Defensive Revolvers: Just a Fad or Here to Stay?

You can calm down because this is not another one of those “Revolver vs. Semi-auto” articles. However, I am curious about all of the recent interest in defensive revolvers that I see on social media. Colt has recently made a big splash with the reintroduction of their Python revolver. At the same time, we continue to see and hear from shooters who cleave to their Smith & Wesson J-frame revolvers. And there seems to be continued interest in revolvers manufactured by several other companies. A custom holster maker recently told me that 70 percent of his orders are holsters for revolvers. I am curious if we are seeing a stable trend back to the defensive six-gun, or if this is just some sort of fad.

Of course, many of our older shooters have never quit the revolver. They learned to shoot it and shot it well. In many cases, these folks have had revolvers save their lives, and it’s pretty hard to quit a gun that you could rely on in those circumstances. These older shooters passed their love of revolvers on to their children, affecting the younger generation’s choices.

Also, I suppose that a certain number of folks are just looking for something new to play with. They’ve done their time with the big service semi-automatics, like the 1911, moved on to one or the other of the polymer guns, and are just looking for a change. 

There are also some older shooters who, because of physical conditions, find it difficult to rack the slide on a semi-automatic. They may also like that it is a bit easier to remember how to properly load and operate a double-action revolver. Finally, they may not shoot as often as they used to and the loaded revolver can lie, ready to go, without any springs depressed.

As an instructor, I have found that many people, especially novice shooters, find that the revolver is easy to shoot. It is, in fact, easy to shoot, but it is challenging to shoot well. That double-action trigger pull takes a lot of practice if one is intent on delivering accurate shots.

Regardless, the current interest in revolvers intrigues me. And, as we begin a new decade, I wonder where it will lead. We here at Shooting Illustrated would be interested to know what you think. Let’s don’t turn this into a Revolver/Semi-auto debate because I just don’t care—both are good guns in the right hands. Are you a revolver shooter? Why? Do you think it’s just a fad? What makes you think so? Let me hear from you. I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

This article originally appeared in Shooting Illustrated.

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