Monday, March 15, 2010

Slowly morphing from Pistol Pete into Willie Wheelgun Guy

If you had told me a year ago I'd own eight revolvers from .22 to .44, I'd have told you your crystal ball was cracked. But during the past year working at a gun shop, I've slowly morphed into a wheelgun lover. I've still got a lot more semi-auto pistols than revolvers, but some days I do wear two revolvers to work instead of a pistol and a wheelgun.

Dave Campbell has an article in the current American Rifleman that sort of expresses this evolution I've gone through, titled Wheelguns Still Work.
It took more than a century, but the semi-automatic pistol is now the go-to handgun for self-defense. The revolver, which preceded the self-loader, had a pretty good run—about 150 years. Evolving tactics and modern manufacturing capabilities, along with popular culture, have brought semi-auto pistols to the forefront. Now the question is: Should the revolver be put out to pasture as a self-defense handgun?

The Simpler Choice

A self-defense handgun is an extremely personal choice. Choosing a particular handgun should be based upon reliability, ease of use, power, concealability and cost—in roughly that order.

Semi-auto pistols are great instruments, but they require more training than revolvers to be used effectively. Make no mistake, I am fully aware that all firearms require training and practice to be of any real worth, but the semi-auto is, by its nature, more complicated.

Family members who may not be enthusiastic about guns and shooting but still want to be able to defend themselves will often find that a double-action revolver is more to their liking. Tactics and prior contingency planning come in to play, of course, but all potentially life-threatening events induce a great deal of trepidation. In these types of situations would it not be better to have a loved one using a simpler tool?

Power, Baby
Another reason I often prefer revolvers is that they continue to win the power race, at least in terms of handguns that can be easily carried. There are numerous compact snub-nosed revolvers that can do the job including some in power-punching calibers. While most people only need a .38 Spl. for typical use, a .357 Mag. snubby provides the versatility to choose between .38s and more powerful .357 rounds if there is a need.
And in the same issue, a left-handed revolver, the Charter Arms Southpaw is featured. Being a lefty shooter I've entertained thoughts of adding the Charter Southpaw to my modest arsenal.

Like the S&W Airweight .38 Special revolvers, the Charter Southpaw is only 12 ounces empty. And it just so happens we have one in stock at the gun shop. Somebody stop me before I buy my ninth revolver.

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