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Are revolvers obsolete for police work?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by jski, Feb 11, 2019.

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  1. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Capacity is king, semi-autos win this big time.
    Revolvers are slow to reload exacerbating the capacity differences.
    Revolvers are harder to learn to shoot, and reload effectively; for a fixed amount of training and practice time invested nearly all shooters will be more proficient with a semi-auto than a revolver.

    Take a step back and look at what police are actually using, they did not make that decision in a vacuum. Of the departments that issue department sidearms are there any departments in the US that still issue revolvers? I would guess that is a very small number of departments. How many departments that allow the officer to select his own sidearm still allow them to choose revolvers? I would bet that number is also pretty small.
     
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  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Irrelevant. Complexity is not the primary obstacle to good shooting and gun handling. All modern guns are pretty simple devices - far, far simpler to operate than, say, a modern smart phone.
     
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  3. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    My entering argument - I do think revolvers are probably obsolete for LE.

    On the other hand...
    My money says an S&W K-Frame (or choose the S&W frame size you like K, L, N that fits your hand best) would fit a significantly larger group of hands than nearly all currently offered semi-autos used by LE, from Beretta 92's, Glock 19/17/22/21, SIG P-2XX, etc.

    I'll also maintain a revolver would be simpler to operate for those with "minimal" training.

    The only thing that gets a revolver back into the holsters of LE is if administration (political types) can't stomach seeing Laquan McDonald type police shootings on video anymore.
     
  4. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Take a newbie shooters that has minimal safe gun handling skills to an IDPA match have them shoot the match with a revolver and a semi-auto and compare the scores. The semi-auto score will trounce the revolver score six round into the match and never look back. Just because the manual of arms for a revolver is marginally simpler than a semi-auto does not mean its simpler to employ a revolver effectively. For a given amount of training nearly all shooters have proven to be more effective with a semi-auto than a revolver. Semi-auto triggers are easier to master, semi-autos are much easier to reload quickly and require reloading 1/2 to 1/3 as often. Semi-auto actions mitigate recoil making it easier to shoot quickly and accurately.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  5. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Having worked on both DA Revolvers and semi-autos of all stripes (SA, DA/SA, DAO) the semis are much easier for Dept Armorers to work on. Back in the day, a dept. Armorer for a big city PD had his hands full. Working on Smith & Wesson, and even more so, Colts, is a labor-intensive job requiring hand-fitting, setting timing, (more hand fitting) , and darn few gunsmiths, much less PD Armorers do it anymore. The 1911 requires a lot of hand fitting also, but it was never an issue handgun for any large PD, and usually privately owned when it was used, and thus privately maintained. But with the advent of the Glock in particular, once an Armorer had attended the Glock course, they are simple to work on, and work can be done fast, very little hand fitting necessary. Plonk, the part is in.
    The (here's that phrase some hate) manual of arms for the DA pistol is simple, as it is for Glock-type semi actions. It is also very unforgiving, as many with 'glock leg' will attest.

    Revolvers never stovepipe, mcb. Faulty round? pull the trigger again. They are not ammunition dependent for function. Each has their advantage. If the revolver still have viability as an LE weapon, it is as a BUG, 100% reliable when needed.

    Rest the rules for IDPA so that when your handgun malfunctions, you DQ, (like real life, except it's not just DQ'ing, it's dying) and see revolvers enjoy a renaissance for IDPA.
     
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  6. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Have an ejector unscrew and lock your revolver up, the tap, rack, bang drill does not works on that... But I did not bring up reliability. A modern double action revolver and a modern service grade semi-auto are so reliable as to be a non-issue when selecting a duty weapon. The new M18 for the army as part of acceptance testing just went 12,000 rd without out a single stoppage. I have little doubt there are Glock, S&W, etc that could do as well or nearly as well. No doubt there are revolvers that could do the same. Reliability is not ignore-able but it is simple not a primary selection criteria with modern handguns.

    You could make the rule that a malfunction is a DQ and the semi-autos would still trounce the revolver shooters in general. But a malfunction is not a death sentence in all cases; hence the reason we train and practice malfunction drills. Competitive practical pistol shooting (IDPA/USPSA) already put a very stiff penalty on handguns that don't run and that has not help revolver division's declining participation numbers at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    When Sig introduced the DAK trigger, many of the old salts loved it because it was like the old DA revolver triggers. IMO that was a step in the right direction for a duty pistol. However, Glocks had been out for ages by that time and had been issued near and far also so any inroads such a design as the DAK could have made in a large group of officers used to revolvers was meaningless because many of those officers were now used to a Glock type trigger or DA/SA autos.
     
  8. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    Personally, I'd feel safer if officers were required to loud out in the Barney Fife method. I think a lot more innocent lives would be saved.
     
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  9. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

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    Lol, Thanks for the laughs THR.

    Yes. Yes they are.

    And it looks like a whole lot of people in this thread need some decent force on force training.
     
  10. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Like I’ve said before, some people think they know a lot about things they don’t know much about.
     
  11. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    But we're not comparing to just DA semi-autos. And even then, a revolver isn't a clear winner in simplicity of use (the Sig P250 comes to mind), especially when reloading. Because assuming the cases drop out of the revolver cleanly and the mag drops out of the auto cleanly, I'd say the auto is easier to reload, particularly under any kind of stress or awkward body positioning. The mag is guided into place by the taper of the top of the magazine and locks in, then slide is pulled back and released. All done with the weak hand, whilst the gun remains in the dominant hand. Compared that to a revolver which goes in which hand to reload it? That depends on the method. But the cylinder has to be stopped from rotating and the gun turned down at least somewhat, then the cartridges (in the speedloader) must be brought in line with the chambers before being inserted somewhat and released. The cylinder must them be closed and rotated til it locks, and the shooting grip re-established with the shooting hand.

    And when considering trigger pull, I think a DA semi-auto is still the winner over a DA revolver, when it comes to the inexperienced shooter. At least with "off-the-shelf" untuned guns.
     
  12. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    Good points. Doing FOF with a snubby in a complex situation is eye opening as is shooting a snubby or standard 6 shot gun in an IDPA or USPSA match. If you were in an extreme critical situation, which would you prefer?
     
  13. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

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    Personally, I don't see how you can ask LE with a six shooter to possibly respond to an armed assailant(s) with a high capacity semi auto. I know if I ever needed a cop to save my butt I'd want him to have more than revolver in his hand. I love revolvers but the times have changed and LE had to also.
     
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  14. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Current law enforcement tactics favor the submachine gun. I have yet to see recent video of a LE use of force where a submachine gun wouldn't have been better for what they were doing. I know a lot of departments switched out their shotguns for M4's after Hollywood, but that's not what I'm talking about. The carbines are too clumsy for continuous carry and too big for tight quarters like inside a vehicle. PDW.
     
  15. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    Right or wrong, LEO's have a huge PR issue right now and having guns that aren't so easy to empty a mag in seconds would certainly help that image.
     
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  16. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Once you leave the Conus you start to see officers with subs and PDWs. I have to agree that many officers could be better off with a PDW.
     
  17. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Amen, IDPA/USPSA is not real life training but it does test gun handling skills like few other activities can short of the two-way range. Go shoot IDPA or USPSA with one type handgun and after getting decent at the sport try to switch to the other type. Either way revolver to semi-auto or vice-versa. It become very apparent the semi-auto has many advantages over the revolver in that setting. And many of those advantages have real world LEO applications/advantages.
     
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  18. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    I love the 1911. But shooting personal defense match at my club every month showed me that I was at a disadvantage with the single stack. I would need 3-4 reloads to do most of our stages. I went with a Canik TP9SFx with a red dot on it. I rarely have to do a reload now.
     
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  19. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I don't see it quite this way. Overwhelmingly, LE initiates the violence in encounters with criminals. It's been that way for all the history of cops with guns, which only goes back something like 150 years. There are occasions where the criminal escalates the violence to guns, but it's almost always a response to the threat from the cops which the cops initiated. We very rarely see unprovoked attacks on LE. Because cops are provoking the overwhelming majority of the violent encounters they're in, there is no reason for them to be unprepared. This is not new. One of the earliest treatises on cop tactics that was widely accepted (Shoot to Kill) recommends the automatic handgun, and declares a preference for handguns that are more like machineguns. We could speculate why US police stayed with the revolver for so long through the 20th century, but they were the only ones doing so and it was never a matter of "different times." The revolver has never been a particularly good combat weapon.

    Where the revolver can shine is in a self-defense role. This is almost never what police are doing. When you are provoking attacks, it is not self-defense, it is combat.
     
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  20. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Wow! Kind of easy to see where your bias is.
     
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  21. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    The bad PR has been pumped to the public by the same people that tell us every day how bad a president Trump is.:confused:
    But your statement sounds just like the liberals that want to take high capacity mags away from civilians.

    The fact is that criminals are arming themselves better today and an officer with a revolver would be out gunned.
    There are those that run from the sound of gunfire and there are those that run to the sound of gunfire. It would be safe to say that you have never been in the second group.
     
  22. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

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    Stopped reading right there. Too much BS to wade through.
     
  23. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Please share the facts and figures to support this statement.
     
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  24. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    Didn't take too long for this one to start circling the drain.
     
  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Maybe more to the topic at hand, rather than idiocy of claiming police wage attacks against criminals to incite violence...

    @jski - if revolvers weren't obsolete for police application, police would be using them. It's really that simple. What I'm more interested to know, however, is what you might have expected to accomplish in asking the question besides wiggling a stick in a pot? Did you expect a majority of users to provide irrefutable statistical proof such revolvers remain equally footed for LE applications? And in having that info, did you expect to overturn decades of history in which the revolver has become farther and farther away from the limelight of Service Weapon use?

    Just accept it fellas - no matter how much any civilian might favor revolvers, or how much the few remaining elder LEO's who didn't like changing over to bottom feeders might not like change, it's just a fact of life. We're not riding horses as a major mode of transportation any more either, and we don't make our own candles to light our homes.

    As a civilian, I tend to find semiauto pistols lacking appeal, and practical application outside of defensive use. I carry a bottom feeder every day based on superiority for the application, but when I shoot for enjoyment, I choose a wheelgun. But I hold no delusion the wheelgun, in any form, can be equal to the semiautomatic pistol in a LE or military application, and would NEVER make an argument to that end when the lives of people who protect and serve, to preserve my way of life, are on the line behind the gun.
     
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