If you really want to start an argument you can tell your wife you are buying a motorcycle or you tell someone which handgun is best for concealed carry. Being single, I haven’t had a good argument in a long time, so maybe it is time to poke the hive by taking a look at the pros and cons of pistols vs revolvers when it comes to CCW guns.
First, let’s look at the obvious: Ammo capacity. Most, semi-autos win in that category BUT! we need to be aware of something. More often than not, you will not need all those rounds. FBI stats show that most gunfights see between three and six rounds expended. Now, in the unlikely event that you find yourself in an active shooter situation, you will still likely only fire a few rounds during the engagement. So, a revolver would work very well in such a situation as long as you fire accurately. Accuracy should be important with any handgun in a deadly force incident.
While we are on the topic of ammo, yes, reloads are faster with pistols. But with practice you can get pretty fast with a speed-loader for your wheelgun. But speedloaders are bulky and round, not like a slim and sleek magazine for your pistol. Seems like the edge is going to the pistol so far. But wait…
Looks like reliability is making a late charge for the front. You know that in a defensive pistol pretty much everything is negotiable accept reliability. The defensive pistol must fire every time you squeeze the trigger. Unless, of course, you have fired your six and need to reload. But the old police mantra was very true: Six for sure. The truth is there are precious few things that can go wrong to make a revolver stop firing. Oh, there are things, but when you consider the complicated path each round from an autoloader must endure (fire, unlock, extract, eject, re-chamber, lock fire) the simplicity of a revolver is wonderful.
Of course this is not to say that a revolver is and will be perfectly reliable at all times. Hammer spurs might get hung up if you don’t have the right holster. You might bend the crane or ejector rod. I have seen bullets move forward in their cases because
of high recoil and by the fourth round the mechanism was jammed. So, yes, revolvers can jam, but it is less likely. Along with reliability comes simplicity, or is that vice versa? Either way: you pick up a revolver, aim at the target and pull the trigger. No levers or locks or anything else to think about. It is truly a point and shoot interface.
So where does that leave us? Ah, overall weight. One can purchase some very lightweight revolvers these days. Some of those guns in .357 Magnum are punishing to shoot, but easy to carry. You know what they say, “If the gun is too heavy to carry, you will leave it home when you need it.” But, then again, there are some pretty lightweight polymer pistols as well. But it is hard to beat a J-frame Airweight revolver for ease of carry.
So, in the end, I guess this argument as become pretty circular. Pistol, revolver… you make the call. Pick out the gun that works best for your needs and keep it with you. Remember the first rule of a gunfight: Have a gun.
Other great books for those who carry concealed handguns:
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