I Want a Revolver for Personal Protection, but Which One?

To OC or Not to OC?Many people are drawn to revolvers because of their ease of function.  If this is really what you want, there are a few suggestions.  The keys for selecting any firearm are Fit, Control and Intended Use.

Fit – Does it fit your hand?  Can you grip it securely?

Control – Can you shoot it accurately and quickly?  This relates to the trigger pull, the caliber, and the size/weight of the gun.  Since a gun is not a good luck charm and you should never draw it unless you intend to shoot it, you need to be able to get on target, pull the trigger, hit your target, and then pull the trigger again if they are still a threat.  Trigger pull refers to the pounds of pressure required to pull the trigger.  Revolvers tend to be a little heavier than semi-automatics so you want to be sure you can pull the trigger quickly without impacting your accuracy.  Caliber refers to the size of the cartridge.  A larger or higher power, cartridge tends to generate more recoil.  For example, I have a revolver that shoots .38 and .357.  I can handle the .38s easily, but the .357 left a bruise that lasted two weeks!  You can go to a smaller caliber, but with limited rounds (usually 5 or 6) you want the best stopping power per round that you can handle.  The size and weight of the gun also impact your ability to carry with relative comfort and your ability to control the firearm.  The lighter, smaller guns are easier to carry and generally harder to shoot.  The heavier guns are less fun to carry but generally will help you absorb the recoil better.

Intended Use – If you plan to carry a revolver concealed, size and barrel length are factors.  We looked at size in the last paragraph.  Barrel length, a 2.5 inch barrel is easier to carry than a 4 inch barrel but it takes a lot more practice to be accurate.  A hammerless or shrouded hammer is easier to carry, as you don’t have to worry about the hammer spur catching on clothing when you are drawing the firearm.

How to choose?  If you can, try out a couple, maybe shoot with a friend or go to a range that rents firearms and get a feel for them.  If not, gun shows have the broadest selection and often the best prices.  Pick them up, get comfortable with the feel, ask permission to dry fire (pulling the trigger on an unloaded gun that is pointed in a safe, not at a person or concrete floor, direction) and see if you can handle the trigger pull.  Remember it will feel different if you have to pull it multiple times.  Do not be swayed by the salesperson that tells you that “this won’t be a good range gun, you won’t like to practice with it but in an emergency your adrenaline will be up and you’ll be able to handle it”.  Yes, there are still a few out there who say that.  If you don’t practice with it how can you be comfortable that you will be able to use it defensively?

Choose wisely, and be safe!

Lynne Finch-Charlesworth

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