There was a lot of interest and response to my last column on the double-action revolver. I appreciate that and, like a lot of you, I think the DA revolver is often overlooked as an option when folks select their defensive firearm. However, I think there are a couple of issues that prospective revolver buyers should consider.
The first of these is something that I’ve touched on before and that is the management of the double-action trigger. These revolvers have a long trigger pull that often requires something like 12 pounds of pressure in order to fire the shot. This long, heavy pull can often cause the pistol sights to stray completely off target. And, in a gunfight, that is something that you really want to avoid.
The solution is to do a lot of practicing. And dry practice is a must. With dedicated practice, the shooter can learn to cycle the DA action of his revolver and still stay on target.
Another solution is to have a competent gunsmith smooth up the action. This can often reduce the trigger pull by a couple of pounds and the results will be quickly noticeable. One thing to be careful of is installing reduced-power springs in the gun. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing—just be sure that the reduced power springs will still ignite defensive ammunition reliably.
The second problem that I see with DA revolvers is the fact that a given ammunition will create more felt recoil than a comparable load would in an semi-automactic pistol. The solution to this is to find a set of stocks that will help dampen that felt recoil and make the revolver more comfortable to shoot. If you are one of the lucky ones, the stocks that come on your selected revolver will work just fine. But most of us have had to experiment with various types of revolver stocks to find what works for us. The main thing for the new revolver shooter to understand is that this is a common problem and that there is a great variety of after-market revolver stocks to experiment with. So don’t be afraid to keep trying various stocks until you find what works for you.
Fortunately for this resurgence in the popularity of the defensive revolver—if, in fact, that’s what it is—there are still a lot of shooters around who cut their teeth on the double-action sixgun. If they've got gray hair and pack a revolver, try to take the time to pick their brain. That’s one of the ways we learn stuff.