Friday, October 2, 2009

The Revolver vs the Semi-Automatic Handgun

I've had some good arguments about revolvers vs semi-autos. I usually carry a Smith 638 .38 special revolver. The plastic pistol patrol have made some serious derisive commits on that. I've had one fellow say that carrying a revolver for self-defense was like riding your skateboard to an office job. Doable, but no way a good idea. But is it that bad? Is a revolver such an abysmal defensive firearm? Is the semi-auto so leaps and bounds superior to the revolver?

I do concede that the double action revolver has some serious short comings. Capacity and reloading speed are the big one. Next, is the long heavy double action trigger of classic defensive revolver. The DA trigger can be difficult to master vs a lighter single action or DA-Only semi-auto trigger. However, this issue can be taken care of through proper practice and building good skills in training.

As for the question of how a revolver fares against a semi-auto? For the sake of argument lets say we have two guys. One has a S&W model 10 .38 special and the other has a Glock 17 9x19mm. Both guns are in excellent working condition, loaded, and both users know the guns well, and can shoot them well. What happens in the face off?

Semi-auto guys remember this: You have no advantage for six shots. The revolver is just as good as your Glock until it runs dry. There is no inherient disadvantage to revolver's design and no advantage to yours until that moment. It may be easy to say, "Well, he'll need to reload before I will, I win." However, a lot can happen in 6 shots. At the average distance of a self-defense situation, can you say for certain, you aren't hit and hurt before those 6 rounds have been spent?

Revolver guys remember this: You are on equal footing with the semi-auto for only 6 shots. Make them count before the Glock takes the advantage.

In the long run, the semi-auto will win. This is why they are the choice for military and police. However, in a defensive role, its no better than a revolver for the first 6 shots. Which are the shots in a magazine that count the most?

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