Firearm & Gun Forum - FireArmsTalk.com > Handguns > Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection > Arguments for Carrying a Semi-Auto or Revolver

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Old 09-29-2013, 08:42 PM   #1
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Default Arguments for Carrying a Semi-Auto or Revolver

I've started this thread because another one of our forum members doesn't want to have an honest discussion about valid reasons for selecting a revolver or semi-auto as a concealed carry weapon.

What I am posting here primarily applies to self defense concealed carry sidearms and not what the military or police might use, although some of the criteria they use for selecting sidearms is still every bit as applicable to civilian self defense weapons.

After receiving some replies he didn't like, he wanted people to stop responding, so I'm starting a thread here so that people can state their opinions on the matter and as the OP I will NEVER ask you to stop posting because I agree or disagree with your assertions, but I may ask you to back up what you say with numbers, logic, or something amounting to some form of tangible evidence because I think some intellectual honesty should be incorporated into everyone's arguments on the matter.

Try to express your opinion in an adult manner, but be completely honest about why you carry what you carry. If you feel the need to insult someone or call someone names, you can call me names because I'm a big boy and I'm not sensitive to immaturity and won't take offense to anything someone I've never met says to me in a conversation over the internet. However, if you choose to go that route, don't be surprised if you receive the same treatment.

Why start a discourse in a public forum wherein you ask other people about why they would not do something and then complain about the answers you get when they don't agree with your sensibilities about what YOU choose to do?

I don't ask people for input in public and then tell them to be quiet if I don't like their answers. If you don't want to hear the answers, then don't ask the question. However, I always learn something by talking to other people and therefore I will ask the question because I think the argument is something to consider for new shooters who do not have the experience or training of some of the more seasoned shooters here.

So, to start off, I will say that I generally recommend a compact, moderately powered semi-auto with relatively high capacity for new shooters with a minimum of moving parts and operating controls because it's more difficult to master something that's more complicated, for most people, and I don't know of any human who can more readily utilize a more complicated implement under duress than a simpler implement.

I try to look at things in general terms and not look for exceptions to the rules. There are always exceptions to the rules, but those don't apply to the general case and if we're going to make recommendations to new shooters, I think the general case is a good place to start.

Here's what I look at when determining what type of self defense weapon to recommend to other people:

1. Can the shooter's hand manipulate all the controls?

If the shooter can't easily manipulate all of the operating controls, it won't matter if you hand him or her the best pistol or revolver in the world.

2. Can the shooter adequately control the recoil of the weapon and is the weapon designed in such a way as to make this easier rather than more difficult?

I realize that some calibers offer slightly better ballistics than others, but at what expense to the shooter in terms of controllability? If the shooter can't easily control their weapon while firing quickly, that's a no-go for me.

3. Is the sighting mechanism usable from the box or will it require aftermarket parts to use?

Poorly designed sighting mechanisms make accuracy more difficult in ideal conditions and a serious shortcoming in a fight.

4. Is the capacity of the weapon sufficiently high as to afford the user a few misses?

The overwhelming majority of the people I see on the ranges have considerable difficulty hitting a stationary target at just 7 yards while they are also stationary. In my mind, it's a pretty safe bet that the average shooter is going to miss a couple shots, maybe even several, if they and their attacker are both moving. Even if the shooter is faced with just one assailant, being down two or three shots in a five shot weapon starts to present a real problem. Most people can, whether with accuracy or not, fire several shots per second, which means they're going to go through their ammunition supply rather quickly if they are surprised and fire reactively at their assailant. To my way of thinking, giving these people a little extra ammunition in the magazine or cylinder is a good idea- not because I don't want them to improve their marksmanship but because I don't want them holding an empty weapon and facing an attacker who hasn't decided to stop yet.

5. Cost. Money is a limiting factor for a lot of people. Most of us can't afford a 3K+ 1911 or 2K+ custom revolver. Yes, you can always spend more money and get a qualitatively better product, but there are limits to what we are willing and able to spend on self defense products and services. If money was not a factor, I'd just hire a body guard and let him figure out how to best protect us.

So, the premise of this discussion is about what sidearm would be optimal or as close to it as reasonably achievable for the majority of new shooters who are looking to arm themselves to protect themselves and/or their families when out and about (which means concealed carry to me), in their own homes (I still conceal it), and in and around their vehicles (also concealed carry for me).

A low capacity revolver, higher capacity revolver, low capacity semi-auto, high capacity semi-auto? Single shot or derringer?

What would you recommend a new shooter carry and what logical arguments would you present to support your decision? Even if you only carry something because you simply like carrying X or Y, feel free to chime in but be honest about why you are carrying it.

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Old 09-29-2013, 09:54 PM   #2
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What would you recommend a new shooter carry and what logical arguments would you present to support your decision? Even if you only carry something because you simply like carrying X or Y, feel free to chime in but be honest about why you are carrying it.
The platform they can afford, operate, shoot, and be comfortable with. For myself, I like a smi auto. But, a revolver does have the simplicity of just pulling the trigger (assuming DA), very hard to jam a revolver. Some people are confused with the controls of a semi auto, and may not want to mess with carrying an extra magazine. Plus, some people can't manipulate the slide on a semi.

Both have their advantages, seems kinda like a Chevy vs Ford question, but an interesting topic.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:37 PM   #3
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I think that anyone that will only depend on one or the other, not both, is missing out on alot. For example, in cool weather I carry a Glock 21SF and in warm weather I carry a S & W 642 Airweight .38. Both revolver and semiautos have their place and uses.

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Old 09-29-2013, 11:47 PM   #4
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Here is I dont mind have lower numbers of rounds:

The average number of rounds fired by a civilian self defender is 1.7
(according to the FBI crime statistics)

Not 17 but 1.7


So the lesser ammo capacity of a revolver is pretty much irrelevant,.... especially when you consider that the first round in civilian self defense stations nearly always decides the fight.

Since the 1st round tends to be decisive and for reasons explained elsewhere, a revolver has a greater hit probability per round, it stands to reason that revolvers while not being cool in movies or games, may be one of the best choices for civilian self defense out there.

I am not even a great shot, but when the Marshall service fires their service autoloaders at my range, Sharpshooters, VA, their patterns look like their shooting scatter guns compared to my groups in .357 Magnum.

And let's not forget that a civilian defender that fires fewer but more accurate rounds is also more desirable from a public safety standpoint, and will be less likely to supply political talking points to the enemies of our republic after a shooting.
(no spray and pray that autoloaders seem to engender among many users)

and in the opposite situation a low density environment you can make full use of the greater effective range of the typical .357 Magnum revolver when facing the typical 9 mm or 40 cal semi autoloader.

So I am hard pressed to conjure any common and realistic self defense scenario where a semi auto loader might actually be superior to a revolver.

The semi auto loader originally was developed out of a different requirements set (ie US and German military) and that requirements set is different and distinct form civilian self defense.

The decision ot carry a revolver vs a semi auto laoders i basically an acquisitions decision.
You lay down a requirements set that matches your operational environment and follow form there.
many folks say well the military uses blah , blah but we are not looking at a tactical situation as a civilian first defender (short of mass food riots but then you will be guarding your house/store w/ your AR anyway right?)

In a tactical environment you may need the extra rounds... but that is very distinct situation compared to civilian self-defense..

respectfully,

BlueZ

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:11 AM   #5
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Since the 1st round tends to be decisive and for reasons explained elsewhere, a revolver has a greater hit probability per round, it stands to reason that revolvers while not being cool in movies or games, may be one of the best choices for civilian self defense out there.
I have never heard of this. Interesting, do you have any facts to back up revolvers being more accurate on the first shot?
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:27 AM   #6
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its not specifcally the 1st shot they are better at its shots in general.

This is due to their fixed barrel (barrels are loose in semi autoloaders) and the revolving cylinder does not throw the gun off balance the way a semi autoloader does with its slide moving back and forth.

It is generally accepted that revolvers are more accurate for those reasons.
So if they are more accurate in general they will also be more accurate on the 1st shot.

Since first shots are decisive ....

Now revolvers dont just have advantages, for concealed carry the fact that their cylinder makes them wide is clearly a disadvantage since itmakes them less concealable and dependent on the time of year it may make them a non option for this reason.)

BTW I used to have a Glock 19.. in order to make it more carryable I lightened it up considerably by only loading 5 rounds..
it was super light and very comfortable for that reason.... never felt underarmed due to round count.

When it comes down to it ,I guess the best handgun is the one that meets your minimum standard of comfort in your holster while still having a modicum of meaningful performance.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:29 AM   #7
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This type of thread is getting old. If you need justification for owning a semi auto you need to see a doctor. Mental care is not available in an online forum.

When I buy a gun I buy it because I wanted it. I don't need anyone to tell me the gun cool or pretty. I already know it's cool and pretty or I wouldn't have bought it. If you don't like my gun you don't have to shoot it or even look at it. The way I feel about it is if someone doesn't like my gun they don't have to go home but they have to go somewhere.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:37 AM   #8
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Since the 1st round tends to be decisive and for reasons explained elsewhere, a revolver has a greater hit probability per round, it stands to reason that revolvers while not being cool in movies or games, may be one of the best choices for civilian self defense out there.
No link? What about a 1911 vs a revolver?

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When it comes down to it ,I guess the best handgun is the one that meets your minimum standard of comfort in your holster while still having a modicum of meaningful performance.
Today 01:11 AM
Absolutely. I don't know if it is his quote or not, but my favorite handgun instructor says he carries a comforting gun, not a comfortable one.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:38 AM   #9
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Great question, but I don't see it as an argument one way or the other.

Everyone will have a different reason to carry a different gun, type, caliber. They are all better than not carrying.

I choose to carry a semi auto. I can conceal a mid sized better. I want the maximum round count I can carry comfortably. Leaves me a ton of options.

My wife hates semi autos because she doesn't understand them. IF she were to carry, it would be a revolver, because of the simplistic mechanics of what she is comfortable with.

I would state that in a gun fight, accuracy in a revolver vs the speed and ability to put more fire power to stop the threat and reload quicker has my preference to the semi. This is only based on my shooting ability and preference, not what I think someone else should do.

When I qualified for CHL Instructor (for the revo qual), I placed 50 rounds in a nice 2.5 inch hole using a Colt 357 MII 6 inch. Just because I can shoot it accurately doesn't mean it is my firearms of choice in front of a threat.

Choose whatever you will carry more often and what you are comfortable with.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:48 AM   #10
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Everyone will have a different reason to carry a different gun, type, caliber. They are all better than not carrying.
I think we have a winner here.
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