The Wheelgun Alternative
Dr. John Woods 11.24.15
Who says that a pistol makes the best concealed weapon or self-defense handgun? What happened to the use of the time honored and proven multi-shot, cylinder driven, double action revolver? The wheelgun is certainly still a viable alternative to the semi-auto pistol for many shooters.
Frankly there are so many semi-auto pistols on the market today in calibers from .22 LR, .32, .380 ACP, 9mm, 40 S&W, .45 ACP, and others that is it mind-boggling. What do nearly all of these pistols have in common? They are complicated to use for most of the average shooters and require a lot more training to be safe and proficient in their use.
Most pistols usually have mechanical safeties, manual slide locks, magazine release buttons, and other features to manipulate. There are hammer fired guns and striker fired models, which have to be learned to be handled differently. All pistols are magazine fed, so shooters have to learn how to load them, insert them, and release them.
On the flip side, revolvers are much simpler to use. You open the cylinder by a push or pull release, insert the five or six rounds that the cylinder holds, close the cylinder until it securely locks, then either cock the hammer to shoot the handgun single action, or just pull the trigger in the double action mode. There are no safeties, slide releases, or other mechanisms to fool with. The only other mechanism to engage is the cylinder ejector ahead of the cylinder that pushes all of the cartridges out of the cylinder once fired.
The revolver is then a pretty darn safe handgun so long as you keep your finger off the trigger. It is nearly impossible to “accidentally” fire a revolver. A revolver should never be carried with the hammer cocked. In theory, if a revolver were to be dropped on the hammer in the down position it could fire, but there are hammer stops in place to prevent that on most modern guns.
Revolvers can be purchased in a wide variety of suitable cartridges effective for concealed carry, personal defense, and heavier work. The usual suspects include the .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .41 and .44 Magnums, plus the .45 Long Colt and even the .45 ACP with moon clips. There are many .22 rimfire revolvers as well. A good .357 Magnum makes a good choice because the .38 Special can be fired as well. The .44 Special can likewise be used in the .44 Magnums.