“Psst… hey kid, you want a revolver? Everyone’s doing it, you know you want to.” Welcome to another TFB Wheelgun Wednesday, where we explore the world of revolvers. This week’s edition will be more geared towards those who haven’t joined the revolver-owning cool kids, but we certainly want to hear from our regular wheelgunners to cover other reasons or considerations. For those readers that haven’t taken the leap, let us know what’s held you back. Let’s dig in to the top 5 reasons you should get a revolver!
Wheelgun Wednesdays @ TFB:
- Wheelgun Wednesday: Ruger SP101 Review
- Wheelgun Wednesday: The .476 Caliber Colt SAA Revolver
- Wheelgun Wednesday: The Forcing Cone Zone
- Wheelgun Wednesday: Desecrating A Schofield Revolver?!
TWO TYPES OF REVOLVERS
I just wanted to take a minute to distinguish the two types of revolvers for anyone truly starting at zero. Single Action revolvers are typically associated with the Old West and cowboys, and require the shooter to thumb back the hammer for each shot, and the trigger has a single job of releasing the hammer forward.
Double Action revolvers can be fired without manually cocking the hammer, the trigger has a two step function of pulling the hammer back, and releasing it, all with one pull of the trigger. Most modern double action revolvers can also be fired in single action and are known as double action/single action, or DA/SA revolvers.
Both types of revolvers have their strengths and weaknesses and may factor in a little differently on the following list. Just to clarify, I’m more biased towards DA/SA revolvers, but I think this list will cover both types pretty closely.
top 5 reasons to own a revolver – SIMPLICITY
Double action wheelguns are actually quite simple to operate. The rotating cylinder is clearly visible, and aside from the trigger and hammer, the only knob or button on the revolver is what opens the cylinder for loading and unloading the gun. Once the cylinder has been loaded, it can be closed and the revolver is ready to be fired. Because revolvers don’t hold as many cartridges as semi-auto pistols, they do have to be manipulated more often, but the overall unloading, loading and firing are pretty straightforward.
Single Action revolvers are a little more involved because everything except advancing the cylinder while firing is done manually. However, the whole process is simple to understand once you’ve been shown.
top 5 reasons to own a revolver – POWER
One of the biggest advantages that revolvers have over semi-automatic pistols is that wheelguns can contain much more powerful cartridges. Revolver cartridges such as the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and now the .500 S&W Magnum, and the revolvers that chamber them, have been claiming the title of “most powerful handgun in the world” since the 1930s. Some grips graciously reduce the felt recoil, while others don’t, but there’s something about feeling the amount of power that can come from a hand cannon, which can either serve for hunting, protection or just for the fun of it.
top 5 reasons to own a revolver – hunting and predator protection
Leading in from the potential powerhouses that revolvers can be, brings us to our next reason why you should own a revolver. The famous .44 Magnum cartridge is commonly accepted as the go-to round for walking about in the bear country, however, to be fair, a previous study we’ve discussed on TFB found that bears don’t really like getting shot at with lesser calibers either. Although, if you’re looking to hunt a grizzly bear, even a .44 Magnum may be the bear bare minimum cartridge of choice if it has to be done with a handgun.
Perhaps you don’t live in bear country, and perhaps you don’t plan on visiting such a place, well, there are still two more reasons to own a revolver.
top 5 reasons to own a revolver – HISTORY & TRADITION
As we grow nearer to the 200th anniversary of the birth of revolvers, it goes without saying that there are a lot of historical events that involved wheelguns, and as such, there’s a lot to be said for appreciating historical examples of revolvers. Even though my first revolver, a Ruger GP100, isn’t known for fighting wars, it still gives me an appreciation for the revolver’s role in law enforcement, and for those that carried Colts and Smith & Wessons into battle.
One comparison I like to make is that the revolver is akin to driving a manual transmission car. Even if the car isn’t a hot rod, you can still have a fondness for doing things the way people did for the better part of a century, but have waned in common usage since. The inner workings of the modern DA/SA revolver really haven’t changed much over the last 120 years, and Single Action revolvers have changed even less. Thus, you don’t have to look for a genuine, surviving Colt Paterson from the American Civil War, or a Japanese Type 26 from World War I to scratch that itch, but you could if you want to, they’re out there.
top 5 reasons to own a revolver – There are still AFFORDABLE REVOLVERS
It’s true that the revolver market has generally had an uptick in prices over the years, but there are still some reliable options that won’t break the bank if you’re looking for your first revolver to dip your toe in the sweet water of wheelguns. When it comes to affordable revolvers, Ruger’s Wrangler in .22LR has an MSRP of $269. Not only is it a hoot on the range, but it’s also affordable to shoot a lot.
Another affordable option in a larger defensive caliber is the Rock Island Armory M200 in .38 Special, which has an MSRP of $249, or the M206, listed at $259. TFB TV’s James Reeves reviewed the M206, which you can view below.
Stepping up in caliber, and price, are a couple of Taurus revolvers I had the pleasure of reviewing, the Taurus models 66, and the 605, both of which are chambered for .357 Magnum. The five-shot Model 605 is a snub nose revolver with an MSRP of $405, while the seven-shot Model 66 is listed at $569.92.
So, there you have it, my top 5 reasons you need a revolver. For our revolver-owning readers, would you agree these are the top 5 reasons, or would you list others as your top 5? For our readers that haven’t purchased a wheelgun yet, what’s holding you back? If you’ve been on the fence, which revolver has been calling to you? Let us know in the comment section! If you still don’t want to jump right in, at least stay tuned to TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesdays for more revolver content.