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MattyT 02-12-2013 05:13 AM

Single Action for defense?
Is a single action revolver a bad idea for defense purposes? I have wanted one for a while but I have never shot one, I just love the way they look and the history behind them. I have no idea how the firing speeds compare to a double action when youre trying to get them off quickly. I have a lot of interest in the Ruger Blackhawk and Vaquero. In the .357 models they can also shoot 38 specials, correct? I wonder how the shotshells work in those loads for snakes and little critters. I realize the GP100 and SP101 are double action and better suited for defense purposes. I mainly use my handguns for hunting sidearms and HD and very few range outings now that ammo is on shortage. I guess my question is what are your opinions on using a single action revolver for HD/SD? Does anybody or would anybody choose it over some other types of handguns as a HD or hunting sidearm gun? and why?

Colby 02-12-2013 06:19 AM

Yes ... any .357 will shoot .38 Special.
Single action for defense? It was done by necessity by everyone up until the first double actions were invented. That's all there was. Sure, it could be done.
You'd have to teach yourself to always cock the hammer - as a natural reflex in using the gun. And you could do that. After cocking, the triggers are usually quite a bit lighter A(more sensitive) that double action - so you would have to be more careful with the trigger once cocked to avoid accidental discharges. All things you could learn - or recognize.

Would a double action be better? Probably - actually, not much doubt that they would be better. It will always fire when the trigger is pulled. But just because it would be better, doesn't mean a single action could not be workable. You've got to know what you've got and become very familiar with it.
If you have a double action, you could use that to practice with - to see how you feel about the constant cocking. Or, if you don't have a double action revolver with an exposed hammer, you could get one - use it in single action mode - and maybe even forget about the single action gun.

Figure out what it is about single action that you like. Double action does the same thing - except it loads easier - and it can go double action in a panic situation.
It is the grips you like on many single actions that draws you to them? Figure out what it is.
Heck, it you can spring for it - buy one of each. Many, many people on this forum have multiple guns.

Double actions tend to be large, so concealed carry would be more difficult. And the slow loading is an issue. Also, spent casing extraction of a single action is more cumbersome and slow - using the push rod. Double action swing-out cylinders are kind of convenient - and they load and unload much faster. There are some very heavy calibers available in single action, too, but so are they in double action - but you mentioned liking .357.

But try not to let people tell you it can't be done. It was done for a century. It's kind of what you want to do. And, myself, I can see the draw of the old single action. I own one myself...

Keep us posted. We're interested.

7point62 02-12-2013 11:45 AM

My advice for HD or as a back-up for hunting wouldn't be a single-action...unless you're really good with it. I've seen some Western-style shooters with pretty amazing speed and accuracy with single, but they didn't get that way overnight. My only reason for suggesting double is that in a crisis situation you don't want to waste time or risk fumbling with the hammer...and because of the adrenal rush and other unpredictable factors, you may need multiple rounds quickly to stop the momentum of your attacker.

JonM 02-12-2013 12:07 PM

They were used for nearly 200 years for self defense and war. Some designs can be fired faster than a semi auto with proper dedication to training.

The main difference between da and sa revolvers is hammer design. The hammers of da revolvers do not lend well to shooting rapidly in sa mode.

Sa revolvers do not typically lend themselves well to concealed carry since they are pretty big. I wouldnt feel unarmed with one as they do fill the number one rule of self defense:

Have a gun.

That being said there is a real sound reason most folks dont use sa revolvers for self defense.

AR10 02-12-2013 12:22 PM

A brick or a stick are not bad items for defence and are better than nothing. A good firearm is much better. Nothing wrong with a single action.

I had an older Ruger .357 that had four loud clicks when you cocked the trigger back and that sound was like a thousand rattle snakes shaking their tails.

The newer Ruger revolvers or ones sent in to have an internal trigger block safety added no longer have the four loud clicks, and I don't like them as well because of that.

trip286 02-12-2013 12:26 PM

I believe front sight has a defensive single action revolver clinic. Good enough to convince me that it's still a viable option.

If it's not front sight, then it's one of the other big name defensive handgun training facilities.

eatmydust 02-12-2013 12:27 PM

A single action sidearm wouldn't be my first choice for HD. However, if I already owned one, I'd spend the money to buy an HD/multi-use shotgun before purchasing another pistol.

Bob Wright 02-12-2013 12:30 PM

'Twas never any doubt!

Bob Wright

Rick1967 02-12-2013 12:41 PM

I have a Vaquero in 45colt I have thought about carrying. I feel I could defend myself with it. But there are simply too many options in my gun safe. A good problem to have.

FrontierTCB 02-12-2013 12:49 PM

You should spend many hours getting familiar with, firing, drawing and handling any firearm you intend to use for defense.
A S/A revolver will take much more practice to be nearly as efficient as a D/A or semi auto but many people have conditioned themselves to be very fast and accurate with them. Then you have the reloading issue which think would be a bit stressful if in a gunfight.
I have a S/A S. Blackhawk and love it. But it would not be the first second or third gun I go for in a combat situation.

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