The stories are numerous. People who intended to defend themselves found their firearm’s reliability lacking at precisely the moment they needed it – a revolver might have saved them.
The argument against wheel-guns (revolvers) is two-fold and wrong – on both counts. First, many question the ammo capacity of revolvers. Revolvers tend to hold between 5 and 6 rounds with a few high-end models holding 7 and rimfire guns holding as many as 10 while competing 9mm carry semi-automatics can carry 8 or more. Second, revolvers rely on a 9+ pound long trigger pull to make them go bang. While either of these arguments would rule out a double-action-only revolver as a high-speed match gun or as a duty gun for someone that might be in a bounding-fire gun-fight, it means nothing for the person who is much more likely to end up in a personal defensive engagement.
A defensive gun engagement typically happens at 6-10 feet with 1-2 assailants. Less than 3 shots are ever fired from from the victim. Consider that for a moment. Why only three? Things happen fast. A noise outside, the door flies open – does anyone really believe that 17 shots are going to be fired? How long does it take to fire 5 shots, let alone 10, 15, 17 or whatever? Assailants almost always flee after the first shot and unless you like steel bars and small spaces, you’d better not go chasing after them.
Now consider the semi-auto scenario.. the door busts open and the home owner pulls the trigger and hears “click”. Those other 9-16 rounds are just paperweights until a malfunction drill is performed – time given to the assailants.
If a semi-auto pistol is broken-in, fed ammo that has been reliably tested in that gun and the pistol is maintained perfectly, it can be a life-saver. If it is left in a drawer, purse or otherwise never maintained, it is destined to become a single-shot nightmare – at best.
Lastly, what happens when a semi-auto fails to fire, eject or otherwise perform? The user gets to do what is called a malfunction drill. The worst (double-feed) of which can mean seconds while a full magazine is dropped out of the gun, the slide is cycled, fresh magazine inserted and a good round pushed into the chamber. Time given to the assailant.
An excellent case-in-point comes from North Carolina just last month. A woman, fearing for her life from a violent ex-boyfriend, secured the proper permits and legally bought at least one firearm. He came after her, she attempted to use her firearm but…
“After their breakup, it turned very nasty,” he said. “He was threatening her to the point where she felt uncomfortable and she went and got a concealed carry permit. She was able to get one shot off, and then unfortunately the gun jammed.”
This is where revolvers come in. They cannot fail-to-go-to-battery, stovepipe, double-feed, fail-to-eject and if they ever go “click” instead of “bang” .. the malfunction drill is to pull the trigger again. No magazine fumbling, slide racking, time wasting B.S., just pull the trigger and the cylinder will rotate automatically to a fresh round.
The arguments against wheel-guns are ill-thought. Revolvers are simple and useful machines. They are easier to maintain than pistols and require less of it. Even with the heavier trigger, hitting a man-sized target at 10 feet should be no issue.
I carry a semi-auto, so I understand the allure. They are sexy, mechanically intriguing and in a prolinged gun gunfight can be a distinct advantage (unless the other side has rifles.) I also disassemble and clean mine every Sunday night and practice malfunction drills religiously. My wife … does not. Instead, she carries a revolver and knows that it will do what it should do whenever she needs it to – no malfunction drills necessary. I feel safer knowing she has that Smith .357 tucked away when she’s out alone, we’re out together or at home.