Originally Posted by MattyT
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?
Yes, a single action is a viable option. The manual of arms is different than with a semi auto, but not any more difficult if you practice with it. In a typical self defense encounter as a private citizen, the SA is a lot easier to defend your actions in event of a trial as it is obviously not a high capacity gun. Also, a private citizen will most likely never fire the gun anyway, so 6rounds is plenty. On the other hand, if you are jumped by a gang, reloads are slower ( but you can reload on the fly if you practice).
As for practical accuracy, the SA is often better than a DA revolver as you are firing in single action (a typical DA revolver does not cock as easy and the prosecutor could use this against you as you premeditated the action of shooting since you cocked the hammer on a DA revolver). The 38 special is adequate as a self dense round (in modern JHP or JSP ammunition) so you need not feel under-gunned. The 357 magnum is generally adequate for critter defense unless you are in grizzly territory (you would want a large bore rifle for that). Oh, the lowly wad cutter (typically 140-148 gr lead) is also a very effective home defense round in temperate climates where the BG is not wearing heavy clothing (plus they would never be able to say you were carrying man killer hollow points in court).
Holsters for concealed carry of an SA revolver are not common. I used a Mernickle high rise for a Vaquero 44 special for ccw ( still, it is not easy to conceal the gun except in the winter. Open carry is a lot easier, and very few BGs would mess with a person with a single action on his belt (most know how to effectively use it).
So it is possible with the right holster and it is no more difficult to master the manual of arms than it is with a single action auto. But the gun is harder to conceal.
As for shot shells, I never trust a handgun shot shell to kill a snake with one shot. I encountered a rattler while hiking on a narrow trail (my cousin was in front and froze, the snake was ready to strike), drew and shot the snake with a Speer shot shell (38spl), and had to dispatch the snake with the second round (supervel 110gr 357 jhp - yes, this does date me as these were made in the 70's and 80's), which cut the head off the body. Since then I do not rely on the shot shell for rattlers.
Hope this helps.