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Is 6 Shots Really Enough?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by LouisianaGunner12, Mar 2, 2013.

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  1. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Completely agreed.
     
  2. wheelyfun66

    wheelyfun66 Member

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    Is six shots really enough?

    I think so:
    021-1.gif
     
  3. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    Yes. If you don't think it is carry something that carries more bullets. If you think six shots is overkill then carry a five shot S&W J frame. I don't get wrapped around the axle about all the uber tactical stuff anymore. Plenty of folks with $2,500 45 autos have lost and died and there are others who are still standing at the end and they were using a 32 El Cheapo. I don't recommend carrying a 32 caliber El Cheapo, but you understand what I mean. Hopefully.
     
  4. ActionJax

    ActionJax Member

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    Yup, I carry a "gasp" SEVEN shot .380, but I know how to use it!

    (At least I hope I will be able to.... :) )

    The idea of carrying TWO guns around all day ..... wow, you guys must live in a different neighborhood than I do.
     
  5. golden

    golden Member

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    Don't play the odds

    Louisiana,

    I used to carry a revolver, but only carry a semi-auto now. When people say 1 shot will suffice, they are playing the odds. Maybe in 1 out of 2 out of 3, one shot is enough, other times it is not. Do you feel lucky enough to go with those odds?

    I want a larger magazine capacity and a faster reload. My own experience is that a quality auto like the BERETTA, GLOCK , SIG or SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD series will be as reliable as a revolver for average to trained shooters.

    If you have not had "malfunction clearing drills" as part of your training, you may be better off with a revolver.

    I go on the "everything will go wrong theory". Sure, you get tight groups on a paper target, but you are not in pain from being punched or kicked, it is not in a dark parking lot and the paper target is not shooting, punching or stabbing at you when you fired your group at the target.

    My chosen home defense gun is a large capacity 9m.m. loaded with hollowpoint ammo. It also has a light mounted on the rail. Why? See above paragraph.
    I will trade the extra power of a .357 magnum or .40 S&W with the high velocity 155 grain loads for the extra control and reduced stress of a 9m.m. on the shooter every time.

    Whatever you decide, practice often and be safe.

    Jim
     
  6. smle41

    smle41 Member

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    While I believe that Golden has good points (such as, a good light is a good thing), I think he brings up one on the reasons I am more comfortable with a revolver than I was when I used autoloaders more: I have undergone more malfunction drills than I can shake a stick at, and most forms of these drills use both hands. To use a famous case, Zimmerman suffered a weapon malfunction in part because holding onto the weapon with the "iron grip of death" it may take to form the immoveable platform that the slide must reciprocate on is hard when one is having one's head pounded into the pavement, and a malfunction drill must be even more difficult.
    My observations and readings, and limited experience, lend me to think that the event will be very rapid, from odd angles, and we may not get the weapon out and in action before something happens that greatly degrade our skills (I am not saying they will land the first blow, but I think we must concede the possibility...) The majority of weapon malfunctions that occur are user induced, most often when movement, "off-handedness", peculiar position (already on the ground splayed out ). At my little range quite recently I have seen an excellent shooter having his only jam with a XDM subcompact as he was attempting to hit a target from a supine position one handed. One round was fired but not ejected fully, rendering the remaining round count moot. In some amount of shooting, I have seen that happen a few times with even high quality semis, not once seeing a "limp wrist" revolver malfunction...
    Such a list could be endless, and possibly fruitless.
    As a tangent, this may also lead into a discussion of "back up guns" and other layers..
    Yet I think a strength of the revolver is it's resilience in a situation where one must guard and fire having imbibed residual mace.
    If there is no way of keeping from being rushed, i.e. with obstacles or barricades or such impendimentia to block, contain, etc, the enemy's movement, I am also afraid that capacity may be rendered moot. Only on ranges where the targets can "charge" towards us can we more fully appreciate that the mob can be beating one into the hospital more quickly than we previously guessed. This is also a training scenario that I have seen, experienced, and it was an eye-opener, I recommend it to all.
    What I am postulating is that we question the supposition that "more rounds necessarily equals more targets engaged/neutralized", based minimally on the speed of attackers or mechanical malfunction, or the rapidity of the engagement.
    Thanks to all, especially to Golden for his excellent choice of home defense pistols :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  7. smle41

    smle41 Member

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    Also, I ought to clarify regarding the incident I mentioned where 8 rounds were used; the primary attacker was likely neutralized in the first one or three, but, in the defender's excitement, and by his own admission, fired till the slide locked back on the emptied magazine. In terms of timeframe, the incident lasted perhaps 5 to 10 seconds from initial threat, through escalation, concluding with very wounded primary aggressor, empty pistol, scattered criminals, etc...
    So one may not conclude how many rounds were "necessary " on that one..
    Thank you.
     
  8. skoro

    skoro Member

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    For us ordinary civilians, it is.
     
  9. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Anyone who has (1) taken any good defensive pistol shooting training, (2) considered the possibility of having to defend against two rapidly moving violent criminal actors, and (3) done any research at all into the subject of handgun wounding effectiveness, understands that there are serious risks that may be mitigated by having more than six shots instantly available.

    JohnKSa addressed that very effectively in Post 16.

    John's analysis caused me to retire my five shot revolver as a primary carry weapon.

    I carry a semiautomatic. If I chose to carry revolvers, I would carry two of them.
     
  10. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    SMLE brings up from very well thought out and articulated points.

    ALL and I MEAN ALL defense training is from the LEO centric point of view.

    But I'm not a police officer and I'm not a diamond/precious stone courier. While possible the eventuality of me being faced by multiple DETERMINED attackers bent on MY destruction is pretty unlikely. More likely is me having to fight off one determined stealthily executed attack that's already been at least partially effective as dictated by law before I can employ my firearm in defense. As SMLE points out there are no especially effective one handed malfunction drills. Again to cite the infamous case I must overcome the guy beating on me before I engage those multiple attackers who are unusually determined enough to press the attack after one of their close comrades has been neutralized.


    In summary I think a 5 shot revolver is much better suited to non LEO (I hate the term civilians because the police are too) than the entire body of LAW ENFORCEMENT research/writing and training would indicate. Not that they're all wrong mind, just that bad guys are wanting different things from me than they would a police officer or security contractor


    After all its not a stretch to extend the line of reasoning that if six isn't enough than its very likely that eight isn't either. Now what pistol holds 8 shots that's widely considered to be the pinnacle of defensive pistols?

    As to me the revolver on my hip holds seven 125g rem sjhp 357 magnum rounds

    posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complains about
     
  11. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    No, it is not.

    The likelihood of your being attacked at all on any one day is far less than remote. The likelihood of being attacked someday is much higher, but still low. However, the potential consequences are extremely severe.

    If you are attacked, however, the likelihood of your being attacked by more than one person is by no means insignificant.

    In our area, the majority of violent crimes, except for bank robberies, involve two or more attackers.

    Well, the law does say that the threat must be imminent, but it says absolutely nothing about partial effectiveness.

    If someone has already struck you with a contact weapon, you are in a world of hurt. A blade though a tendon can put you out of action immediately. You need to react much faster and prevent that.

    People often assume that if one shoots one attacker, the others will retreat.

    Consider this:
    • The second attacker may not realize what has happened.
    • He may decide that breaking off the attack at that point is too risky.
    • He may have no means of escape without your car and keys.

    Try some civilian FoF training and see whether you still think so.

    I retired my five shot revolver from primary carry after reading JohnKSa's analysis referred to twice earlier. I had already (1) taken a pretty good course in civilian high performance defensive pistol shooting; (2) researched the subject of handgun wounding effectiveness; and (3) studied real world civilian defensive encounters. Frankly, I should have come to the same conclusion without John's help.

    By the way, we use this definition of civilian: A person following the pursuits of civil life, especially one who is not an active member of the military, the police, or a belligerent group.

    From a policeman, a criminal wants to escape.

    From a civilian, he may want to escape. Or he may want money, an automobile, another family member, or perhaps the honor of having killed, and it is likely that he does not want witnesses.
     
  12. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

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    I've been carrying an LCR for quite some time and I'm now beginning to rethink this choice. With gang violence on the rise, I would feel a bit more comfortable with several more rounds. I really don't care if statistics say that most fights end after three rounds or whatever. Given the firepower of what some of the bad guys are carrying and their complete lack of regard for innocents, the more rounds the better.
     
  13. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    I read the original thread with John's spreadsheet analysis with great interest and agreement. The one critique I would offer, if it's even a critique, is that the success percentages may not be that linear, since time is not factored in.

    Put simply, one may run out of time-one way or the other-before the opportunity to fire 12 responsible shots at two determined attackers presents itself. The sweet spot may well sit somewhere between the 7+1 of a single stack compact and the 10+1 of a G26.

    Given the factor of a diminishing time curve as the round count goes up, it might be a better usage of energy working on increasing hit percentages rather than ammo cap beyond a certain minimum.

    Knowing who populates this board, I will never use the term "extensive" to describe my own training, but it's probably much more extensive work on close-up "fighting" skills than the average "shooter" (whomever that is), and much of my work has been done with the user error-resistant wheelie. I'm therefore good with 6 as an arbitrary number for unlikely threat mitigation in my admittedly low-speed life--a life that more accurately begs the statement "six is waaay better than nothing" more than "8+1 is waaay better than 6".

    JM K-frame O.
     
  14. golden

    golden Member

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    I am more likely to defend myself off duty than on duty

    Thank you SMLE,

    I understand the reluctance to give up on the revolver's reliability. My experience has been different. Over the years, I have seen revolvers fail to function more often than you would imagine.

    I have seen a COLT PYTHON lock up because of a warped frame. A S&W model 25 with a misaligned cylinder that locked it up. A S&W model 28 that had to go back to the factory to get the cylinder to turn smoothly.

    Also, when I went through FLETC, the federal law enforcement academy, we were issued S&W model 13'S. Out of the 47 issued, a dozen had problems. I could not remove the sideplate on mine, as the screws had been torqued on. Several guns were out of alignment with a few spitting lead to the side.
    Later on, at least one of these guns burst the forcing cone when using the 125 grain jhp .357 magnum load.

    When my agency adapted a standard gun, the BERETTA 96D Brigadier, that was the end of choosing things. I have now been using and carrying a double action only, semi auto for 15 years.
    As a result, my preferrence is for a large capacity semi auto with night sights and a double action only trigger. That is what I use at work and am most familiar with.
    Adding the light was my choice, but after the first night qualification, it was not an option as far as I was concerned.

    I have been trained to fire two shots at a time, except for close (3 yards or less) shooting, then it is fire till they drop. I expect, that I will do the same with my off duty gun, if I do, the first time I fire, I would have been down to 3 rounds in my old CHARTER ARMS UNDERCOVER or S&W model 38.
    That is not enough for me.

    Also, when I had to do the off angle and supine shooting with the BERETTA 96D, it never jammed. In fact, it almost never jammed for any of the transition class. The only jams were with people who were unfamiliar with firearms and they really needed a lot more training. Some were still carrying their spare ammo in belt loops!
    I will not say that all other autos are this reliable, but my experience with BERETTA, GLOCK, SIG and SPRINGFIELD ARMORY has convinced me that they are that reliable.
    Other brands may be as well, but these are what I personally have experience with.

    A larger revolver can hold more ammo and use much more powerful ammo, but they are much harder to conceal than a Sub-Compact 9m.m. and weigh a lot more. My old 681 seemed to weigh twice as much at the end of a 10 or 12hour day as it did when I put it on.
    When I switched to the GLOCK 19 with a 50 percent increase in ammo availabilty on my belt and a LOT LESS WEIGHT, it was like mana from heaven.

    My preference for a semi auto comes down to my belief that a well maintained, high quality auto is just a reliable as a revolver and that the physical characteristics of the semi-auto make it a better choice, at least to me.

    As I mentioned before, others may have had different experiences and different levels of training.

    Jim
     
  15. bsms

    bsms Member

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    If you shoot one bad guy in the face, and the other bad guys continue the attack, you are probably screwed no matter how many rounds you are carrying. If 6 bad guys rush you in the face of fire, odds are very good that some of them are going to reach you.

    I'll also maintain that no one I've met has practiced shooting on the run at running targets enough to have any competence in that sort of shooting with any gun. If that is the standard, then I don't think 1 person in 1000 is 'adequately prepared'.

    Most days, I'm hard pressed to conceal a 5 shot J-frame. My trips to town regularly include trips to the military base, where I cannot legally carry ANY gun on me or in my car. So the reality is that I'm often unarmed, or armed with a knife and mace. So I actually feel pretty heavily armed with a 5 shot 38...

    When hiking, since the US government doesn't believe in enforcing borders against drug smugglers, I normally carry a Ruger Vaquero Montado plus my J-frame. If those 11 shots aren't enough, then I guess I'll die - just not alone.

    In the end, it is a personal choice. You have to balance your concern for the threat with what you are willing to carry and practice with, and also whatever scruples you have about entering places that ban guns. Happily, crime in the USA is very geographic. The bad spots are very bad, and the rest of the USA isn't bad at all. Consider this: In 2011, 70% of all murder VICTIMS in Chicago had prior police records...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Of course, it depends heavily on the circumstances of the situation, but I think that there's merit to your analysis.

    The point of the exercise I went through to calculate the odds was more about getting a feel for what would happen in the ideal situation as opposed to finding a solution that would work all the time. There is no way to do the latter, but you can look at the former.

    In other words, assuming that the attacker(s) is(are) determined, what are the chances of making 2 hits on each attacker with real-world hit/miss rates assuming that EVERYTHING else pretty much goes your way. In other words, assuming that 2 hits does the trick on each, that you don't waste time shooting the first guy after he's already neutralized, assuming that you don't get injured or killed before your handgun runs dry, assuming your gun doesn't malfunction, etc.

    Clearly, (and I tried to make this point in the initial thread as well as in every post I've made referencing it) having some huge round count in the gun doesn't mean anything if you only get to shoot once before you are killed, or if both attackers run as soon as you draw and you never fire even once.

    However, the analysis does provide a very accurate way of determining the chances of making, for example, 4 hits with 5 shots--4 hits being the minimum number of hits that a professional trainer would typically advise to neutralize 2 opponents.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  17. smle41

    smle41 Member

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    HR.W.Dale, thank you... :)
    First, I do think that there is a grain of truth in your reference to classes and instructors being at least generally tilted towards a "SWAT Tactical Officer" sort of thing; My experiences in or with them lack the breadth to categorically state "all", but the ones I have attended certainly had that kind of flavor. On this tangent, I publicly confess that I may not attend any more of them as the last one was disappointing in the arrogance and attitude of the instructors, and how little of it seemed to pertain to everyday life; in this sense, along these lines, I agree with both RW and Kleanbore
    Edit- understanding "all" as exaggeration to illustrate a frustration we have in common?
    Second, if I may, I think the bridge between RW and Kleanbore is found in parsing RW's phrase "one attack" and using the understanding (RW, please correct any misapprehension) that he is writing, with the word "attack", one single incident that may involve more than one "attacker", or, persons involved in the single incident. This is what I have most experienced, spoken about, read of, etc; in this case, perhaps we are all thinking of the same thing. What I envision is one fast incident rather than several seperate assaults where the enemy regroups to attack repeatedly (though such is possible, as indeed virtually anything is, but may justifiably removed from the parameters of this thread).
    There are pertinent notes to be taken from the "JohnkSA" thread, and I want to add to his thoughts that the statistics he helpfully provides should be considered alongside those of common non-uniformed self defense cases. Let me go ahead and controversially theorize that self defense cases may involve a higher "percentage " of hits. Anecdotally, there are numerous incidents of stupendous numbers of rounds being fired by public officers with nary a hit on target, which must skew the hit/miss ratio. Anecdotally again, the majority of cases involving private citizens, in 1, or, 5, or 8/9, the hit ratio was 100%. No one is suggesting that we are assuming that all private persons will always hit, nor are we assuming that all public employees will always miss. But it is not wrong to consider that statistics compiled may have more balance on one side than another....
    Edit... two local incidents, 2 rounds fired before malfunction, and 4 rounds fired before malfunction, no hits were made though the attacks were stopped. So, in these civilian cases, the miss ratio was 100%...
    Golden is irrefutable when he writes that every weapon can jam, every car can break down, and every toaster can fail to toast. A "fresh from the factory" Ruger Alaskan was out of time, just in time for its inaugural competitive shoot. Fortunately for me, the paper didn't care, and Ruger was very nice about it. Murphy is out there... in fact, some others should thank me because Murphy is so busy with me, he doesn't have time to follow you... :)
    Sidheshooter raises a valid point, and one which occupies much of my own thought process, and seems to get short shrift. Time is perhaps the most vital factor, in particular, the lack of it. One reason I so highly support training activities including the above-referenced one in which a mechanically- powered target is rushed toward the "victim" is that it reinforces the knowledge, harrowing knowledge, that one's time can be dreadfully curtailed.
    BSMS hits on something we are considering; what if these attackers, in this incident, are the uncommon sort and are determined, to the point of willingly sacrificing their lives, to destroy me, this changes the equation. And, as a few of our posters have noted, those types of attackers exist (let us face the fact that the Mumbai Jihad did occur: perhaps an outlier, but, it did occur). To this situation, where the group of assailants does not care who among them, or how many among them become casualties, I question whether a deciding factor will be our ammunition reservoire (let alone my thought that such an incident involving such attackers is rare to the point of me not really considering it).
    Finally, we can be comforted in knowing that "bsms" is in the main correct about criminals and crime; the vermin are more of a threat to each other (both inter and intra) than they are to us in terms of murderous intent. I have worked as a lowly security guard in many places over many years, as needs dictated, and not infrequently came across gangs (usually the lackeys and other such useful idiots/low-hanging fruit), and as they would shoot, fight, stab or slay each other (and did), I never had a problem in getting them to leave parks, ports or garages. Being a non-gang person, I was not a threat to their trade and not on their "kill list". I use this anecdote in support of the general notion bsms presents, as I understand it, please correct me if I do not...
    Thank you. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  18. Chris-bob

    Chris-bob Member

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    When you need 7 shots, 6 will not be enough. When you only needed 1 shot, 6 will be overkill. No one knows when/if they will ever need more than 1 shot. Fortunately for us, we have the 2nd Amendment that allows us to carry 400+ rounds if we want.

    Only you can decide how many shots you feel you need. I like to carry my Kel-Tec PF-9 in the right hip, my XD-9 on the left, and a Charter Arms Undercover .38 in my pocket when I know I will be away from home for more than a few hours or out in the woods. Might be overkill, but won't be if I ever need it.
     
  19. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    I agree with John that there is merit to that point.

    As a matter of fact, I now carry either a Ruger SR9c (10+1), an Smith M&P 9c (12+1), or a .45 (7+1).

    I would not expect to empty any of them, but I do not to tempt the odds, nor do I want to be left with an empty firearm after a defensive encounter.

    Certainly! But let no one confuse what he can do at the range on a stationary target with what he would be able to do after having drawn and presented as quickly as humanly possible against someone running around the end of one's car at breakneck speed.

    And I was perfectly happy with five when I was going to a store in a "good" neighborhood in the daytime. But then someone here pointed out to me that when the need arises, the need is likely to be the same regardless of the prior circumstances. I had been taking into account the lower likelihood of being accosted in the first place.

    Bad analysis--I should have known better. One should always consider the conditional probability rather than the cumulative probability in any kind of risk management.

    That realization and John's analysis led to my immediate retirement of the J-frame for primary carry.

    Of course six is better than nothing. As a matter of fact, six is a lot better than five. Remember Colt and the "all important sixth round"? John's simple calculation really drives the point home.

    Consider this, however. While 13+1 may be on the high side, John's necessarily oversimplified assumptions probably result in the overstatement of the probability of success at the low end.

    Why?

    Well, what do think the odds would be of a defender's being able to stop shooting the first of two fast moving opponents after hitting him twice, or after more upon realizing that two hits did not do the trick? When you think about it, you are not at all unlikely to be down four rounds or more regardless before ever directing your attention to a second attacker.

    Given that, given my aversion to not having a margin, and not wanting to be left empty, if I were presented only a choice between six and fourteen, I would invariably choose the latter, even though I would never expect to fire fourteen.

    Of course, we do have other choices.
     
  20. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Or as Colion Noir put it: "'Gee, I wish I had fewer rounds.' said no one in a gunfight, ever."
     
  21. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Notice that all the revolvers you mention had problems that were discovered upon initial inspection and initial testing.
    They were not perfecting functioning handguns that just suddenly crapped out for no apparent reason.

    Once you have determined that your revolver functions as it should...no warped frame or bent crane or such....and once you clean and load it, its going to be stone cold reliable.

    The same cannot be said of an autoloader...

    You can have a perfectly functioning autoloader, one that you have shot thousands of rounds with, and for no apparent reason it can suddenly, out of the blue with no warning, experience a failure to feed or a failure to eject.
    I've seen it happen too many times.

    And there's always to possibility of a hard primer or a dud round that will make an autoloader choke.

    There's just no getting around the fact that a "perfectly functioning" revolver is much more reliable than a "perfectly functioning" autoloader.

    Now, is six shots enough?

    Maybe, and maybe not.

    But considering the fact that your otherwise perfectly functioning autoloader might suddenly, and without warning, become a one-shot handgun, there's not much reason to choose an autoloader over a revolver.



    Can you perform a malfunction clearing drill when you are in pain from being punched or kicked, or when you are in a dark parking lot being shot at or punched or stabbed?

    There very fact that you need to practice malfunction clearing drills proves that the autoloader is not as reliable as the revolver.
    That's just the nature of the beast.


    Easy
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  22. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    Carry a Glock/HK/SIG etc (with a spare full sized magazine) and an S&W J or K Frame in 38 Special or 357 Magnum. There is no reason not to have the best of both worlds (unless you are in New Mexico).
     
  23. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    It actually proves nothing, it merely suggests. When a revolver malfunctions (and they do), clearing the malfunction can be as simple as pulling the trigger again, but if that fails, clearing can be so difficult as to make the attempt when under duress impractical or impossible and practicing to do the impossible is hardly worthwhile.
     
  24. Warp

    Warp Member

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    This is your opinion.

    I disagree with your opinion, as do many others. There are plenty of very good reasons to choose a semi automatic bottom feeder over a revolver. That is why so, so many people do so, and why virtually every law enforcement agency in the country, and virtually every military in the world, does so.

    All of those people, and departments, and countries, that opt to carry semi autos aren't wrong.

    Neither are you, if you choose a revolver.

    Informed, reasonable, rational decisions do not have to be the same for everybody.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  25. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    As an aside, there are malf drills for a revolver. I don't practice all of them, since a couple of the valuable ones are abusive, but I do visualize them as part of training. Grant Cunningham has detailed some last-ditch malf repairs in his revolver book, for those who are interested.

    I am a fairly die-hard wheelie fan, and will probably stand pat for now (for reasons articulated earlier) but make no mistake: for folks like John and Kleanbore and others who have their reasons for retiring J's and SP101s in favor of larger cap compacts, you wont be getting any lip from me. I may well ultimately do the same in favor of my current heartthrob, my model 12 K-snub, for some of the same reasons.
     
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