How much more reliable have your revolvers been than your semi-autos?

This is a discussion on How much more reliable have your revolvers been than your semi-autos? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So I'm trying to decide whether I want to primary carry a revolver or a semi-auto. On the one hand, the semi-auto is more appealing ...

View Poll Results: How much more reliable have your revolvers been than your semi-autos?

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  • Much more reliable.

    51 39.84%
  • Much less reliable.

    1 0.78%
  • About the same.

    76 59.38%
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Thread: How much more reliable have your revolvers been than your semi-autos?

  1. #1
    New Member Array soIcouldSee's Avatar
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    Smile How much more reliable have your revolvers been than your semi-autos?

    So I'm trying to decide whether I want to primary carry a revolver or a semi-auto.

    On the one hand, the semi-auto is more appealing because of the lower recoil, lighter trigger pull, much higher capacity (often over 10, vs. just 5, maybe 6 for the revolver), and the choice of superior (I think) calibers. (Yes the .357 is a great caliber but it tends to have quite a bit of recoil and muzzle flash, especially in a J-frame.)

    On the other hand, the revolver is more appealing for one huge reason that could potentially outweigh (for me) all of the benefits of a semi-auto: reliability. From what I've read at least, revolvers are much more reliable, and less picky about how you hold it, if you limp wrist it, etc. If nothing happens when you pull the trigger, just pull it again. Of course, malfunction-proof they are not, and if a revolver malfunctions, it's not easy to fix. Whereas with a semi-auto you can typically fix the issue pretty easily. But still, in the reading that I've done -- unfortunately there's no official scientific test comparing the reliability between the two -- malfunctions of revolvers seem to be few and far between compared to semi-autos. But maybe that's not actually true?

    So my question for you guys is this (I also created a poll, but further elaboration would be awesome if possible, such as what model(s) you have): how much more reliable/free-from-malfunction have your revolver(s) been compared to your semi-auto(s)? Taking into consideration the difference in fired round count between your revolver(s) and your semi-auto(s) of course.

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Member Array nframe357's Avatar
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    Never had an issue with either.
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  4. #3
    New Member Array soIcouldSee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nframe357 View Post
    Never had an issue with either.
    Not a single malfunction? Any idea roughly how many rounds you've put through them?

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    The question is pretty general. I have experienced the spectrum from pos to flawless with both platforms.
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    Member Array Miamieddie's Avatar
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    Assumtion

    I'll have to say go with the revolver !! In a sudden situation you dont want your gun jamming on you, auto weapons intened to do that at times....

  7. #6
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    I have never had a revolver fail, in my autos the only failure I have had have been due to worn magazine springs and a broken extractor.

    I would not call my autos unreliable, if fact they are extremely reliable. The thing is that I have been able to fix the problems in my autos, change mags replace the extractor, but I know that when one of my revolvers fail it is probably going to require a trip to the gunsmith
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  8. #7
    New Member Array soIcouldSee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1956 View Post
    The question is pretty general. I have experienced the spectrum from pos to flawless with both platforms.
    Good point. So how about how much more reliable have your "quality" revolvers (think S&W, Ruger, etc.) been compared to your "quality" semi-autos (think Glocks, Sigs, etc.)? Or maybe your most reliable revolver compared to your most reliable semi-auto.

    Basically I'm just trying to figure out the odds that a semi-auto is likely to malfunction when you need it compared to a revolver.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
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    on the whole, i'd say it's a toss-up between my semi-autos and my revolvers when it comes to reliability.

    i'm talking about Sig-Sauer, Kimber, and Glock pistols, and S&W and Colt double-action revolvers. i've had a few failures to feed with two of my Sigs and my Kimber (not the Glock). i'm talking about perhaps six or seven FTF's over several thousand rounds.

    my S&W revolvers have been faultless through perhaps two thousand rounds, but my Colt Detective Special once got completely tied up (as in frozen), and required a trip back to the factory to get it corrected. this in perhaps two hundred rounds (for just the Colt).

    my revolvers are chambered in .38SPL (Colt and S&W 642), .38/.357 (Wilson/S&W 66, 2.5"), and .45ACP (S&W 625, 3" and 4").

    if i had to choose only one of my weapons to carry in a SHTF scenario (and it had to be a handgun), i would pick my standard P-229 in .357SIG. it has been totally reliable since i bought it back in 1995 or so. ZERO stoppages of any kind, for any reason.

    if i could pick/carry TWO handguns, i would carry my Sig P-220 and my Smith 625, 4", both chambered in .45ACP.

    as OP said, pistols are more likely to fail to function than a good DA revolver firing quality ammo, but a revolver problem is likely to be time consuming to correct, if operator correctable at all. a semi-auto malfunction can usually be corrected in well under 10 seconds by an operator who knows the clearance drills.

    if i were in OP's position, and i wanted a revolver, i'd look hard at the S&W 625 or try to find a used Smith 940 revolver, which is chambered for 9mm, using moon clips. and i believe that Smith recently made a DA revolver chambered for 10mm, using moon clips.
    Last edited by sensei2; October 20th, 2012 at 03:31 PM.

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Buy a quality firearm and maintain it, you shouldn't expect problems with either; however, you should learn to shoot both properly and be prepared to deal with either gun having problems. Any difference in reliability wrt revolver vs semi is blown out of proportion; a more appropriate comparison would be respective quality of manufacture and the brands reputation. As has been said one can normally fixed on the spot, the other not so much. You pays yer money and takes yer chances.
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Infinitely more reliable, by design IMO. Unsurprising. I'd wonder whether it was a fluke, if having only tried a few for comparison, but it's been with nearly every one.
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    We have 5 revolvers and 6 semi's and none of the semi's have ever malfunctioned.
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    This thread would have been made compelling 40 plus years ago!
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  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    My carry semi auto's are a Glock 21 ,Glock 36 and a 1964 Browning Hi-Power. Quality firearms, ammunition and up keep and I don't have problems.

    photo.jpgImage.jpgphoto.jpg
    click image to enlarge....

    My carry revolvers are a S&W Model 60, Model 65 and a Ruger SP-101. Again quality firearms, ammunition and up keep and no problems.

    Image.jpgImage 6.jpgphoto.jpg
    click image to enlarge....

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  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    Never had a problem with a revolver, except for running out of ammo. Have had several feed problems with semi-auto handguns.

    Revolvers don't need breaking in to function correctly, some semi-autos sometimes do.

    More ammo is nice, though. Sometimes vital.

  16. #15
    Member Array ksblazer's Avatar
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    I'd say they are about the same. Have had issues with both at one time or another. As mentioned buy quality and you should be alright.

    Been burned on used guns. So if it's a "good deal" be cautious unless you know and trust the person wo has owned it.
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