Revolver or pistol for HD and/or SD?


September 10, 2009, 12:57 AM
Please explain why you prefer one general handgun design over the other for self defense and/or home defense.

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September 10, 2009, 01:24 AM
They are both fine for self defense. Carry what you shoot well.

For home defense, I prefer a weapon mounted light and that leads me to my current choice of G23 (& 870). While a great many pistols have rails for lights, I find it strange that revolvers have not 'caught up' to the demand of a rail for a light (although S&W makes one). Hopefully that will change. I'd like the option.

September 10, 2009, 02:26 AM
My understanding is that revolvers and SxS shotguns are popular for HD because they can be stored indefinitely without too much worry since there are relatively few moving parts to fail.

I on the other hand have a HK USP .40 that is next to my bed at night and IWB during the day. I don't worry about failure because I use it and clean it at least once a month. The other reason I like my USP is that I easily have 30rds of JHP loaded and ready for use in 3 mag's, instead of having to use 5 speedloaders to get the same effect.

September 10, 2009, 12:28 PM
It's not the amount of parts that could fail or not, it's that all of the springs in a revolver are at rest.

I use both. Autos for the night stand. Revolvers at the ready in out of the way parts of the house since they can be left loaded indefinitely with total confidence.

General Geoff
September 10, 2009, 01:58 PM
Springs do not fatigue from constant tension.

September 10, 2009, 02:12 PM
Either is fine for concealed carry. I'm not sure why anyone would opt for a short gun for home defense though. You're giving up enormous advantages of power, accuracy and ease of use.

September 10, 2009, 02:56 PM
Well springs DO fatigue from constant compresion some worse than others. But thats not an issue here. To carry is comfort. I carry a 638 or PM9. Both are easily concealed and its not a hastle to carry.Remember rule number one, mine comes off at bedtime and beside me then is a borleis and and an A2 tritium sights with 60 rounds. If I knew someone was in the house I would still stay in a safe room with my family. Well unless he is shooting at my 3 dogs. I wouldn't do that if I were them.


September 10, 2009, 03:45 PM
I first found what I shot the best which was autoloaders.

Then I shot a bunch and found myself most comfortable with a Glock.

Then decided the G26 fit all my requirements and with a mag change can also use it for everything from CCW to nightstand duty.

I also agree that my nightstand handgun is used as a backup to a 12 gauge and can also be used if I needed to move throughout the house.

September 10, 2009, 06:57 PM
Lately it has been a .357 S&W revolver for both. Extra capacity and speed of reloading a plus for a pistol, but I don't shoot much anymore and a semi-automatic needs to be maintained to stay reliable.

September 10, 2009, 06:59 PM
I use a revolver for for HD. I usually carry a semiauto, but I also have a snubnose revolver in my rotation.

Find what you like best and that's what you should use. See what fits your hand and is a good natural pointer for you. There's no magic formula for finding the "perfect" weapon.

September 10, 2009, 07:11 PM
Beside my bed I have a Ruger GP100 .357, a Glock 22 .40 and a Mossberg 8 shot 12 gauge pump.

I think I got it covered :).

September 10, 2009, 07:11 PM
Well springs DO fatigue from constant compresion some worse than others

Wrong! Springs fatigue and fail from work - compression and release over and over.

EITHER choice will work just fine - find the one you shoot best

Ghost Walker
September 10, 2009, 07:37 PM
I shoot either type of handgun well; so accuracy or ease-of-use aren't issues. My preference is for revolvers; I own a few beauties; and I enjoy showing them off, too.

(Somehow a nice revolver is just classier and more traditional looking. The other thing I like about revolvers is that - unlike the flat panels on a semi-auto - the frame can be fitted with a beautiful, oversized, custom wood or horn grip; and, that's something I've always particularly cared for.)

All this said, what I carry all day long and for almost everyday of the week is a big fat ugly Glock Model G-21. Why do I do this? In a word: 'Firepower!' We are presently living in what is, perhaps, the meanest, dirtiest, and most violent social structure the world has ever known.

These vicious realities require me to take the possibility of a violent assault by multiple gang members very seriously. I want to know that, in addition to knowing how to use a handgun well, I also have the ability to successfully engage several opponents simultaneously.

So, whether it's for multiple assailants, a prolonged engagement, or having to turn my carry piece over to a police investigator - in the full knowledge that it's going to be tagged and dumped into an unkempt evidence locker - for everyday street carry a relatively cheap, plastic, high capacity, semiautomatic pistol just makes more sense.

I carry an extra magazine with mine. I only have to reload once instead of three times; and I'm, 'good to go' with 30 rounds of ammo should the occasion ever arise. If I ever have to turn this Glock over as evidence, who cares! (It ain't like it's a custom-built S&W Model 626 with a glass-beaded action job and an exotic wood Hogue Monogrip.)

In today's increasing violent world a semiautomatic just makes more sense. ;)

September 10, 2009, 08:14 PM
Either or. Both work just fine and I've rotated both/either for HD or SD. I'd suggest a minimum of .38 special or 9mm for an HD handgun.

September 10, 2009, 09:38 PM
I prefer both!

For self-defense outside the home, I prefer a easy to conceal and light-weight revolver.
Tremendous reliability and simplicity of operation.

For home-defense I prefer a shotgun....
but if it must be a handgun, then my Glock G22 fits the bill.
A big enough bullet, and plenty of magazine capacity.

September 10, 2009, 10:54 PM
Well, owning both, the springs get worked more in an auto pistol just during administrative handling and cleaning than on any revolver.

And yes, it is work that kills the strength of springs, absent corrosion, but given the choice between a spring under constant compressive strain and one that is just sitting there inert, I'll take my long term chances on the one doing nothing at all.

Ghost Walker
September 11, 2009, 01:06 AM
Why are so many gun owners confused about the topic of compressed magazine springs? By now it should be very well established that: magazine, recoil, and firing pin springs do NOT wear out from being compressed for an extended time period.

On the other hand if you take a brand new magazine IT IS POSSIBLE to load up that magazine, leave it that way for several days, and the spring WILL take a certain more compressed profile as the coils press together for the first time and begin to overlap.

The one situation is NOT equal to the other. Compression and decompression wear out a spring and cause it to become weaker as the overall length proportionally increases. Leaving a spring, any spring, compressed for an extended period-of-time does little more than cause it to form a, 'customary contraction pattern'. This is the usual state for all pretensioned striker springs, (many of them under constant 60%, or better, contraction) as well as every loaded magazine.

September 15, 2009, 09:25 AM
"All this said, what I carry all day long and for almost everyday of the week is a big fat ugly Glock Model G-21. Why do I do this? In a word: 'Firepower!' We are presently living in what is, perhaps, the meanest, dirtiest, and most violent social structure the world has ever known."

You really don't have an appreciation for how tough people had it in the past. Your perspective has been shaped by the modern media and entertainment industry, not by history. It is wrong.

You want desperate times, try living in England after Rome's withdrawl. When the Roman legions were withdrawn, England became a battlefield. The picts, the Saxons, the Irish, the Vikings (although the real Viking age actually started a little later) all wanted a piece of the pie.

These were times that entire communities were slaughtered and the women raped and enslaved. Sure, the Romans could be bad, but they did enforce relative peace within their territories. These new invaders were looking for food, land, wealth, and women. The invaders took what they wanted and the face of England changed.

There are still places in the world where the strong take from the weak, but in places like the US, we can live in peace, for the most part. There are *many* other periods in history that I could have cited that are much more dangerous and violent than our current culture. Even by modern standards, we live in safety. You want to live in a violent, desperate place, try living in Darfur.

Even now, I'd still argue that we live in one of the safest, peaceful cultures in the entire History of man. In the US we are sheltered and a incredibly ignorant of what real suffering is like.

I thank God for our military and police forces. These are the heroes that secure the peace that we often take for granted.

September 15, 2009, 01:04 PM
Please explain why you prefer one general handgun design over the other for self defense and/or home defense.

Not to be altogether too snarky, but it's my observation that the decision usually precedes the reasons.

Look at, handle, shoot both. You'll probably develop a preference for one platform or the other. You should then act on this preference.

Subsequently, when you start hanging around internet gun boards, you will fall in with a crowd of like minded folks and see both valid and far-fetched reasons to choose one over the other.

Fact is, I know exactly no one that chose a firearm based on reasons given by strangers. They all chose first then worked out ways of justifying the decision.

See: The pop version (
Nickerson PDF (

We have sub-forums dedicated to revolvers and semiautos. These semi-enclosed virtual spaces will sometimes (though not consistently) provide workable examples of Media echo chamber effect (

I am now officially over my allowed quota for gratuitous pop-psy postings for this calendar year. My apologies. ;)

Kidding aside, I'm with the above poster in wondering why you've restricted the choices to handguns. I've been thinking of an M1 Garand ever since I saw Gran Torino but the issue of ball ammo and close neighbors is troublesome.

September 15, 2009, 01:21 PM
Either will serve the purpose. A slight edge to the revolver in some circumstances because of simplified manual of arms. When you're waking up in the middle of the night you don't have to think "is this my 1911, my Glock, or my S&W?".

September 15, 2009, 01:34 PM
Revolvers are simple, and practically fail-safe. Pistols have more ammo capacity and tend to be weigh less and are more compact. Both have certain models that are fitted with rails for mounting lights/lasers/the blasted pistol bayonet abomination.

At the end of the day, just pick the one that best fits your hands and your performance requirements.

September 16, 2009, 02:55 PM
Several statements that a revolver is better for home defense since it can be left loaded almost forever and still be reliable. I currently use a revolver for HD. How long can a pistol be left loaded and unmaintained before it would not be reliable?

Mike J
September 17, 2009, 09:54 AM
Mr. G I believe as many others do that a spring being compressed or not does not wear it out. It is the cycling back & forth that wears it. I have read of people finding Grandpa's 1911 in the attic with a loaded magazine & shooting it with no problem. I'm with the use whatever you use best crowd. I have spent more time shooting semi-auto's so thats what I use. I believe everyone should use what they are most comfortable with.

September 17, 2009, 10:15 AM
Either will serve the purpose. A slight edge to the revolver in some circumstances because of simplified manual of arms. When you're waking up in the middle of the night you don't have to think "is this my 1911, my Glock, or my S&W?".

Fully agree. I keep both my S&W Model 10 and XD40 in a cipher lockbox by the bed. I can open the box in less than a few seconds, and in the dark and dead-of-night, I will always reach for my revolver. It just jumps into my hand and gives me instant confidence when I'm half-asleep. That said, however, I would reach for my XD40 in the daytime or if I were totally awake. I would prefer the extra firepower if at all possible. Most LEO's I know carry a pistol and have a snubbie as a backup. When everything goes wrong and your pistol is lost, the revolver is the best "better-work-or-else" option.

September 17, 2009, 10:39 AM
For either situation,........whatever you shoot well, and are most comfortable with...

Silent Bob
September 17, 2009, 03:32 PM
Springs can weaken from compression - it depends on the quality of the spring. I had a non-gun-enthusiast friend by an XD-9 for home defense. He took it, with me shooting, twice before loading up the Klinton-era mags (this was in 2002) with JHPs and placing the gun in a dresser drawer. A year or two later, we go back shooting, and he gets last round failures to feed in the gun. On the other hand, I have had Ruger P-Series mags loaded for years at at time with no appreciable decrease in strength. So I believe it has to do with spring quality.

September 17, 2009, 08:04 PM
I personally do my best shooting with 1911s and S&W revolvers, so that's what I stick to. Simple as that.

September 17, 2009, 08:50 PM
I prefer the flat profile of a semi for carry. For home I prefer shotgun to either, but if I needed a handgun for some reason I wouldn't care whether it be .45ACP or .45 Colt. Never shot anyone, so none of these preferences are based on actual use for this purpose.

September 18, 2009, 11:21 AM
I think its safe to say springs will take a set after compressed for so long. In air rifles cocking one over night will shorten it about 15%. Having said that I have a BHP bought new in 1976 that the magazines have always been compressed unless shooting it. They still work fine. Same with hammer springs, trigger return springs and so on. I would pick a revolver or Glock type weapon if you must have a handgun. You know they make shotguns too:)


September 18, 2009, 12:42 PM
I prefer a handgun with bullets in it.

Better If I have two of them on such condition.

September 25, 2009, 06:54 AM
Really doesn't matter which type quality handgun you back up your shoulder weapon with.

AS long as your primary weapon IS A SHOULDER WEAPON in the home defense situation.

Go figure.


September 25, 2009, 09:18 AM
AS long as your primary weapon IS A SHOULDER WEAPON in the home defense situation.

+1 on that. A 12 ga. is absolutely the most bang you can get for your buck. I'm starting to see 870 Express pump guns in the sub-$300 range again. I can't think of anything else you can buy as cheaply that brings as much power to bear on an unpleasant situation.

My backup to my 870 has varied a bit but has kind of settled into always being a 1911. I love .357 Magnums but I worry about my hearing if I ever had to shoot inside my house without hearing protection. My current thinking is that a .45 ACP moving slow (but hauling 230 gr. of weight) will be gentler on the ears but still get the job done.

September 25, 2009, 05:19 PM
between the two, theres no clear winner, they both have their drawbacks and their merits. I prefer an auto, its what Ive trained with and what im most familiar with in the dark. however, i will not say that someone with a revolver is not makine the right choice, it really is whatever the user is most comfortable with. And as for those who recomend long guns, on the surface I'd agree with you, but every houses layout is different. My old house had long, wide halls and few corners, with a very large yard. The long gun was a fine weapon for that place, however in my new house, tight corners, sharp turns, lots of dead space, narrow halls, its a tactical nightmare, a long gun poses more problems here than it provides benifits. So i use the glock, or 1911, whichever i grab first, with the surefire.

Erik M
September 25, 2009, 05:35 PM
I have used both, I have more time behind my .38 so its what I trust for HD. I would recommend that you use what you are comfortable with.

September 25, 2009, 06:11 PM
In my teens, I had a Hi Standard DUraMatic .22 LR Semi-AUto on loan
from an Uncle for a couple of years. My first handgun I bought was a
S&W Model 18 K-22 Combat Masterpiece 6 shot .22 LR. better sights, and
more accurate. Anyway, I figured out both types early on.
Later, I carried the 1911 on Watch/Duty in the USN - I have the
1911 manual of arms wired into the ol'lizard brain.

These Days I shoot the 1911 and a S&W 625 .45 ACP about an equal
amount at thr range. The 625 is going to get a different
- longer firing pin, it sometimes has light primer hits so it's
not a HD/SD option

For HD - in the drawer of the bedstand I have a loaded
CZ 75B 9mm Luger w/Double Tap +P 147 gr. Speer Gold Dots
DA first sho but I also have a S&W MOdel 60 3" Bbl .357 Mag.
elsewhere in thehouse, with DT .38 Special +P
125 gr. SPeer Gold DOt - both the mentioned loads are
just below the speed of sound. I don't want the
recoil and muzzle blast of a .357 Mag lit off inside.

In the next round of gun accessories i'll be getting
a holster for the 75B and 60 - right now if I leave the
house the 1911 is the one - I have a milt sparks holster,
gun belt and iWB single mag carrier for it.

Answer - Both. but I think awoken iin the night
it'd be the 75B that would be easiest to employ and
easiest to shoot accuratly, .


September 25, 2009, 06:44 PM
I don't keep handguns for HD. I use long guns.

But I would consider that revolvers are FREAKIN' LOUD indoors. Yes, louder than autos, shotguns, or my M-1 Carbine. Blast exits the muzzle and in between the forcing cone and cylinder.

Water Garden
September 25, 2009, 08:22 PM
I have always suggested the use of a revolver in the home. simply because it doesnt matter what you do or what your position may be. The thing is going to fire if you can pull the trigger. startled from sleep coupled with a awkward firing position may cause problems with a semi auto.

September 25, 2009, 10:30 PM
I don't prefer handguns for home or self-defense. If I can have my preference, it will be a shotgun or rifle, depending on the circumstances. As for handguns, well, I shoot a Ruger GP100 or S&W K/L-frame better than any handgun period, yet autoloaders have more ammo available before a reload would be needed, so that balances out, and even that becomes rather irrelevant when I follow my habit of having more than one handgun with me.

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