This is one of the first questions any new handgun buyer has to answer, and here’s Jason Anderson’s take on finding your own answer. READ MORE
by Jason Anderson
I’m often asked which type of handgun is better, a revolver or a semi-automatic? Well, the truth is there are pros and cons to both — it all depends on which one you’re more comfortable using. So allow me to break down the facts to help you decide which type firearm fits your needs best.I’m often asked which type of handgun is better, a revolver or a semi-automatic? Well, the truth is there are pros and cons to both — it all depends on which one you’re more comfortable using. So allow me to break down the facts to help you decide which type firearm fits your needs best.
First, let’s go over some of the reasons people prefer revolvers for self-defense:
1. They’re easy to fire. A typical revolver has a cylinder that rotates with each fired shot. There is no need to feed the next round, and each round is separate, so there is no way for the rounds to jam or double-feed. Anyone who shoots often has at some point experienced an ammunition malfunction or feeding issue with a semi-auto. While it’s not something that happens all the time, it does happen. And if you don’t know how to fix it, you could be in trouble.
2. A revolver is simple to reload. It’s easy to reload a revolver, because all you have to do is push the cylinder out and remove the expended cartridges. Then reload each chamber with fresh ammo and push the cylinder back into place. It’s not exactly a quick process, but it’s very basic. Reloading a semi-automatic weapon can be difficult for some people, because first, you have to pull back the slide to chamber a round. Someone who is elderly or has weak hands may not be able to manipulate the slide very well, which is another reason to consider a revolver.
3. They require less maintenance. I’m a big believer in keeping your guns clean and properly oiled. Even if you don’t shoot often, it’s important to make sure you oil your semi-auto to keep the contact points lubricated. While this is especially important for a semi-auto, it’s less important for a revolver. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you never need to clean or oil a revolver, but you don’t need to do it as often as with a semi-automatic. When semi-autos first arrived on the scene, most people agreed that revolvers were more reliable and dismissed them. But over the years, handgun manufacturers have improved the durability and functionality of semi-automatic weapons.
Now here are the top three reasons to consider a semi-auto:
1. They have a higher capacity. Most revolvers have a five- or six-shot capacity. However, semi-autos have a much wider range of magazine capacity — usually anywhere from 7-19 rounds depending on the firearm. Obviously, if I was in a gunfight, I would rather have more rounds. In fact, when police departments around the country began switching to semi-autos, one of the biggest reasons was so officers had more rounds in the event of a shootout.
2. They’re quicker to reload. There are people who will tell you that they can reload a revolver faster than you can reload a semi-auto. And someone who has practiced reloading a revolver can probably do it pretty quickly. However, the average person will likely always be faster at reloading a semi-automatic than a revolver.
3. They have better accuracy. The majority of people will be more accurate shooting a semi-automatic than a revolver because of the more modern design. Most semi-autos have less recoil and muzzle jump than revolvers. Also, semi-autos tend to have a smoother trigger pull than revolvers, and when you combine these factors, they usually allow for better accuracy.
When it comes down to which type of handgun is better, it really depends on personal preference. If you suffer from arthritis and can’t pull the slide back on a semi-auto, then you might want to consider a revolver.
However, if you carry concealed often, you probably want a semi-auto that can hold more rounds. To figure out which side of the fence you’re on, I recommend going to your local gun range. Rent a few different guns of each type and see what works best for you.
Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit SpyEscape.com.