Wheel gun vs. autoloader

Wheel gun vs. autoloader

This is a discussion on Wheel gun vs. autoloader within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Do you concealed carry a revolver or an autoloader and why did you choose to carry one type over the other. Perceived reliability, ammo capacity, ...

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Thread: Wheel gun vs. autoloader

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array wvshooter's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Charleston, WV

    Wheel gun vs. autoloader

    Do you concealed carry a revolver or an autoloader and why did you choose to carry one type over the other. Perceived reliability, ammo capacity, concealability, or was something else the reason for your choice.

  2. #2
    1951 - 2011
    Array Stephen A. Camp's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Hello, sir. In my now tame orbits, I wanted a small yet relatively potent defensive handgun to be used primarily for pocket carry. I tried several small automatics but found that for me, a J-frame Airweight revolver in .38 Special best met my perceived needs in a constant-carry 24/7 weapon.

    I tried the Glock 26 for quite a while and though it proved utterly reliable, it was just a tad large for pocket holster use...at least for me.

    If using a belt gun, I sometimes carry a revolver but often carry either a Browning 9mm Hi Power or some sort of 1911-pattern pistol.

    I have not found reliability to be an issue, but I do test any firearm I intend to carry for serious purposes before doing so. Should a problem crop up, it is fixed and then tested until I'm sure it is good to go.

    Were I in a high crime area or having to be in gang-infested locations, I might very well go more with my old automatics, but speaking only for myself, I find a J-frame along with considerable practice a package I can have with me should the unexpected happen. It is in my right front pants pocket as this is being typed...but a Model 64 2" is approximately 2' away on the desk.

    For the last several months I've been in the "revolver mode" and I really don't have a sane explanation for it; perhaps I'm regressing to what I started out with in police service some 3 decades ago.

    I guess my answer is that I do not prefer one to the exclusion of the other but do see certain niches where my preference is strong.

    To me, competence with whatever choice is made is probably more important than the specific choice itself.

    Best to you and yours.

  3. #3
    Member Array broknindarkagain's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    I have always found pistols better for carry weapons rather then revolvers.

    They are slimmer, so they can be a lot more easy to conceal then a wide wheel gun.

    Obviously, you can have much more ammo in an auto loader. My carry weapon holds 15+1. You can do a whole lot more with this much ammo then you can with only 5 or 6 rounds. Chances are that you are only going to need around 4 rounds in the average 'gun fight', but there is the chance that laying cover fire while your family gets to safety would be helpful.

    A lot of people like revolvers because of their reliability. This is true to some extent. If you have a poorly made pistol thats prone to jam, then a wheel gun might be better for you. But if you have a decent quality pistol, it will work flawlessly when you need it too. I use to have a Browning Hi Power 9mm and it would spit out any ammo that I put through it...Never had a problem with it out of the 1000+ rounds I put through it.

    I also find semi autos a lot easier to fire. Every revolver I fired had a fairly heavy trigger pull compared to a pistol with a cocked hammer. This really did a number on my accuracy

    Thats just my opinions. Carry what feels best in your hands and what you would trust your life with.
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

    Smith & Wesson M&P9c

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  5. #4
    Member Array kashton's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I carry a glock 27 .40 IWB when I can and a S&W 640 .357 magnum in my pocket.

  6. #5
    Member Array rfleming's Avatar
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    Mar 2006


    Why...I could feed you all the yackety yack but at the end of the day, I am a revolver guy. Same way I suppose some folks like imports, others euro cars, and others American muscle. It is what it is. I can appreciate all of them but deep down I understand revolvers (and 60-70's Mopar's) are best FOR ME.

    I like the simplicity of the DA revolver...keep yanking the bang switch till you get satisfactory results, no buttons, no levers, no do-dads, easy for me to remember.

    As far as roundguns being a hassle to carry...well, as soon as it gets to be light coat weather up here in New England (read now) I carry a 4" 66-1 in a shoulder rig almost every day. I remember I was over my buddies house and I was just hanging out being a couch potato and I asked if it was OK if I took my holster off (wanted to make sure I wasn't going to offend the missus) and when I pulled that cannon out all my friends wife could do was pick her jaw up off the ground...she had no idea I was carrying it and neither did my friend. So I am convinced you can carry anything...careful planning and consideration however must go into wardrobe and carry style.

    The reliability issue is a interesting one. Technically most revolvers have way more moving parts then a self shucker. But with an autoloader the ammo plays a HUGE role in determining the reliability. In a revolver it is either going to go boom or it isn't, there ain't a lot of in between. If you can shoot one chamber chances are you can shoot the rest. Of course there are exceptions, but that is the domain of Mr. Murphy, and he will burn you whenever and wherever he can, so the best solution to the issue of mechanical reliability is the NY reload!

  7. #6
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
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    I usually carry semi-automatic because I am comfortable with mine.
    I know that mine work as they should and they are utterly reliable.
    I carry with high quality factory ammo and the very best magazines.
    A semi auto pistol is only ever as good as your choice of magazines.
    Sometimes I carry a S&W J Frame.
    Even though I personally prefer a semi - I never "come down" on any person that chooses to carry a wheel-gun for personal defense.
    Whatever you decide to carry - practice with it and don't leave it at home when it should be on your person.
    When you need it...be it revolver or pistol...you'll need it to be with you.
    Carry it so that you can get to it ASAP.
    That's my advice.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  8. #7
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    State of Discombobulation
    On Duty I have to carry what they tell me to, last qualified with a Revolver in 1997.

    Off Duty it's a different story. About 95% of the time you will find me packing a cylinder thingie or two. Even if I carry my "bottomfeeder" I carry a BUG, most often a revolver.

    I like the reliability, although I have had two "jams" in thirty years of shooting, with revolvers. Both times it took exstensive time and in one case, a gunsmith, to fix the problem. I have had numerous "jams" with "bottomfeeders" but they have all been easy to clear or fix and get back to shooting quickly.

    For me, my choice is based on what I'm most familiar with. I started on wheelguns and feel that I shoot them to an acceptable level of proficiency. In fact, I shoot them better than any "bottomfeeder except the 1911, which I will not carry on the street for defensive purposes.

    What can I say, I'm "Old School" and not too PC.


  9. #8
    Member Array chiefs-special-guy's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    I have never been in a gunfight, and thank the Lord for that. But one day it may happen. How will I react? Will I freeze up? Screw up? I do not know- all I can do is ask the Lord to help me, give me the strength and courage to do what He expects of me. Now, given this, I want to minimize the amount of thinking and fine motor movement I will need. Hence, the revolver. No safety. No problem with ammo. No clearance drills required. It is as close to idiot-proof as can be under the circumstances. And when trouble comes, I do not want to be an idiot, but if so, I still want to do my duty, whatever happens.
    God Bless
    Six for sure...Uh, I mean Five. Five for sure..

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Nothing at all against a wheelgun, but I chose to carry an autoloader. Suppose it might be because a Govt model 1911 saved my skin long ago and far away?

  11. #10
    New Member Array Scottech's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Castle Doctrine
    I carry a "bottomfeeder" .40, as Biker calls them.

    The only wheel guns I own are single action for open carry at "Old West" shows.
    “I am in support of the NRA position on gun control.” Bill Clinton

  12. #11
    Senior Member Array Andy W.'s Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    While working I pocket carry a J frame. Other times I'm finding that my 3" S&W model 65 is more comfortable than my 1911 to carry OWB.
    America: Your government is not ignoring you, it's insulting you.

    The Bill of Rights: Void where prohibited by law.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array simon's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Carry both,just depends on the day as to which one...

  14. #13
    Lead Moderator
    Array pgrass101's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    I prefer to carry a revolver and carry my snubbie most of the time. I mainly carry it for pure simplicity. If i am going in an area were I think there is more potential for an armed conflict I go with an auto for capaicty.
    A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Michigan's U.P.
    All of my revolvers except my 2 1/4 inch SP101, are hunting guns. If you shoot them and trust them, carry them if you want. They will do the job just fine.
    Les Baer 45
    Sig Man
    N.R.A. Patron Life Member

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Ky Backwoods
    I used to ALWAYS carry CCW autoloaders until I bought an SP101 (originally as a Tackle Box Gun). As I got comfortable with the little heavy-weight revolver it strangely grew on me (revolveritis?). Now, my daily CCW is usually a wheelgun of some sort. I'm old, I don't expect trouble or kick at hornet's nests looking for it. Five shots of 125 gr .357 mag loads should suit my needs just fine. If I EXPECT trouble...I'll have a rifle (or stay home!).
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

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