Six Reasons To Own A Revolver


While the whole world seems obsessed with semi-auto pistols, there is still a large group of people who cling tightly to revolvers. I count myself among them. This doesn’t mean I’m against semi-autos; I own a number of those as well. But there’s something about a quality revolver that still pulls me in and ensures I’ll always own them. Perhaps it’s the fact I started my police career carrying one. Maybe it’s the fact revolvers were a part of some great films I grew up watching. After all, who can forget this famous line:

“I know what you’re thinking, ‘Did he fire six shots or only five’? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

Most of us aren’t going to be in situations or have the same temperament as Dirty Harry, but let’s look at some of the reasons why revolvers are still applicable in today’s world:

1. They are utterly reliable. Sure, we’ve all had instances we can cite where a revolver malfunctioned, but I can almost guarantee you’ve seen more malfunctions with semi-auto pistols than revolvers. It’s the reason why revolvers are so popular among hunters. You may have walked through a swamp and a lot of underbrush while tracking a deer, but your revolver is still going to work flawlessly.

2. They make excellent guns for novice shooters. I’ve recommended revolvers as a first gun for decades. In addition to the reliability mentioned above, they don’t require a significant amount of training to operate. There are no safeties to disengage, no magazines to get damaged, etc. Instead, you grip the gun properly, point it at the target and pull the trigger.

3. Revolvers make excellent backup guns. If you choose a revolver (I usually recommend a five-shot with a 2″ barrel), it can easily transition to a backup gun when you purchase your next gun. As a former police officer, I’ve carried both revolvers and semi-autos in an ankle holster. However, I much preferred the revolver. It was easier to conceal, and I was sure it would function when I needed.

4. Revolvers help if you suffer from AD. Revolvers generally have a heavier trigger than semi-autos and are less prone to accidental discharges (AD). I don’t recommend doing it, but I could throw an unholstered revolver in my backpack and not worry at all about an AD. But it’s not just the safety when it’s knocked around, the heavier trigger means once you decide to shoot, it requires an intentional effort to go through the trigger pull. As a result, it’s harder to argue you shot an attacker accidentally. This could be a significant factor should you have to defend yourself in court.

5. There is a broader range of available calibers. Revolvers have seen almost every handgun caliber you could ever need. There are popular models from .22 Short to the .45-70 rifle cartridge and even .410 shotgun shells. They function well with a variety of loads. Light loads that may not cycle a semi-auto may still work fine in a revolver. There are also shotshells made for revolvers that are very useful on snakes and small rodents. You can even choose revolvers that fire modern rimless cartridges to match whichever semi-auto you choose. Do you have a .45 ACP, 10mm, 9mm or .40 S&W? No problem. I’m a huge .40 S&W fan. Most of my guns are in this caliber, so it’s only natural I have a Ruger GP-100 that shoots 10mm and .40 S&W. A Ruger Blackhawk I have shoots either 9mm or .357 Magnum. Since I already reload 9mm and .40 S&W, ammunition is always available.

6. Revolvers are just classy. Okay, I admit this one is subjective. But the craftsmanship and beauty inherent in some revolvers compare aesthetically to my Beretta 96 Combat or my Beretta 96 Elite II. Show me a man carrying a revolver, and I’ll show you one who is most likely proficient with revolvers and semi-autos and one who appreciates beautiful guns.

Modern shooters might gravitate toward the latest SIG or Wilson Combat more than they do revolvers, but revolvers remain a staple for gun enthusiasts. If you don’t have one, what are you waiting for?