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knfxda 05-28-2011 01:13 PM

Revolver or Pistol for beginners?
I found this in a book review on amazon and I found the reviewer's position interesting. It seems to me that the convential wisdom is that pistols are the best choice for the untrained and many here have espoused this point of view. The reviewer provides reasoning for chosing the pistol over the revolver.


I prefer semi-automatic pistols to revolvers. The Product Link below [He links to Shooting to Live by Capt. W.E. Fairbairn's and Capt. E.A. Sykes] gives a partial reason--unlike the "conventional wisdom" real-world experience is that the revolver is harder to use and to keep in operation than the semi-automatic pistol. Sykes and Fairbairn trained a 6000 man international police force in the most-dangerous city on Earth and over two decades they determined that the double-action revolver took twice the training ammunition and three times the training time to gain a level of proficiency their street cops needed--and that the revolver shooter required more retraining to keep that skill level. My own armorer experience is that automatics are simple to repair, more durable than revolvers, and can run while dirtier than the revolver. During the Miami FBI shootout a wounded FBI agent couldn't reload his revolver because his own blood jammed his service revolver. A common shooter-induced revolver malfunction occurs when the shooter fails to complete the long, heavy trigger stroke and skips a loaded chamber. It is almost like limp-wristing the automatic. The revolver shortcomings are nothing that cannot be remedied by more training (and by carrying a second revolver) but the myth that revolvers are easier for beginners to use needs to be put to rest.
Not taking credit for anything above, just thought that it was an interesting take that I have heard put this clearly before.

(Not sure if linking to amazon or alternatively, not providing the link in bad form. So, sorry if I'm not following procedure for this type of thing. It's a review on a public site, so I don't think I'm showing bad form froma copywrite perspective.)

Jesse17 05-28-2011 01:58 PM

Rubbish! While I think pistols have the cool factor going, the only advantage they have to a new shooter in my opinion is the ease in which it can be reloaded...assuming you have extra loaded magazine not just a box/pocket of shells. I don't think speed loaders are very practical **for a new shooter**.

It seams that I remember hearing something about the LEO that had issues with his revolver because of his own blood, but for the life of me I can't figure out how that would occur. Something that is quite common for pistols is to have a empty case stove pipe, or stick on the extractor, or just bounce off the ejection port and land back in the action, or any number of other jams which the new shooter is now going to have to stop and clear in the middle of a firefight. Of course if he had a revolver it would only be a matter of pulling the trigger again.

I also think that DA triggers are a + for new shooters who are in any sort of adrenaline inducing situation, as it slows them down slightly and they might remember to aim before they are out of ammo. However with the DA pistols out there that's not much of a pistol vs. revolver argument any more.

wmille01 05-28-2011 02:46 PM

I can see as to where semi auto would be good for beginners it automatically resets the trigger to single stage making it easier for them to shoot. On the other hand there's more moving parts and more things you have to learn operation wise. But when it comes to revolvers for single action you have to cock the hammer each time yo have less rounds to shoot so you have to think about your shot before you shoot it. Also there are less moving parts so cleaning is easier, and it takes almost an act of god to break a revolver (at least in my experience). As for blood gumming up a revolver I've never heard that before, for practical shooting purposes a revolver is the better way to train shooters it also makes people learn the fundamentals more then just being able to shoot 9 shots in a row.

winds-of-change 05-28-2011 02:46 PM

And with a revolver when you open the cylinder and it's's empty.

To the very new and sometimes even to the experienced, it's easy to forget when you remove the magazine from a semi-auto, there is still a round in the chamber.

I'm newbie to guns and a revolver was recommended to me for safety reasons for a beginner. I think I might be ready for a semi-auto.........because I really, REALLY want a Ruger Mark II.

stalkingbear 05-28-2011 03:26 PM

As long as it fits their hand properly, I almost always recommend a revolver for a raw beginner. Some people lack the hand strength to rack the slide of a semiauto. With a revolver you don't have to worry is the 1 in the chamber? Is the mag in the gun? Is the mag loaded? Is the safety on? etc

danf_fl 05-28-2011 03:35 PM

Consider that normally 6 are all that is loaded in a revolver. That means the beginner has to reload when 6 have been shot.
Too often, I've seen beginners load their high capacity pistols to the max, shoot at the target, tire out quickly before all rounds are expended, and wonder why they aren't hitting the bull's-eye.

Sometimes being forced to reload allows the new shooter to evaluate their progress.

CHLChris 05-28-2011 04:07 PM

Another point to add to the revolver side of this discussion...weight.

And I mean the ease of shooting a heavy steel gun is going to make the recoil more manageable than a polymer, striker-fired semi-auto.

If a newbie starts with a steel .357 revolver (as Winds-of-Change did), preferably with a longer barrel for more weight, they can choose to fire .38 specials. That round is great to practice on and is still a dependable round to protect your family.

I vote for revolver first. I didn't do that, but it is a regret of mine. A 4" Smith & Wesson 686Plus is still waiting somewhere to find a home in my safe.

JTJ 05-28-2011 05:58 PM

My wife did not like loading magazines so I started her on a 22 revolver then went to a 4" S&W 19 with 38 spl. She got over the magazine thing and can handle a slide so now she is shooting her Ruger SR9c and a 22 Sig Hamerelli Trailside. She was cocking the revolvers for every shot because she could not handle the double action pull and stay on target. She wont touch my Kel-Tecs or my SP101.

mesinge2 05-28-2011 06:05 PM


Originally Posted by Jesse17 (Post 513453)
I also think that DA triggers are a + for new shooters who are in any sort of adrenaline inducing situation, as it slows them down slightly and they might remember to aim before they are out of ammo.


I also think that a DA trigger on a revolver is great practice for an auto. It can really make one appreciate the importance of trigger control!

But then again, I'm biased

tiberius10721 05-28-2011 08:19 PM

My automatics will never give the accuracy my ruger gp 100 will give me. There is just so much a person can do with a good revolver.

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