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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I "learned" recently from a gent who emailed me that "the revolver was obsolete" and no longer a viable defense option and that I should not be suggesting otherwise on my site!

Just for grins, today I took a used Model 10-6 HB that I purchased a while back to the range and timed some practical-type drills. I am not suggesting that how much these are or are not relevant to effective defensive shooting, only that this is what I did.


This is the revolver that was used. It is DAO and all shots were fired double-action. The stocks are from Eagle and are their Secret Service style.

Ammunition used was handloaded and represents (to me, at least) a round comparable in recoil to Remington's 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. It averaged just under 900 ft/sec from this revolver based on a 10-shot string over the chronograph screens which was the usual 10' from the muzzle.

Drills from the low-ready as well as presentation from the holster were done and were timed with a PACT timer, damned ol' merciless thing!

All shooting was done two-hand hold and standing at varying distances, none farther than 12 yards.


This group was fired starting from the draw with "hands up" in the traditional "IPSC Surrender Position". As can be seen, it was repeated 6 times. Average time was 1.40 sec per shot including reaction time when the buzzer sounded.

Other drills included the traditional "Mozambique", Mr. Higginbotham's "Handgun Controllability Drill" as well as drawing and firing one "rescue shot" at about 4 yards.

In short, other than a more limited ammunition capacity than most autoloaders, I remain unconvinced that a quality DA revolver gives up much, if anything in the real world. I am equally convinced that in the matter of reloading, given equal practice, a shooter can reload the semiauto faster. (At least this is the case for me.)

Today's exercises were not intended as any sort of training regimine but I do think that they are "doable" by most shooters and can provide at least an idea as to how viable a medium-power, medium-frame revolver is or is not for them.

For those who might be interested, the detailed report is here:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/shooting_the_Model%2010%20Defensively.htm

Best.
 

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Mr. Camp,

That all-steel J-frame of mine is so controllable that I dump five shots in about two seconds into COM of the target. That's my lil' "failure to stop" drill.

To suggest that the revolver is obsolete, well, that's kinda' shortsighted. It's true that they require more training on the reload - something I've yet to master - but with a primary full size with a NY reload via a snub backup I would not feel underarmed at all.

In fact, that S&W M19-3 4" barrel I had was probably one of the most controllable handguns I've ever shot, and was by far the most accurate. I used to make 1/4" rope dance at 25yds, and even managed to cut it a few times.

Man, I miss that revolver!

Josh <><
 

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Howdy folks,

Mr. Steve, I simply have to agree with you sir. I think it is much more an issue of the operator rather than the machine he is operating. I do agree that with equal training, even using speed loaders, it is also faster for me to reload a semi than a revolver. But I simply would not feel having only a revolver would put me in a dangerous situation - if I were a competent operator. In some respects, with a new shooter, if choosing between the two platforms, many of those new shooters might actually be "safer" getting their sea legs with the revolver rather than the pistol.

I am not trying to throw rocks at either platform as I do enjoy using both. I would also feel more than adequately armed with either. So I tend to feel the person sending you the pm may lack the necessary operator skills to make them safe with a revolver. But one operator does not make a platform safe or unsafe to me.

twoguns
 
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I think we are getting emotional here, I have nothing against revolvers, own quite a few, and feel like I could protect life or limb with them, I also feel that way about a 1858 Remington Cap and ball, shoots fast as lightning loads a might slow, I have also dropped quite a few deer with a Hawkins muzzle loader, and would be comfortable and feel adequately armed with a muzzleloader hunting pretty much anything. Looking up the definition of "Obsolete" I see several definitions, some related to no longer used or unpopular, in that case revolvers are far from obsolete, If we look at the definition "replaced by something better" Id have to agree by that definition revolvers are obsolete, they held their own for years against autoloaders based on reliability, but with modern autoloaders and proper tuning of older autoloader designs the reliability issue is a draw. So what other tests would we judge a defensive weapon with ? Accuracy, time to first A zone hit, power, all pretty much a draw, capacity, speed of reload, ease of carrying reload,weight to fire power ratio, concealability, all favor autoloaders, about the only advantage I can think of is they are simple and have a simple learning curve and are probably suitable for new defensive shooters or shooters who want protection but not dedicated to lots of training, and for those situation I reccommend revolvers myself. Is it still an effective defensive tool ? In my mind it is, Is it obsolete ? In my mind it has been replaced by something better so it is.
 

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Hello Mr. Camp,

I am very much in agreement with what has been said thus far.

It is the skill of the Operator and not the features of the machine as to whether or not the job gets done.

A case in point is the work I am presently doing with my S&W 642-2 J frame revolver. The more I practice, the better my skill level gets with the "snubby". Using my favorite handload of 4.6 grains of Unique under a Speer 158 grain LSWCHP traveling at an estimated velocity of 950 fps I was able to engage the pictured target below rapid fire.



I certainly do not feel underarmed in any way, shape or form with the J-frame snubby. As a matter of fact, I feel that if I continue to practice as I have been than my skills will be more than adequate to handle most "street driven" encounters that I might run up on here where I live.

Thank you for the report and excellent photos.

Chris
 

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To a public educated by movies I'm sure the revolver is obsolete. To the run of the mill gun owner who gets all his info from news stand rags, I imagine the same thing applies. To anyone who grew up and trained with a good revolver.... no way! I freely interchange carrying a Star PD, Charter Bulldog, S+W Bodyguard, Astra Constable, S+W 19 or a 1911a1. All work fine if you know what you're doing. If you, God forbid, get in a gun fight chances are it'll be over in less than 3 rounds acorrding to stats. If the guys issue was sustained firefights ala Mel Gibson then he may have a point in favor of a SA and lotsa mags. But I found that once I gave up crack and heroin, stopped running with other guys wives and quit the gang in the 'hood that my weekly number of 500 round gunfights dropped by almost half.........
 

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My prejudice for the M10 heavy barrel platform has already been established. I think it's the nearly perfect junction of form and function being in perfect harmony, though I'll add the 3" RB M10, M13, M64, and M65 into the mix, as well as the 4" HB versions of all of these. Currently I actually carry a 4" M65 at work, loaded with Remington 125-grain soft hollow points in the magnum loading.

Regard what I said about form and function being in harmony. I can't shoot a 4" skinny barrel 10 *nearly* as well as I can the heavy barrel platform, and since it's my belief that the most important shot you fire in a gunfight is the *first* shot, the way a particular weapon functions in my hand is key to my own survivability. A well tuned Model 10 points instinctively, functions flawlessly, and sends bullets downrange like they're on rails.

Okay, I said I was prejudiced, right?

When I do carry a HB 10, either in the 3" or 4" length, I load it with Winchester 158 SWCHP +P and don't feel terribly outgunned.

Sure, I'd like to have more firepower, but my pickup truck lists to one side kinda bad when I mount the Ma Deuce on the hood. For most environments, however, the good old M&P is just peachy.



 

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Hello Leland,

I couldn't agree with you more:


I think it's the nearly perfect junction of form and function being in perfect harmony, though I'll add the 3" RB M10, M13, M64, and M65 into the mix, as well as the 4" HB versions of all of these.
Well said and I would like to add that the two you have pictured do indeed show "honest wear".

Chris
 

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Chris, the 4" shows wear, whereas the 3" was purchased NIB about ten hours before the picture was taken. What it shows is honest gunpowder residue. :)
 
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For one, I think it is a mis-statement that automatics have matched revolvers in reliability. I know that revolvers can jam, but I have never seen one do so. Every single one of my auto's, except my Sig 226, has jammed at least once. It could have been operator error, it could have been bad ammo, or maybe I didn't use quite enough lube, but a jam is a jam. You WILL NOT see a revolver jam due to limp-wristing, or a weak magazine spring, or any obstruction that would cause an automatic to not be able to cycle. Does this mean that we should lay down our auto's? No, but to say that the revolver is obsolete is to be very misinformed.

And one other thing, I've seen some guys with moon-clips smoke people with auto's on the reload. From what I've seen moon-clips are, at the very least, an equalizer. ~Pistolero
 
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Yes a Miculek can slam a moonclip reload but remember he is reloading after 6 and only six more, he also is much faster shooting multiple targets with a Para Ordnance, moonclip reloads are in no way an equalizer. and revolvers can malfunction, a high primer will lock one up but not even phase a auto, then again a ruptured case will lock up an auto but still let you shoot the other cylinders, you can clear many revolver malfunctions with one hand (pull the trigger by hand) Point I am makeing they are both mechanical devices and can and do malfunction. I still feel the difference in reliability is negligiable, therefore by the replaced by something better definetion obsolete, still effective I'll admit but not the best choice for anyone with a moderate level of training.
 

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Obsolete is as obsolete does. A good person with a wheelie is the equal of a slob with a auto. Clothes and equipment do not make the player.
 

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Gents,

Wow! Good to know someone set Stephen and the rest of us straight. I had no idea I was undergunned when carrying a revolver. Guess I'll have to sell all mine now... ;)
Another armchair commando heard from?

Wes
 
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And a good person with a revolver (Miculek) is better with an autoloader, so What's your point ? Rather than degenerating into "I know you are so what am I" comments, why not look at the logical and fact based arguments I made, crack open a webster's look at definition of Obsolete and make your case. I never stated a revolver wasnt a viable self defense tool, In many cases a large stick is a viable self defense tool, The fact that it is still viable has nothing to do with the fact that it has been replaced by something better.
 

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Well Steve, I agree with this chap. Revolvers are antiquated and useless.

To prove my charity I am setting up a "useless gun collection point" and you gents with those old guns pictured above can send them to me and I will dispose of them.

To be fair I will provide a new fangled auto pistol (of my choice) to each one so you will be armed with the latest technology!

I dont guess this will work huh????


Jim H.
 

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Howdy folks,

This is an excellent thread, and I sure hope it does not degenerate into a "my dog can lick your dog" thread, because we would have to lock it down at that point. So please remember we can certainly disagree with this or any other topic, but let's do it as gentleman please.

I started using revolvers seriously in the early 70s when I became a LEO and they were my duty and off duty weapons. In 1987 after I had gone federal, I was sent to the Federal Firearms Instructor Program at FLETC to be certified as an instructor at the federal level. Until that point in time I could recall seeing the ejector rod back out and lock the cylinder of a revolver maybe 5 or 6 times in all those years. This does not factor in defective ammo, I am speaking of mechanical type revolver malfunctions here.

The instructor made the point that a single flake of unburned powder trapped behind the cylinder star could lock the action up in a revolver. He obviously knew what he was saying, as we were issued range command cards with shortened tooth brushes attached on a chain. We were using 3" RB model 686 Smiths (CS-1) revolvers, and probably the filthiest ammo I can recall ever firing on the range. That was indeed the first time I have ever seen a flake of powder locking the cylinder of a revolver, and it happened a lot with all of us during that two week course.

Since then, I have never seen it happen again, so I think it was largely a large quantity of ammunition in inventory that simply needed to be used up before a different brand could be acquired for training. The instructor did note they were reserving this particular ammo for more advanced courses, rather than for basic training, as advance shooters could clear the revolver and still fire their remaining rounds within the time limits.

So I have indeed seen malfunctions/problems with a revolver over my 3.5 decades of instructing, but they have been extremely limited. By comparison, I have seen far more malfunctions on the range involving semi pistols. But a proficient operator with either platform can normally correct the issue quickly and get back into the fight in short order. To me that is what being proficient includes when shooting. Not only being a good shot, but being proficient with your draw/grip/presentation, as well as clearing any malfunctions that occur.

Just my personal opinion, but I do not think the revolver is obsolete. I think both platforms are as proficient as the operator holding them. What is the best platform to carry and trust your life to? I think that is totally up to each individual shooter/operator. To me it is simply a win-win situation really. Those that prefer revolvers, leave more pistols on gun store shelves for the committed pistol users. Those who will only use a pistol, leave more revolvers for those fans. So every one wins in my view.

I have and will continue to trust my life to both platforms. But I have handled each enough that I am comfortable with either. If someone feels that pistols are more trustworthy then I think that is what they should carry, and the same for someone who feels a revolver is the more reliable handgun.

Just my thoughts on an excellent topic that I hope remains on the high ground.

twoguns
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hello and thanks to all for their replies. I agree that this doesn't need to become a shouting match...which it hasn't, something of which I am glad.

My intention was not to suggest that the revolver is superior to a reliable autoloader and as others have mentioned, either can malfunction; I've certainly seen it.

The aim was to show that during the first all-critical shots, a practiced hand with the revolver is not automatically doomed to failure as some folks have implied both on other sites and in the scathing email I received.

Speaking only for myself, my "skill" level is such that I am considerably quicker with the automatic and that they normally hold more rounds before going empty is a point in their favor in my view, so long as that doesn't translate into a "fill the air with lead and I'll hit something approach." Regardless of the launching platform, accuracy is still an essential element of the equation.

Neither would I attempt to sway a soul away from the Glock, 1911, Hi Power or other quality semi. Heck, mine are not going anywhere and there's usually one near to hand when at home or elsewhere. At the same time, I do not believe that I'm essentially unarmed or helpless when my Model 64 is stuck in a hip pocket when I step outside to smoke in the dark.


I like and use both autos and revolvers such as this pair of .45 ACP handguns that serve as bedroom insurance policies.


Before retiring from police work, this combination was the norm for me for several years.

Thanks again for the replies and best.
 

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The only reason to pick one over the other is ammo. A 44 mag fan obviously is "stuck" with a revolver (unless he wants a desert eagle).

Semiautos have been around almost as long as revolvers so both are reliable.
I believe that the only thing that kept the revolver alive was the advent of the modern hunting revolver. If it werent for the 357 mag and the 44 mag, I dont think that the revolver could have survived as long as it has. If it hadnt been for modern metallurgy and these two high pressure, high performance rounds, revolvers would not have made it into the 21st century.

Revolvers made in these two calibers can be loaded from pussy cat to sabre tooth both in terms of recoil as well as power. no semiauto is as versatile without swapping out springs.

The other advantage that revolvers have is customizability. In a semiauto the grips are limited by the size of the magazine. Since the rounds in a revolver are not stored in the grip, you can have a very long cartridge and still have a grip that fits a smaller hand.
 
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The spitting contest is over - J.S.

Revovlers are still in use. Many people seem to really like them. Yes, maybe they are a little old-fashioned, but you must remember that the 1911 is a 100 year old design itself.

Also, a nine-shot revolver holds more ammunition than many single-stack automatics, and with moon-clips can be reloaded at least nearly as fast as an automatic.

Just a couple reasons why I feel that the revolver is anything but obsolete. ~Pistolero

P.S. Nice Sig Stephen!
 
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I say use what YOU are comfortable with and make you sure are proficient (one or two "f"s? I can't remember) with it.

As it happens, I like both revolvers and autos but for different reasons and situations. I prefer to carry an auto but I like a revolver for the nightstand or for leaving hidden in the car. My preferences are for handguns where the trigger pull is the same for every shot. No DA/SA autos, please.
 
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