Southpaw revolvers


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rocinante
May 4, 2009, 02:59 PM
I went to a gun show and saw a Charter lightweight 38 special double action revolver with the gate that swung out to the right. I liked it because I, target market leftie, could keep the revolver gripped by my shooting hand and load with my right. Just like when I am loading my single action revolvers the loading gate is on the right. Now since this is a right handed centric universe why did they design the original colt style revolvers like that? To load with your right hand you have to shift the gun to your left hand.

Anybody else but Charter make a left handed revolver? The firearm looked well made to me but I have gathered many do not approve of Charter.

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ArmedBear
May 4, 2009, 03:05 PM
Now since this is a right handed centric universe why did they design the original colt style revolvers like that?

I've read that the engineer who worked on the conversions was left-handed, but that may not be the reason even if it's true.

Remember: the original US Army holster was a left-handed crossdraw worn on the right side. The saber was worn on the left and drawn with the right hand.

AFAIK and the history buffs please correct me if I'm wrong, the original spec for the cavalry was a right-handed sword and a left-handed pistol. The SAA was hastily developed from the Colt cartridge conversions of the 1860 Army design, originally offered to, and rejected by, the US Army, which wanted a full frame like the 1858 Remington, Rogers & Spencer, etc.

Evolution:

http://www.buffaloarms.com/catimg/CA048.JPGhttp://www.buffaloarms.com/catimg/CA932B.JPGhttp://www.buffaloarms.com/catimg/CA902.JPG

http://www.buffaloarms.com/prodimg/MP668.jpg

rcmodel
May 4, 2009, 03:08 PM
why did they design the original colt style revolvers like that?
Because the right hand is the right hand for 80% of the population, or whatever it is.

It has better fine motor skills then the weak left hand.

A SA can be loaded with a right handed persons right hand much faster & more positively then if the loading gate was on the left side and they tried to do it with the left hand.

By the same token, right-handed shooters transfer a DA revolver to the weak left hand and use the right hand for stuffing speed-loaders into a swing-out cylinder.

A right opening Charter Arms cylinder would be the same for a left-handed person.
You would transfer the gun to the weak right hand and load it with the faster & more precise left hand.


Edited to add:
The 1860 Colt had the capping cut in the recoil shield on the right side for the same reason.

Right-handed?
Try putting tiny little percussion caps on the nipples of a C&B revolver left-handed and you will soon see there is a method to the madness!

rc

ArmedBear
May 4, 2009, 03:14 PM
rc, that's still not why.:)

Right-hand dominance was the reason that the saber was held in the right hand, not the revolver that, on a horse, couldn't exactly be fired with pinpoint accuracy anyway.

Given the standard Army holster, the gun WAS in the left hand already, and didn't have to be switched over for reloading.

This is a regulation holster at the time the SAA was adopted by the Army. Crossdraw was essential since all the US revolvers had 7 1/2" barrels (and swords had to be drawn across the body as well, due to their length).

http://www.fcsutler.com/pholsterleft.gif

rocinante
May 4, 2009, 03:18 PM
By the same token, right-handed shooters transfer a DA revolver to the weak left hand and use the right hand for stuffing speed-loaders into a swing-out cylinder.


Being a lefty I guess I never noticed that. I assumed righties would keep the grip on their pistol and load with their left hand since the gate swings that way. Maybe I and lefties in general have better coordination with my right hand since we are forced to use it more than most righties have with their left. I don't sense any real handicap loading with my right hand. Handling cartridges isn't fine motor skills stuff like writing or sewing or a myriad of maddening tasks.

ArmedBear
May 4, 2009, 03:23 PM
Handling cartridges isn't fine motor skills stuff like writing or sewing or a myriad of maddening tasks.

True. That's why it makes more sense when you find that the gun would have been spec'd by the Army for left-handed draw -- which it was.

Now as to why the Colt rotates clockwise and a Smith counterclockwise, well, you got me.:)

rcmodel
May 4, 2009, 03:28 PM
rc, that's still not why.I don't agree.
The right side capping cut was already established on Colt revolvers well before they became a military weapon.

Prior to that, percussion pistols, and flint-lock pistols had the nipple or powder pan on the right side so you could use your strong right hand to prime them.

All that carried over to the Colt cartridge revolvers much later.

Besides, you can't keep a firing grip on the gun and turn & index the cylinder to load it with the same hands fingers wrapped around the grip.

spec'd by the Army for left-handed draw -- which it was.I think you will find, by regulation, the saber was carried on the left, and the backwards holster worn on the right. The gun was drawn right-handed, with a rotated right hand. Or drawn with the left if the right hand already had the sword in it.

Then of course, there was the matter of which hand to use to steer the horse with the reins!

The sword had to be worn on the opposite side as the right sword hand, or it could not be drawn from the scabbard.

http://www.ultimatehorsesite.com/images_articles/sears_civalwarmorganfig8.jpg

rc

Jim Watson
May 4, 2009, 03:34 PM
I figure a flintlock is on the outside of the gun so it doesn't flash in your face. But then there are double flintlock fowlers, aren't they?

ArmedBear
May 4, 2009, 03:35 PM
Prior to that, percussion pistols, and flint-lock pistols had the nipple or powder pan on the right side so you could use your strong right hand to prime them.

Sidelocks were on the right side because they provided the only "safety" on the old guns, though. You could only cock them with your right thumb if they were on the right side. This did allow right-hand priming/capping, but I don't believe that was the primary reason the locks were put on the strong side (there are examples of left-handed sidelocks).

UPDATE: and what Jim Watson said.

You're quite right about the capping notch, though. Perhaps the first conversions involved just grinding farther into the right hand recoil shield where the notch already existed, and no thought really went into it, at all.

LoneCoon
May 4, 2009, 03:37 PM
People, you're missing the obvious solution here:

Top break revolvers. Take THAT ambidexterity!

ArmedBear
May 4, 2009, 03:54 PM
Interesting to note...

A low-barrel revolver could probably be made strong enough for modern cartridges in a top-break design. I wonder...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/75/MatebaAutoRevolver6in.jpg/120px-MatebaAutoRevolver6in.jpg

rcmodel
May 4, 2009, 04:03 PM
and no thought really went into it, at all.There ya go!

I'm still leaning for the "it just evolved" theory.

rc

ArmedBear
May 4, 2009, 04:07 PM
I think you will find, by regulation, the saber was carried on the left, and the backwards holster worn on the right.

That's what I wrote.:)

"Backwards" = "crossdraw"

Still, I think that, if the configuration didn't work for those who decided to purchase a large number of the things (the US Army), it would have been switched around. Then again, it was the Army...

shotgunjoel
May 4, 2009, 04:20 PM
When you are riding along on your horse, you hold the reins and the gun barrel in the left hand, and load with the right hand. That's what I've always heard.

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