The Virtues of the Semi-Auto Pistol

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by gunzilla, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. gunzilla

    gunzilla New Member

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    http://grabagun.com/blog/

    If you read my last piece: “The virtues of the Revolver,” you probably concluded that I am a revolver devotee and that I’ve barely gotten past the Colt SAA stage. Unfortunately that would be an incorrect conclusion on your part as I was simply stating the obvious attributes of the revolver. And yes, I do own and carry pistols. And I, like so many of us who enjoy the shooting sports, do not limit ourselves to one type of firearm over the exclusion of others. I enjoy shooting rifle, shotgun, revolver and pistol. Each is appreciated for its uniqueness and its ability to do what each class was designed to do best. It is for this reason that I don’t believe that one manufacturer/style/caliber is best for all. One size fits all is a bad philosophy to preach, especially to the neophyte hand gunner. Of course I am partial to one brand and action of semi-auto over all others (and it’s not the 1911…sorry bunko) but I don’t push my preferences upon others. And that’s how it should be.

    Please keep in mind that the following comments are of a general nature; that is, they might not agree with your experience or your particular semi-auto. With that said, let me say that the biggest and most obvious virtue of the semi-auto is its ability to carry more ammo than the revolver but less than an AR15. Still, more is definitely better than less. Whether you have a 7+1, 8+1, 15+1, 17+1, etc. shooter, its payload is superior to my J-frame or K frame or N frame revolver. Yet I still do not feel under gunned when carrying my S&W Model 13 for reasons that I look forward to sharing with you at a later date.

    I like the svelte lines of the semi-auto. Its bulbous free sides make it comfortable to carry if you have to carry without a holster. If you consider safeties, slide releases, decockers, ambidextrous controls, lasers, flashlights, bayonets, and a SAM launcher, then the svelte lines begin to fade, but generally speaking not excessively. But for me this is of little concern since my semi-autos go forth unadorned…and I like it like that. (But you should see my shotgun. It does carry a SAM launcher…well, almost).

    The trigger pull on most pistols are generally better than those found on revolvers. They are lighter, smoother and have a shorter distance to travel than those found on revolvers. Although most triggers on revolvers can be improved upon, generally speaking, the semi-auto has the edge in this category.

    The sights found on the majority of semi-autos are good to excellent; but when compared to what? When compared to your typical snub nose revolver, then the sights on pistols are superior, but when compared to the sights found on a target revolver, then “good” is as good as it gets.

    Let’s keep in mind that comparisons are tricky if you don’t keep things equal and on the same playing field. It’s an obvious statement but often overlooked when people compare one “something” against another “something” of a different stripe. There are those that walk among us that feel perfectly justified in comparing the advantages of their high capacity pistol mounted with a LaserMax to a three hundred dollar Stevens Security Model Bottom Ejecting 12 gauge shotgun. Yes. But under what circumstances? Yet the sad part about this is that these same people VOTE.

    What do you feed your pistol? I feed mine whatever it can digest without choking itself to death (and taking me along with it). Is this a virtue? Yes. Once you fine tune its diet it becomes very virtuous. Even the revolver can’t digest a poorly made round. All my pistols run like a fine tuned Swiss watch…now, not then.

    Fast reloads…some say that this is another positive for the pistol. I won’t argue against a valid opinion, but I will say that it is not a major factor in my decision on what to carry on any given day. There are other factors to consider other than ammo capacity or having the option to a quick reload. But that too is a discussion for another day.

    Based on years of shooting, talking to and observing other shooters, I would like to put forth a general statement about those who shoot revolvers or pistols to the exclusion of the other. For those individuals who fall in the category of “I just want something for the nightstand” or I want a gun but I don’t have a lot of time to spend with it, or I want something simple and straight forward because I’m mechanically challenged, then the obvious choice for this type of person would be the revolver. For those individuals who take the shooting sport more seriously, who are willing to spend more time with their gun on and off the range, who are willing to spend additional dollars on enhancing their purchase, be it revolver or pistol, are candidates that can appreciate the virtues of the revolver and the pistol and can live happily ever after with both of them if they so choose.

    Happy Shooting,

    Scorpio

    http://grabagun.com/blog/
     
  2. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I think you do sound a little biased.

    Some of the advantages you listed of revolvers apply to autos as well:
    For example, you can leave an auto and a revolver loaded for 10 years, and they'll both function just fine when you pick them up.

    Some of the advantages are over-stated a bit:
    There are plenty of revolver grips that can't be significantly changed, and I'd also say most auto grips don't need to be changed. If they do, typically a slip-on grip is all that one needs. Besides, there are still autos out there with changeable grips (like the '92 series and the 1911) for those who want custom colors and such.
    Iit is very easy to tell an auto is chamber-loaded, and most modern ones now even have indicators to tell you when the chamber is packed. In any case, whether I'm dry-firing an auto or a revolver, I still triple-check the cylinder / chamber before squeezing the trigger (and still a dozen more times in a given session--you can never be too sure).
    Also, an auto like a Glock is just as simple to grab and shoot as a revolver. Indeed, the odds of a malfunction occurring are technically greater than with the revolver (i.e. due to limp-wristing), but not so much so that if an appropriate caliber for the shooter is chosen that it would be a big deal.

    And the biggest advantages of autos I think were a bit reduced. You finished the capacity admission with your own qualifier that you don't think having more capacity is that important. You discount that ability to reload quickly as unimportant, when I think it is hugely important for any serious shooter. Like I mentioned before, there probably aren't many people who can reload a non-competition revolver (i.e. no round-nosed ammo, no moon-clips, no beveled chambers, etc) as fast as I can, but with hardly any practice I can still reload my autos faster. This might not be a big deal for an 18rd 9mm, but for a 6- or 7-rd pocket pistol that can be huge, and for a 5-shot revolver this disadvantage becomes even more obvious.


    Again, I carried my 8" .44mag Raging Bull for about 5 hours today out shopping and such, but I still give credit where it's due :) .

    *edit*

    I want to clarify that I mean this entirely as constructive feedback for your blog :) .
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011

  3. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    IMO, the topic is more arbitrary and subjective, bearing in mind

    personal wants and needs of the everyday shooter.

    Many, if forced into mortal combat, might embrace something

    different than their every day

    standard preference for range, field, HD, and SD.

    While not particularly a wheel gun advocate, I don't feel I can

    convincingly argue the merits of any auto-loader to a revolver fan

    successfully, either.

    I know I don't shoot guns I don't like very accurately. I also doubt others do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  4. gunzilla

    gunzilla New Member

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    Good points and good feedback. The ability to reload quickly should be emphasized in retrospect. Not that many of us will end up in a shoot but you never know.
     
  5. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Yeah of course. But, one of my benefits of a revolver was the ability to shoot powerful loads, accurately. But, most people will neither shoot loads that powerful for SD, nor will they need to make hits at 100 yards :D .


    But, I appreciate what you're doing, if you're trying to make a beginner-friendly guide to "what kind of handgun should I get first?"