Some people like comparing their bodies to a temple and their homes to a fortress. Well, whatever building you associate with, one thing is clear as day – that building needs some defensive weapons to repel any attacks that might come your way. Even though the world we live in now is more civilized than it used to be, there will always be barbarians who try to infringe on your right to private property or even your own life. If we talk about property, you can restore it or buy something new. Your life is unique, though – you never get more than one which makes readiness to protect it a necessity rather than a whim. And of all means of self-defense, handguns make for one of the most reliable ones.
There are two paths one can go with self-defense handguns: The Path of Pistols and The Path of Revolvers. Both these schools have their adepts who successfully implement their knowledge and skills. But, as you have probably guessed from reading the title, this article is dedicated to the good old wheelguns. Why would anyone choose a revolver over a semi-automatic pistol, and which models are most suitable for personal and home defense? Our humble sports equipment store, which also happens to deal in firearms, will try to answer these questions for you.
Revolvers For Concealed Carry
Not every firearm is suitable for concealed carry. The reason why handguns occupied this niche is their size. If a gun is small enough, you can carry it without other people knowing. Of course, open carry could potentially prevent people from messing up with you, but this carry style is usually exclusive to police officers and law enforcers and is not very welcomed by other civilians.
Even though handguns are noticeably smaller than rifles and shotguns, different pistols and revolvers also fall into different size categories. Smaller handguns are best suited for concealed carry, while medium and bigger-sized ones are better left for home defense. However, you should also consider your own size and comfort when choosing a gun. Maybe a small revolver is, well, too small for you. There is no need to buy a handgun for its size. It is functionality we are all after, so don’t forget to integrate your comfort into this “choosing gun” equation.
Speaking about functionality, why bother acquiring a revolver when there is a seeming crowd pleaser in the form of a semi-automatic pistol? The reasons are numerous, though most of them appeal to your preference rather than objective reality. Each point in favor or against it can be debated, so do what you may with it.
- The principle behind this one is as follows: the simpler the construction, the fewer the malfunction chances are. Revolvers and pistols serve the same purpose, but their mechanisms are somewhat different. Pistols are more complicated and thus are more prone to malfunctions than revolvers. “More prone” doesn’t mean “break down often”. The technologies of firearm production have evolved to a level that ensures the gun’s stable functioning, and no gun manufacturer would stick around if their firearms would constantly cease to work. But statistically, revolvers are more dependable and easier to operate.
- Stopping Power. As you may know, the stopping power of a firearm is determined by its caliber. If we talk about size-to-impact ratio, revolvers tend to be superior to pistols because they are available in more powerful calibers, the renowned Magnum being a good example. You won’t find a pistol that would exert the same impact on the target while retaining compact size, though the story is true for revolvers. Some Magnum calibers are powerful enough to stop the big game, so human assailants stand no chance. You don’t need such power, and .357 will do nicely as a concealed carry revolver caliber.
- Cartridge Capacity. It might not be a weighty drawback for some people. At the end of the day, should you find yourself in a situation that calls for self-defense, how many rounds are you going to fire? Most of the snubbies (revolvers with short barrels) hold 5 cartridges, and 5 rounds are quite enough to stop someone from attacking you. In the majority of cases. If there are several assailants and you didn’t manage to place an accurate shot, well, things might quickly become dire. In that case, it would be safer to have semi-automatic pistols with higher magazine capacity.
- Reloading Speed. Again, we cannot determine how relevant reloading is in self-defense scenarios. To reload, you would need to carry an extra magazine or, in the case of revolvers, extra cartridges or a speed loader. Are you going to carry those in addition to a regular gun? If yes, pistols are quicker to reload. If not, this point doesn’t matter that much. And when practicing at a shooting range, you will have enough time to reload both of those guns.
- The majority of revolvers come without rails, so no sights and tactical lights for them. Are those accessories that necessary for a concealed carry revolver, though? We’ll leave the decision to you. If it’s compactness you are after, mounting accessories is the last thing you would think about. Revolvers often come with an integrated front sight for some guidance, and some even have a rear sight in addition to that. A lack of accessory options is hardly a problem, but you should consider it when making a decision.
If you’ve decided to opt for revolvers, there are two more things you need to take into account.
Since it’s concealed carry we are talking about, you need a revolver as compact as possible. This compactness comes at the expense of an abbreviated barrel. Snubnosed revolvers, also known as snubbies, have barrels, that are generally less than 4 inches in length. But making a gun more concealable is not the only feature that comes with a shortened barrel. Among other consequences are increased recoil and short sight radius. Again, “increased” doesn’t mean “gigantic”, and “short” doesn’t mean “no”. But, since the bullet escapes the bore faster than in longer-barreled revolvers, recoil becomes more significant. It takes a bit of practice to get used to it, but you would need to train with your gun nonetheless, so it’s not a big deal. Another thing is the short sight radius, which is relevant only for revolvers with both front and rear sights. The closer the sights are to each other, the less noticeable any issues with your aiming are. But since most self-defense scenarios involve close-range shooting, that drawback becomes less relevant.
Since self-defense revolvers are either Double-Action Only or DA to SA, the trigger pulls are rather weighty. There is often an option to shoot in SA mode, but it isn’t too practical in an assault scenario, where every microsecond is critical. It calls for twice the effort to fire a DA revolver than an SA one, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. After all, they are produced for regular humans to shoot.
So, what’s the verdict for concealed carry revolvers? Approved.
Such revolvers come with their peculiarities but are still worthy to become your holstered companion for everyday carry. If we were to recommend several models, we would choose from those chambered in .357 Magnum since rimfire .22 LR makes for a poor self-defense choice, and bigger calibers seem like trying too hard. Taurus M605 Protector, Ruger LCR, Smith & Wesson 640, and Colt King Cobra are some of the best revolvers for concealed carry that are sure to leave you satisfied.
Revolvers For Home Defense
Home defense gives us more room for maneuver since we are no longer restricted to looking for a compact option. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should get an AR-15 or a hunting rifle to protect your premises, a revolver is still less conspicuous. It can also be stored in your nightstand, and accessibility is still a priority. Having a trophy gun hanging above a fireplace is nice, and everything, but you’d better not keep your means of self-protection too far from you. We recommend medium- and long-barrelled revolvers since they are more comfortable to shoot.
There is nothing relatively new to talk about since we already discussed revolvers’ pros and cons in the previous section. The only difference is probably the models we can suggest buying, since .357 revolvers are not only optimally powerful but also versatile, in case you might want to switch to .38 cartridges. Ruger GP100, Smith & Wesson M686, and Taurus M66 Medium are all good options.
If you are in love with revolvers and are not willing to trade them for any comforts semi-automatic pistols might allure you with, good news – you don’t have to. Revolvers are a reliable choice for all sorts of personal defense situations, be it concealed carry or protecting your home.