them. Capacity may be useful, but given the role and purpose of the sidearm I don't consider it a major factor. It's a purely short range defensive weapon.

There are other, shall we say "spiritual" reasons for the preference as well. Just like scopes on long guns, I have a fundamental feeling of distance from most semis when using them. The firearm feels like a piece of jerking machinery. A good wheelgun feels like an extension of my arm.

In terms of weight, similar yet again, though this time the Glock takes the lead. The G23 is 25 ounces with an empty magazine, 34 ounces loaded with 13+1 rounds of 180 grain ammunition, though mine has a tungsten recoil guide rod. A stock G23 would be one ounce lighter. SP-101 is 25.5 ounces empty, 28 ounces with 5 rounds of 158 gr ammo.

This is an interesting comparison, and throws light on an aspect of semis I've overlooked--the shifting weight. The G23 has an almost TEN OUNCE SPREAD over the course of a single firing. More if you have bigger mags, I suspect. The SP's spread is much less pronounced. For me that change means I have to make adjustments as the semi empties out. Felt recoil and balance alike all shift a little with each round downrange. I don't like that.

RyanM
September 1, 2007, 02:57 AM
Steve, no problem. My pleasure. I've been thinking about this on and off for the last few days.

Cosmoline, I'd say you've probably got pretty good recoil tolerance. Me, my hand turns beet red after firing about 10 Remington 125 gr SJHPs, but that's with the factory grips. Though the factories do fit my hands just fine. I've yet to meet anyone on the range that was willing to fire more than one cylinder full of those beasts.

On the other hand, like I said, my G23 fits my hand practically like it was made for it. My fingers fit the grooves exactly, and with the trigger face shaved down a bit, the first crease of my trigger finger is right at the front edge of the trigger. Even relatively powerful handloads like 180 gr at 1100 fps aren't uncomfortable at all to me, and standard velocity stuff is quite mild.

Sounds like that's mostly personal preference differences, not anything inherent to the revolver vs. semi-auto platforms.

On triggers, that's also going to be highly dependent on the individual gun, not the platform, so I didn't bother to make any mention. I'm trying to compare autos in general to revolvers in general, not the specific models that I happen to own, and that happen to be what I think are fairly representative of the same class of gun (good balance between controlability and concealability).

P. Plainsman
September 1, 2007, 03:08 AM
In general, automatics have a monopoly over the lower end of the size scale, while revolvers have the high end.
Hmm. This is one sentence where you're likely to get substantial "push-back" on what is otherwise a useful and well-done comparison. Here at the dawn of the 21st century, revolvers own the "hand howitzer" category but also have a very powerful presence among the small guns -- and particularly, among the lightweight pocket guns. It's the broad middle of the spectrum, the "service handgun" zone, where the self-loader has most strongly eclipsed the round gun.

To put it more simply, if your description is accurate, then what are all those little 15 oz (or lighter) alloy-frame snubby revolvers doing in people's pockets? That must represent a huge chunk of total U.S. revolver sales. Clearly, thousands of shooters and CCWers believe these little fiveguns will fill niches that other handguns, including semi-autos, may not do as well.

I love my SP101, but it's not close to the whole story of what modern compact revolvers are like or what missions they can fill. The Ruger's niche is the "big little gun," the "belt snubby" -- an all steel piece that is super tough and that you can actually handle with full-boat .357 loads. (Like Cosmoline, I also think you're off-base about the feasibility of using heavy .357 in the SP101 -- can do, esp. with Hogues. If I took it hiking in rough country I'd seriously consider Buffalo Bore's 180 hard cast, which outdistances any .40 S&W for power.) But my larger point is, the SP101 isn't the median small revolver today.

Forget, for a moment, the 12 oz S&W pocket .357 Magnum (a technologically amazing handgun). It's an "expert" weapon, so perhaps that's a fair reason to decline to mention it in a piece aimed at beginners.

Still, to stay at mundane tech levels, I can control 158 grain +P lead hollowpoints @ 800 fps from a 15 oz aluminum-alloy revolver. Slips right in your slacks pocket (preferably into a Mika holster :D ), almost disappears. Under $400 new, and your local gun store's probably got a whole shelf of 'em. They do require practice to use well.

I've handled the micro Kahr 9mm pistols. The slides are pretty wide and blocky. Cool guns, but the claim that the design is as "pocketable" as an Airweight Centennial does not match what I felt and saw.

Cosmoline
September 1, 2007, 03:11 AM
Sounds like that's mostly personal preference differences, not anything inherent to the revolver vs. semi-auto platforms.

It's all about personal preferences, though. That's the prime consideration, and the most overlooked one. All the "inherent" issues with one platform or the other mean little if the shooter doesn't care much for the firearm or has some problem with it.

My fingers fit the grooves exactly

LOL I was just thinking about trying to line mine up with the third generation grips on a Glock last year. It was comical. I was actually thinking I could take a knife to them and change them.

gandog56
September 1, 2007, 03:21 AM
One factor to consider is revolvers are fairly easy to shoot, and have less that can go wrong. The only advantage I really see to a semi-auto is number of rounds. Plus the really big bores are much easier for people to use than the same cartidge in a semi. You ever try to fit a small hand around a 44 magnum Desert Eagle. Mine can't, but it fits a Ruger Superblackhawk nicely. I own and use both, but both have advantages and disadvantages over each other. Plus I think it is a lot easier to train somebody on firearms use with a revolver over a semi. My 3 best shooting guns are two newer semi's and a 20 year old Taurus Model 66 .357 magnum.

RyanM
September 1, 2007, 03:46 AM
Hmm. This is one sentence where you're likely to get substantial "push-back" on what is otherwise a useful and well-done comparison. Here at the dawn of the 21st century, revolvers own the "hand howitzer" category but also have a very powerful presence among the small guns -- and particularly, among the lightweight pocket guns. It's the broad middle of the spectrum, the "service handgun" zone, where the self-loader has most strongly eclipsed the round gun.

I'm not making this a popularity contest. Picking something just because it's popular, or because everyone else is doing it, is the surest way to go wrong.

Very small frame automatics are made in much more potent calibers than revolvers of the same size. There's no size comparison at all between an R9 and a J-frame, much like comparing an MK40 and SP-101. My MK40 rides in the pocket just fine. I don't find it thick at all.

And if you go into the ultracompact size range, the only revolvers available at all are NAA Minis, which aren't even that small compared to autos of similar power, like the Baby Browning.

I'd say the main reason why snubnoses still dominate the pocket carry and backup market is tradition. But Kel-Tec, Kahr, etc., are selling more and more guns, so it's probably only a matter of time before that market is flooded with autos, too.

The area where there's the most overlap of both size and power, not popularity, is in the medium frame compact and duty handguns. A 3" K-frame with 158 gr .38 SPL +P LSWCHPs is just about the equivalent of a full sized 9mm with 147 gr ammo, just has less shots. And etc.

sm
September 1, 2007, 04:04 AM
First off, I want to express how appreciative I am that folks are being civil and polite in this thread.

This is a great thread, and I am being selfish when I share, I want it to continue to stay civil and polite.

Gun Fit I noticed has come up quite often already *grin*

Rule of 96 has come out, and for this thread I will define this rule a bit different from its original application to shotguns as being "weight of gun to payload".

My take is well known around here, and many understand better why my take is so.

I choose Gun Fit first, meaning the platform is determined first, then the caliber, then the said payload for caliber.

IME/IMO, Four guns fit 90% of hands shooting.

1911
BHP (9mm)
K frame
D frame (i.e. Colt Detective Special)

Not saying these are the only four to consider, or only to choose from, just that 90% of all hands will find one of these platforms will fit them in regard to gun fit, and therefore allow them to shoot well and afford quick effective follow up shots.

There is a parallel that exists with these guns and others.

P. Plainsman
September 1, 2007, 04:10 AM
Very small frame automatics are made in much more potent calibers than revolvers of the same size.

S&W 340PD. Personally, I don't want one, but it's an amazing handgun; no autoloader can do what it does.

There's no size comparison at all between an R9 and a J-frame

I don't think talking about the R9 here is relevant except as a forensic exercise. You said you wanted a post aimed at beginners.

They have one R9 at GunsAmerica for $1,050.00. Quite a deal, I suppose. The other vendor wants $1200.00; this is about the going rate for a minty Colt Python.

Or you could take that money and buy a 642; and a CT laser grip for it; and your next 5-7 years' supply of both carry and practice ammo. (Or a second J, with a second CT laser grip, for good luck, and some ammo too.)

I submit that the post would, in fact, give a beginner the wrong impression. The most meaningful "small gun" category for most Americans is pocket carry, and revolvers are robustly present and useful in that category. Is that really controversial? Weight is a big factor; weight-and-power-per-dollar is another huge one.

PS: The thread on THR called "The 642 Club" is about a little 15 oz pocket revolver. It has roughly one quarter of a million views as of today. No pocket auto is even within an order of magnitude of that level of use or interest. The closest thing, cultwise, is the little .32 and .380 Kel-Tec pistols, but they do not have an unmarred reputation for reliability, and a .380 is not a .38+P.

Snapping Twig
September 1, 2007, 04:23 AM
First, my compliments on the excellent posts! Outstanding gentlemen!

Now, my take.

It depends on what you want to do with it, fight or hunt.

For a gunfight, which I hope to never experience, I'd go with a 1911 full of .45acp. Why? I was trained with one and I believe in its capabilities. Fast presentation, low recoil and excellent follow-up shot placement, not to mention the proven capabilities of a 230g slug of .45 cal diameter.

When hunting, the distances to a target are longer and the chances of return fire are...well...limited :) Caliber is generally larger and most semi automatics are not up to the challenges of these rounds, nor are these cartridges designed for a bottom feeder. Accuracy is also an issue. Face it, a shot out to 100 yards with a .44mag is a different challenge than a street incident at @ 7 yards.

I'm in the camp of big, heavy slugs, fast or slow, bigger is better to me. I believe the 11th commandment states that thou shat not enter a gunfight with a pistol who's caliber does not start with a .4 :)

I'd rather pack a 3" .44 loaded with .44 specials than a .357, but that's me. When I'm walking around in the woods, I do just that and I don't feel under gunned in the least, be it two or four legged predators. I do reload, so my specials are not the downloaded 200g stuff, they're 240g @ 1000 fps., but I realize you are referring to factory only, so my apologies on that point.

So, all that in mind, a revolver is my preferred weapon.

Nematocyst
September 1, 2007, 05:12 AM
Hey, this looks like a fun discussion.

Found it just before bed, though,
so I'll catch up reading another day.

Nem

Baba Louie
September 1, 2007, 06:59 AM
Most excellent Ryan.
Size, weight, caliber, grip (hand fit). Good comparison.

What about the physics/dynamics of shooting? Bore axis placement relative to grip (anchorage) rotation (or resistance to same), dampening of energy (slide sping action v. Hand absorption/cylinder-barrel gap), etc. Spring strength and age, timing issues, trigger weight (finger strength) vis a vis action mode, barrel length.

When a newbie who has never really shot before, considers this or that at the gun shop with no experienced friend helping or a good counter salesperson who'll take the time to explain, this thread should be a god-send. For the life of me, I do not know why salesmen will steer a new shooter ('specially small females) towards the smallest, lightest .357 wheelgun they have for sale... unless they have no 4" Model 10s (a truly timeless design at so many levels).

Kudos.

I know you're talking about actual use for life safety, but I spend far more time at the range (as do others I expect) and while I love both design concepts, who really needs to be throwing brass all over the place (unless you've got a 10 year old to help "police" up the empties after the fact)? ;)

45auto
September 1, 2007, 07:03 AM
Great write-up and well done.

Although 99% of my shooting is with autos, I would still recommend revolvers to many "people".

The cost benefit/ratio of price, quality, reliability, adequate caliber, ease of use, safety, etc goes to the revolver IMO. For "shooters", I think the two can balance out if you choose the auto wisely.

sig226
September 1, 2007, 07:52 AM
With both the G23 and Ruger SP-101, I've never had a stoppage that wasn't my own fault, and I've actually had a roughly equivalent number of problems. The Glock, I had a couple to feed due to limp-wristing, when I first got it, and that's been it. With the Ruger, the trigger failed to return once, after I installed a lighter trigger return spring, and the cylinder bound up once when I decided to fire some homemade black powder cartridges.

Interesting, but not a valid comparison. You modified the Ruger and then fed it in appropriate ammunition. Both things caused failures. Those two conditions would also cause failures in any semi automatic.

Most of the Glocks we sell are model 19s. This seems to put us a little behind the times, since the G23 is the most popular LE sidearm in the country. It might be just a civilian vs. police issue. Pretty much all of the departments around here specify a .40 S&W handgun for on duty use.

But the Smith and Wesson 442/642 is the top seller. The buyers are an absolutely diverse group. They include police who want an off duty or ankle gun and experienced shooters who want a small weapon that is easily inspected prior to use. They like the fact that the chambers can be inspected without having to manipulate a slide. And, the snubbie reputation for reliability is legend.

We also sell the HK P2000 SK, which is not comparable in price, and the Sig P239, which is not comparable in price or weight. A lot of shooters recognize that if the gun fails to fire in a crisis, they'd rather keep the sights on target and pull the trigger again. It's easier and it's a faster action than manually operating a slide. But the cost drives them away from autos with hammers, particularly if they already own a larger sidearm and want a second one.

And then there's the limp wrist jam. It would be nice if everyone assumed a proper stance, made a proper three step draw, and mentally prepared themselves to clear a jam as one of many contingencies when they unholster a handgun and prepare to use it. But time and budget constraints often interfere. There is also self discipline. If you're practicing clearing drills and such, good on you, but most people don't. And they're not going to do so just because we tell them it's a good idea.

Neophyte1
September 1, 2007, 08:37 AM
RyanM: Sir; I liked how you first sentences began:' for people new to handguns'
Address the obvious and get it out of the way "Television"

The two that you modeled: good pairing:

1. Fitting should be #1 [like a pair of shoes?]
2. Preferences [Television educated?]
3. Color
4. Caliber Television {Dirty Harry, Bruce Willis}]
5. Friends advice [where did Friend learn?]
6. Gun Store Professional [?]

Yes I left some out.

Now we all should revisit ourselves as the "Newbie". Some of had family, friends, associates, "that led us." What did we do? "Newbie Mentality" 'okay' prejudice from the 'git go'.

Newbie [no shooting friends] going down the road decides to go and buy at the Local "Professional Gun Shop"

Now I see a pattern of learning taking place.

Each of us have preferences; with strong arguments; notwithstanding
Logical reasoning? How ever. RyanM started with "new to"

What has happened to READING, STUDYING, INVESTIGATING, REASONING, THINKING: NOTWITHSTANDING the gun rags paid
"PROFESSIONAL OPINIONS":rolleyes:.

Owning any WEAPON should require more than MENIAL thought.

EXPLORE your VALUES: EXPLORE your INTENT before you become one of the PREJUDICED ones.
I can [and very rarely do] shoot off my mouth about which is better?
[yeah right on]??.
I Can, and do take both; bottom feeder, wheel gun, when I want.

Newbie: come with me; I don't care which you shoot. I prefer you to ask all your questions, enjoy the moment, and not have "My Stuff is Better than those folks stuff mentality' it's not. Just happens to be what I have leaned toward.
Not a unit made that isn't a compromise.
How and what is you INTENT is the question. Impressing the Neighbor, flattering your friends, or enjoying your moment.

RyanM: Sir; I may have missed your point?

Thanks, for such a thoughtful question.

wuchak
September 1, 2007, 09:30 AM
There is also the expense of making changes to your carry ammo. If you want to change carry ammo with your revolver you can run a couple of cylinders through it to check point of aim and recoil. After that you're done and you still have 15 out of the box of 25 expensive self defense rounds left to carry. You should probably practice more with it but there is no question of the reliability of your gun with the ammo. If you want to change carry ammo in your automatic you have to test it with each magazine you plan to carry it in. The number of tests per magazine before you can declare it reliable enough for carry depends on the shooter but I think for most prudent people the minimum would be two. So changing in the 23 ,if you are carrying an extra mag, would require a minimum of 56 rounds of expensive self defense ammo. Some experts recommend testing at least 100 rounds of whatever you're going to carry for self defense. If you want one type of reliable ammo for the house, another for around town, and another for the woods you'd better get your wallet out if you're going to carry a semi-auto.

BryanP
September 1, 2007, 09:37 AM
Expense of the firearm itself is an issue. Some people's budgets are a bit more limited than others. I trust a cheap revolver more than a cheap semi auto.

Craig_VA
September 1, 2007, 09:56 AM
Thanks for a really informative thread. I'd like to throw a couple of thoughts into the fray. BTW, I learned of this thread by a look-there post in the 642 thread.
To see how new I am, as well as how I came to choose a light snubnose for a carry gun, check my initial THR post at
http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=3642255&postcount=4169
Now, some suggestions for thinking about educating newbies on this topic.

1. Try to avoid jargon and shorthand.
____ It took me a while to realize that "wheel gun" was a revolver and "bottom feeder" referred to semi-automatic pistols which get their bullets from the bottom of the handle. These terms are not self-evident to truly new shooters. In fact, to me, a bottom feeder is the low life malicious individual who is the very reason anyone would need to carry a personal protection gun.
____ Don't even get close to the religious wars about the distinction between revolvers and pistols. To a newbie, handgun and pistol are interchangeable terms, both of which refer equally to semi-automatics and revolvers.
____ Heck, it was a lot of reading before I realized that BUG or bug was a back up gun and not a small or short bottom feeder.
____ Here are some abbreviations to avoid or clearly explain in discussions aimed at newbies: LE, LEO, FTF, BUG, CC, IWB, OWB, SA/DA, SAO, DAO, SHTF.

2. Advise newbies to think in terms of the reason for a particular gun. Target practice, target competition, side arm back up for rifle or shotgun hunting, law enforcement back up, law enforcement off duty, household protection, open carry for personal protection, concealed carry for personal protection, are all different environments with legitimately different factors for deciding what kind of gun to use.
____ The most significant arena for the thoughts in this thread fall into the concealed carry (CC) personal protection guns. Good advice to a newbie for CC is to look at all aspects of CC before settling on one gun, or even before focusing on the gun at all. Legal and practical safety and liability issues are paramount. Tactical considerations to include where to carry and how to carry can influence the 'best' choice' of gun for a given situation.
____ Try to distinguish between the needs of a private citizen with those of an on duty or off duty law enforcement officer. They are different, for good reason. For instance, a private citizen should never be in an extended gun battle, and thus need extensive ammunition in one instance.
____ Recommend that they really learn, from authoritative sources like the state police or state attorney general's office, the laws in their state, before picking out guns for protection. As an example, here in Virginia, we have both open and concealed carry allowed, with caveats and restrictions on both. I only recently learned that in some other states that allow concealed carry, ANY incident of a concealed gun becoming visible is a violation of the law. That can make a decision on where and how to carry very different from what I face in Virginia. I could wear a belt holster covered by a suit jacket here. In those other states, such a holster could get me arrested when the wind blows.
____ If the reason for a given gun is personal protection by a private citizen, advise them to really examine their willingness and ability to take a human life. There is no such thing as 'shoot to maim.'

3. If possible use real world experience evidence and solid statistics, citing sources. As an example, I have read, but cannot cite a good source, that most armed citizen protective shooting incidents involve a total of three shots fired, counting both the good guy and the bad guy. If true, then the reason for promoting high capacity semi automatics over 5 shot revolvers, and even the "need" to carry spare magazines or speedloaders changes dramatically.

I don't have the answers. Knowing what I do now, I probably bought my snub nose too soon (but am still happy with the purchase). I am better educated than I was a year ago, but I still feel like a true newbie. And I appreciate the learning and sharing and opinions I find in THR.

Thanks!

crankshop1000
September 1, 2007, 10:05 AM
Check out the 642 club.That's why people still buy revolvers. The 642 is the best selling gun on the market.

lee n. field
September 1, 2007, 10:20 AM
Old, old, much hashed out topic.

"Why would anyone buy a revolver?"

Because I want one.

Brass retention with a revolver is 100%.

.357 magnum is a much longer cartridge, however, so less of the barrel length of a revolver will actually be used. A 180 gr .40 caliber bullet in a 4" auto will have about 3.45" of actual distance before it exits the barrel, blah blah blah.


Am I the only one who thinks an SP101 in .40S&M would be very interesting?

A lot of revolver advocates claim that revolvers have a simpler manual of arms, but that's not entirely true.

Until it comes time to reload. Then it gets all fine motor skills fiddly.

Many revolver advocates also claim that revolvers are mechanically simpler than automatics.

If they think that, they need to go read the S&W Revolver Shop Manual.

wuchak
September 1, 2007, 10:44 AM
With a speed loader or moon clips a revolver can be reloaded as fast as a semi-auto. Although in most situations you won't need a reload.

Other advantages of the revolver:

they can be fired from inside a pocket if they are a shrouded hammer or hammerless model.
they can be fired with the muzzle pushed hard into the target (e.g. the bad guy's chest, head, etc), where a semi-auto would be pushed out of battery.


disclaimer: I like, own, and carry both autos and revolvers. I do however wish my first had been a 642. It's light, comfortable to carry, chambered in an effective caliber, and ammo for practice is cheap. It can be carried as primary or as a backup to a high capacity semi-auto when traveling in high risk areas. The 642, especially when equipped with a Crimson Trace laser is also easy for other family members who may not go to the range often to use in an emergency.

pax
September 1, 2007, 10:59 AM
RyanM ~

Excellent tutorial. Really nice work ... thanks for putting it up!

pax

RyanM
September 1, 2007, 11:16 AM
I submit that the post would, in fact, give a beginner the wrong impression. The most meaningful "small gun" category for most Americans is pocket carry, and revolvers are robustly present and useful in that category. Is that really controversial? Weight is a big factor; weight-and-power-per-dollar is another huge one.

Then what about the Kel-Tec P11 and PF9? Shorter front to back, shorter top to bottom, thinner in the middle, and lighter than most snubs. Slightly lower power than a .357 (with factory ammo), slightly higher than a .38 +P. And extremely cheap. Once again, popularity should not sway your choice. Newbies should pick the platform that's best for them, not what a ton of other people think is best for themselves.

----------------------

What about the physics/dynamics of shooting? Bore axis placement relative to grip (anchorage) rotation (or resistance to same), dampening of energy (slide sping action v. Hand absorption/cylinder-barrel gap), etc. Spring strength and age, timing issues, trigger weight (finger strength) vis a vis action mode, barrel length.

Those are going to be pretty heavily platform-dependent, but for felt recoil, it seems like straight blowback is the worst, then revolvers, then recoil-action and delayed blowbacks. Which makes some sense. With a straight blowback gun, nearly all the recoil momentum is transferred into your hand in one big whack, when the slide reaches its limit of travel. Before that, it's just whatever makes it through the spring. With a revolver, recoil is transferred over the amount of time the bullet is in the barrel. With a recoil-operated gun, a good portion of it gets transferred through the barrel, then the rest through the slide.

On the cylinder-barrel gap and stuff, rearward motion of the barrel or the entire gun during firing is going to be less than negligible. For the gap, it's not going to be much of a factor unless you're looking at a revolver in an autopistol caliber. Standard revolver calibers are test-fired from a vented barrel that simulates the gap, so it's already accounted for if you look at muzzle velocities online.

I know you're talking about actual use for life safety, but I spend far more time at the range (as do others I expect) and while I love both design concepts, who really needs to be throwing brass all over the place (unless you've got a 10 year old to help "police" up the empties after the fact)?

Try tilting the gun, aiming at various spots on the backstop, and holding the gun differently, to control ejection. Pegging someone in the head is worth 5 points. 10 point bonus if you can make them do the hot brass dance. :p

---------------------

Interesting, but not a valid comparison. You modified the Ruger and then fed it in appropriate ammunition. Both things caused failures. Those two conditions would also cause failures in any semi automatic.

I've done the same things to my Glock, and it's always worked fine. Right now it's got an increased power trigger spring going through a new hole I drilled in the trigger bar, 8 pound connector, striker hood ground at an angle, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting about right now. Before, I used to have an NY-1 trigger spring housing with the spring removed and a 3.5 pound connector. None of my crazy trigger jobs have ever compromised reliability in that gun. It's also got a TIG welded feed ramp for 100% chamber support, making the feed ramp at a steeper angle. No problems. I've never gone so far as to use BP ammo, but I have stopped bothering to clean it, except the exterior and the bare metal parts on the feed ramp. No matter how filthy that thing gets, it keeps working. I think it may even still have some dried mud inside it from the mud puddle test a year ago.

Anyway, the rest of your post, you summed up many of the other compromises between an auto and revolver. I do think pocket autos are going to be slowly edging out snubbies, though, as they gain reputation for reliability. One cop I know bought a 9mm Kahr for his backup/off duty piece. It's worked fine for him. My MK40 has been golden since day one. I've yet to induce a limp-wristing jam in it, even intentionally.

----------------------

RyanM: Sir; I liked how you first sentences began:' for people new to handguns'
...
RyanM: Sir; I may have missed your point?

You pretty much hit it dead on. I'm trying to get newbies to make their choices based on what specific gun is best for them, rather than going for what is popular, recommended by friends or gun shop employees, etc. There are a lot of reasons to go with one platform or the other, but they're not all valid ones.

Personally, I made all the classic mistakes with my first handgun. Bought a tiny little pocket auto on an impulse because the price was right, and I figured I'd need something small enough that I'd actually carry it. It was an NAA Guardian in .380. It was reliable and put up with my incredibly limp wrists, no problem. Even if I let it recoil up to a 90 degree angle, no jams. But boy, was that recoil snappy! And back then, my tendinitis was a real problem. There were some days that I physically could not rack the slide, nor pull the trigger.

Ended up trying on a Ruger SP-101 at the local gun store, bought it right then. Loading and unloading was much easier, but the trigger was still a problem. After making sure it worked fine at the range, I got a Wolff trigger spring kit and got to work lightening it. Then experienced my very first jam. That was pretty disturbing, but after polishing the internals, I was pretty confident it would never happen again (and it never has, the return is smooth and positive now). With the trigger down to about 8 pounds, and the SP-101 proving easy enough to carry, I started trying to re-sell the Guardian.

Traded it for my Glock 23. That was just plain blind luck. Ended up with pretty much the perfect gun for me. Fits my hand, accurate, powerful, reliable. Now that I've switched to typing in Dvorak rather than Qwerty (look at the top left of your keyboard), my tendinitis hasn't flared up in years, so hopefully I won't have to worry about limp-wristing jams anymore. My last time out, anyway, it worked fine weak-handed, one-handed, with what I'd call a loose grip.

If I'd known what I was doing and had done better research, I probably would have gone straight to the SP-101, then gotten the G23 only after my tendinitis settled down.

----------------------

There is also the expense of making changes to your carry ammo. If you want to change carry ammo with your revolver you can run a couple of cylinders through it to check point of aim and recoil. After that you're done and you still have 15 out of the box of 25 expensive self defense rounds left to carry. You should probably practice more with it but there is no question of the reliability of your gun with the ammo. If you want to change carry ammo in your automatic you have to test it with each magazine you plan to carry it in. The number of tests per magazine before you can declare it reliable enough for carry depends on the shooter but I think for most prudent people the minimum would be two. So changing in the 23 ,if you are carrying an extra mag, would require a minimum of 56 rounds of expensive self defense ammo. Some experts recommend testing at least 100 rounds of whatever you're going to carry for self defense. If you want one type of reliable ammo for the house, another for around town, and another for the woods you'd better get your wallet out if you're going to carry a semi-auto.

Personally, my lower limit is 200 successful rounds fired, for any gun, either platform. I've heard horror stories about Taurus revolvers that did fine dry firing, then totally seized up and had to be sent back to the factory before making it through their first box of ammo. I personally had an NAA mini once that broke a spring and wouldn't advance the cylinder, after about 50 shots. Any gun can fail. Like I said, I've had about the same number of problems with revolvers as with autos, though other than the NAA spring, they've all been my own dumb fault.

-----------------

Expense of the firearm itself is an issue. Some people's budgets are a bit more limited than others. I trust a cheap revolver more than a cheap semi auto.

I don't know if that's really a good idea, though. Revolvers really are more mechanically complex, in the firing mechanism. Truly cheap, as opposed to merely inexpensive, revolvers could definitely seize up, fire while misaligned, or fail in some other catastrophic way. And don't forget about the Bersa Thunder 9 in the inexpensive auto category. I hear some really good things about Bersa. And if you're not limiting yourself to 9mm and up, there are plenty of very inexpensive yet reliable .380s and 9mm Maks on the market.

-----------------

2. Advise newbies to think in terms of the reason for a particular gun. Target practice, target competition, side arm back up for rifle or shotgun hunting, law enforcement back up, law enforcement off duty, household protection, open carry for personal protection, concealed carry for personal protection, are all different environments with legitimately different factors for deciding what kind of gun to use.

First off, welcome to THR. I hope you enjoy your stay here. Anyway, for my post, I guess I was assuming concealed carry. After all, if you go for just recreational shooting, it doesn't really matter what you get. For competition, you'd want to choose whichever platform you can use in the competition you want to enter. Home defense, I'd recommend an intermediate caliber rifle over anything else (including a shotgun). Hard to go wrong with an AK-47.

Every other form of daily carry, though, has many of the same concerns. Ammo capacity, ease of reloading, ergonomics, size, weight, etc.

3. If possible use real world experience evidence and solid statistics, citing sources. As an example, I have read, but cannot cite a good source, that most armed citizen protective shooting incidents involve a total of three shots fired, counting both the good guy and the bad guy. If true, then the reason for promoting high capacity semi automatics over 5 shot revolvers, and even the "need" to carry spare magazines or speedloaders changes dramatically.

That's definitely a bad idea. Aside from the whole lies, damn lies, and statistics thing, planning around the statistical average is just really, really dumb and may get you killed. By the "3 shots, 3 feet, 3 seconds" line of reasoning, because over 90% of auto collisions are mere "fender-benders," and are so relatively rare to begin with, safety features such as airbags and seatbelts are irrelevant.

No, that's not the right way to think. I want the best gun I can possibly get. I want my gun to put bullets exactly where I want them, to do so reliably, to do so with enough "oomph" to reasonably put down a violent attacker (as long as I do my part), and to do so as many times as possible, in about that priority. But even though capacity is my lowest priority, having more shots available if necessary can never hurt.

----------------

Old, old, much hashed out topic.

Yes, but how many of the previous threads were designed to be newbie-friendly, and to address the concerns and rumors that would most sway a newbie's opinion?

-----------------

With a speed loader or moon clips a revolver can be reloaded as fast as a semi-auto.

As fast, maybe. But a revolver involves a lot more movement and fine motor skills, and you'd have to reload more often for the same number of shots.

they can be fired with the muzzle pushed hard into the target (e.g. the bad guy's chest, head, etc), where a semi-auto would be pushed out of battery.

That's not much of an advantage. If the gun is touching the bad guy, he can probably touch it, which means there's a risk of being disarmed. Even if you shoot him first, there's no guarantee the first shot will work, unless you hit the brain or spine. A pretty good proportion of serious gunfighting systems use a retention position in which the gun is held against the shooter's body, pointing to the side, to prevent disarms.

pax
September 1, 2007, 11:53 AM
Brass retention with a revolver is 100%.

If you're practicing speed-reloading for self-defense, you're going to dump that brass on the ground every time, as you grab for your speedloader. As a result, especially if your range is gravel, you're either going to spend some time looking for that annoyingly vanished last piece of brass, or you're going to leave some of your cherished brass behind when you leave.

Of course, if you're just target shooting and don't care what habits you build, you can always carefully look for your brass pouch or a bucket before dumping your brass. But that would be building a bad habit, if it's self defense you're interested in.

I trust a cheap revolver more than a cheap semi auto.

Agreed. At the lower end of the price scale, revolvers have a reliability advantage over semi-autos. Remember, you're not talking to gun-knowledgeable people, so they're just as likely to pick up a pot metal Bryco or Jennings as they are to stumble across a "reliable" Bersa or Mak.

Further, it is much simpler to check out a used revolver than it is to check a used semi-auto. (See Jim March's thread about that - it's around here somewhere, I think.)

pax

The Lone Haranguer
September 1, 2007, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by pax:
If you're practicing speed-reloading for self-defense, you're going to dump that brass on the ground every time, as you grab for your speedloader. As a result, especially if your range is gravel, you're either going to spend some time looking for that annoyingly vanished last piece of brass, or you're going to leave some of your cherished brass behind when you leave.
Tossed speed strips are even harder to find. ;)

GunTech
September 1, 2007, 12:44 PM
A revolver allows for a much wider variation of loads, from powder puff wadcutters to full charged magnums, with not reliability problems.

If you are Jerry Miculek, the revolver can be fired faster than an auto (yes, it's true)

GRB
September 1, 2007, 01:05 PM
"Why would anyone buy a revolver?"

Because real men shoot blue steel revolvers, and love it!

All the best,
Glenn B

TMann
September 1, 2007, 01:27 PM
Wow...great post. If someone is looking for a well-written counterpoint to Ryan's point of view, Mr. Camp wrote a great article called "The Revolver: Obsolete or Enduring?" (The article can be found here. (http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/RevolverObsoleteEnduring.htm))

At this moment, all of the guns in my collection are semi-autos, (Glock 26, Kahr MK9, KT P3AT and Ruger Mark III.) However, I am seriously considering getting a J-frame snubbie to fill in that gap between the Kel-Tec and the Kahr. My MK9 is just a too heavy for me to pocket carry; OTOH, I'd like something a bit more powerful than the .380's in my Kel-Tec. I've looked long and hard at all of the small and light 9 mm semi-autos, (Kahr PM9, Kel-Tec P11 & PF9,) and I feel more confident in the reliability of a small revolver. Also, the shape of a revolver lends itself well to pocket draw, compared to the more angular shape of the semi-autos. (Although I realize that this is a personal preference, as many people find the thickness of the revolver barrel to be problematic.)

Thanks again for the great article. :)

TMann

The Annoyed Man
September 1, 2007, 03:30 PM
For myself, I answered the question a long time ago - and own both types.

But whenever I get asked by someone who has no experience with firearms and is considering buying a pistol, I ask them two questions:
For what purpose to they want to buy this pistol?
Do they plan to make regular visits to the range to maintain proficiency as a part of their ownership experience?
99% of the time, they want it for home defense. If they answer "yes" to #2, then I advise them to go to a range where they can rent and try different guns (and I volunteer to go with them if they want), and I advise them to buy the one that they are most comfortable with in the caliber they like the most.

If they answer "no" to #2, then I advise them to not buy a gun at all. But if they insist on buying one anyway, then I advise them to buy a revolver in .44 Special, with no particular brand in mind. I advise .44 special because it is able to get the job done without particularly intimidating the shooter.

It may be so that a semi auto is equal to a revolver in all practical aspects, but there is no accounting for ignorance, and if the person in question is ignorant and intends to remain so, then I believe that the revolver will be more instinctive to learn, and easier to remember how to use.

Socrates
September 1, 2007, 05:27 PM
Because they don't make a 12 oz Glock in .357 Magnum.:D

The Glock 26/27/33, and 29/30 are very light, high capacity, and, other then lacking a decent trigger, and a few other things, are near perfect guns for carry, and close range shooting. Helps to have big hands, and, if you don't there is the G36.

However, CCW is a situation that in some instances, certain details become a deal breaker. The 360PD I have has to have an oversized grip to fire .357 in it.
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/360PD/360LEFT-1.jpg

The grip makes it a bit too big for certain types of carry, and, I have to make clothing changes to accomodate the grips.

I have been looking long and hard at the Glocks, since they are the lightest, most powerful CCW guns that I can find, that will run reliably.

Another reason to buy a revolver is if you like a light, good, trigger pull. Glocks can be setup to have one, but, without a safety, it would be easy to shoot yourself, carrying a loaded gun with a 3.5 pound trigger. There are solutions, however.

Your real problem in this statement is not why would anyone buy a revolver, but, why wouldn't anyone buy a Glock for CCW?

S esq.

Rexster
September 1, 2007, 05:43 PM
RyanM, my compliments on a well-written topic! :) I would go with the SP101 myself, and have done so, with three of them, in fact. I should add that my duty pistol is a SIG P229R DAK, not too far from your G23. I do better with the short trigger option in a SIG DAK than with the Glunky Glock trigger, so I bought it in 2004 and set aside my previous G22 duty pistols. (We buy our own .40 duty autos, from a list of several approved models.) When a beginner asks me the revolver-or-auto question, I ask them if they change their car's oil and spark plugs, and if they say no, I steer them toward a revolver, with the recommendation that they get a 'smith to clean it for them once a year.

Nematocyst
September 1, 2007, 06:12 PM
The 360PD I have has to have an oversized grip to fire .357 in it.Now that's one fine looking revolver.

IMO, that's 360PD done right.
(Speaking ONLY for myself.
YMMV {your mileage may vary})

I have full sized Hogue monogrips on my 642.
Don't need them, but I like them.
I like the extra control I get for double tap.

Pocket carry? No, not without large cargo pockets or a vest.
But honestly, I prefer to carry it in an OWB anyway.
I like to carry other stuff ... or nothing ... in my pockets.
But that's just me.
YMMV.

Gonna have to get myself a scandium .357 mag revolver someday.

I confess I lean towards the 340PD though.
I'm a fan of SAO (single action only).

And for what that gun is designed for,
five is enough.
YMMV.

Yeah, I tried bottom-feeders ... er, semi-autos.

First I bought a Taurus .38 spl (I forget the model number) the day after a large, half-naked, angel-dusted madman with a look of rage in his eyes tried to break into my studio (a garage apt in the "student ghetto"), while I was standing five feet away inside the picture window that he was pounding on while I dialed 911 with a 3' piece of 1" wooden dowel in my left hand. It took the cops minutes to get there. When he heard them drive up, he jumped the fence. They never caught him.

That was in grad school, about 20 years ago.

The next morning, I was at the gun store when it opened, and bought the Taurus. I'd been a gun owner all my life, but only rifles and shotguns. I knew nothing - nada, zip - about handguns. It was an impulse purchase grounded in genuine fear.

A few years later, I traded that Taurus because I didn't feel it was "enough". I traded it for a SW3914 (9 mm).

I never liked shooting it, but couldn't figure out why.

Roll tape forward to two years ago.
I had just joined THR (more to learn about HD shotguns
than handguns, but that's another story...).

After reading a BUNCH of threads and asking some questions,
I learned the reason I didn't like the 3914: it didn't fit my hand.

I immediately traded it for a Kahr K9. Which I adored. Comfortable fit. Shot it well. Never jammed in a few hundred rnds.

Then, I bought the 642. Love at first grip.
I found at the range, I spent more time with it than the K9.
I felt more comfortable with it.

I didn't CCW then (still don't yet even though I've had my class; just haven't had time/money yet to apply for the permit). But I bought the 642 specifically for carry after reading tons and tons of threads, and after finding the 642 Club in particular.

I began to have second thoughts about semi-autos for myself. I have smaller than average arms and wrists. Yes, I work out regularly, and am reasonably strong for my size. But even though I never limp-wristed either the 3914 or the K9, there was that lingering concern, especially since I don't have a LOT of time for training. There was the realization that I wasn't as adept with the semi action as I am with revolver. Revolver just feels more natural for me. YMMV.

Also, I know myself well enough to know that for CCW, I'm far more likely to carry a small airweight revolver than a K9. I didn't even like carrying the K9 around my studio (business) all day. But the 642 feels fine. I don't even know it's on me. Usually rides under my untucked shirt - or in cool seasons, under a fleece pullover or vest - in a high-ride OWB.

So, last year, I sold the K9 to another THR member who loves it. It's found a good home, and I'm glad.

I've still got the 642, with that set of full-sized Hogues on it. It's rarely more than a few feet away.

I've since added a SW 65 in .357 mag. That will be mostly a camp/wilderness gun, but may see occasional use for carry in colder seasons. In some neighborhoods or regions, I may have both of them.

Do I feel "under-gunned"? No. I'm not even sure I know what that means.

I don't anticipate being in a prolonged gun battle. It's not my goal. If I ever am, and only have my 5-shot 642, then, oh well. Wrong place, wrong time. Could've gotten hit by a truck on the way there, or on the way back, and gotten killed, too. But I'm not loosing sleep over it.

Why would anyone buy a revolver?
This story represents a big part of why I did.

(The other part has to do with my love of lever guns,
and wanting to have two guns - one handgun, one carbine -
that shoot the same rnds ... but that's another story ...)

YMMV.

;)

Nem

PS: RyanM, I agree with others: well-written essay, interesting thread starter.
I don't agree with all your points, but that doesn't matter.
What matters, IMO, is that you've generated good, interesting discussion.

Thnx. :cool:

Socrates
September 1, 2007, 07:26 PM
Nematocyst, thanks for the kind words.

Gun was more of a project then I wanted. I still need to sand down the bottom of the trigger guard, so the edges quit cutting my trigger finger, though the bigger grips helped. The Hogue monogrips have to be the best kept secret around. 30 bucks, shipped, and, you can sand them down to fit your hands, or even to taper them to the side you carry on.

I often find myself wanting to take a gun to take out the trash, walks, etc.

I wish the 360PD came stock with Hogue cocobolo boot grips. They would be worth keeping.

I like the idea of being able to shoot the gun SA, by cocking the hammer, after pulling the trigger half way. Works fine at the range. Problem is, I trade off being able to shoot out of my pocket.

I'd like to pick up a 642, put boot grips on it, and keep it for a pocket gun, for such times. I use a Mika Pocket holster, with deep pants, If I want to carry the 360PD that way.

Certainly supporting the Glock as a carry weapon is the fantastic, better then my .357 test results from the Glock 26:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/9x19mm%20Luger%20124gr%20+P%20Gold%20Dot%20(denim).html

http://www.brassfetcher.com/images/9x19mmSpeer124grPlusPGoldDotDenimblk.JPG


Special thanks to loplop from www.TheHighRoad.org for funding this test in full.

Cartridge : 9x19mm Luger Speer 124gr +P Gold Dot JHP (Part # 23617)

Firearm : Glock 26 (3.5" barrel length)

Block Calibration : All depths corrected (From 11.2cm @ 599 ft/sec)

Shot 1 - Impacted at 1215 ft/sec, penetrated to 14.3" and was recovered at 0.502" average diameter.

Shot 2 - Impacted at 1196 ft/sec, penetrated to 14.4" and was recovered at 0.509" average diameter.

Shot 3 - Impacted at 1218 ft/sec, penetrated to 14.3" and was recovered at 0.514" average diameter.

Shot 4 - Impacted at 1216 ft/sec, penetrated to 14.4" and was recovered at 0.494" average diameter.

Shot 5 - Impacted at 1216 ft/sec, penetrated to 14.4" and was recovered at 0.503" average diameter.

As you might notice, the bullets all penetrated the length of the gelatin block. This was because the block had lower viscosity than the 'perfect' block. All bullets penetrated the back of the block, two struck the face of a 60lbf bag of playsand and fell to the deck. The actual penetration of these bullets was determined as (16.0-1.7) inch. The -1.7" came from the correction formula. 3 of the bullets penetrated ~ 0.3" into loosely-packed sand. I went ahead and equated that to 0.1" of gelatin (a modest estimate, actual penetration should be a little bit deeper).

The five shots were fired from 10' distance into a gelatin block faced with 4 layers of loosely-layered 12.5ounce denim fabric. There are two calibration BBs in this block - the first was fired to ~ 11.3cm, but the impact velocity was not recorded due to a chronograph malfunction.

Pretty amazing ballistics. If you go to www.buffalobore.com and have a look at real world test of his snubby results, you can see the barrel length in a snub, revolver, or semi-auto, has a very severe impact on energy and velocity. 2" vs. 3" is huge.

Item 19E/20—158gr. Speer Uni-core, (Gold Dot) hollow cavity, bullet @ 1,100fps from a 2.5 inch barrel. It is designed to mushroom, yet hold together and penetrate deeply—roughly 13 to 15 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel—1,015 fps (361 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2-½-inch barrel—1,097 fps (422 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 65 3-inch barrel—1,172 fps (481 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun 4-inch barrel—1,232 fps (532 ft. lbs.)
Colt Python 6-inch barrel—1,198 fps (503 ft. lbs.)

WARNING—shooting this ammo out of revolvers weighing less than 16 OZ. produces tremendous felt recoil. We recommend our +P 38 SPL ammo for revolvers that weigh less than 16 OZ., if you are recoil sensitive.

Item 19F/20—140gr. Sierra JHC bullet (jacketed hollow cavity) @ 1,150 fps from a 2.5 inch barreled S&W mod. 66. Designed to mushroom and penetrate deeply—roughly 12 to 14 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel—1,088 fps (368 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2.5 inch barrel—1,156 fps (415 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 65 3 inch barrel—1,246 fps (483 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun 4 inch barrel—1,321 fps (542 ft. lbs.)
Colt Python 6 inch barrel—1,286 fps (514 ft. lbs.)

Item 19G/20—125gr. Speer Unicore (Gold Dot) bullet @ 1,225 fps from a 2.5 inch S&W mod. 66 barrel. Designed to mushroom violently, yet hold together and penetrate deeply—roughly 12 to 14 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel— 1,109 fps (341 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2-½-inch barrels—1,225 fps (416 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 65 3-inch barrels— 1,322 fps (485 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun 4-inch barrel— 1,445 fps (579 ft. lbs.)
Colt Python 6-inch barrel— 1,388 fps (535 ft. lbs.)

I've only chronographed the Corbon 125 grain .357 out of my snub.
It went 1204 fps, and was rated at 1450 fps. Thats a drop of 246 fps.

I'm carrying Federal PD 158's, which, out of my short barrel, I'll be lucky to get 1150 fps. Still, that might increase penetration, which would be a good thing.

So, in short, the 642, or a 340 with boot grips would make an ideal pocket gun, with a Mika holster. The Glocks under discussion, when loaded, weigh twice what the S&W snubs do, and, are WAY out of pocket carry, mainly on weight.

I could carry my 360PD, in thunderwear, one or two 340's loaded with Plus P 38, and have 10-15 rounds, and, I could use both hands.:neener:
Not to mention the speed loaders.

So, again, the problem here is making a generalization, moving from specifics, to generalities, a failing in formal logic.

S esq.

Just Jim
September 1, 2007, 07:46 PM
Elmer Keith, one of the founders of the 44 magnum carried a revolver in the same caliber. He was very specific as to why in his writings. He believed a good revolver was more apt to work when you really needed it than an auto was.

He stated that a revolver would fire most any ammo that fit the chamber but an auto has to have perfect ammo to run. If an auto jams you must tap, rack, bang to get it going again (single action) or double action the trigger again. Glocks require jacking the slide. If a round fails to fire in a revolver then you just pull the trigger to bring up the next round.

Of course his thoughts where in his days and we all know that all ammo comes from the factory perfect nowdays:D:D Also everyone knows that day after day carrying a gun that magazine spring tension never fails.

Plus with a revolver you never get a jam from limp wristing. Officers have been killed because in the heat of a fight when they have allready taken wounds their gun jams because they don't have the strength to hold it tight enough.

In a perfect world with everthing going your way a semi auto will do the job. In an imperfect world where you must abuse your equipment or scrounge for ammo it may be a revolver that keeps you alive.

Me, I carry a 1911 with a small smith backup.:D

jim

Socrates
September 1, 2007, 08:27 PM
Me, I carry a 1911 with a small smith backup.

+1, if the situation allows...

S esq.

RandomMan
September 1, 2007, 08:40 PM
Excellent thread with a lot of good information. I own both, semi-autos and revolvers. I started out with a semi-auto, because my father prefers them to revolvers. I have come to discover, I prefer revolvers.

My reasons are simple:

1. I have small/medium sized hands and about the only autoloader that feels made for me, is the 1911. I can adapt, but Glocks, Sigs, etc do not feel comfortable.
2. I like the simplicity of revolvers, they're easy to shoot (for me), easy to maintain, simple to load and unload. I love all these features and I am what you'd consider an advanced shooter.
4. I like the way they look. Classic, classy. A Glock doesn't look classy to me. I consider a Glock to be some type of modern-esque piece of art work and a revolver to be classic, like the Mona Lisa.
5. I like being different from the guy next to me on the range. My K-Frame or D-Frame functions just as well as his Glock, but at least I'll never lose my gun in a crowd.

In terms of this thread, I think it does well going towards the arguments, but there is simply so much to address with a new shooter you really can't even begin to make it clear. I'm teaching my girlfriend (a brand new shooter), a variety of things and everyday she will ask me a question I wasn't even expecting.

-Rob

Glockman17366
September 1, 2007, 08:41 PM
Why would you ask such a stupid question?

jad0110
September 1, 2007, 09:03 PM
Kudos to all for keeping this thread remarkably civil. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

Me, I carry a 1911 with a small smith backup.

Hmmm, sounds like something I might be doing this winter (if not often):


http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q139/jad0110/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Model%20642%2038%20Special/SW642withammo.jpg


http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q139/jad0110/Springfield%20M1911A1%20Mil-Spec%2045%20ACP/IMG_5544.jpg

For the record, my wheelies and my 1911 get along just fine :D.

RandomMan,

Your preferences sound nearly identical to mine. I have slender hands with long fingers, though I still don't particularly care for the double stack magazine grip of most autos. It just doesn't work well for me. For that reason, I greatly prefer single stack autos like the 1911, Browning Hi-Power, and Sig P225. Though the CZ-75 feels decent to me.

Overall, I still prefer a nice wheelgun. They work for me. I especially like the fact that I can fire from odd angles while at the same time limp wristing and it still functions. I could get my otherwise reliable XD9 to choke readily doing that. I have been able to induce one failure to eject with my 1911 by limp wristing, but like my wheelguns it too doesn't mind being fired upside down or sideways. One benefit of it's controlled-feed design.

One final thing: while it is true that if a revolver jams it is very difficult (if not impossible) to clear quickly, I'd bet most of said jams are caused by:

1. Improperly ejecting the spent cases (not down towards the ground), allowing unburnt powder to build up under the extractor star

2. Lack of cleaning

I could be wrong, but that is my best guess.

Socrates
September 1, 2007, 09:12 PM
Here's my other gun:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/KIMBER.jpg
Family portrait:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/GIRLS5.jpg
Sprinco guide rod, setup with the heaviest Wolff springs, Ed Brown parts, McCormack Slim grips, work by Jack Huntington. Not easy to conceal in the summer...

S esq.

Baba Louie
September 1, 2007, 09:27 PM
Anecdote time...
During my first CCW class back in 95, one night our instructor was not present and the gunshop owner had to fill in. The next night, instructor was back with a story (as follows)

One of his earlier students had a home invasion (nice neighborhhod, lady alone at home, 4 teens bust in at night, lights out). She had a 5 shot revolver (SP101), was barricaded in her upstairs bedroom, door locked, on cell phone to 911, crouched behind bed, heard them come pounding up the stairs, kicked her door in, she let fly. Hit with one round (shoulder) missed with 4, he spun around and pounded back downstairs and they all fled... and left behind a handgun of their own (probably fell out of wasitband as they beat feet).

Instructor was called by cops once they got there (he worked for Metro as well). Knowing they would take her sole weapon, he brought her a G19 as a loaner and helped talk her back into some semblance of normalcy.

He told us in class, "If you ever have to use it, you'll probably later decide you need more rounds, no matter what you had in your hands at the time."

(Metro caught the invaders at a local hospital when they took their injured cohort in crime in for repairs.)

Sounded like a good reason to me to have at least one of each (revolver and semi), two or three each is better. Practice practice practice with all of them. They're all a little different (weight, length, size, grip) and even feel different with different ammo weight. Smaller is good with tradeoffs as Socrates points out. Bigger may be better. Home is one thing, walking around another, auto a third.

Each is a compromise in power when compared to a 12 ga or a carbine (talking home defense here).

Everyone was or is a newbie once. You can do everything right in practice, but when you hear those feet come pounding up your stairs and you're all alone in the dark when the door gets kicked in... things get all... s l o w... in a hurry, I reckon. (Can you see your front sight in the dark?)

357wheelgunner
September 1, 2007, 10:22 PM
No one's brought up the fact that a revolver can reliably shoot whatever profile bullets you want (like the magical federal 125gr JHP or the 158gr LHP+P, try getting something with that profile to shoot in a semi-auto).

Semi autos, especially glocks, are ugly as can be, not to mention that their triggers are generally terrible as well. There's nothing like a properly broken in double action trigger pull on a revolver.

Revolvers are easier to conceal thanks to their curved handle profile, semis have the back of the slide poking out, much harder to conceal with a love-handle/spare-tire.

With a revolver you just pull the trigger again if you have a bad round, a semi requires you to manually cycle the slide.

It doesn't cost $800+ for a beautiful, accurate revolver that will work reliably out of the box.

Revolvers are properly balanced.

You can hammer nails with a revolver, so long as you don't use the cylinder.

That's all I can think of offhand.



edited to add:


... she let fly. Hit with one round (shoulder) missed with 4...

....(Can you see your front sight in the dark?)


Sounds like a flashlight and proper training is in order, not new equipment. If she had a glock, she very well could have hit him once in the shoulder and missed 14 times, instead of 4. The revolver would've done fine if the bullets had hit their target instead of who-knows-what around it.

Vanderbilt
September 1, 2007, 11:05 PM
Semi autos, especially glocks, are ugly as can be, not to mention that their triggers are generally terrible as well. There's nothing like a properly broken in double action trigger pull on a revolver.

357wheelgunner: My thoughts exactly...maybe it's just a personal thing, but I've not found a pleasing auto outside of a 911 (and they can't compete with a 15 oz. snubby in terms of weight and ease of deep concealment).

As an aside 357wheelgunner, have you ever played soccer before? I can't imagine anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes in a competive soccer game holding the same opinion expressed in your signature :fire:. Oh well, at least you like wheelguns - so you can't be all that bad :D

sig226
September 1, 2007, 11:08 PM
I've done the same things to my Glock, and it's always worked fine. Right now it's got an increased power trigger spring going through a new hole I drilled in the trigger bar, 8 pound connector, striker hood ground at an angle, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting about right now. Before, I used to have an NY-1 trigger spring housing with the spring removed and a 3.5 pound connector. None of my crazy trigger jobs have ever compromised reliability in that gun. It's also got a TIG welded feed ramp for 100% chamber support, making the feed ramp at a steeper angle. No problems. I've never gone so far as to use BP ammo, but I have stopped bothering to clean it, except the exterior and the bare metal parts on the feed ramp. No matter how filthy that thing gets, it keeps working. I think it may even still have some dried mud inside it from the mud puddle test a year ago.

You'd have to different things to the Glock to screw up the trigger, though. Trust me, I could find a few ways to make it unreliable. That said, of all the rental guns we have, the Glock 17 and the Glock 21 are the most reliable. They are shot all day long andd improperly maintainted, yet they keep shooting. I don't especially care for the triggers, but they are engineering masterpieces. They have far less parts than a revolver.

You traded a Guardian for a G23??? Sweet.

gandog56
September 1, 2007, 11:12 PM
As I count up my pistols, I come up with 4 revolvers and 5 semis, of course one of my semis has two different caliber barrels, so maybe it's technically 6 semis. Real fence sitter here. Like I said before, I see advantages and disadvantages with both. It does not matter in the end, as long as I can hit what I am aiming with either kind.

MiamiGabe
September 2, 2007, 02:06 AM
1) Primarily because a 1911 is too big to carry on a daily basis.

2) Because I know the first time that I pull the trigger on my SP 101, a big bullet along with a very loud bang is going to shoot out of the barrel and either take an attacker down to scare the hell out of him. With the 3" barrel, my future shots are gonna be pretty accurate.

3)I have shot many thousands of rounds in my life. I've jammed every auto I've shot extensively, at least once (Everything from bersa's, S.W., sigs to M16A2's. Never had a revolver misfire under any condition.

4)Cause cowboys and Teddy Roosevelt used them.

Rexster
September 2, 2007, 02:23 AM
Glockman17366, did you read the opening post? RyanM ANSWERED the question.

BikerRN
September 2, 2007, 07:41 AM
I grew up shooting a Model 28 that I wish I still had. :(

Back in the day most people carried revolvers for serious "work" and had "jamaatics" for the range, except for a few 1911's. I made the switch to a "jamamatic" when finally forced to. Heck, I qualified with a Revolver as a Duty Weapon as late as 1997. I had a "jamamatic" at home though for Off-Duty carry, but it was a 1911. :)

I finally got rid of the 1911 due to my wrist/hand problems at the time. I tried Glocks, and while very functional, just never endeared themselves to me. I use a NY1 Trigger to replicate the old N-Frame Trigger of the S&W. Due to my size I found over the years that it is easier for me to hide a "big" revolver than it is to hide a 1911 or Glock of comparable size.

In any armed encounter, "accurracy is king". It does no good if you don't hit your target. With the revolver I KNOW I have a limited amount of ammunition, therefore I adjust my tactics. Also, when I carry a revolver it is for a self defense scenario, not to go seeking those that would do harm. If I am "actively" seeking bad guys I will use a "bottomfeeder" because it has more ammunition "on-tap". The amount of ammo held by a revolver though does force me to carry a BUG, even when off-duty, for a SHTF scenario.

I work with people that have never fired a revolver. It always amazes me that people don't know how to "work" a revolver. I shoot a revolver a "hair" better than any autoloader, and I've had a few. I like not having to worry about "feeding issues" and being able to just pull the trigger again if I need to. What finally pushed me back in to the revolver for CCW camp was that I was "limp wristing" my Glock 36 and having "reliability" problems.

The "limp wristing" could not be solved, because of physical limitations that I have. At the range a "reliability" issue is a great training issue, on the street it can get you killed. Therefore at work I carry the "bottomfeeder" they issue me. On my own time I will and do carry an N-Frame and a J-Frame at the same time. I can personally attest to the fact that I never wanted a smaller gun when I had to use it for real, or had too much ammo. In fact I always wanted more ammo and a bigger gun in a real life encounter. That is why I carry a 4" N-Frame and a BUG with a reload for each.

For me it's a revolver when I'm not at work. Simpler to operate, no reliability issues due to my physical limitations and it's easier to hide. I'm just thankful that I can carry what I want off-duty.

Biker

fletcher
September 2, 2007, 07:53 AM
A good reason to get a revolver is the simplicity. If you have a malfunction, there's no "tap-rack-bang", there's just "pull the trigger again", which is a natural reaction in such a scenario. There are also no safeties to deal with. Just stow-n-go.

357wheelgunner
September 2, 2007, 08:18 AM
As an aside 357wheelgunner, have you ever played soccer before? I can't imagine anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes in a competive soccer game holding the same opinion expressed in your signature . Oh well, at least you like wheelguns - so you can't be all that bad


Hank Hill said it, not me :uhoh: I just typed it up and quoted him :neener:

Soccer is respectable, when played seriously elsewhere in the world, but sadly, in America, it's a toned down sissified version of the real thing (besides, we have football for strong American kids). Also, soccer represents the "world community", which makes me think of the UN and the cantina scene from star wars, both of which are disgusting.

Besides, a little bit of chauvinism is good thing (like church, women, drinking, guns, knives, fighting, etc.) especially in moderation....

BryanP
September 2, 2007, 10:14 AM
I don't know if that's really a good idea, though. Revolvers really are more mechanically complex, in the firing mechanism. Truly cheap, as opposed to merely inexpensive, revolvers could definitely seize up, fire while misaligned, or fail in some other catastrophic way. And don't forget about the Bersa Thunder 9 in the inexpensive auto category. I hear some really good things about Bersa. And if you're not limiting yourself to 9mm and up, there are plenty of very inexpensive yet reliable .380s and 9mm Maks on the market.


Technically they are more complex, but it seems the bugs have been worked out of the designs. If someone offered me an old Rossi or an old Jennings I know which one I'd pick.

Yes, I'm familiar with Bersa. I've almost bought one several times. I was staring at one yesterday but decided to spend the money on a piece of furniture instead. My wife won't gripe at me for buying more furniture. ;)

No, my budget isn't the limit these days. At one time it definitely was. There was a time when my primary HD setup was a single-shot break action shotgun and an old Taurus revolver. They both still work beautifully, even if they have been supplanted by newer and more expensive toys over the years. These days I wouldn't hesitate to recommend some inexpensive semi-autos, but I'd be pickier than I would with revolvers.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against semi autos, but I love my revolvers too and on the whole I've experienced more failures with the former than the latter.

RyanM
September 2, 2007, 12:42 PM
Technically they are more complex, but it seems the bugs have been worked out of the designs. If someone offered me an old Rossi or an old Jennings I know which one I'd pick.

I really wouldn't consider Rossi to be in the same category as J/B/L/R/P, though. I'd say the revolver equivalent would be more like a Comanche, or one of those new High Standards, or something. An old Rossi would be more like an old Makarov.

I'd pick a Rossi over a Jennings, too, but I'd also pick a Mak over a Comanche.

Gotta compare apples to apples. There are some real stinkers of both platforms in the extreme low end of the price range, but also some real good ones.

Redneck with a 40
September 2, 2007, 01:50 PM
Maybe its because revolver's can chamber cartridges like 357 mag, 41 mag, 44 mag, 45 Colt, 480 Ruger, 454 Casull, 460 mag and 500 S&W mag.:neener: Take a look at this webpage for a good report on the utility of the 357 mag. Revolver's are far superior to any semi-auto for backcountry hiking protection, 2 legged critter or 4 legged critters. Most revolver cartridges feature bullets that were designed for hunting, deep penetration through thick skin and bone. This is why I carry a revolver out in the woods. The other points are valid also, simplicity and reliability.

Here is the link :

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/357magnum.htm

FLORIDA KEVIN
September 2, 2007, 03:02 PM
I generally believe that for most people the revolver is a better choice for self defense ,because most people don't shoot enough to reliably use an automatic in a high stress situation ! i.e. they may forget to chamber a round , or forget to release a safety , they freak if there is a misfire , jam or failure to fire ! with the revolver you have i believe a much simpler manual of arms !!I really don't think anyone should carry a gun at all unless they are willing to practice with it to become proficient ! I read stat the other day that said police shootings typically result in only about 20 percent hits from the shots fired , i would imagine a less qualified person would do even worse !!

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 03:20 PM
The original poster compared a Glock to a revolver. Since the Glock is very similar, no safety, double action pull to start, to a revolver, I have to agree with
his conclusion: The Glock is an excellent, nearly impossible to beat, CCW gun. However, it doesn't weigh 12 oz, put out 5 shots of .357, and, if not for the lock, would be as reliable as the Glock. Rugers lock is better, so, that's not an issue.

His mistake was taking a specific instance, and function, and trying to make a general rule out of a specific. This is a no no in logic.

He also didn't address that I can have 5 shots of 357, and 5 shots of .38 special plus P, in two guns that weigh about the same as the Glock, loaded.

S esq.

Cosmoline
September 2, 2007, 03:33 PM
Sounded like a good reason to me to have at least one of each (revolver and semi)

That story is actually a good example of why you should keep a long gun. Just throwing more rounds downrange from any handgun in such circumstances usually results in more misses, even for very experienced shooters. To take that as an example of why you need a higher capacity HANDGUN is not too wise. Barricaded in her room, she SHOULD have been covering that door with a 12 ga. or a carbine of some sort.

This highlights one of the problems I've noticed, esp. with fans of semiauto platforms. There is a temptation to start viewing a high capacity handgun as a viable substitute for a long gun. It isn't, and it never will be.

Marlin 45 carbine
September 2, 2007, 03:34 PM
due to the chambering that can be had in fairly common carbines, i.e. .45 Colt, .357 etc. that come in several makes of lever guns. and some people just like the 'feel'. I have 5 sisters and they all prefer my Taurus 94 .22 to my Ruger Mk. .22 'slabside' to plink with.
I'm partial to my Makarov for 'grab and go' myself. but if I knew I was going to a pistol- only fight (and couldn't run from it) I'd take my .45 Super S&W and several moon clips.

Redneck with a 40
September 2, 2007, 05:43 PM
I agree 100%, if I'm ever dealing with a home invader, I will barricade myself in my bedroom and have my 12 gauge at the ready. My handgun would be purely a back-up. I'm thinking once the thug breaks through my bedroom door and catches a load of 00 buckshot, it will be "lights out" for him.:D

shepsan
September 2, 2007, 05:55 PM
My compliments to all for a fine and thoughtful discussion.

I must confess that I like both semi and revolver handguns. My first handgun was a S&W Police Special issued to me in 1949. My second hangun was a Colt 1911 issued to me in 1950. Since then, I have owned, carried and enjoyed shooting both types of handguns at the range and have carried each type at on time or another for CCW.

At the range with a Glock or 1911, I am not as frugal a shooter as I am with a revolver. A loaded magazine of say thirteen rounds in a G21 or eight rounds in a 1911 tends to relax my focus on target. I fire quicker between shots and somewhat more carelessly. I cannot help but attribute this to the large number of rounds available in each magazine.

On the other hand, because of cylinder limitations with a revolver, I am simply more frugal trying to make each of the fewer rounds in the cylinder count.

My laziness has made me a more accurate with a revolver.

When the occassion has occurred, I have advised a newbie that a revolver is less complicated, easier to hold and shoot than a semi automatic pistol. I also comment that a revolver almost never fails to fire because of a mechanical failure.

That said, it is my opinion that the single more important factor once the purpose in buying a handgun is known is, to find either a revolver or semi autmotica that best fits one's hands. Once this is decided, then caliber and the other factors can be decided.


I thank the originator of this thread for his effort to educate and to all others who have made the thread so enjoyable to read.

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 06:15 PM
Here are my girls: http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/GIRLS2.jpg

If I know someones coming, I'm going to grab the 475 Linebaugh, with 400 grain XTP's at 1350 fps, aim carefully, and give the guy every chance to leave. I really don't want my FA in an evidence locker. Muffs are by the bed, and, he's going to be on fire from the H110 burning out on him, and deaf.

Either that, or the 500 MAX. Shooting that in the house would be truly dreadful, and, I'd close my eyes, which would probably be a good thing, considering the flash and boom. ;)

I really need a short barreled rifle, or something I can practice with, like a rifled shotgun. Kind of hard to be calling 911 with one hand, and shooting with the other...

S
esq.

Elm Creek Smith
September 2, 2007, 09:58 PM
My wife doesn't like "guns that shoot back," meaning semiautos. The brass ejecting for some reason freaks her out. However, my former Tulsa Police Department-issue S&W 681 four inch with Pachmayr grips isn't a problem for her with Winchester +P+ "Treasury Loads." The nice thing about the 681 is that I didn't have to buy it since a former neighbor gave it to me.

ECS

Phydeaux642
September 2, 2007, 11:28 PM
Well, I own both revolvers and autos, the same as most of you, and enjoy shooting both. As for a newbie, I don't know if I would recommend a lightweight snubbie for concealed carry to start out with. I say that because I remember the first time I fired an airweight snubbie with just standard pressure .38s. The recoil was pretty surprising. My XD9 is a pussycat compared to my 642. I really enjoy shooting the 642 and am always supprised by how accurate I am with it, but unless someone can practice regularly with a small, lightweight revolver and get used to the recoil then maybe a small auto such as the Sub-compact XD9 would be a better choice to start with. These autos have no safety that the user can fumble with in a self defense situation, so, are no more difficult to shoot than a revolver and the recoil is not as severe. Having said that, I carry my 642 daily either in a Smartcarry holster, an ankle holster or a pocket holster and really like having it with me.

___________________

"Phydeaux, bad dog....no biscuit!"

DAVE RICHARDS
September 3, 2007, 12:12 AM
Am auto for primary carr and a j-frame for a BUG. Makes alot of sense. Why? A 642/442 can be fired through the pocket. A small auto might, for one round. You can cover someone with a j-frame without them ever knowing it. If you need it see advantage number one. A hammer less j-frame is virtually snag free when pulled from a pocket. With 135gr. Gold Dots excellent power for the size. No ammo sensitivity. If a round doesn't ignite a pull of the trigger brings the next round into play. No rack, tap, bang drill.

Schwebel
September 3, 2007, 01:25 AM
I don't think you've represented the whole picture very well. Wheelguns are not obsolete and will not be for a very long time....if ever. My first CCW was a high cap .45, granted I had no handgun experience, just rifles and shotties. I had almost the same opinions you have outlined,...but they have since changed. Lemme tell you a couple reasons why,....and I am not a bottom feeder hater, I have alot of them.

1. Maintenance: A wheelie is so easy to clean after a range session, you don't have to spend an hour trying to get the crap out of every crevice. There is no magazine to take apart and clean.

2. Reliability: I have never seen/owned a wheelie that did not go bang when the trigger was pulled. I own several very nice semi's, and at some point or another they have not gone bang. Also how many times have you heard of people sending their wheelguns back to the factory b/c something broke/wasn't right that interfered with its function.....not many. There are tons of threads on defective Glocks/Sigs/Taurii.......etc.

3. They make you better shooters: I am more accurate with semi's now than ever before. I don't know what it is, but it seems to be true,...if you are accurate with a snubby,...you can be out right evil with an auto.

4. Simplicity: Bad Guy tries to kill/harm you...simple,...pull out revolver, pull trigger,...down goes BG. There are no external safeties to click or magazine catches to accidentally push during a high stress situation.

Now all that being said, if I was dropped off in Iraq to engage insurgents, I would take a high cap auto,...but if I was worried about getting killed for my wallet on the street, for me, a wheelie is my choice.

RyanM
September 3, 2007, 02:51 AM
I don't think you've represented the whole picture very well. Wheelguns are not obsolete and will not be for a very long time....if ever.

How many paragraphs of the first post did you actually read? Did you fail to notice that the list of pros for revolvers was actually longer than the ones for autos?

357wheelgunner
September 3, 2007, 08:44 AM
There is no magazine to take apart and clean.


...Or pop out of the weapon at the worst possible time...

Socrates
September 3, 2007, 09:03 AM
If a BG gets his hands on your revo, it's easier for him to shoot you with it. Doesn't need to know how the safety works...

S esq.

glassman
September 3, 2007, 09:59 AM
I have three revolvers and three auto loaders and like shooting all of them. I choose the 642 to travel with. It's easily concealed, it's reliable and for me, it's easier to shoot. I have confidence in it and know it will perform if I ever need it. This answers the question "why a revolver" for me.

Noxx
September 3, 2007, 10:46 AM
A lot of well thought out and lengthy responses in this thread. Mine will be brief, mostly because I'm on my way out the door atm. Terrible excuse, I know.

I own both types and am enamored of them for different reasons. However the 686 resides on my nightstand for the previously mentioned reasons that I cannot induce it to fail with a "just woke up" limp grip, and in the very close quarters of a dark house, the revolver can not be pushed out of battery by contact, or struggle with, the BG.

Unfortunately, I cannot carry in my state. If I could, my daily carry would be one of my autos. For whatever reasons, after weekly practice with both, I can present and fire the auto's more quickly and accurately than the wheelgun. I've seen people tattoo silhouettes at ten yards with a revolver fired from the hip as it's being drawn, but I'm not one of them. My scores under the same circumstances with the Sig or the Hi-power are much better.

Of course that's provided I'm awake and on my feet.


So that's it for me, different tools for a different situation. With any luck I'll never find out if I've made the right choice.

Jkwas
September 3, 2007, 11:28 AM
I love my revolvers, especially my Taurus snub. But I find myself transitioning to autos for CCW. I live in a warm climate, T-Shirt and shorts being my normal casual dress. The steel snub is light, the Aluminum snubs are lighter, But the Keltec P3AT is even lighter and smaller and holds more rounds and packs about the same punch.
I would normally carry my snub either in my pocket, or OWB in various rigs. Lately there's many "undesirables" in my neighborhood, especially in the evening, and I find myself wanting more bullets. So I carry a Taurus 111 9mm owb when I can wear a cover garment. It gives me 12 rounds and weighs in about the same as the snub. As much as I love my revolvers, the practicality of the auto seems inescapable.

Feanaro
September 3, 2007, 02:27 PM
The only centerfire pistols I own are revolvers. I'm a big revolver fan. But I don't need my revolvers to be equal to, or better than, autoloaders. So I'll share some observations.

Negation. Part of a well crafted revolver argument is negating the advantages of an autoloader. The superior capacity and reload speed of the autoloader aren't really advantages. "The internet says that I won't need more than 2 shots. And if I do, well, I'll just roll over and die." They don't count. But a revolver's ability to reload faster with loose rounds is a virtue worth listing.

Shootability. "I'm so much more accurate with my 1911 after getting good with a revolver." You hear this a lot. Shooting the revolver will make you a better shot. What isn't said; revolvers require more awareness of sight alignment and trigger control. That's why you end up shooting better. They also have more muzzle flip and recoil than a similar autoloader.

Manual of Arms. No fumbling with this safety, fiddling with the slide, or finagling with magazines. Sure, a Glock may not have anymore external controls than a revolver(cylinder latch) but the revolver is simpler. Until you reload. The most common revolver reload (http://www.grantcunningham.com/revolver-reload.html) is slow and complex. It requires crossing hands, a total rotation of 120° or more, and taking the dominant hand off the revolver. How can sixgunners perform this feat while being defeated and befuddled by an autoloader with one external control? Don't ask me. There are better reloads, IMO, but the autoloader still has the edge. Revolver: open cylinder, eject empties, load chambers, return cylinder. Autoloader: drop magazine, insert magazine, drop slide. Drop the last step if one's in the chamber. A "tactical" reload is also much slower for the revolver(stuffing everything in yer pockets might work in IDPA but it defeats the purpose of saving the ammo).

woad_yurt
September 3, 2007, 04:20 PM
"Why would anyone buy a revolver?"

My reasons:
They always work (no feed failures) and they work without fumbling around w/safeties or racking a slide. I like how they feel in the hand, too. Plus, they're cool as hell. I like seeing the cylinder turn.

Socrates
September 3, 2007, 04:28 PM
Also, the DA triggers on S&W snubs can be really heavy, like 15 pounds. Shooting with them is not easy, takes lots of practice, and strength.

S esq.

sgt127
September 3, 2007, 09:32 PM
I've posted this on a couple other forums I frequent, first time here. Usually good for some spirited debate. Enjoy (or hate it, doesn't really matter to me)

Revolver VS auto. Random thoughts.
I started out shooting revolvers, years ago. Revolvers are quite reliable. Autos came along and designs improved, bullet shapes improved. The reliabilty of the auto came up to what I felt was the level of a good well maintained revolver. And I carried an auto.

Some random observations I have discovered. Revolvers will occasionally malfunction. So will autos. Lets remove parts breakage from the equation for a bit. I can accept the fact that a high quality auto is just as likely, or unlikey, to break a part that stops the gun from functioning, as an equal quality revolver. I have actually broken more parts in auto's than revolvers, but, I can attribute that to sheer luck. Slide stops have broken, firing pins have broken, but, statistically, I would argue that neither one is likley to just "break" when you need it.

On the few occasions that I have had a revolver stop working, it was a cumalitive effect of shooting. It started to get dirty, crap under the extractor star, the barrel cylinder gap got lead and powder residue, the chambers got sticky from lots of .38's and then having to force a .357 in the chamber. In other words, most of the problems came on slowly. I knew, eventually, the gun was going to stop working. The trigger pull got heavier, it was harder to close the cylinder, something along those lines.

But, for no apparent reason, a clean well lubed auto, would sometimes just not feed, fire or eject a round. Bullet nose caught on the feedramp, empty failed to get out of the way of the next round, some other failure that seemed to occur randomly, and without warning.

Now, standing on the the line, at the range, neither gun failed very often. Nice firm grip, dry hands, locked wrists, all is well in the world of handgunning.

Recently, I have watched a few episodes of "Under Fire" on Court TV. Autos, good quality (and, hopefully) well maintained autos, sometimes crap out in the middle of a gunfight. Whats the difference? Weak one handed grip, rolling around on the ground, upside down, shoved against the bad guy, sweaty blood covered hands, whatever. The auto needs a solid platform to work off of. Something it can't get in a real world, up close gunfight.

At a distance, involved in a shootout, the auto's rarely seem to jam, much as I would expect. But, if its a fight, that leads to a gunfight, the auto may turn into a single shot.

A particular episode that comes to mind is the Officer that was fighting a real, no kidding boxer, that was about to beat the Officer to death. He finally drew his pistol and got off one shot, in the BG's midsection, with little effect, the BG grabbed the gun and beat the Officer with the gun, tossed it and the Officer picked it back up later in the fight. (Interesting video if you ever get a chance to see it)

On duty, I have to carry a Glock 35. And, I'm not sure I am ready to give up the general reliabilty, mag capacity and ease of shooting of a good auto for the vast majority of shooting situations. But, as a back up, I carry a 642. And, it seems alot of others are big fans of the little revolvers as back up guns.

But, Off duty, I find myself carrying a 3" S&W M65 more and more. I envision an off duty encounter being a very fast fight that turns into a gunfight. Bad guy rushing you with a knife, BG jumping you, knocking you down and attacking you, two guys pinning you into a corner and the fight is on. Capacity becomes secondary to utter reliability for me at that point. I can still get good hits with a revovler out to 25 yards or so, if I have to, but, its not really something I see happening. Truth be known, the odds of needing a gun at all are pretty remote, but, we all plan for the unexpected.

SO, what are some others thoughts? Have you taken your favorite defense auto out to the range, held it with your left hand, bent your wrist and elbow and tried getting off as many shots as you could? Upside down? Cover your hands in soapy water and empty a magazine? Shove it into the target and see if it gets pushed out of battery? Does it jam after the first shot? I have, and, the reliabilty of a previously Utterly reliable auto went down hill.

If this little ramble gets a few people to thinking, and making you more aware of you and your guns abilities and limitations, great. If it just makes you train harder, for what YOU consider a real world gunfight, even better. Practice alot, and, best to all.

Now, interestingly, since I wrote this, I have put about a thousand rounds through a Sig P239 DAK in .357. I can't make that little gun burp, no matter what I do. Maybe its the 9mm bullet going in the 10 mm hole, speed of slide, I dunno, but it has been unbelievably reliable. And, doesn't beat the crap out of my hand.

KI.W.
September 4, 2007, 06:13 AM
I am old-fashioned person and like 1 MOA croups to 100 yards witch Dan Wesson supermag. .38spl Renato Gamba I like too. I´m reloader and don´t like to picking up cases.:rolleyes:

lesjones
September 4, 2007, 02:58 PM
Some autos are now as reliable as revolvers when punching paper on the range, but add in a frantic fight, limp-wristing during a struggle, etc., and I'd count on the revolver to be more reliable.

Average Joe
September 4, 2007, 07:05 PM
Because a revolver will never jam in a gunfight.

jonjon1885
September 4, 2007, 07:25 PM
I´m reloader and don´t like to picking up cases.
-KI.W.

+1
I second that, even with my 30-30 lever gun I have searching all over for spent brass, and fighting for it when the range officers come by with the brooms.

FerFAL
September 5, 2007, 12:41 PM
sgt127 wrote:
Now, interestingly, since I wrote this, I have put about a thousand rounds through a Sig P239 DAK in .357. I can't make that little gun burp, no matter what I do. Maybe its the 9mm bullet going in the 10 mm hole, speed of slide, I dunno, but it has been unbelievably reliable. And, doesn't beat the crap out of my hand.
Yes, the bottle shaped 357 SIG is the most reliable round around, maybe the best reason to own one, apart form the 357 magnum like performance with 124gr. projectiles.
Average Joe Wrote:
Because a revolver will never jam in a gunfight.
Never had my 357 SIG malfunction, or my Bersa 9mm for that matter. Shot over 1000 reloads in two days during classes, barely scrapped the barrel and oiled the rails a bit between classes). I DID have malfunctions with a revolver though, sparkling new SS Taurus Tracker 357 magnum, and it required me to wait for a while until it cooled down, not something I’d like to do in a gunfight.
There’s a reason why military and LE have moved to pistols. These days service autos can take much more abuse than revolvers.

FerFAL

Cosmoline
September 5, 2007, 01:33 PM
Also, the DA triggers on S&W snubs can be really heavy, like 15 pounds.

Which ones? I've owned half a dozen S&W snubs and found the triggers to be far lighter than that.

lanternlad1
September 6, 2007, 08:33 AM
I found a good video on the subject of using revolvers.

http://www.downrange.tv/player.htm

Go to the "CCW Demystified" tab, then look for video "CCW Demystified IV"

Very interesting thoughts by an expert.

The Wiry Irishman
September 6, 2007, 07:34 PM
The way I see it, revolvers and automatics are kind of like automatic and manual transmissions in cars. Why would anyone want a manual? An automatic can shift faster than a human ever could, and calculate the proper shift point more precisely. You could make arguments for manuals like improved gas mileage, etc, etc... but when it really comes down to it, manuals just make driving more fun.

BlindJustice
September 6, 2007, 08:13 PM
I like shooting my S & W 625 with the full moon clips in .45 ACP. I also
have a good supply of .45 Auto RIm. The .456 ACP brass I recover from
the full moon clips makes for a) easy retrieval, and b) a good source for
relaods with the .45 ACP ammo for my next gun purchase - a 1911.

I also have a project in a conversion for my Marlin 1894 from .45 Colt to .45 AR, so I can use the ammo I have custom load of 200 gr and 225 gr. Leadhead cast bullets in Starline brass, as well as Hornady 200 gr JHP XTP
in both the 625 and 1894.

couldbeanyone
September 6, 2007, 08:37 PM
Because I don't relish the thought of trying to tap, rack, bang with one hand, while the other hand is busy trying to keep someone from stabbing me to death.

fireflyfather
September 7, 2007, 02:22 AM
A couple quick points after reading 60-70% of this thread (It's HUGE!):

1. It's all about the sights:

2. I remember reading something a ways back that mentioned an overall combat hit percentage being somewhat (though not massively) better with revolvers amongst civilian/LE type shootings. The author expressed the opinion, and I concur, that the reason for more hits was the large, blade type sight on the front of most revolvers (this was at a time when medium size carry revolvers were still more common), which helped less-than-expert shooters naturally focus on the front sight. Obviously, this would not be helpful with most snubbies with their dinky little sights.

3. For full or mid-sized carry guns, revolvers tend to have that prominent front blade sight. Autos tend to have stubbier blade sights or those $%@$#^$@#^@%$-ing three dot sights, which I find FAR from intuitive or accurate. For many inexperienced shooters, the three dot system lends itself to spending all your time trying to get all those dots lined up correctly (HK sights really piss me off), though some are better than others (CZ-P01). Even if the vertical alignment of those revolver sights are not perfect, the left-right sight alignment is natural and relatively accurate even for less-than-expert shooters. Of course, a bright orange or red coat of paint on the back of the blade sight doesn't hurt.

3. Add to that that a lot of perople are intimidated by autos. Their workings and operation seem pretty arcane to a lot of people, especially once you get into things like slide releases, decocking levers, manual safeties, magazine releases, grip safeties, etc, like on some of the more complicated (but by no means uncommon) autos.

4. Ease of cleaning for the technically challenged. To clean a modern revolver, you open the cylinder and clean exposed parts. Maybe a bit under the extractor. To clean an auto requires disassembly and reassembly. Even a gun as easy to break down as a USP requires that you learn how to take it apart and put it back together....and remember how to do it 5 years from now when you pull it out of your sock drawer (after not touching it once in all that time) because your boyfriend is making threatening calls in the middle of the night and you want to make sure it's in working order. The revolver, you unload, it, dry fire once or twice, wipe it off, and reload it. While the auto's magazine springs are probably fine, you'd still have to remember how to break it down, clean it, and reassemble. That's a lot to ask of a reluctant gun-owner, elderly grandmother raissing her grandchildren alone.

Nematocyst
September 7, 2007, 03:47 AM
A couple quick points after reading 60-70% of this thread (It's HUGE!):Nah.

This revolver thread (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=138658) is "HUGE".

175 pages. 4365 posts. 249,983 views.

But really: why would anyone buy a revolver?

RockyMtnTactical
September 7, 2007, 05:22 PM
I'm a fan of semi autos, personally, but I can see the reason someone would buy a revolver.

klover
September 7, 2007, 11:10 PM
Clearly, the auto is the better choice always. Obviously, the revolver the the only way to fly.

Admitted I was powerless over either......I just want more of both.

hemiram
September 8, 2007, 07:04 AM
I know that both my revolvers will function 100% for more than one shot, unless I hit the lottery in reverse and somehow would get hold of some totally defective ammo. Hasn't ever happened, so I would still give my revolvers a 100% chance of successfully cranking off six shots.

All my present semiautos, with one exception, so I'm not going to count it, have been 100% reliable, out of the box, but having had cases that are misshapened, and bullets not seated correctly cause jams in the past, I just can't bring myself to entirely trust my semi's if it came down to risking my life on their functioning, so at home, I have one of my two DW .357's in a nicely hidden spot, loaded and ready. It's not pretty, a mix of parts from a stainless 715 and a blued 15, but it works perfectly.

When I get around to getting my CCW, I will probably carry one of my semiautos, but I don't think I will ever be 100% confident about it firing more than one shot.

dispatch
September 8, 2007, 03:07 PM
Just because they are pretty!!! Besides that they always go bang unless you have a bad primer, but then the next one goes bang.

RyanM
September 8, 2007, 04:04 PM
It's amazing how many people are absolutely convinced that revolvers are 100% proof against any sort of failure.

Yeah, revolvers never have the cylinder fall out. They are always sealed up airtight, so grit can't possibly get into the internals. The ejector rod never unscrews under recoil. The internal parts of all revolvers are made of pure diamond so they never break. Bullets will absolutely never jump crimp, especially not in the lightweight .357s everyone loves so much. And, of course, revolvers have a magical mechanism which causes the cylinder to turn under all circumstances, even if a dozen crazed chimpanzees are dangling from it.

Rexster
September 8, 2007, 05:27 PM
It is indeed believed by many that a revolver cannot malfunction, but that is a misconception. I have had sixguns bind from debris under the extractor, and this can happen with a clean weapon in the first reload, if the debris is bulky enough. I remember keeping a old toothbrush in my back pocket on duty weapon qualification day, and during shooting schools, when I used sixguns as duty sidearms. (Admittedly, modern duty ammo burns much cleaner than the old practice stuff.) Screws can loosen and fall out, ejector rods can loosen and back out against the front lock-up point, which prevents the cylinder from being opened, and springs can break. I have experienced all of these, and have learned to be vigilant. I also tend to carry more than just one firearm, to the point of tending to feel just a bit uncomfortable if I only have one with me. Not paranoid, but kinda like proceeding on a long trip without a spare tire for the car. It doesn't matter, auto or revolver, they are mechanical devices, and can malfunction. I guess the thing with autos is that feeding and extracting are done automatically, whereas a revolver is fed and brass dumped manually, giving the shooter a greater sense of control. But, I have seen revolver shooters flub extraction and reloads! Revolver shooters sometimes forget the importance of gravity! :eek: Autos that FTF or FTE can drive us crazy, but many will break-in and work fine after a while, yet the early malfunctions are remembered, affecting our faith. Ah, starting to ramble; time to wind this down. Test your weapons for reliability, and maintain them; either system can be as reliable as mechanically possible.

busy_squirrel
September 8, 2007, 11:31 PM
First off. Great thread. It's obvious RyanM that you worked hard to be detailed in description of things new shooters think about.

I noticed in your picture of the two guns with shells that you didth address width. Often autoloaders and revolvers can have different grips installed to alter this, but for any model, the sliide or cylinder width is basically fixed. In that picture, the glock was narrower. (This has been my experience as well, that an autoloader of same barrel length, height, caliber is often thinner. There may quite possibly be exceptions that I don't know about.)

Originally posted by Cosmoline:
This is an interesting comparison, and throws light on an aspect of semis I've overlooked--the shifting weight....For me that change means I have to make adjustments as the semi empties out. Felt recoil and balance alike all shift a little with each round downrange. I don't like that
Although this means a guns recoil increases incrementally with each fired shot, both types of guns experience this. The autoloader obviously has a larger range as it doesn't store fired casings, and often begins with more ammunition.

However, to say that the balance on an autoloader changes, would be ignoring that autoloader balance changes front to back while revolver balance changes side to side. It's entirely routine for a revolver with half a cylinder fired to have empty casings in one side and unfired "heavy" cartridges in the other. If the change in weight distribution affects the up or down tilt of the barrel on an autoloader, then weight distribution also affects the tendency of a revolver to "roll over" on its side. Personally, I think that in both cases, the small and gradual change in balance (not talking about recoil) isn't likely to be noticed by most shooters.

Originally posted by Baba Louie:
What about the physics/dynamics of shooting? Bore axis placement relative to grip (anchorage) rotation (or resistance to same), dampening of energy (slide sping action v. Hand absorption/cylinder-barrel gap), etc.
It seems the dynamics of shooting, especially recoil characteristics, would be the next most logical thing to discuss with new shooters.

Originally posted by 357wheelgunner:
Revolvers are easier to conceal thanks to their curved handle profile, semis have the back of the slide poking out,
On some autoloaders the slide does NOT poke out enough to print, others it does. This is a model issue, not a platform issue. I will say that I find a curved revolver handle alot easier to draw out of my front pocket than any autoloader that I've tried. Seems (to me) like the auto requires an abrupt change in direction mid-draw to accomodate the angle between grip and slide versus the curving draw of a revolver.

Originally posted by MiamiGabe:
4)Cause cowboys and Teddy Roosevelt used them.
Although I agree with the sentiment, (and am also a Gabe,) it's probably not the best reason for recommending one to a new shooter.

Originally posted by shepsan: (and similar sentiment expressed by other)
On the other hand, because of cylinder limitations with a revolver, I am simply more frugal trying to make each of the fewer rounds in the cylinder count.

My laziness has made me a more accurate with a revolver.

Number of shots in your gun is mutually exclusive with accuracy. It DOES affect your mentality. You deliberate choice of a target and practice affect your accuracy. What people with this sentiment are saying is that they FEEL like they'll get more accurate shots with a revolver, not that the gun is more accurate. SprayandPray doesn't work with autos OR revolvers, and picking your target works with both. We need to be careful not to let our biases/emotions limit the options to a new shooter.

Originally posted by Schwebel:
1. Maintenance: A wheelie is so easy to clean after a range session, you don't have to spend an hour trying to get the crap out of every crevice. There is no magazine to take apart and clean.

Can't argue that one, surprised it wasn't brought up before. I love my autos, but cleaning them takes so much longer.

Originally posted by Schwebel:
2. Reliability: I have never seen/owned a wheelie that did not go bang when the trigger was pulled.
Lemme tell you, when cylinder timing begins to go, it's just as frustrating as recoil spring/FailtoFeed problems. And, in my experience, alot more confusing (and potentially dangerous). Obviously this is a bigger problem with older/cheaper/used guns. (Which may be all a new shooter is willing to/can invest in a firearm.) In that aspect, the advantage goes to the autos.

Gator
September 9, 2007, 01:37 AM
Because revolvers have style, class, panache, elan, etc.... :)

RyanM
September 9, 2007, 02:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Schwebel:
1. Maintenance: A wheelie is so easy to clean after a range session, you don't have to spend an hour trying to get the crap out of every crevice. There is no magazine to take apart and clean.

Can't argue that one, surprised it wasn't brought up before. I love my autos, but cleaning them takes so much longer.

Missed that one somehow. Personally, I'm the opposite. It takes much longer to scrub out 5 chambers plus the barrel, than it does to wipe down the frame rails and clean out one barrel. Really, why would you bother to take an auto down completely, including the magazine? That'd be like completely detail stripping a revolver and scrubbing every part, which would take just as long.

Never No More
September 9, 2007, 11:45 AM
Raises hand...

I know the answer to this question.

The same reason Army pilots carry them

You can use a revolver ONE HANDED

So even if you are stuck in a tree, have a broken arm, etc.

You are not defenseless.

Well thats what the Army manual said any how.

pax
September 9, 2007, 11:53 AM
I can use my semi-auto ONE HANDED, including reloads. So if I am stuck in a tree, have a broken arm or whatever, I am not defenseless.

:)

pax

MCgunner
September 9, 2007, 01:01 PM
Because handguns were ment to be round, not square. :D

I think I really like revolvers better for several reasons that don't relate to self defense, really, just personal choice. I like the accuracy, the power of a magnum revolver, and the rugged design for outdoor uses. I like the compact power of the .357 magnum cartridge in my Ruger SP101. I just really prefer the ergos of the revolver, too. For me, the revolver is a great choice in CCW and hunting and for outdoor carry. The auto is a great choice for CCW.....about it....well, military and police work, but I'm not in the military and not a cop.

Ohio Rifleman
September 9, 2007, 01:23 PM
My overall experience with handguns is pretty limited, but I've never met a semi-auto pistol I've enjoyed shooting. I've fired the following semis

1. .40 Beretta
2. .380 pocket pistol
3. Ruger 9mm

And I don't like any of them. Once, I did shoot a .357 revolver, a Smith and Wesson, 4-5" barrel, and I loved it. I could shoot magnum loads through it all day. When I'm of age to CCW (I'm 20) I will likely use a wheelgun.

sundoc
September 9, 2007, 01:31 PM
I own several 9mm autos, but recently purchased a revolver for sd, reason?
involved in motorcycle accident and cannot use left arm for 6-8weeks; extremely difficult and painful to use auto, and revolver can be loaded and shot with single hand use!

Rexster
September 9, 2007, 05:10 PM
I, too, like sundoc, have found revolvers to be better when one hand/arm is not fully useful.

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