What is a revolver?
A revolver is a handgun that utilizes a rotating cylinder to line the next shot up with the barrel and hammer. As the hammer is pulled back, in either single or double action, the cylinder rotates. Once the hammer is released by the trigger, it drops on the cartridge primer firing the shot.
There are also rifles that utilize a rotating cylinder, but this article talks about the handgun version of revolvers.
What is a snub nose revolver?
A snub nose, or snubby, revolver is a revolver of any size and capacity that has a barrel length of less than 2 inches. They got their name because of how short the barrel is.
More common lately is that the snub nose revolvers are getting smaller, as the need for concealed carry firearms becomes more prevalent.
What is a single action revolver?
A single action only revolver is one where the hammer requires external operation to pull backward before the trigger pull takes place.
Once the hammer is back the gun can be fired. When the hammer is down on a single action only revolver it cannot fire. A single action only revolver is not ideal in defensive situations because of the hair trigger and inherent risks associated with carrying this way.
What is a double action revolver?
A double action revolver is one which has the hammer connected to the action of the trigger. The hammer is actuated as the trigger is pulled to the rear.
There are double action only revolvers as well as double action/single action where both methods of firing can be utilized.
Once the trigger reaches a certain point, the trigger breaks and the hammer is released, sending it forward to come into contact with the primer on the cartridge itself (that houses the bullet).
Popular double action only revolvers are those like the S&W J-Frames with an internal hammer, and my Charter Arms Off Duty, pictured here:
What is a DA/SA revolver?
A DA/SA, or double action / single action revolver is one where the hammer can be pulled to the rear manually by the person and fired, or operated by the trigger.
What is a revolver cylinder?
A revolver cylinder is the rotating section that usually holds anywhere from 5-10 rounds of ammo, depending on the caliber and size of the firearm itself.
Here is a picture of a Colt King Cobra with the cylinder open:
What is a revolver moon clip?
A revolver moon clip is a small round metal object with cutouts that enable the fast re-loading of ammunition. Instead of having to reload the cartridges one at a time, a moon clip allows the operator to drop a full cylinder worth of ammo at once into the cylinder.
The below picture is from a range day several years ago with a S&W 627 PC, 8-shot 357 magnum revolver. Note the clips holding the empty casings.
Do revolvers jam?
It’s a common misconception that revolvers don’t jam, because they do. In fact, when a revolver jams it’s often worse than when a semi-auto jams. They do have malfunctions, but not as often.
Common malfunctions for revolvers are things like cylinder timing issues or when the cylinder locks up. Whenever something like that happens a gunsmith is usually required to fix it.
What are the most common revolver calibers?
The most common revolver calibers are 38 special, 357 magnum, 44 special, 44 magnum, 45 Colt, and 22 long rifle. Other relatively popular cartridges that are getting more so are the following:
- 22 Magnum
- 327 Federal Magnum
- 32 H&R Magnum
- 454 Casull
- 460 S&W
- 500 Magnum
Can I conceal carry a revolver?
Yes it is totally possible to conceal carry a revolver on your body. The snub nosed revolvers spoken about above are excellent candidates for this, but plenty of other, bigger revolvers are also carried for self-defense as well.
Learn more about concealed carry tips in that article.
Can I hunt with a revolver?
Yes, many areas have a handgun season for deer hunting. Make sure you check with your local and state laws to ensure you’re going about this the right way because there are certain requirements that your gun must meet, and other stuff you need to know.