This article is apart of our Comprehensive Guide to Handguns. If you’re new to firearms in general, or just to handguns, be sure to checkout the other parts of this guide listed at the end!
You may have noticed while reading the various parts of this guide that we didn’t hit on revolvers at all. That’s because we saved everything you need to know involving revolvers here! As a new gun owner there’s really only one thing you need to know; avoid them.
Outside of Collectors who aren’t the target audience here, revolvers are, in our collective opinions, the absolute worst firearm for new gun owner’s to purchase. Beyond basic maintenance, which we admit is marginally easier than with a pistol, revolvers are all around more difficult to work with; especially starting off.
TacCat had a revolver very early on and immediately sold it off. It was too costly to shoot, it demanded too much time & effort to become proficient with, and it just downright wasn’t as enjoyable to shoot as a modern semi-automatic pistol.
For whatever reason revolvers, primarily snubnose revolvers, are a popular recommendation given by sale’s associates at gun stores. The odd thing is, it’s something they recommend to the elderly and women… two groups that are known to have weaker hands. They push the simplicity past reality & make them out as being the easiest firearms to shoot…yet none of them are carrying revolvers (especially snubnose revolvers) as their primary gun…Gee… wonder why that is…
1. Trigger Weight
All modern revolvers are either DAO or DA/SA with the latter requiring you to cock the hammer to get Single Action every time you want it. The trigger pull weights in Double Action exceed 8lbs which can be exceptionally difficult for new shooters to use accurately, and even more difficult to use proficiently. Many times, these triggers are impossible for individuals with weaker hands to pull.
Cocking the hammer for every shot is irresponsible to do in a life or death situation… but I’m not your mother.
2. Ergonomics; Or Lack Thereof
Revolvers come from a time when handguns were shot with one hand on a handgun; not two. For that reason revolvers are very unwieldy when you’re using a proper two handed grip technique. If you put both thumbs forward, you’re going to get burns on your support hand’s thumb due to cylinder gap. Then there’s the knuckle busting that happens if your knuckle happens to rid the back of the trigger guard.
3. Weaker Hands
Individuals with weaker hands are going to have a very difficult time with revolvers in general and not just because of the trigger pull weight. Revolvers recoil directly into your hand, there isn’t a recoil system to help mitigate the blast going into your hand, making them even more difficult to control; especially snub nosed, or short barreled revolvers.
There’s also the obstacle of the cylinder release. It’s a very simple part to manipulate, however, it’s extremely stiff. All of us have seen first hand individuals that struggle to release a revolver’s cylinder, but have no issues inserting a magazine, and racking a round into the chamber on a semi-automatic pistol.
Looking from the outside in, revolvers look to be very easy to reload. You eject the old rounds and insert the new ones into the cylinder; now do it on a timer and it’s no longer a menial task.
Learning how to perform a defensive reload with a revolver takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication for depreciating returns; this isn’t something that a beginner should be spending time learning while they’re also learning all the other fundamentals to handgun shooting.
All of these issues get amplified the smaller the revolver is with the worst being snubnose revolvers. If you’re a beginner, even if you need the most concealable option possible (which revolvers are not) avoid snub nosed revolvers like the plague.
On paper revolvers seem like a smart recommendation. They’re easy to clean, they’re easy to operate, and they don’t have magazines that cause reliability issues. What seems good on paper usually gets blown to pieces when put into actual practice; which is the case with revolvers.
While a semi-automatic pistol may seem intimidating to learn at first, the minor increase in the required time investment to learn is well worth the cost. From a defensive perspective you’re gaining:
- Smaller Learning Curve
- Less Felt Recoil
- Faster Reloads
- Mechanical Simplicity
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Tired of scouring the internet for all the answers you’re looking for in regards to handguns? JustPews put together this comprehensive beginner’s guide just for you! Checkout the other parts to get headed in the right direction towards your first purchase!