Concealed Carry Corner: Small Semi-Autos Vs Revolvers

Matt E
by Matt E
Concealed Carry Corner: Small Semi-Autos Vs Revolvers

Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we talked about some carry tips that make a big difference to carry comfort. If you happened to miss that article, be sure to click the link here to check it out. This week, I recently picked up another Smith & Wesson 686 and started wondering if revolvers are still a viable option with the unlimited options of semi-auto pistols on the market for the concealed carry space. While most revolvers are outclassed, there are a few specific benefits to having a revolver over something like a semi-auto. Semi-autos certainly have their own benefits though. let’s take a closer look at the benefits of small semi-autos vs revolvers.

Concealed Carry Corner @ TFB:

The Rise Of Small Semi Autos

With the market growing in concealable semi-autos, there are countless choices to use daily. When guns came out like the Glock 43, SIG P365, and even the original Shield they were something brand new to the market and offered smaller carry options for people. Previously, this spot was held by a snub nose revolver but as more semi auto options hit the market, demand for revolvers became less. Certainly, there are some people who love snub nose revolvers but the vast majority switched away from revolvers.

As more semi-auto models came onto the market, people started shifting even more over to semi-autos from small revolvers. As time went on, even more variations came out like the Glock 48 and 43X, SIG P365XL, and other options for people to carry comfortably every day. In today’s world, the vast majority of people who conceal a handgun are carrying semi-autos rather than revolvers but why is that? Let’s take a closer look at some reasons why semi-autos are great.

Pros of Semi-Autos

There are certainly several pros when it comes to semi-auto pistols. With a simple design and higher capacity, semi-autos tend to be easier to shoot as well as reload with a simple magazine change. Looking at the current market, it can be relatively easy to find holsters and accessories for these carry pistols. Semi-auto carry guns are usually thinner than revolvers and hold higher capacity as well. Switching out a magazine takes less practice than reloading each round into a revolver. Typically, semi-autos are just more user-friendly despite older gun store workers saying revolvers are simple by just pointing and shooting. If someone is looking to start carrying a concealed pistol for the first time, there’s a good chance they will start out with a semi-auto for ease of use and aftermarket support.

Why People Carry Revolvers?

Revolvers aren’t completely dead on the market though. I can’t tell you how many people I know who have several firearms but still carry a small-frame revolver as a daily carry gun. The simple action of a revolver is known for its reliability in most conditions. While it’s not perfect and can eventually run into timing issues with the cylinder after heavy use, the revolver has been proven as a reliable carry gun in any condition. The natural way a semi-auto works can also be a problem in close situations where your gun is touching your attacker. With enough pressure on the slide, a semi-auto can be pushed out of battery, it will be unable to fire.

Not being able to fire your gun in a self-defense situation can be the difference between life and death. The unique way a revolver is designed, the fixed barrel can be a benefit in situations like this. With a fixed barrel, a revolver can be pushed into someone and still be fired if you find yourself in close proximity and need to fire. When it comes to being a small reliable backup gun, a revolver is one of the best options as a small ankle gun as well. Several police agencies around the country assign a semi-auto handgun as a primary with a snub nose revolver as a secondary backup option for this reason. Revolvers may not be the most modern option but are still a viable firearm for concealed carry.

What’s The Best Option?

The million-dollar question that I get asked fairly often is what’s best? What will work best if you’re just starting out and looking to conceal a handgun? For the vast majority of new shooters, a striker-fired semi-auto handgun will be easier to control whether it comes down to the larger grip, lighter trigger pull on a striker-fired handgun or the fact you can just carry more rounds. Just starting out it is always best to keep it simple and the heavy double-action trigger on a revolver can be problematic for some.

If you’re someone who is experienced in firearms, this answer can be a bit tricky. I will use a small revolver as a backup gun option or an ankle gun. I prefer a semi-auto for ease of use and that’s the type of handgun I have the most experience with. They make a great backup gun and if you’re in a rush to the grocery store and want to throw something in a pocket and go, having a small snub nose is better than not being armed at all

Overall Thoughts

Revolvers will always be an option for people to carry but there are better options out there for daily carry. There are certainly situations where the revolver has an advantage but they are limited. I still prefer to carry a semi-auto but I would also argue when people say revolvers are antiquated. Revolvers may be old tech but they certainly have a place in the market and I do believe if you carry firearms on a regular basis, you should at least have one revolver.

What do you guys think about small semi-autos versus revolvers when it comes to carrying concealed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week for another edition of Concealed Carry Corner.

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Matt E
Matt E

I'm an avid shooter and love educating whether it's at my job or in the shooting community. I'm an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.I'm active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.

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2 of 17 comments
  • 2d 2d on Mar 16, 2024

    Yes, they are more difficult to shoot well than something like a Glock 26 or Sig 365 and hold fewer rounds but the snubbies are hard to beat for pocket carry.

  • Frootastico Frootastico on Mar 19, 2024

    One could argue the lcp max was the final nail for snub nose revolvers.