“If you want a pistol that works every time, get a revolver…they just work!”
That statement is as loaded as my moon clip. Yes, revolvers are reliable, but so is a whole list of semi-auto pistols. And a bunch of those semi-auto pistols have advantages over a classic old-school revolver. So why would anyone even want a small carry revolver?
It can’t get any more simple to use. You point the pistol at the target and pull the trigger and it goes bang. Compared to say a semi-auto, you will need to learn how to load the magazine, load the pistol, work a slide stop, and safety. With a revolver you release the cylinder and drop rounds into the empty spots and move on.
It’s true that very little training is needed to use a revolver. But training is needed to shoot them well. It’s easy to show someone how to pull the trigger, but it takes expertise to show the best methods of gripping a revolver. Furthermore, the trigger pull of the average revolver is measured in the double digits, compared to a 5-8 pound trigger pull of a semi-auto. I have personally witnessed a user with a J-frame sized Smith & Wesson revolver completely miss a human-sized target that was within arm’s reach of the shooter. The shooter just jerked as fast as he could at the 12-pound trigger and did not hit a damn thing. It takes practice to get good with a revolver.
Another con is that even very small revolvers are heavy, and the lighter the weight, the more it costs. Any of the Scandium framed J-frames capable of handling .357 Mag loads are in the ballpark of $1200or more! The alternative is a heavy steel revolver that is like having to tote a boat anchor around all day. The middle road is an aluminum framed revolver that’s not too expensive, and not too heavy to carry.
Super lightweight revolvers are also rather painful to shoot in defensive calibers. A nice semi-auto has a spring to absorb some of the recoil, revolvers do not. The full force of that round going off is being dumped into your hand.
Capacity is usually 5-6 rounds, which seems dismal when compared to a modern sub compact semi auto like a 13-round Hellcat. On the flip side, usually a CCW revolver is not meant to lay down suppressive fire. It’s meant to be a last-ditch option deployed at 7 yards or fewer.
At the gun counter
In the store setting, when customers are looking for a small concealable revolver several names come to mind.
Smith & Wesson is usually first and foremost, since they have the biggest selection. Looking through the catalog can almost be overwhelming, but usually with one question I could narrow the search down. The great thing about S&W is the aftermarket support—almost everything about a S&W revolver can be changed. If the trigger is just a little bit too heavy, there are kits for that. Want fancy wood or rubber grips, or a laser—yep they make them.
Ruger: In my personal opinion the LCR series is fantastic, with some of the better factory trigger pulls. All of their small concealment revolvers are light weight and use fancy manufacturing materials to shave as much weight as possible. My main drawback is with the factory rubber grip, which is chunky when compared to some of the sleeker S&W options. When it comes to personality, they are not very exciting … they only come in black.
For excitement, try Charter Arms; they have a great selection of revolvers that will match any personality, from cheetah to American flag prints. Charter also has some of the best prices and usually beat the other Big, 5 so if budget is your biggest concern they have that make covered. Out of the box, if I am being a gun snob the triggers are on the heavier end, but once used they can become quite nice and the parts wear into each other.
Taurus revolvers have come a long way in the last decade. The funny thing is that Taurus revolvers are based on older S&W designs on which the patents have expired. If you have ever looked inside of a S&W revolver to work on one, you will be right at home digging in the guts of a Taurus. The cool thing about Taurus is that just like S&W they offer some interesting options, if you think 38spl is not your thing. Taurus has versions available in .327 Fed., 9mm, .380 ACP and even .357 Mag.
I am going to lump Colt and Kimber in the same section since I could say the same thing about either. Their current offerings are sophisticated pieces of fine craftsmanship. If you are the type of person who has a collection of fine art or Rolex watches, you will love Colt and Kimber. I sort of joke about it, but there is a part that IS true. Unlike the other companies that have lightweight options for their revolvers, Colt and Kimber took a different approach. They are stainless steel revolvers that are small and heavy. If you want something substantial in your hand then they are your go-to revolvers. I do find that both companies have some of the best factory triggers over the competition.
Personally, I feel that revolvers are a great choice for a concealed-carry weapon.
Having worked on firearms professionally for over 23 years, I have seen some pretty ragged revolvers that had zero maintenance performed on them and they still worked. (Check out a video I posted on You-tube of a rusted and crusty revolver that still worked: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPhec5lBzqs while you are there think about subscribing.)
That said, to get the most out of a CCW wheelgun, you’ll need some patience and practice. If that’s not your thing, you can still use a revolver with the most basic of instruction. That’s the best thing about revolvers in general, they are dirt simple to use when compared to a semi-auto pistol. Load it and forget about it. In my opinion a good revolver will still be a fantastic option even in another hundred years.
James the “XDMAN” Mr UnpewFessional Himself.
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