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Why a revolver.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Carl Levitian, Jul 25, 2008.

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  1. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    Most people who know me, also know I have a very strong bias toward the revolver. At the present time, the only auto pistol I have is an old Ruger standard model I bought new for 39'95. That tells you haow long ago it was bought new by me.

    I wasn't always this way. At one time I was a fan of the 1911, and owned a nice Colt series 70, with the Colt manufactured .22 conversion unit for it with the floating chamber. I sold it off in 1977.

    The year 1977 was a pivotal year for my gun preffernces. I had just joined the Trinidad Colorado police department, under Chief Denis Demsey. In Colorado back then, a police officer could use any gun of his choice, as long as it held at least 6 shots, was of at least .38 caliber, and had at least a 4 inch barrel. Since I had served in the U.S. Army, the 1911A1 and I were old friends. When I went off to the C.L.E.T.A. (Colorado Law Enforcement Training Acadamy) I took my .45 with me. I was planning on qualitfying with it as my service weapon.

    Plans change.

    In the thrird week of the acadamy, the range instructor was a Sgt. Tom Crowe, and our head training officer was Sgt. Ralph Smith, with a Captian Stewart as commanding officer. Sgt. Crowe remarked that he saw some of us had plans on using an auto pistol for our service weapon. Okay, he said, but first he wanted us to listen from somebody. Sgt Crowe was a die hard revolver man, Smith and Wesson being his God. He must have been good, as he was a champian PPC competitor.

    This morning in question, he went over and opened the side door to the classroom we were in, and a young guy in his 20's wheeled himself in. He was in a wheelchair. He addressed the class.

    He had been a Pueblo police officer, and had been carrying a Smith and Wesson model 39. One day he had stopped a car for blowing a stop sign, and unknown ot him, the guy had just robbed a gas and go. It had not gone out on the air yet. They guy jumps out with an old M1 carbine, and opens fire on the officer. The officer returns fire, or tries to, but this model 39 jams on the first shot, with a smokestack. While the officer is trying to do the tap rack bang drill, the guy with the carbine runs up to him and shoots him three times. Two of the bullets do little damage while going through the second chance vest he has on, but one of them severs his spine at the waist.

    He sat there telling us of the incident, and how he would never walk again, go anyplace without that wheel chair, never make love with his wife again, never get to play ball with his young sone again. It was a very thought provocking afternoon. He told us if he had the chance to do it over again, he'd be carrying a revolver.

    They let us go early that day, and I went out and sat in my jeep for a while. I did some thinking, and I knew what I was going to do. I traded in my old .45 auto and .22 conversion kit on a new Smith and Wesson model 64, and the gunshop tossed in a set of pachmier grips and some HKS speed loeaders. I shot that 64 for many years, and I still have it. Over the last 31 years I've not had a single malfunction from it, or the model 60 with the bobbed hammer that was my duty back up and off duty gun. I loved my 1911, but like most auto's, it would bobble once in a great while. I deceided not to gamble, and went with a gun that would not let me down. To this day, niether revolver has yet to malfunction, no matter what type of bullet or load goes through it.

    I remember Sgt. Smith telling us that the averige gunfight is a couple yards, a couple shots, in a couple seconds. Close, fast, and its all over one way or the other.

    I love my revolvers.
     
  2. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    Well, had you posted this in the non-specific handguns subforum, you'd have the auto guys up in arms :)o) about how a malf with an auto is easier and faster to clear than a malf with a wheelgun, and about how one example of how poor training ended up getting a guy crippled shouldn't mean much.

    But you're in the revolver subforum, where you get guys who use wheelguns and are willing to bet their lives on them.

    My bedside gun is a wheelgun, and my most carried CCW is also a wheelgun.

    The only auto I really carry now that isn't is my pocket gun.

    Edit to add:
    I just shoot and like wheelguns better. Personal preference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  3. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

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    Well, I like both, but this guy's story is ridiculous. No auto pistol will jam into a stovepipe before firing one shot. If he didn't have anything chambered, then, he didn't know how to operate the gun or the agency policy got him injured. If the agency didn't let him carry a backup, shame on his agency. Everybody blames the gun; the antis do the same thing. We know better.
     
  4. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

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    All that story shows is that the victim had no idea how to quickly clear a jam. There was no information regarding maintenance or training.

    It is NOT proof that revolvers are more reliable than semi-automatic handguns. It's a trade-off in malfunction types and drills, that is all.

    If you shoot revolvers well and know how to operate them well, then I see no reason to change. At least you're carrying a gun!
     
  5. elChupacabra!

    elChupacabra! member

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    I tend to agree with the dissent.

    Modern autoloaders have come along way since 1977 - guns made by the big players like HK, SIG, even GLOCK rarely ever suffer a stoppage of any sort, when fired by a properly trained operator, and clearing them is usually faster and easier than reloading a 6-shot wheelgun from a speedloader. The ease and rapidity with which an autoloader can be operated, to me, make them more viable than a revolver as a defensive weapon.

    Somebody always has to lose in a gunfight. The bad guy, with a carbine, had the upper hand over the officer from the start. The jam didn't help anything, but there's no guarantee that a revolver would have saved him from being paralyzed.

    To me, to pick one fight and the cause of the outcome and say THIS EXAMPLE EXCLUSIVELY defines my choice for firearms is a little narrow-sighted. I would rather look at the big picture, since a million things can go wrong. I'd take a look at the big picture and try to determine as best I could the probabilities of different things going wrong.

    As they say, you pays your nickel and you takes your chances.

    But, still, at least you are armed, and comfortable with your choice. That's the REALLY important thing. :)
     
  6. Reddbecca

    Reddbecca Member

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    The simple answers include: Why not, nobody's going to care the difference for the first six shots, nobody makes a compact semi-automatic .357 Magnum, they don't jam, etc.
     
  7. elChupacabra!

    elChupacabra! member

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    True, if you like it, are comfortable with it, etc. - go for it! But to answer your points, some counter points:

    1) most fights end in 6 shots. Not all do. If you want a compact .357 Magnum, make that 5 shots.

    2) .40S&W, .45ACP, .357SIG are very potent rounds as well, and available in a slew of compact autoloaders. Remember the officer who shot a bg 5 times with a .357Mag to be killed with a .22lr through the heart? Strange things happen, there's no "magic bullet..."

    3) Many, if not most, people shoot an autoloader better than a revolver, especially a compact 357 revolver, due to the self-reciprocating recoil management mechanism built into every semi-automatic firearm, the potential for a nice, light, single-action trigger, etc.

    Again, not trying to start a huge flame war, just some counter points... but you're right, if you want one, go for it :)
     
  8. Ed4032

    Ed4032 Member

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    I had a revolver jam on me before. The primer backed out just enough that the gun was jamed. I had to send it in to S&W loaded for them to repair it.
     
  9. FerFAL

    FerFAL Member

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    People got killed because their autos FTF and other died because they shot their revolvers empty and where left a round too short to survive.

    For me there’s no doubt, pistol all the way. Pistol and backup.

    The only autos I carry are the ones that NEVER failed me. Not once in thousands of rounds.

    FerFAL
     
  10. critter

    critter Member

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    What happened to his FIRST shot?
     
  11. FerFAL

    FerFAL Member

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    Lets see what Carl Levitian says, but bad guy brings out a rifle, officer draws and shoots in a hurry…
    Pretty sure he missed.

    FerFAL
     
  12. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    That is bunk... Some guns don't like HP's or other ammo, mags get worn, feed ramps need polishing, extractors break. Saying the quoted remark pushes it off onto the "user". Remind me of my IT Department, NOTHING is their fault.

    Anyway, revolvers are great guns, require less maintence, are durable, accurate, have never ever had a failure to feed, or failure to eject, can be reloaded as fast as an auto come in versatile rounds.

    I can leave a revolver fully loaded in a box for 50 years and then fire the booger... Do that with an auto.... You can't.
     
  13. RevolvingCylinder

    RevolvingCylinder Member

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    Actually you can and it's been done.

    Revolvers have the upper hand in mechanical reliability in that they're manually fed and cartridges are manually ejected. There is no feeding/extracting/ejecting mechanism to fail. The most common failure with DA revolvers involves people who don't know how to properly operate a revolver that get rims stuck under the ejector with improper technique. Revolvers require training for proficiency too. I would say that they require more training. Good DA trigger manipulation and speedloads skills are important for the DA revolver.

    Not that automatics aren't reliable. Revolvers just have the upper hand. Granted someone could use the weak and illogical argument that revolvers can break parts and become unusable while an automatic can not or will not when I've witnessed autos doing just that.

    A fact that a lot of anti-revolver people can't grasp is that a skilled revolver shooter is no worse armed than someone with a pistol.

    I prefer revolvers for their combination of accuracy, reliabilty, and comparatively powerful cartridges. My prime reason would be the feel of the action.
     
  14. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    I'm on the revolver side for all the reasons stated and!!!!!!!!!! with a revolver their is or should be the inherent sense of marksmanship instead of the current(last 20 years) rage for firepower and larger magazines.
     
  15. LA Rondo

    LA Rondo Member

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    I can't believe any officer being out there without a backup gun somewhere on his body.

    No kidding. Yet, this an ammo issue causing the revolver to malfunction.
     
  16. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    I just like revolvers better. Just like some guys prefer blondes and some prefer brunettes or redheads.

    Why buy and carry something that I don't particularly like?
     
  17. SAWBONES

    SAWBONES Member

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    Another old saw, and more "straw man" arguments.

    Can't people discuss things intelligently and honestly?

    Why am I even reading this thread? :barf:
     
  18. RickH

    RickH Member

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    I'll admit I have a little more faith in revolvers than I do in autos. I own more autos though, they are great fun at the range.
    The officer mentioned went up against a guy with a rifle with a hand gun. He was at a serious disadvantage to begin with.
     
  19. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    Ok...let's take a breath...

    Carl stated that the pistol jammed "on the first shot". Let's repeat that-"ON THE FIRST SHOT". Obviously, the first shot fired either missed or failed to incapacitate the bad guy. It then stovepiped...

    Secondly, did we miss the fact that this is 1977? I may be wrong but I believe this was a period of transition from revolvers to autos and I feel confident to say that the focus on training and with pistols may not have been as comprehensive as it is today. That's why I'm not comfortable armchair quarterbacking the officer who was shot or his department in this regard. I simply don't believe that it's fair to judge someone's reaction to an individual coming at them with a carbine from thirty feet away. That's hardly enough time to do much of anything even if you are trained. Other issues to this scenario may never be known such as why he didn't fall back when the BG advanced. Also, I personally know many LEOs who never carry a backup gun-never. Many of them don't bother carrying off duty either (take into account that I live in a pretty affluent area with admittedly little violent crime), and for them qualifying is a once a year or maybe every six month experience and is the only time their duty weapon leaves the holster. Contrast that with the average poster here who shoots on a weekly basis and you can understand why someone may not be as prepared for such an encounter as *we* think they should be.

    I didn't read Carl's piece as a dogmatic assertion of why YOU should sell your pistols and buy revolvers. I read it for what it is-a personal account based on personal experience leading to a personal decision that Carl made. Anything can fail-and I think we all know that.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't argue the point, as such discussions are ultimately helpful to those faced with such decisions, only that it needn't devolve into something nasty and personal....
     
  20. Elvishead

    Elvishead Member

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    I converted with no help or coercion from anybody, but if I was a Cop the only revolver I would have would be a small J-frame bodyguard for back-up.
     
  21. Defensory

    Defensory Member

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    Ruger SP101 Malfunction:

    "This is a brand new Ruger SP101 357 Magnum. I took it out to the range twice and it malfunctioned like this about every 50 rounds. Pull the trigger and it hangs up. If I needed this to defend myself, I'd be dead. I returned the revolver to Cabela's for a refund. Too bad, because it did shoot nicely but what good is a wheelgun that you can't depend on?"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsgd5fZJCjU


    Revolver Malfunction at a Cowboy Shoot:

    "Another stage with a slight revolver malfunction"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xl92P_mVDM
     
  22. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    Gotta wonder how many BGs the Illinois State Police shoot in a year. Did the number skyrocket from 7 to 12?
     
  23. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

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    I own revolvers and semis but there are only two handguns I own with which I am confident in low-light point shooting, both of them revolvers. One is an H&R 676 convertible DA .22. The other is an old S&W K frame .38 SPL, which is now my nightstand gun. I have some killer semi-autos (a few 7.62x25 pistols, a 15 round 9MM, etc) and I'd go with one of these during the day when I'm alert. But, if I was sleepy and in the dark, nothing would be as effective for me as a S&W revolver. Love that K frame.
     
  24. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    Nothing is as simple or as natural for me to operate in an emergency than a revolver. I don't expect to ever need more than 2-3 rounds - hope to never need one - but I am a civilian. If I were a LEO or back in the service (I carried a 1911 on SP/POOW in the USN.), I'd want a semi-auto.

    Of course, a semi-auto in my world - at the range - is an evil-bottom-feeder - a rude-case-tosser. Revolvers are polite - well trained - they'll dunp their empties in your hand, if you want. Oh, I've owned the flat guns (Hmmm, like a 'round gun', I'm 'round' in the middle...hmmmm?), my G21 saying bye-bye ten years ago - and my wife's CZ-75B following suit some years later. I did get her that Seecamp she wanted since then... and, gads, I still have a MKII .22... unclean!!

    I think the compressed mag springs becoming ineffectual due to the extreme 'set' they take being constantly depressed, generally not good for anyone, is a myth. Sure - if left in a glovebox to experience temperature extremes, it may lose some - but a well designed/sprung mag should last. My experience with jams - admittedly only in the AMT DAO .45 Backups I owned - was due to lint. As a part-time RO, I've seen corrosion problems, too - even on the ammo - evidence of serious damp storage. Even Lewis Seecamp states that 'working the spring', ie, loading/unloading, shortens it's useful life. So, long term bottom feeder storage with loaded mags, if in a controlled temp/humidity environment, shouldn't be any more problematic than such revolver use. Barf, I can't believe I wrote that!

    Still, I'll take revolvers. Okay, I have been looking at a S&W .45 M&P... free mags... Help, I feel dirty!

    Stainz
     
  25. greener

    greener Member

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    I think you carry what you are comfortable with. If I were an LEO or thought I had a high probability of getting into serious gun fights, I'd probably carry my M&P9 with 3 extra mags. As for "reliability" I can find anecdotal evidence for just about every handgun made failing. Most almost never fail. My son is an LEO. His duty weapon is a Glock. His BUG is an S&W 442.

    Defensory's post didn't include the reason for failure of the SP101, any attempts to correct the problem, so, in my view, it doesn't condemn that handgun or the class. The reputation of the SP101 is darned accurate and darned reliable.

    My opinion of revolver reliability is

    [​IMG]

    My father bought it used in 1932. I'd guess it is about 80 years old. I've been shooting it for over 40 years. No mechanical repairs. ZERO failures. Still, that's just anecdotal evidence.

    My primary carry is an S&W 442.
     
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