Arguments for Carrying a Semi-Auto or Revolver

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by kbd512, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    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.
  2. Fred_G

    Fred_G Active Member

    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.

  3. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 New Member

    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.
  4. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    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..


  5. Fred_G

    Fred_G Active Member

    I have never heard of this. Interesting, do you have any facts to back up revolvers being more accurate on the first shot?
  6. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

    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.
  8. Fred_G

    Fred_G Active Member

    No link? What about a 1911 vs a revolver?

    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.
  9. AustinArmory

    AustinArmory New Member

    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.

  10. Fred_G

    Fred_G Active Member

    I think we have a winner here.
  11. AustinArmory

    AustinArmory New Member

    If I am engaging the BG, I am in a tactical situation.

    You can call it whatever you want (tactical, civi defense), but it is a situation that I will have every means avail to me.

    If 6 rounds is good for you in that situation, then that is your decision.

    If I am there, I will have your back no matter how many rounds you didn't bring.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  12. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

    This is so simple. The answer is yes.
  13. armsmaster270

    armsmaster270 New Member

    Revolver or semi-auto is entirely personal preference. I prefer both.

    My daily EDC

  14. Donn

    Donn Active Member

    Have both, carry either/or. Most importantly, am well drilled with both. Hope the day never comes, I'm confident I could engage with either. All that said, usually carry an auto. Easier to conceal IWB and a spare mag is handier than speed loaders or strips. MHO you understand.
  15. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    I'll weigh in with this. If you are going to carry something in an inadequate caliber, you better make sure you have a high enough round count to stop your attacker. If you are carrying something that should do the job with one or two well placed hits you should be okay with a lower capacity. Whatever you carry you need to demand 100% reliability out of it.

    I am a revolver fan. When I first started shooting there were two accurate pistols out there. One was the Colt Gold Cup 1911 and the other was the Browning HiPower. Neither one was affordable to me, and neither one was reliable enough for a defense pistol. Because my life did in fact depend on what I carried I went with S&W revolvers. I have never had a reason to regret it. I do have several pistols now, and I do carry them regularly, but if this was an open carry state I would go back to the K Frame Smith in a heartbeat.
  16. manta

    manta Well-Known Member Supporter

    What about the time you need more than six. The time to reload could get you killed. If people are happy with averages the (average) number of times that someone needs a firearm for self defence are I would say very low so why carry one.
  17. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    I'll counter that one with what about all the people that are happy with a low capacity .380? Then there are the ones carrying the S&W Shield 9mm with a capacity of 7 or 8. The Ruger LC-9 is 7+1 but it has a wide popularity. If you'll remember, we had a rather heated thread not too long ago about whether or not you should carry extra mags. There were people that carried low capacity .380s that saw no need for spare mags. It's up to the individual.

    I personally know 3 LEOs that have successfully defended themselves with .25acp pistols. It certainly wasn't their first choice, but their duty weapons had been removed from them by force. Stuff happens, and I know they are darn glad they had their BUG. You play the odds.

    Odds are that as a civilian you will never need a firearm to defend yourself. Odds are that if you manage to get the first hit on a single attacker, no matter what you are using, you will win. Odds are that if you have multiple attackers and put one down, the others will leave. Odds are that if you show the ability to resist with equal or greater force, your attacker will bug out. Odds are that if you are ever attacked by a flash mob of 200 people, it won't matter what you are carrying or how many spare mags you have.

    Ten years from the date you have to defend yourself nobody will care what you carried, nobody will care whether you had to reload, nobody will care what caliber you were using, and nobody will care whether it was a pistol or revolver. All they will care about is whether you won or lost.
  18. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

    No argument here. What you must consider is:
    1. What PPD WILL YOU CARRY all the time (comfort in carrying and concealability)
    2. What PPD do you shoot best. (hit probability)
    If they are not the same PPD, regardless of platform you MUST find one which can meet both, with priority on the first (if you don't have it with you when you need it it is worthless)!;)
    Revolver or auto don't matter. What works best for YOU is all that matters.
    That said, I do not recommend any caliber small than a 38 sp.:)

    PPD=Personal Protection Device:D
    I too have both and carry both depending on the circumstance.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  19. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    When I look at the arguments for or against carrying a certain type of handgun, I generally think to myself not "What can I do?" with this firearm, but, "What can an average person do with minimal training and practice?"

    I know that the argument could be made that the average shooter simply needs more training and practice, but that won't help them before or until they reach that level of proficiency.

    I think holding everyone else to your standard of marksmanship and capability is a bit unrealistic, even if it is an achievable goal, as evidenced by your achievement of that goal. Obviously, we should all advocate more extensive training and practice. After proficiency has been achieved, then in my mind it no longer matters what you carry.
  20. seancslaughter

    seancslaughter New Member

    I carry a xd 40 as my primary edc and my lil s&w 38 as a bug it depends on the situation I'm in what one I'll use if I get jumped and I'm on my back I can't reach my xd I'm grabbing my smitty from my ankle putting it right up under bg's armpit and firing all 6 if I'm standing face to face I'm grabbing my xd it's all situational and comfort ease of use and concealabilty it's also the practice that goes into war gaming your strategies and body and practice in possible scenarios.