Revolver or Semi-auto

Revolver or Semi-auto

This is a discussion on Revolver or Semi-auto within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I don't want to start a war here but I have a friend thinking of buying his first firearm for defense. When he asked me ...

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Thread: Revolver or Semi-auto

  1. #1
    Member Array PhilG's Avatar
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    Question Revolver or Semi-auto

    I don't want to start a war here but I have a friend thinking of buying his first firearm for defense.
    When he asked me what to buy I told him semi-auto as that is what I carry. He asked me why not a revolver and I had no answer as I never owned anything but semi-auto.
    I need to get some help so I can advise him without being prejudiced
    So can I get feedback from both sides of the fence on this without getting into a flame war?
    Remember we are talking about bringing a new member into the gun community not scare him off.
    I thank you all in advance for your help with this project.
    Phil
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    It is all about what feels best in his hands and what he can shoot more accurately.

    Semi autos have higher capacity and faster reloads.

    Revolvers tend to be more reliable and simple to use. Not typical to jam, mag drop etc.

    I started off carrying semi autos but in the last two years I have moved to being a revolver guy.

    I feel fine with 5 rounds of 38SPCL and one speed strip.
    fredg53 likes this.
    "Was there no end to the conspiracy of irrational prejudice against Red Ryder and his peacemaker?"

    Revolvers, “more elegant weapons for a more civilized age.”

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Eric357's Avatar
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    It just depends on my mood. I like them both. Both have pros and cons for different applications imho. If he likes revolvers than whats wrong with him using a revolver? Not a thing.
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    Member Array sebring's Avatar
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    Revolvers are great. But most only hold 5 shots. I figure a revolver is "enough" if one person attacks you, but maybe not great of caught with multiple attackers. And missing shots really hurts with a revolver, but isnt so bad with a 17 round 9mm.

    Semi's are more accurate for me.

    I carry revolvers and semi's interchangeably. mix and match is what makes it fun

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    When I first started I chose a revolver. Unless your friend is going to invest the time to become *VERY* familiar with a SA, and learn some basic drills to clear jams (e.g., tap and rack, etc.), then I think a revolver is the way to go for a novice. Since then I've spent a lot of time at the range and I am quite proficient in some Semi autos and I have since transitioned to a SA for carry quite often.

    While revolvers have limited capacity (I carry 5 shot j-frames), I doubt that if I am ever in need of a weapon I'll need more than five rounds.

    The downside of a small snubby is that it is more difficult to shoot as accurately as a 3.5" - 4" barrel compact semi-auto. The upside is reliability and not having to worry about a weapon the may be picky with certain types of carry ammo, and not having to worry about jams (it is possible for a revolver to "jam" but it's never happened to me).

    So it's pros and cons for both. If your friend is committed to some serious range time and learning how to work a SA proficiently (or receive some basic instruction), then by all means a SA will be a fine choice. But if he is not in that camp, the the revolver is a good choice for a first weapon.

  6. #6
    Member Array DannyB1954's Avatar
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    It depends on what he shoots best. He needs to shoot a bunch of guns and see what he does best with. If he is sensitive to recoil, a .22 magnum may be all he can handle. When I carry my Glock27, (pistol), I carry 16 rounds. (two magazines with 8 rounds each). When I carry the Ruger SP-101, (revolver), I carry 15 rounds of .38spl+p. Five in the gun and two speed loaders. Most self defense firefights end in less than five shots, so one could get crazy with carrying bandoleers and whatnot, but that is not what I do.

    Sorry I can not recommend a gun for your friend because there are so many trigger styles, safeties, sizes, calibers, that only he can pick the best one for him. One suggestion is to buy a box of ammo for every caliber he is interested in, and take him to a range some busy day, and see if people will let him put a round or two downrange with their guns.

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    Member Array GetSmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebring View Post
    Revolvers are great. But most only hold 5 shots. I figure a revolver is "enough" if one person attacks you, but maybe not great of caught with multiple attackers. And missing shots really hurts with a revolver, but isnt so bad with a 17 round 9mm.

    Semi's are more accurate for me.

    I carry revolvers and semi's interchangeably. mix and match is what makes it fun
    Any missed shot in a SD situation could be very serious, especially if you have tunnel vision and only focus on your target.

    The OP didn't mention his state. I'm limited to 10 rounds in CA, I hope it's not nation wide soon. I only give up 3 shots with my 686+ Revolver or commander size 1911. I carry an M&P compact as well. They are all just tools. Each has there place. Revolver or semi auto for your FIRST gun maters not. Eventually he will have a full toolbox.

    A big plus for Revolvers. They are easier to shoot one handed if injured as FTF/FTF is much less likely. Pull the trigger and it goes bang most every time. Limp wristing or poor grip won't effect the function of a revolver like a semi auto.

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    Senior Member Array GoPackman's Avatar
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    Is he new to guns or just new to carry? If new to guns, then the old answer is applicable: get out there and try as many as you can, pick what feels the best. This may be the best answer no matter what, come to think of it. I've just gotten into revolvers myself after having shot virtually nothing but semiautos for 10-11 years. I'm really liking 'em so far.
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    Member Array PhilG's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the quick reply's, I knew the guys and gals on this site would come through. Not being a revolver guy I have to ask, with a five shot is it safe for a novice to keep one under the hammer?

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    Member Array PhilG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoPackman View Post
    Is he new to guns or just new to carry? If new to guns, then the old answer is applicable: get out there and try as many as you can, pick what feels the best. This may be the best answer no matter what, come to think of it. I've just gotten into revolvers myself after having shot virtually nothing but semiautos for 10-11 years. I'm really liking 'em so far.
    He is new to guns altogether, I will be able to let him see a good selection of both thanks to a friend of mine with a gun save overflowing with both. If he can narrow it down to just a few I can take him to my club to get some trigger time with them. Thanks.

  11. #11
    Member Array GetSmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilG View Post
    Thanks guys for the quick reply's, I knew the guys and gals on this site would come through. Not being a revolver guy I have to ask, with a five shot is it safe for a novice to keep one under the hammer?
    Revolvers are a different manual of arms. You load up all cylinders 5 to 8. Generally you carry with the hammer down. Revolvers are double or single action but the trigger pulls are usually heavier than semi autos making negligent discharges less likely. Of course a good holster is always recommended.

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    Member Array DannyB1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilG View Post
    Thanks guys for the quick reply's, I knew the guys and gals on this site would come through. Not being a revolver guy I have to ask, with a five shot is it safe for a novice to keep one under the hammer?
    All new revolvers have a firing pin safety that prevents accidental discharge if the gun is dropped. the trigger pull of a revolver is usually a bit stiff, so it is not going to be easy to make it go bang in a holster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilG View Post
    Thanks guys for the quick reply's, I knew the guys and gals on this site would come through. Not being a revolver guy I have to ask, with a five shot is it safe for a novice to keep one under the hammer?
    Most modern double-action revolvers have a hammer rebound and a hammer block that make it nigh impossible for the gun to discharge without pulling the trigger. It is perfectly safe to carry fully loaded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyB1954 View Post
    All new revolvers have a firing pin safety that prevents accidental discharge if the gun is dropped. the trigger pull of a revolver is usually a bit stiff, so it is not going to be easy to make it go bang in a holster.
    Yep. And one other thing - with a properly fitted holster, it is VERY difficult for the cylinder to rotate when the cylinder engages the leather, which makes it much more difficult for the trigger to be pulled back in the holster....

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Not keeping one under the hammer doesn't apply to the vast majority of revolvers these days - most have a transfer bar. If there's no firing pin on the hammer, don't sweat it.

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