A Case for the Revolver

Yes, I know I frequently wear T-shirts and baseball caps with firearms logos emblazoned on them. Yes, I know my truck has Best Survival Revolvergun-guy stickers on it. Yes, I know I bring gun magazines to work and pore over them on breaks. Even though I’m asking for it, I still cringe when people ask me advice on guns. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy educating people so they can make the proper choice for their needs, and I will jump through hoops to make sure that they are properly trained on whatever they own so that they will be safe, responsible, and will pass that creed along. Yet, I flinch (in a flattered way) when somebody asks me that age-old question: “I’m going to get a handgun. What should I get?”

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Hollywood, video games, and machismo in general has swayed the general gun buyer’s fancy towards the high-speed, low-drag world of ultra-high capacity magazines with glow-in the dark sights, flashlights, lasers, blah blah blah. So, when I reply to their question with the best answer I know, which is, “get a .22 or .38 revolver”, I am suddenly not taken so seriously. But why not a revolver for a first time handgun owner, and especially why not for a prepper?

Revolvers? Yawwwwn…

Revolvers were the mainstay of police and many military agencies from the 1860s when they were first mass-produced, all the way up until the 1980s…and you know what? They are still relevant pistols today, even though they are somewhat blase when compared with the latest polymer-framed, 17-shot wonderguns that are being popped out of gun factories as fast as they can be moulded. Revolvers have a LOT going for them, all of which the prepper should raise an approving eyebrow at: They are dead reliable. They are extremely accurate. They come in a variety of extremely useful calibers that don’t fly off the shelf as quickly as a box of 9mm. They are easy to clean and maintain. Grips can be changed out to fit an individuals’s hand for better ergonomics and consequently better shooting. Accessories are everywhere, and since revolvers have fallen out of fashion somewhat, good gear can usually be found in a bargain bin at a gun shop for extremely low prices. They come in lots of different frame sizes with a myriad different options (adjustable vs. fixed sights, rounded butt/squared-off butt configurations, barrel lengths from 2″ all the way to 12″, single action vs. double action, blued, stainless steel, nickle plated, etc.) so finding one to fit you and your mission is practically guaranteed. And, possibly best of all, good revolvers can be had cheap: old police department trade-ins can still be had for a song. A quick search found a trade-in S&W Model 64 for $249. That, friends, is the bargain of the century.

Six For Sure

One of the main things that a prepper should have first and foremost in mind for a sidearm is reliability. Modern semi-auto handguns usually boast excellent reliability with some types of ammo; however, they can be finicky once in a while if you try feeding them corroded ammo, old, stored ammunition, different bullet profiles, or ammunition lengths (.22 LR vs. 22 short, for example.) Not the revolver! A revolver will readily gobble up proper-caliber ammunition, no matter if it’s the most gaping hollowpoint or low-powered target loads. And if the round doesn’t go off? No problem! No slap-rack-bang drills or having to clear a jammed gun; another pull of the trigger will bring a fresh round into play, minimal training required. As a bonus, the smooth, consistent trigger pulls are wonderful to use and to train with. Try finding a Glock with a nice trigger pull.


Modern revolvers some in some truly fantastic calibers. .22LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt are the mainstays of the breed, with others (harder to find) in calibers like .327 Federal, .32 H&R Magnum, .454 Casull, .480 Ruger, .460 and .500 S&W. Revolvers also come in autopistol calibers like 9mm Luger, .40S&W/10mm, and .45ACP as a backup to your semi-auto. However, in my opinion, a prepper should focus on the first list of .22LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt, as these are usually much easier to find ammo for, and are all really useful. If you have to fight to find ammo to feed your guns, that really isn’t much fun. Why compete with the guys who have to feed their spray-n-pray autopistols? .38 Special and .357 Magnum are usually on the shelf.

S&W Model 10

For we preppers, one really has to look no further than the Smith & Wesson Model 10 or 64 (blued/stainless) for quite possibly the best sidearm ever. This model was first brought out in 1903 (!) and has remained in continuous production since, with very few changes. If you have seen “The Road”, this is the gun that Viggo Mortensen carried with him (with just two bullets?! Stock up, folks!!!). This is simply one of those guns that you cannot kill. If you get one made since the 1960s or so, you can throw any .38 Special load at it, from a wadcutter target load to shotshells to the snarliest +P loadings, and it will deliver the bullet with precision and come back for more. Jacketed bullets? Lead bullets? No problem! The fixed sights are simple, with nothing to break or come out of adjustment. I love these damn guns, and for good reason. They’re simply perfectly adapted for what we need them to do.

The same gun in .357 Magnum is the S&W Model 13 or 65. These guns are truly awesome, and I carried a 3″ Model 65 for many, many years. It will handle the mighty .357 Magnum caliber, which is renowned for its hunting and manstopping capability. It will also shoot the .38 Special caliber as well. A prepper with one of these needs to look no further for the perfect sidearm.  A single-action or double-action revolver in .45 Colt is also a winning ticket, but not just because it delivers a big-ass chunk of lead downrange. The .45 Colt was developed in the 1870’s originally as a black-powder caliber, and if the chips are truly down and you have to make your own black gunpowder, it will still do its thing with aplomb. Yes, the .38 and .357 Magnum can be loaded with black powder, but they simply don’t have the case capacity to move their projectiles at a meaningful enough velocity to make them very effective. The .45 Colt does, and with black powder still is powerful enough to hunt large game with. Pair your revolver with a matching lever action carbine in the same caliber, and you’ll be as stylin’ as any prepper can be.

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You’ll notice I have a propensity towards Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers – I just consider them the best. However, Ruger, Colt and the more recent upstart Taurus all make fine offerings. The reason I lean towards double-action is really simplicity. Point the gun, pull the trigger. In a bad situation, simplicity will save your life. Also, single-action revolvers are much slower to load – the loading gate must be opened, the fired cases punched out one at a time, then re-loaded one at a time. I can reload a double-action revolver with a swing-out cylinder in less than three seconds with a speedloader, and even if I have to load the cartridges singly by hand, it’s still waaaaay faster than the single-action.

Folks, make no mistake: when TSHTF, semi-auto guns WILL go down if not properly maintained, and they are not effective fighting tools if you are not properly trained with them. I’d much rather have someone with me who had six .38s that I know will go off and hit their intended targets than seventeen 9mms that will be launched downrange as fast as the trigger can be pulled with varying results. The revolver isn’t cool anymore according to the movies, but in my hands when everything is wrong, it certainly would be right.

What do you guys think? Let’s hear it!

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76 comments… add one
  • Roseman October 9, 2013, 6:34 am

    The wife has a S&W J frame model 638 in .38 cal. and shoots it very well. It will opperate in either single or double action. The J frame is a small platform and the smaller size grip fits her well. The drawback is the J frames are only 5 shot.
    Back when she took the required class for her license, the instructor provided five different handguns for the students to fire; from a .22 up to a .40. Three were semi-auto, two revolvers. She favored the revolver because of it’s simplicity, size, and mild recoil.

  • Spud October 9, 2013, 6:42 am

    Absolutely zero argument from here ! For the ultimate sure fire backup, I carry a Ruger single action 45 Colt ( with hot loads O-course)

  • Brian M October 9, 2013, 7:10 am

    I’m a big fan of pairing reliable revolvers with lever actions in pistol calibers. I like the .38/.357 option personally for varying reasons, but the larger calibers are popular choices as well.

    There’s something to be said for keeping it simple.

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. October 9, 2013, 7:34 am

    My man, shooting straight with my .38 beats giving me jive with a .45. I read that in a gun magazine way back – still makes me smile.

    Very good and to the point. The ammunition aspect is very important – the future will likely have ammunition of suspect manufacture, something autoloaders have a definite issue with. The nose shape of the bullet alone can cause loading issues with automatics. Revolvers don’t care.

    The grips of the smaller revolvers also fit the smaller person’s hands better than many automatics. For the smaller person, a real consideration. My wife cannot even touch the trigger of my Glock 21 when gripping it – how useless is that ?

  • Jarhead Survivor October 9, 2013, 8:07 am

    Alas, I traded in my S&W .44 six shooter for a S&W .40. I was going broke shooting that big boy, but I loved the feel of it in my hand.

  • Ray October 9, 2013, 8:44 am

    An often overlooked SHTF revolver is the Cap Lock (stop laughing). Now I own a Mod 19 S&W . An Uberti SAA.45LC, and a .45ACP ,but I flat love my 1851-1861-and 1858 revolvers , you can make your own ammo and keep them running YEARS after the brass/primer/smokeless powder runs out, and loaded properly you can carry one in the rain or ford a river and still have it go “bang”. With a 190gr conical bullet my ’58 will crono at 650fps to 850fps (powder grain size + charge size) ,putting it right in the .38spl. range. I know “you only get six” but the next step down is a flintlock and tomahawk (I got them too) Guys sooner than later the brass wears out-the primers RUN out or the weapon WILL break. Its nice to see you kids thinking on what to do WHEN the AR /Sig/Glock/1187/500-590 packs it up. Maybe we should think on what happens when the primers/brass/parts run out for the S&W and SAAs too. “Catreges” may become more dear than gold much sooner than most expect.

    • The Road Warrior October 9, 2013, 12:04 pm

      Seems to me caps will run out too! ;-)

      • Ray October 9, 2013, 2:36 pm

        They are not that hard to make from scratch. Back in the 70s and up till Ol’ Turner died Dixie sold kits to form caps out of old coke cans. The formulas(there are several) to make the “filler” have been around since the 1830s.(you can even use match head compound in a pinch. Its not much harder to make than black powder) I prefer RWS “brought on” caps.. but if they dry up…….

  • chilichef October 9, 2013, 9:13 am

    Absolutely agree with you on this. Revolvers are reliable, proven design, can be used single or double action, don’t need mags to reload them (you lose/damage magazine the auto is pretty much useless; unless you got spares, and they cost $). 38 Special, while not as powerful as some other cartridges, are adequate for most uses, particularly +P loadings, ammo is widely available and relatively inexpensive, is relatively low recoil which is a consideration for many people who aren’t ‘into’ guns. And gently used SW revolvers are usually modestly priced; I’d rather have someone who dropped $250 on a revolver and spent $500 on ammo learning to shoot it than someone who dropped $750 on 1911 and didn’t spend any time or money on practicing it. Revolvers are good all around general purpose guns.

  • s. florida jimmy October 9, 2013, 9:53 am

    yeah revolvers aren’t sexy, but I prefer the reliability. They don’t jam, more forgiving of a little dirt.

    I’d hate to be in a situation where I have drawn a handgun and pulled the trigger and nothing happens. As you said, with a revolver just pull the trigger again. If a pistol misfires, you’re probably dead before you can figure out why.

    • DesertRatJak October 13, 2013, 11:20 am

      S. Florida Jimmy,
      To start, I have nothing against revolvers. I have a S&W mod. 65-2 that is smooth, beautiful, and shoots straight as p*ss. The wife carries a .357 snubby. And there are a couple of others laying around the house.

      Now the point of my reply. “They don’t jam.” I know it is just semantics but there is a difference between “jam” and “malfunction”. A malfunction is just; oops, fix, and get back in the fight. With training and practice I can clear the worst malfunction in under 5 sec. All others in less than 2.

      A jam will require time, tools, gunsmith, or any combination of the three. I have shot with avid wheel gunners that deplore bottom feeders. Most carry a “squib rod” in their pocket or range bag. I know, that is a problem with ammo and not firearm. But it is a jam, not a malfunction. Using a tool to dislodge a stuck bullet from the barrel cannot be done during a fight.

      The key is “carry what you like” and train with it. Whether semi or revolver, training can overcome most issues.

      My only problem with revolvers is rounds on board. I carry a semi and spare mag and have almost twice as much firepower as a revolver with 2 speed loaders. With only 1 reload.

      Nothing personal, just say’n.


  • Haighlander October 9, 2013, 10:40 am

    Excellent! Been preaching that for a long time!


  • chilichef October 9, 2013, 10:41 am

    One more comment. I know this blog is about TEOTWAKI. Nonetheless, what people don’t realize is that it is possible for the SHTF locally, on a temporary basis; in fact, it’s a lot more likely on a day to day basis for a local disaster rather than a general one; Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes, Storms of the Century, Riots, Tornadoes, Blizzards, whatever; these things do not wipe out the country and they eventually pass; but if you die in a local riot, you’re just as dead as if you died in an EMP blackout or what have you. It’s a lot more likely for The End of The World as YOU know it than as everyone knows it. Back in ’04 Central Florida was hit by back to back hurricanes; people lost power for a few days to a few weeks; food deliveries were impeded for a while; store shelves were empty for a week or so, and gas stations were out for a week or 10 days, some water systems were unuseable for a period, and frankly, you saw a LOT of out of town cars cruising around; the local cops were on them, but even so, it was quite apparent that they were potential predators looking for places to loot. It doesn’t have to be TEOTWAKI, just local disaster; having food, basic weaponry, having some water available, just makes sense. Friend of mine from Miami was telling me after one Hurricane, he saw Lexus’s, Beemers and Benzes lined up at local Publix getting free gallons of Water being passed out. Excuse me? You know dang well hurricane is coming, you don’t take even BASIC prep of putting aside some water? Whether you think the end of the world is imminent or not, just some BASIC prepping makes sense; this includes having, maybe, a 38 revolver or maybe a 12 gauge or even a 30-30 and enough ammo to get you through a period. Any of those guns; 38 revolver, 12 gauge shotgun, or 30-30 Lever action would run you $250, used, maybe less, and all of them are perfectly fine sitting in your closet with a few boxes of ammo. They’re not going anywhere, they’re not going to jump up and shoot your family by themselves, and they pretty much won’t deteriorate so long as you don’t do anything stupid, i.e, wrap them up in a damp towel and put them away wet.

    And if you never need them, big deal; but if you do need it, boy are you glad you have one. You don’t have to believe that Zombies are coming to say, uh, maybe I should put some stuff away in case of an emergency. Just in case.

    • Jarhead Survivor October 9, 2013, 11:15 am

      These are some excellent points, chilichef!

    • The Road Warrior October 9, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Seems to me caps will run out too! ;-)

    • The Road Warrior October 9, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Dynamite reply, chilichef! Not gonna lie, I’m almost certainly going to write a post expanding on your point.

      • chilichef October 9, 2013, 12:52 pm

        Really, I think .30-30 lever gun is underrated as all around go to gun; it’s got better ballistics than AK-47; carbine length is handy and not too heavy, can be used for anything up to deer size; is definitely manstopper, very reliable, and used guns are cheap; all sorts of ammo available, the various Sears brands of Lever Actions were all made by either Winchester or maybe Marlin; Glenfield, Western Auto, JC Penney, were all ‘store brand’ versions of Marlin or Winchester, and they’re cheaper than the ‘name’ brands on the used market. $150, $200 put you in perfectly useable 30-30 lever action. And most people can learn to shoot a carbine or rifle with a lot less time than handgun. You could do a heck of a lot worse, particularly on a budget.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. October 9, 2013, 1:36 pm

        I’d also add that a single shot break open shotgun is extremely simple to instruct a person who has never shot one in their life. Push that to open – load shell – close – point – pull back hammer – pull trigger. Any questions ?

        Pawn shops or garage sales often have them in stock (private buy is best of course – no paperwork). Easy to take down for more compact storage. Much to recommend them.

        • chilichef October 9, 2013, 2:06 pm

          Absolutely agree; simple, reliable, powerful, easy to learn to shoot, about as safe as it can be; you can store it ‘broken open’ where it’s obvious whether it’s got a round in it, get those elasticized buttstock shell holders to keep rounds handy, supremely easy to check and see if it is loaded; only downsides are 1) some of them, particularly the ones without external hammer, have safetys, and in an emergency a neophyte might forget to undo safety and 2) it is, after all, a single shot and loading the second shot might take time you don’t have; but it beats all heck out of throwing a rock. And they’re dirt cheap; used one in pawn shop or gun store might run you $100; less than that at garage sale. Even a good shape Winchester Model 37 will run you only $150 or so in 12 gauge, and that’s about the best built utility gun ever made. It’s far, far, far, better than nothing, which is what most people have- nothing. And can be used in self defense, hunting anything from squirrels and rabbits to deer and predators.

  • Wen October 9, 2013, 10:45 am

    I’ve a .38 snub-nose J-frame revolver and a Sig Sauer P238. My initial training was on .22 semi-autos and .22 revolvers; I liked the simplicity of the revolvers from the start. That said, I was the only one at my CCL course with a revolver, likewise at my practical conceal carry course (I made it a habit to be on the left end of the firing line so I wouldn’t keep getting nailed by everyone’s spent brass!). My J-frame is difficult to conceal carry (for me), but I’m just as accurate with it as with the Sig. The revolver is reliable and simple (though I’ve had no issues with my P238, either).

  • Brad in South FL October 9, 2013, 12:27 pm

    I love my S&W 686, model 36 and 10! I must admit I am guilty of storing more 9mm, .45 than .357 or.38! I have been looking for a good lever gun in .357 mag. It doesn’t look intimidating but a great round, especially out of a long barrel! They aren’t easy to find!

    Stay safe all!

  • NC Mtn Man October 9, 2013, 12:52 pm

    Nice article.

    I have a S&W 627, 4″, .357/.38sp 8 chamber revolver which has been and is my favorite wheel gun. I also have a Taurus 7 shot 4″ .357 which has also been a nice gun.

    The 627 and my Beretta 92 alternate as my backpack/bedside table sidearms. If I had a choice of just one concealable weapon to take with me in a BO situation, it would be the 627. 8 shots of .357 is formidable firepower.

    The .357 and .38 special cartridges are among my favorites for reloading as well, easier for me than 9mm. I’m a contrarian when it comes to firearms…much prefer the .357 round to the .45 acp.

    My Marlin .357 lever action is a nice little gun, too. Al lot of fun…but with it’s low cartridge capacity and so/so accuracy over 80yds, I think I’d leave it at home.

    • Ray October 9, 2013, 4:57 pm

      My brother in laws son ,used one of those Marlin .357s to drop a six pointer at 190yards last season using Leverlution ammo. Killed it grave yard dead with a clean heart shot.

  • JAS October 9, 2013, 2:28 pm

    Great article. While I have several handguns to choose from, I still carry a S&W mod 60 for my EDC and wife has a mod 36. These guns just don’t fail. The only thing I do a little different than most people would is while I carry 357 mags in mine, all of my spare ammo is 38 spec to support her gun too.

  • irishdutchuncle October 9, 2013, 3:07 pm

    I got the firearms bargain of a lifetime: S&W 65 out of the
    “junk box”. I took it to a good gunsmith, for a mainspring, and a few other parts from his junk box, and it’s lived hapily ever after.

    the single action trigger pull is a little light, but smooth as can be. no creep, just perfect. I would like to have a revolver in .22 sometime also.
    Yeh, what Ray said. (see above) there’s a stainless blackpowder .44 calling out to me from somewhere.

    • Ray October 9, 2013, 4:49 pm

      Yep. I traded a Sig 229 for an almost new Mod.19 two speed loaders and 400rds. of 158gr federal .357 HJSP. I still think its the best deal I ever made.

      • irishdutchuncle October 10, 2013, 6:25 am

        400rds of ammo is more than I have in any caliber except 22lr. I need to remedy that situation. would really like to have a reliable autoloader for concealed carry, but there are plenty of “needs” ahead of that. otherwise, the model 65 can handle any problem east of the Mississippi that I might encounter.

    • irishdutchuncle October 16, 2013, 3:04 pm

      I paid less for the revolver than I would have for a good
      “trigger job”. (and got a great trigger besides) then I got a usable set of Pachmyer grips for free from the junk table at another shop. life is good. (sometimes)

  • Novice October 9, 2013, 3:11 pm

    My first handgun was a revolver and I’ll never own anything else.

    • SingleMom October 21, 2013, 6:51 am

      We agree. As a house of mostly females, nothing else fits our hands as well. It’s nice to finally see an article that isn’t pushing super-guns that we couldn’t handle. To each his own, but I think revolvers are great for the average woman or non-hunters.

  • Tolik October 9, 2013, 6:17 pm

    I’ll pass , they are reliable………….but too slow , if they were still a good weapon for combat , the army would be issuing them , to my knowledge , no army in the world does . Then there is only 6 shots , and will have to reload frequently , not to mention , even with ” speed loads ” its still a slower process than with the other .

    “In a man-to-man fight, the winner is he who has one more round in his magazine. ”
    Erwin Rommel

    • Ray October 10, 2013, 9:28 am

      Tolik you should call Jerry Miclick and tell him, he may not know that. (SNARK)

      • Tolik October 12, 2013, 11:52 am

        Yeah , and how many of them do you know ? lets get real , 99% of people attempting to defend themselves , dont spend way too much time on a range ( they have a life ) , not to mention have never been in a stress situation , even the military , who is trained , accuracy goes way down in a panic situation . More shots available to the shooter , means more chances to stop the threat considering the miss rate . I like revolvers , BUT I would only give one to a person that has never picked up a gun in their life as its just point and pull , I stand by my statement . How many Spetnaz do you know ? None ? me either …….I only know the average Joe/Jane on the street , they dont live for shooting like that guy . Apples and Oranges . Just Sayin

    • Steve suffering in nj October 13, 2013, 1:51 am

      Completely with you. I’d much rather have 15 rds than 6. I can work on my semi auto. Revolver, not so much. Contrary to the above posts I have had my ruger revolver choke shooting dirty reloads. Residue built up on the cylinder and the trigger wouldn’t pull. So the revolver is the most reliable is hogwash. That said had semi autos stove pipe too. Which is better ??? Got both. Would use either one if I had to. I’d opt for the pistol with more ammo. It’s easy to shoot well at paper on the range. At 3AM with sleep in your eyes ya might need a few more shots.

      • Ray October 13, 2013, 6:16 am

        Yep and I have had a Sig 229 crush a spent case in the slide and redline the weapon so badly I had to have a gun smith clear it. In my 40+years shooting I can’t count the number of “fails” I have seen with SA pistols. As a collector , competition shooter ,solder ,and hunter I have owned and used hundreds of different handguns rifles and shotguns. I have shot, cleaned, and stripped hundreds more. “Magazine capacity” is the grossly over rated stuff of the boy scout level “gun expert” I have been told since the ” Hi Cap” gun fad started in the 80s , that the only hope to defend myself was a bullet hose . Because “when the chips are down you’ll panic and need 500 rounds to hit something ” UH B** S***. I have been in a defensive shooting. It was over in ONE SHOT.(12 ga. shot gun at 3 feet) Out side the military in a combat zone or total grid down collapse the chances that you will ever need a 15 round mag to save your life are less than one per cent. And for maybe the only time in his life Crazy Joe was right– the shotgun IS the best CQB weapon on the planet. Far and away better than any handgun.

  • 3rdMan October 9, 2013, 9:06 pm

    Here is a good case against revolvers. Revolver may not be as reliable as you think!


    • The Road Warrior October 10, 2013, 8:09 am

      3rdMan, good article, thanks for posting that. As a counterpoint, I’ve been shooting handguns for about 28 years, and the number of times I’ve had a revolver bind up on me to the point of uselessness you could count on one hand of a bad shop teacher. However, I keep my guns very well maintained, and carefully handload.

      The point the article brought up on the key-lock S&W revolvers is very valid, and the reason I do not buy new S&Was. I know for a fact, however, that these locks can be taken out and the gun still functions fine. You just have to suffer the liability consequences if something happens.

      • 3rdMan October 10, 2013, 1:57 pm

        I started my career 25 years ago with a S&W 27 then a 686. My first pistol was a Colt 1911 SS. Love that pistol. Switched to Sig an now I have settle in with the Glock 22. I have to say after 25 years of carrying a sidearm as part of my job, the pistol has an advantage over the revolver. I shoot a pistol better and the ease of repair, should be note none of my pistol ever require repair to date. With that said most people can not fix a revolver without the assistance of a gunsmith were a pistol is simple enough most people can repair one on their own. It really comes down to individual choice at the end of the day.

  • Pineslayer October 10, 2013, 1:10 am

    I buy every 357 that comes my way. I have to say that they aren’t very cheap though. I want to start buying 22 revolvers, but they are getting pricey around here, The word is out.

  • Forever Man October 10, 2013, 1:26 am

    I’ve acquired several semi-autos, but my next gun will be a revolver. I have one already — a classic Hi-Standard Double Nine .22. Bought it from a friend at church and flat-out love it. Now I’ve got my sights set on a Ruger GP-100. I like the versatility of being able to shoot either .38s or .357s with no conversion of the hardware. And then to pair it up with a Henry lever-action in .357 would be hog heaven for me. Yeah, my next gun is going to be a revolver.

  • anon October 10, 2013, 2:22 am

    Dang, I read the title wrong. I need a good case for my revolver.

  • eieio October 10, 2013, 2:27 am

    Good article.
    For the prize: 12:00 Glock 17L, 2:00 Glock 34, 3:00 Glock 17, 4:00 Glock 19, 6:00 Glock 26, 7:00 Glock 24, 8:00 Glock 35, 9:00 Glock 22, 11:00 Glock 23. What do I win?

    One more good point about the revolver. No need to care for or carry a magazine. In most failures of a semi-auto pistol, magazine fit and tolerances can be the cause of the failure.

    Helped a friend hand load .44 special and had him shoot it out of his .44 mag S&W revolver with red dot sights. First time shooting the gun, first time at hand loading. At 20 yards, with the pistol shot off a jury rigged rest, he patterned a 1.25 inch group on a rusted water tank base with 6 shots. We loaded very light loads because he has some health issues, but he was so very happy because he made the boolits and shot them with very good accuracy. His wife could probably shoot the gun too. The heavy frame makes the light load really easy to handle. It was impressive to see 240 grain impact dents on the metal.

    Makes me want to go out an buy a .44 mag lever action thumper. I would feed it light .44 mag hand loaded rounds. The energy dump from one of those would give any feral hog a headache.

    I will stick with 9mm semi autos for now though.

  • The Road Warrior October 10, 2013, 8:03 am

    Hah! No prize for you!!! :) I’m actually not a huge Glock fan.

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. October 10, 2013, 8:20 am

    Me neither – Glocks are not attractive at all, but their reliability and factory hi-cap magazine availability is too good to resist. That G21 is 1st Generation, I bought it new in mid ’80’s and its proved itself time and time again. Pretty fat grip but I have big paws so that doesn’t hurt me any. The only thing Glocks need are better STEEL sights – the other things just fall into place.

    My revolvers – pre-lock S&Ws and Ruger Single-Sixes – Blackhawks – Security Sixes and 1st gen Charter Arms – the Charters are very lightweight and make great EDC firearms. The sight of a .44 Bulldog is plenty awesome.

    • The Road Warrior October 10, 2013, 8:47 am

      JR- that’s why I carry a S&W M&P…all the benefits of a Glock without feeling like a rounded edge 2×4.

      I’d LOVE a CA Bulldog….what a great carry piece!

  • Question October 10, 2013, 8:35 am

    You are driving a Range Rover in traffic and are surrounded by a hostile biker gang, maybe 40 of them. You get boxed in because of traffic and they start to beat on your vehicle, attempting to smash their way in to harm you and potentially your family.

    At this moment a Genie appears with the ability to grant you one wish. He offers you the choice between a 6 shot revolver, and a few “speed” loaders in your pocket or the option to choose a Glock with 2 spare mags.

    Which do you choose?

    • Ray October 10, 2013, 12:22 pm

      A S&W mod29(or mod. 19) with 18rds? OH HELL YEH!! fact is the first round at 1-6 feet will make heads explode. That tends to run off everyone not pumped up on PCP. That and 9MM popguns take way too many rounds to put people down. 90% of humans shot with 9MM- SURVIVE. If I ever have to pull a trigger I want the SOB grave yard dead when he hits the ground. AND If that “biker gang” were to “surround” my truck I’d use IT as my first weapon.(bike V truck- BIKE LOSE!!) Then kill without further warning anything within 10 feet.

      • Pineslayer October 10, 2013, 5:43 pm

        Question, I would continue to use my SUV since it is NY and it is still legal. Those bikers brought a knife to a gun fight.

      • Adam October 11, 2013, 10:15 am

        It’s all shot placement. It has nothing to do with caliber. I’ve seen people killed with a .22, .25, .38, or .380 and I’ve seen people live who have been shot with a .45. It’s all shot placement.

        • Ray October 11, 2013, 12:33 pm

          Adam ,The point is not so much the kill, It’s what the Air Force calls “shock and Awe” . A big magnum revolver delivers a huge flash, and bone jarring muzzle blast, as well as a big bullet. You can’t stop 40 men hell bent on attack even with an AR–UNLESS YOU MAKE THEM RUN–and that’s the whole point of the hand cannon V head. Shure you can probably cap off 30 rounds fast with a glock, With a good .22-.32 or .380 you can even get 10 rings on everybody within 20 feet but the guys 25 to 30 feet away may not see your gun nor hear the shots. You will not have that problem with a .357 magnum

          • 3rdMan October 11, 2013, 1:00 pm

            Ray even with the Air Force it is about bomb placement. The bomb yields are smaller than in the past because of the increase accuracy of the weapons targeting systems.

            Adam your right on with your statement! It has always been about shot placement.

  • tpdoldie October 10, 2013, 9:49 am

    Fantastic article. If God told me that I could only have 1 gun it would be the 3 inch Smith 13. They are getting hard to find so I had to go with the Model 10 3 inch bull barrel. Carried daily on duty for almost 4 decades and never really got into the autos, always had a revolver somewhere. Autos are nice but a revolver is better.
    When people ask me about what they need, I try to steer them to the revolvers but for the most part part I get the look like I am crazy/not modern enough.

  • Steve October 10, 2013, 2:35 pm

    I own: S&W 45 colt, Rossi 45 Colt
    S&W 357
    Sig 22, Ruger 10/22
    S&W 329 Pd, Ruger 77/44
    just for grins, ruger SR 45, Glock 21, Aerosport 45 survival
    Rossi 454 Casull that also shoots 45 Colt

    • chilichef October 10, 2013, 2:58 pm

      Look, that’s a nice collection. No doubt. But one of my points is, not everyone can afford/wants to spend a bunch of money on guns. Granted a Ruger SR1911 is great; but it’ll set you back $650 or so in most places; even the ‘cheap’ 1911’s will run you $400, $500 or so. Servicable 38 S&W can be had for $250 or less; ditto a decent used 30-30; not everyone is going to be able to afford or want to buy a $600, $750, $1000 AR platform. Sometimes, the Perfect can be the enemy of the Good; it may come down to a $200 revolver or nothing, not a $200 revolver or a $500 1911.

      • 3rdMan October 11, 2013, 1:03 pm

        Let me know were you are getting S&W .38s for 250. I want one. At the gun shows here in Texas the revolvers have been running higher than Sigs and Glocks.

  • Pam October 10, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Just bought my first gun at the age of 66 – a Ruger SP-101. Couldn’t be happier. No struggle for tiny, old hands to load a clip or accomplish that rack-and-slide maneuver. No arm reaching for the sky with every discharge. Now all I need is a free, safe place to practice and a reliable source of affordable ammunition. Even with limited practice I feel confident that a home-invader will go down before he gets the best of this gray-haired old lady.

  • Dead eye October 10, 2013, 7:28 pm

    Great thread … I have both revolvers and semi’s

    My love is S&M 13-4 FBI issue 357 mag.
    Flawless power. Kimber 1911 45 .. Engineering
    Marvel ( JMBrowning ).high capacity Ruger
    P-89 9mm if they come in numbers.

  • Cory October 10, 2013, 8:54 pm

    My wife and I both carry revolvers. She carries a Ruger LCR in a MIC holster from glocktech. I carry a J frame the same way. We trust these firearms, always go boom.

  • grandmamom October 11, 2013, 12:22 am

    I inherited Daddy’s 22 revolver and love it. All my kids learned to shoot with it and now the granddaughter has to. It may only take 22 shorts, but 9 of them will stop anything in this area.

  • Hangtown Frank October 11, 2013, 11:07 am

    With revolvers, you can get some real inexpensive and very quiet point shooting practice with revolvers that can’t be done with semi-autos by using wax bullets propelled with primers only and no powder.
    Also, I can use my regular .357 magnum loads both in my revolvers and in my .357 chambered lever action rifles. A heavy .357 magnum load with 158 gr bullets has about the same ballistics as a .30-30.

    Plus, at least one of my Rossi 92s functions nicely with my revolver wax bullet practice rounds.

  • Hangtown Frank October 11, 2013, 11:09 am

    With revolvers, you can get some real inexpensive and very quiet point shooting practice with revolvers that can’t be done with semi-autos by using wax bullets propelled with primers only and no powder.
    Also, I can use my regular .357 magnum loads both in my revolvers and in my .357 chambered lever action rifles. A heavy .357 magnum load with 158 gr bullets has about the same ballistics as a .30-30.

    Plus, at least one of my Rossi 92s functions nicely with my revolver wax bullet practice rounds.

    Hangtown Frank

  • Ray October 12, 2013, 7:19 am

    Adam-Thirdman , you both missed my point, In a real gun fight you want a first shot hit(a kill if you can) and you want every other SOB on his side diving for cover. 90% of all defensive “shootings” happen at 6ft OR LESS. In a three gun match getting your lazer sighted AR to put all your rounds in a dime is cool. But at 3 feet stopping to figure where the front sight is will get you KILLED so fast you’ll never know how you F***ed up. What weapon you carry, how many holes you make on paper at 20ft and how big the weapon magazines are— mean NOTHING. 90+ % of ALL shootings are over in LESS than 20 seconds at LESS than six feet with LESS than 4 rounds. All the rest is SWAT magazine TACTICOOL Gun Virgin/ zombie killer Range Fantasy. Gunfights are over before you know what the F*** happened, and no matter how good you are on the range you’ll be damn luck if you hit the guy AT ALL at six feet

    • 3rdMan October 12, 2013, 9:27 pm

      So how many gunfights have you been in Ray. I been a LEO for 25 years and have been in a couple. The gunshots all sounded like .22s to me in the heat of the moment. As far as close in we (yes I am a LE firearm instructor) teach flash sight for shooting out to 15 yards and if you do not make stopping hit within 2 second of the start of the gunfight according to FBI stats, you will most like lose that gunfight. It comes down to who is faster and has the best shot placement. In LE gunfights the average hit ratio is around 20% which means about 1.2 rounds with a revolver and 3.2 with a 16 round Pistol (15+1). The most recent shooting we were involved in there were over 100 rounds fired, so given a choice I will go with a pistol with a 15 round magazine over a revolver with 6 rounds and 2 speed loaders, which by they way is what I carried when I started 25 years ago. The bottom line is still shot placement. I can kill you just as quick with a 22 as with a 44 mag if not faster because of the recoil difference. That is the real world my friend not some internet zombie killer range fantasy.

      • Ray October 13, 2013, 7:14 am

        Police shooting skill don’t impress me much . Most of you can’t hit a barn from the inside. I too have been in a defensive shooting . It was over in one shot. When I hear cops talk about “100 shots fired” I know two things They fired all or most of them in a blind panic -and they missed all or most of them. I have been shooting competition since before most of you were born. (I tried out for the 84 US rifle team and shoot Palma)) I have been in combat. I have seen the police shoot and I’m not impressed . I know all the local cops – I shoot with most of them at the local range . Their skills are at BEST marginal . The “skill level” is “miss a dog at nine feet” good . so please don’t try to over awe me with personal attacks and your LEO ninja killer “skills” You are a cop -you don’t have any. ( One of the local “Barny Fifes pulled over a car that had a pit bulldog in the back , freaked out when the dog stuck its head out. Did a mag dump at the car AND MISSED the dog -the car- the driver- and the wife and kids in the car.( nine FEET) He did manage to hit his own car three times,- He’s the best shot in his Dep.) This is in keeping with the known “skill set ” of every PD in the USA

        • 3rdMan October 13, 2013, 4:58 pm

          Your response tells me everything I need to about you. The bottom line is your a fool!
          Yes a lot of LEO can not shoot, but that can be said for the military. During Vietnam it was around 250,000 round per kill, for Iraq it has been estimated at around 500,000 per kill. Then again I am sure it would have been different if “One Wonder Ray” had been there!
          Anytime I hear how awesome a shot someone is my BS meter goes off, and it is spiking with you.
          So go back to playing Modern Warfare or Black Ops where I am sure you are who you say you are!!!!!!

          • 3rdMan October 13, 2013, 5:00 pm

            Sorry it is “One Shot Wonder Ray”

          • The Road Warrior October 14, 2013, 11:33 am

            Easy, guys. While people thrive on drama these days, it seems, it doesn’t help anybody learn, and in fact drives people away. We here at SHTFblog would appreciate it if we could keep the back-and-forth a bit more low-key and productive, please.

  • Lowkeyy October 12, 2013, 3:16 pm

    No thanks to the revolver. Unfortunately the revolver is “out gunned” in pretty much every category compared to a semi auto. Lets take ballistics: the stock 357 round is more powerful than the stock 9mm round, but not by much. The 357 will travel 150 fps or so faster than the 9mm and weight roughly 10-15% more. This is not advantageous, however, due to the deafening sound, huge muzzle blast, muzzle flip and ability for a follow up shot (compared to the 9mm). And of course you can get 2x the 9mm rounds in the same size gun. Any ballistic advantage the 357 has over the 9mm is gone when comparing .38 vs. 9mm.

    REVOLVERS DO JAM! Even the good ones. It is NOT six for sure. Has anyone ever tried to fix a revolver jam? I have. I had to take it to a gunsmith. I can clear jams in semi autos with a leatherman at the most, but I will be left with a paperweight with a jammed revolver.

    Cost of ammo, reliability, muzzle blast, long trigger pull (in DA only revolvers), increased muzzle flip, poor follow up shots, etc are all overcome by the semi auto.

    There are a few instances where a revolver is better, such as a small handed person, big game hunting/defense, or special reloading. There are niches, but in general, I will pass on revolvers.

    • The Road Warrior October 14, 2013, 11:29 am

      LowKeyy, you are absolutely right. Technological advances in both firearm design and ammunition have evened the playing field, to where the semi-auto handgun is the clear winner in a defensive-type situation. The only place a revolver would win hands-down is the fact that it doesn’t use magazines; the magazine/cylinder is built right into the gun so it can’t be lost or broken. Plus, autos are much more dependent on springs that are subject to fatigue (recoil spring, extractor/ejector springs, magazine springs, etc.) that can and do wear out pretty quickly with heavy use. Revolvers, while they have their limitations, are still useful when working within the envelope of limitations. This was the points that I was shooting for (no pun intended) with the article. If all you have is a revolver, you shoudn’t feel under-gunned at all.

      • lowkeyy October 14, 2013, 7:42 pm

        Yes, you are absolutely correct about the magazines and springs. I recently bought a Marlin 60 over a 10/22 for that exact purpose. I suppose deep into a SHTF situation, the magazine-less gun will become more and more attractive.

  • Sapper October 24, 2013, 7:02 pm

    I must disagree just a bit. While revolvers may be slightly more reliable and less maintenance, the cheaper ones are still crap. My dad has a hammerless .38 S&W that you cannot hit the broad side of a hay field with. My selections after exploring all options was Kimber Ultra Carry 2 stainless in .45. This is a high quality semi auto in classic 1911 style. Also Sig 229 in .40. These are our everyday carry pistols. They are well maintained, very durable and after couple thousand rounds through each we have not had a single malfunction. Only two gripes are the break down on the Kimber sucks and the sig mags are difficult to get the last couple of rounds in when loading. Other than that they are fantastic. Extremely reliable and accurate as hell. While my father in law has a .357 mag and a Taurus Judge. Neither of which are nearly as accurate and they are both a bit heavier and larger. Not very good concealed carry weapons. That said, I would get either for a back up to carry on side of ruck or something. I guess my point is that a lot of it is quality. If you get a freaking taurus semi auto you will have issues. If you use cheap ammo you will have issues. The one point I’ll grant is that I’ve never actually had a revolver malfunction…..other than a couple of old cheap ones that simply fell apart. Again, quality…..just MHO

  • Firehawk April 5, 2015, 5:00 pm

    I forget who said it, but in reference to what a handgun is for in something other than self defense, is it is what you use to get to your rifle.

  • Roger April 13, 2015, 10:59 pm

    If you surrounded by 40 bikers (or 40 cops) in traffic and you open fire, then first you’re going to be permanently deaf followed quickly by first-hand knowledge of how a pin cushion feels as all the surrounding, doubtlessly well-armed bikers (or cops) open fire on you! As already mentioned, using your vehicle (especially if it’s armored) as a weapon or at least a hard-to-stop-on-foot escape tool is a much better option (read: you might survive it); throwing money or drugs out the window (or donuts as well in the case of the cops) should provide you with a head start! Personally, in regard to the subject of this article, I choose my GP100 (and it’s twin brother) for self-defense because I consistently hit my chosen target with a little more accuracy than with any of my semi-autos. Besides, my FAL and/or pump shotgun are very hard to conceal or operate well one-handed (especially left-handed)! AND, if I can’t hit (hopefully kill) my target with six rounds, then I’m probably already dead! P.S. My first firearm purchase almost 40 years ago was a Ruger Security-six, I still have it, have fired 5-10 thousand rounds through it and NEVER had a malfunction that wasn’t fixed by squeezing the trigger again (bad ammo), but I definately cannot say the same about any of my semi-autos (pistol or long gun), not even close! But, to each his own! Good Luck!

  • Bill E. Klub Rouge Cop October 31, 2015, 7:31 pm

    The revolver is not by any means an outdated weapon. It’s basically fool proof and requires less up-keep than a semi-auto pistol. To make a simple comparison; the ‘cave man used a club’. Ever see what a baseball bat does when proper force and location of strike are used? Just about the same.
    The revolver vs. semi-auto argument will continue forever. Regardless of caliber, it still come down to shot placement and proximity to target. Whether from a .22LR or a .44mag, one shot in the ‘brain pan’ ends it all.
    While headshot are more difficult than body-mass shots, a revolver is less likely to have a malfunction like semi-auto’s. Buy good quality ammo, store it in a cool dry place ands good for years.
    Yes, you can carry the larger frame semi-autos for piece of mind in the mount of fire power, but conceal an excellent quality revolver in or about your person or BOB!

  • Andy September 27, 2018, 3:48 am

    The only failure to fire I have ever had was in my GP100 and it was from a factory load never had a failure with my reloads, love revolvers, but like autos, as for EDC I use a Charter Arms undercover .38 Special revolver, given to me as a gift by my wife,great woman have a lot of faith in that little gun, shoots great and to point of aim,and just as fast as you want to squeeze the trigger.Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  • Buck N. November 22, 2019, 3:50 pm

    Great article! I absolutely agree with you.

    The J-frame, SP101 or model 85 in .38 spl. is the best choice for the new shooter, and along with a quality 357 over the long term will outlast (and outshoot) the majority of semi pistols available. These platforms are not fussy about ammunition and easy to reload for- get an inexpensive Classic Lee Loader, a can of good powder (Winchester 231), a brick of pistol primers, and a couple hundred 125 grain and 140 grain JHP and JSP bullets. Having this on hand will turn 200 rounds (factory loaded, with quality brass) into ?? hundreds of rounds. Certainly the interested enthusiast can go with 158 grain and 180 grain load with other powders- the latter good for deer, wild dogs and even smaller bear. Revolvers in .38/.357 have stopping power and are reliable, comfortable, easier to clean and never, ever are without a magazine.

    Again, great article!


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