You'd think, with the advent of all the various semi-automatic pistols, that the double-action revolver is as dead as last year's political promises. However, such is far from the case. While the military and most of the police have gone to the semi-auto, the double-action revolver still finds favor among armed citizens.
A good quality double-action revolver is about as foolproof as any of man's machines. They very, very rarely malfunction and will, in fact, still fire after a good deal of neglect. A loaded revolver has no depressed springs, which can weaken over the years and cause problems. Among small handguns, the pocket revolver is far more reliable than most comparable semi-automatics, which are known to be finicky about ammo choices and will malfunction if a strong grip is not used.
The various sizes of DA revolvers guarantee a fit for just about everyone, regardless of hand size. Small, medium or large—sounds like a shirt ad but, in fact, defensive revolvers are available in all of those configurations. Matching a frame size to the shooting hand and giving due consideration to selecting a set of stocks that compliment individual needs go a long way to personalizing a DA revolver in a way that exceeds that of the auto pistol.
The DA revolver has it all over the semi-auto when it comes to caliber choices. From .22 LR right on up to the .44 Mag. and beyond, there is something for everyone in revolver calibers. In addition, since the revolver is not dependent on a particular power level, a person can load what works best for them in a given caliber. For instance, in a .357 Mag. revolver the shooter can use everything from the .38 Spl. target wadcutter loads right on up to the hottest magnum.
You'll notice that I haven't mentioned ammunition capacity. That is because it is rarely an issue in civilian defensive shootings. Revolver or semi-automatic, if you feel some need to carry a lot of ammo, you need to re-examine your training, your tactics and your planning.
Next time we'll look at the downside of the DA revolver as a defensive tool. The point being that there are pros and cons to everything, and defensive shooters must decide what works best and meets their individual needs.