Reloading The Six Gun
The fact is there will always be those of us who find a certain comfort in the old wheelgun. I've been told that if I ever actually learn anything about firearms I'll be ashamed I ever owned one. I've been told like all old things it must die. Be that as it may, the revolver is still with us and it ain't going gentle into that good night.
Now I ain't one of these guys like you see in that video floating around the 'net who puts out 6 perfect shots, reloads in 0.5 seconds, and then puts out another perfect six.
I do genuinely try however to learn what the heck I'm doing though and I'd like to think I'm not tottally incompetent. To me firearms are fun, but they're also just another skill one should hone to function in modern society. How people go about their lives completely unprepared for anything just baffles me.
To that end I've decided to address something here we've touched on in various threads, but didn't really explore fully. Most of those discussions were on how much capacity is enough or revolver vs. semi-autos.
Folks, I'll spell it out for you. I think we need to be carrying reloads for these sixguns, J Frames, and NAA single actions. I've talked to a lot of people who just don't. Please understand I'm not saying you, the reader, do this, just that this has been my humble and limited experience.
Now in some cases this is understandable. A revolver is often the backup gun. And of course it is. Savvy CCW holders and firearms enthusiasts in general seem to recognize it's a good ideal to be familiar with both formats. It's been said you shouldn't have a favored weapon, and that's something I personally aspire to; to have absolutely no preference whatsover.
But for a lot of folks, their carry piece is a J Frame .38 snubby. It is for me. I chose it because it's a gun that I like and trust and find easy to carry. And the others I've talked who have made the same choice tend not to carry a reload for it.
Now I realize it's true that crackheads who want to eviscerate you with a screwdriver aren't going to conveniently pause after the fifth or sixth shot so you can fumble around with a speedloader. But it is true that after you've fired those five or six shots, odds are good you've taken care of the problem.
But consider this: while you're sitting there waiting for the cavalry to arrive, do you want to be sitting there with an empty cylinder? I don't.
Here's another thought to chew on. You pick up your little SP101 because it's your "always" gun for a quick run downtown in the middle of the day. You're going to make one stop and come right back. You get downtown, suddenly a building explodes, or the power goes out, or 7 tractor trailer rigs collide and turn the place into a riot zone. You may literally have to stay there for who knows how long in the middle of a real mess. Wouldn't you like a few extra rounds handy? I know I would.
Okay I admit that's pretty paranoid, but that's how I think.
It's not so much that there is a huge pressing reason to carry a reload, it's just that there isn't a good reason not to, especially if it's your main carry or always carry.
HKS Speedloaders are effective and cheap. I can load six rounds in the same amount of time it normally takes me to load 2 maybe 3 tops.
Granted they're a pain in the butt to carry if you don't have large cargo pockets or better yet a belt carrier, but they're a lot quicker on the draw.
But the bulk is an excuse I've heard.
Folks Bianchi strips are cheap, slender, and easy to use effectively. $7 ain't a lot of money. They also remove your only excuse not to carry a reload, and they come in packs of 2 for a reason.
Now I will grant that wheelgun toters aren't worried about magazine malfunctions. The tradeoff is that if that cylinder jams, you've got a nice paperweight. You trade low frequency for extreme consequences. But the idea of a few spare rounds for the sake of a few spare rounds is not to be ignored and dismissed as silliness or unneccessary.
Consider this: no one can really tell you how many rounds your gun needs for you to be comfortable. Who has any business telling you what your gun does and does not need? No one, that's who. For me, it's five rounds. I think no more nor any less of anyone for saying any other number is what is adequate.
Some people tell me I'm crazy for relying on 5 rounds of .38+P, but I know at least two people personally who are very knowledgeable of firearms and have other choices who carry a single .22 magnum NAA piece. And both of them rest the hammer on an empty chamber. I think they're a bit nuts for relying on four rounds of .22 WMR.
But even though I am comfortable with the idea I have five shots to solve the problem with, I am not comfortable with the idea that odds are pretty good all five of them could be expended in a single confrontation leaving me unarmed. Assuming I win, well if I had one attacker just come at me and defy the statistical odds, who's to say something else bad isn't about to happen? In short I'm not happy with the thought that I could be standing there with an empty cylinder waiting for help to arrive as I alluded to earlier.
Now my goal is not to make the revolver something it's not, but to elaborate on a specific point I think gets lost in the shuffle. Just because you are like me and think Six For Sure is plenty good enough for your self defense needs, it doesn't mean a little bit of inexpensive and easy preparation is something you should overlook.
And guys, let's debate how much capacity is enough and what format is probably better in the appropriate threads. I just wanted to get this one issue off my chest, and I realize not carrying a reload is a problem that plagues some semiautomatic users, but it seems to affect revolver carriers especially in my experience.
This is a Good thought out post and i agree with you..
Not carry a relaod i think not now i do carry right now a Semi Auto 100% of the time but did just get a Colt Cobra Snubbie so i might be carrying that i will certainly be carrying either a speed loader or speed strips.
Lately ive been carrying Glock 17 95% of the time And i carry a Spare Mag Always and that 35 round total but been wondering if i should add another 17.
It actually confounds me just how many people "venture out" & are not prepared for any emergency. Some folks will go out for a long drive (out in the middle of nowhere) & find themselves stuck out in 110 degree weather ~ in a broken down car & not even have a doggone bottle of water with them.
Extra rounds are good! 5 or 6 rounds may not be enough.
I also don't see much of ANYTHING wrong with carrying a clean, high quality, reliable revolver.
Sometimes I carry a revolvers as my primary and only firearm. I typically carry a 44 when I do this. The reloads are in my vehicle not on my person. I guess my assumption is that with a 44 hostilities towards me should cease pretty quickly.
in most cases I carry a spare mag. for my auto. Having extra ammo is always better than not enough. I look at the fact ya might need suppresive fire in a really bad situation. It probably won't happen, but I was a boyscout and am prepared.Also multiply BG's may need additional ammo usage to end a threat to ya.
Euclidean, you're exactly right. I always carry at least one reload. One spare mag when I'm carrying my LW Commander, one speed loader to go with my Smith M60. I carry the speed loader in a DeSantis slim-line pouch, which carries the rounds on both side of the belt, so bulk is not a problem. Once in a while, throw a couple of speed-strips in my pocket, as well.
Reloads are great.....always have some around for each gun I carry, but that is my point......I always carry more than one gun, usually three. If reload is necessary after all three guns are empty or disabled, I have them.
I'm an automatic guy, but sometimes carry a revolver to match my wife's. She likes the 5-shot, DAO version of an SW J-frame. Hers is a 442, mine is a titanium 342.
I have practiced with the rubber stripper clips and the HKS speed-loaders.
Due to the size of the 5-shot, I think the fastest reload is just another 5-shot Smith. It's just about as easy to carry.
edit: Say Euc, I was speaking with my friend DMW the other day after I bailed him out of jail (again). Sure he had the heebie-jeebies from that mountain dew they filter through old car radiators, but he was very specific in telling me that you will often dance in moonlight in women's clothes.
While I have seen you in an elegant camisole, I told him you couldn't dance a step--watching you 'vogue' was like watching a wounded elephant crash through four feet of fresh powdered snow.
How come you guys bad-mouth each other? Lovers' tiff?
Oh it was terrible Tourist.
He came home and told me how ugly I looked in it and started to beat me.
Then we broke out the moonshine and things just started to go sour...
My memory gets a little hazy from there.
Then the loser even stole my avatar.
What? You're bipolar, I have multiple personalities. And they all like guns. And math.
Ya know, Euc, to this day when I hear the phrase 'bi-polar,' I think of a polar bear mincing across the tundra in some limp-wristed tribute to Bob Fosse.
I tell people that it would make him a 'bi-polar,' but few people get the joke.
As for DMW, a drunk is drunk and you'll have to make peace with it. Just don't lend him money. He might start buying apple-tini's for polar bears in those shushy saloons he hangs out in...
...not that there's anything wrong with that...
As for math, I study 'base eight.' If I have fired less than eight times, I do a tactical reload, pocket the magazine and keep firing. If I have fired eight times, I go to the back-up gun.
There's only 10 people who understand that joke. Me, and the Seven Dwarfs.
There are only 10 people who understand this joke. Me and the Three Little Pigs.
Most of the time I carry my G-22. However, I must say I love my Colt .357 Python. I feels well balanced in my hand and really enjoy shooting this gun. As for carring additional ammo, I carry along at least one speed loader. I guess we have all mostly turned to carring a couple additional 15 round cap. mags for one hell of a fire fight.
Euclidian, I couln't agree more, and it astounds me how many folks admit to not carrying spare ammo! I clearly remember watching an episode of "The Avengers" with Dad, when I was a little tyke. The hero fired his revolver dry, clicked on two now-fired cartridges (I guess to see if the first "click" was for real!), grimace, and then hurl the revolver at the bad guy (he couldn't pitch any better than he could shoot, by the way). I looked up at Dad and asked, "Why didn't he reload?" Dad kept a straigh face, and shrugged . . .
I often rely on a J-frame, and keep 2 speed strips, side-by-side, in a hip pocket. If my clothing offers any cover of my belt, I'll have a charged speedloader in an unobtrusive pouch, too. When I really go "unarmed with a deadly weapon," and carry only a NAA Black Widow, I still keep 5 extra rounds in a pouch in my pocket. Oh, and a second NAA mini in an ankle rig, too!!
Common sense (as well as Dad's instruction) calls for reloading to full capacity whenever there's a break in the action. A few rounds of spare ammo adds next to nothing to my carry load, and it's better to have & not need . . .
The comments re: getting caught in some type of disaster or emergency situation are also on target. Years ago, in a conversation with co-workers concerning winter travel conditions, work-related travel requirements, etc., I casually mentioned my "vehicle survival kit." These guys and gals were well aware of my love of hunting, target shooting, etc., and rolled their eyes in anticipation of seeing a paramilitary supply depot in my car trunk. They were somewhat surprised to find in my "kit":
- 5-cell Maglight
- 2 gallon containers of fresh water.
- insulated coveralls, boots, gloves and knit cap
- folding entrenching tool, camp axe and bow saw.
The most likely "survival" scenarios we would face would entail removing broken trees/limbs from a backroad, digging out of a mud-stuck tire, or (if all else failed) hiking a few miles to the nearest town or country store/gas station. My "kit" made perfect sense to them.
I didn't bother mentioning that a box of spare ammo for my CCW was in my glovebox, and was also part of my "emergency gear."
I use to be a service technician working on telephone systems and computer networks; this was in Indiana and N. Iowa. During the winter I kept the similar survival kit in my service truck/van. I also included..
1} space blanket or 2
2 }sleeping bag
3} candle heater (large coffee can, smaller coffee can inside with the space between filled with pea gravel, lid cut out the size of smaller can) with a supply of large “plumbers” candles (at least 10) for warmth
4} catalytic hand and foot warmers
5} food-MREs with catalytic heaters, at least 4 meals, often I had a full case, some jerky, candy bars, granola bars etc.
Of course the standard cell phone and Glock 19 with at least 4 mags
The biggest threat was getting snowed in on the road for a couple days, came close to it a couple of times.