For the past two months, I’ve been carrying one of my favorite defensive handguns, the Smith & Wesson 2 1/2-inch Model 19 revolver. Now, I’m not writing to discuss the pros & cons of packing a defensive revolver. I have always gotten along with them just fine and my defensive experience has been something more than just theoretical.
However, any time that I change guns, I make an effort to put in time with the gun to re-familiarize myself with it. That involves several trips to the shooting range and a good deal of dry practice, including presentations, before I feel confident in using it to protect my hide. After all, the operation of the defensive handgun has to be almost second nature, with our focus mainly on dealing with the threat.
One of the neat things about DA revolvers is that, with sufficient research and testing, you can find a stock combination that meets your needs. And it is really amazing the number of companies that make quality stocks for revolvers. In my case, that has been a set of Altamont Classic Panel stocks and a BK grip adapter.
Carrying extra ammunition is another consideration for the revolver shooter. I generally carry an HKS speed loader in the right pocket of my vest and a Bianchi Speed Strip in the left pocket. Obviously, the speed loader is used when all six shots have been fired, while the speed strip comes in handy to reload when only a few rounds need to be replaced. A compact dump pouch is also handy when just a few rounds are to be reloaded. And, I might add that there are other brands of speed loaders and speed strips for the shooter to choose from.
Living in the Southwest, we get by through most of the winter by wearing a vest or light jacket. In order to keep my revolver from printing on my covering garment, I’ve found that carrying it forward of my right hip bone (Appendix Carry) works very well. Secured in an in-the-pants holster, the gun is accessible with either hand and gets into action quickly.
Another thing that revolver shooters know is that there is quite an assortment of really good defensive ammunition available. Federal Hydra-Shok and HST ammo is worthy of mention, as are the offerings from Black Hills and Double Tap. However, I have been carrying and shooting the Speer .38 Special +P, 135 gr JHP ammo built especially or short-barreled guns. While visiting the Speer factory, I got to see this load tested in ballistic gel and was impressed with the performance. It is also quite accurate.
Revolver shooters are a bit of a clannish group, and that clan seems to have been growing lately. Find the stocks, gear, and ammo that works for you. And then be sure to do a sufficient amount of practice. Who knows, you may be a revolver fan and just don’t know it yet.
A version of this article appeared in Shooting Illustrated.