Revolvers for LTC (CHL)

I love semi-automatic pistols. I have for years, and my typical go-to carry is a semi-automatic because that is what I have known and trained with both in the military and personally. With my Glock or my Sig in my Original Holster, I don’t have a care in the world. But a semi-auto may not be the best for defense for all people or all situations.

For new shooters, the moving parts and hand placement for a semi-automatic can be daunting. There are several buttons you need to push, from slide release, to magazine release or the safety…a lot of new shooters are very concerned with making mistakes.

If you have ever tried to do something new, if you have a high barrier to entry (like a whole lot of buttons, or high risk for errors) you won’t typically stay with it. This is where I think that the revolver really shines.

First, a revolver is a lot simpler for the average shooter to learn on. There are typically only one button to press (the cylinder release), and unlike a semi-auto there is no need to fumble with old magazine and putting the new one in.

While this sounds simple, remember that doing more tasks while in stressful situation can lead to mistakes, which cause mis-feeds which could be a bad day. Simple in my opinion usually trumps more complex.

Second big selling point is that there is less grip and muscle strength required to rack the firearm like in semi-automatic firearms. One of the biggest complaints I had when teaching female friends was that the strength required to pull the slide back to the rear to chamber was odd/hard for some of them.

This is especially true when it comes to older folks like in my family who suffer from arthritic hands. The ability to shoot double action does have a stronger initial trigger pull, which is why I usually recommend a firearm with a hammer because the single actions tend to be in the 2-3lb range versus 7-8lb range.

I know some people will argue against a hammer for the notion that they feel it can catch on clothes or things. I get that, however I would argue that the benefit of having a light trigger pull for a more accurate shot when you only have 5-7 rounds (yes, they make all of those capacities in 357 Mag).

Third is the simplicity of firing compared to most semi-automatics, and the fact that there are less likely to be issues feeding or cycling. I have only had a few times where there has been a failure to feed or failure to fire whilst shooting, but I also know what to do to rapidly clear it and stay in the fight.

While I believe that everyone should be able to train to that level with their firearms, I am also a realist, that for most CHL folks they aren’t going to or able to. Therefore a revolver with 6 rounds of bad news that cycle with minimal moving parts, the reliability is key.

Finally, there is the ammo selection. I know that there is plenty of good ammo selection for semi-autos, but revolvers have a few legs up on them. First is that you don’t necessarily need specialty ammo to reduce hangups. Of the few failures to feed I had in the 1911 platform; all were caused by hollow points that were too steep an angle with a flat face for the feed ramps.

You don’t run into that issue in a revolver. Additionally, for guns like the 357 Magnum or 44 Mag you can shoot the hot stuff or practice down at the 38/44SPL levels. Guns like the 327Mag have the ability to shoot 5 different rounds from the same revolver…talk about versatility.

Author: Ian Bolser