Making a comeback in the self-defense market is the concealed carry revolver, with more of them being released every year in a plethora of different calibers. But a lot of newer gun owners aren’t as familiar with this handgun and don’t know if a revolver is right for their self-defense purposes.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a concealed carry revolver in case you’re on the fence and don’t know where to start.
What are the Revolver Pros? —
The pros of the revolver are that they tend to be easy to operate, are easier to learn, the concealability of smaller frame revolvers, their overall reliability, and more.
Let’s take a more in depth look at each in turn.
Revolvers are easy to operate
Revolvers are easier to operate than their semi-auto counterparts are. The reason why this is true, is because there is no magazine, no slide to rack, no manual safety to defeat, etc.
Most revolvers, at least those that are double action (DA), are extremely easy to operate. And because they are, they’re a lot easier to master than the other types of handguns.
Revolvers are easy to learn
Sort of along the same lines as the above section, revolvers are easy to learn. Once you learn how to open and close the cylinder, it can be as simple as being a point and shoot gun.
Of course, there is more that goes into it like proper grip, trigger control, and making sure you can hit your target. But, for the most part and because there aren’t any other moving parts like a slide, they’re easier to learn.
For this reason, many older shooters recommend buying a revolver for the women in their lives. I actually point out why buying a revolver for the woman in your life is actually stupid, in that article.
Revolvers are concealable
Revolvers are ultra concealable. Well, the right revolvers are, anyway. Think small, J-frame size revolvers for this one. Part of the reason why they’re so concealable is because of their overall small stature.
This makes hiding them on your body super easy and intuitive. I’ve been able to drop the above-pictured snub nose revolver into my pocket (in a holster) when I’m too lazy to put a proper belt holster on, and I know plenty of people who carry them on their ankle as a back up gun.
Bigger revolvers, like Joe’s Colt King Cobra, can still be concealed, but there are difficulties with it.
Revolvers are reliable
Revolvers are reliable, and are known to be some of the most reliable handguns ever produced.
It’s a simple operation. You pull the trigger, it drops the hammer igniting the powder, and then projectile leaves the barrel. You then release the trigger and pull it again to rotate the cylinder and start the process over again.
There is no slide that may not cycle completely and there is no magazine to create any malfunctions.
Though, there are some revolver malfunctions that we’ll touch on in a moment.
Revolvers are good for contact shots
Revolvers are good for contact shots. What I mean when I say this is that if you don’t have time to react to a bad guy and create some distance, you may need to shoot the gun with the muzzle in contact with his body.
This can cause a malfunction of epic proportions on a semi auto, as pressing the muzzle of a semi-auto can push the slide out of battery, and not allow the shot to fire.
A revolver doesn’t have that problem because there is no slide to worry about. I know a lady who carries a 38 snub nose revolver on her ankle as a back up to her duty gun that she practices getting out into the fight in case an attacker has her subdued on the ground and she can’t get to her pistol, or if he has gotten her pistol.
On the bare minimum, she can get her ankle gun into the fight and get some contact shots off with her little 38 Special.
Revolvers are inherently safe
Finally, there is no manual safety to defeat on a revolver. If you’re carrying a revolver in DA (double action) mode, it is inherently safe and does not need a safety.
There are a few reasons why this is true. First, the hammer of a revolver rests in the downward position. In order for it to fire it has to be pulled back either manually (if it is a DA/SA) or by pulling the trigger to the rear if it is a DA revolver.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a revolver unintentionally firing, other than Alec Baldwin, who was clearly lying about it, or if someone was carrying a DA/SA (double action / single action) revolver in single action, which is, in my opinion, just asking for trouble.
Another safety aspect about a double action revolver is the trigger. These guns usually have long, hard trigger pulls that require the operator to know without a doubt that he’s yanking on it. Many don’t realize it, but that is a safety feature.
What are some Cons to the Concealed Carry Revolver?
The cons to the revolver handgun are limited ammo capacity, hard to pull triggers, and more.
If there weren’t any cons, there also wouldn’t be any pros. The cons to the revolver are fewer, but nonetheless still important for any decision.
Limited Revolver Capacity
Most of the revolvers that a person is going to carry for self-defense will have five or six shots in the cylinder. Some folks carry a reload, but most do not.
For example, I do not carry a reload when I carry my revolver. I’ve got five shots and then I’m done.
If there are six bad guys, which is unlikely, I’d end up regretting my life choices for that day. Again, it is unlikely, but the world is going straight to the pooper in a handbasket and who knows how bad it’s gonna get.
Granted, there are also seven and eight shot revolvers, like the one pictured, but they’re hard to carry because they are a lot wider and require a specialized holster.
Often Terrible Triggers
Sometimes a positive doubles as a negative, and that’s the case with this one. Above in the pros section, the trigger was a positive in that it acted as a safety measure.
Here, the trigger is actually a negative. Some people just don’t have the ability to accurately pull a DAO (double action only) trigger.
And even the people who do have the finger strength to pull those triggers, won’t always be able to hit their target.
When a revolver breaks, it breaks bad
Last but certainly not least, is that when a revolver does actually break, chances are excellent that you won’t get it to shoot again without someone taking it apart to fix it.
This is rare, and the best revolvers never have a reliability issue. Then again, the ones that do break, break bad. There is no immediate action drill that you can do to prepare for a revolver malfunction, because it breaks inside.
Hopefully this has helped clear up some of the revolver pros and cons for you, to help you make a decision.