Thoughts On The Double-Action Revolver

Heard that interest in the double action revolver was dead? Not hardly, says Sheriff Jim.

posted on April 15, 2023
Sheriff Jim Wilson

This week I noticed that Henry Repeating Arms has announced a new firearm, a double-action revolver in .357 Magnum. Clearly, the manufacturing moguls seem to think that the market is ripe for a return to revolvers. The new Colt Python seems to be doing well. Vintage Smith & Wesson revolvers continue to rise in value. And Ruger’s DA sixguns still share a big part of the market. The general chatter among defensive shooters also seems to indicate that DA revolvers are long from being dead.

On the other hand, I see where other gun writers are discounting this trend. They suggest that revolvers are not nearly as reliable as others claim. They also maintain that revolvers just don’t hold enough cartridges to deal with deadly situations. Finally, it is vaguely asserted that revolvers just aren’t suited for the average handgunner.

Best I can tell, most of these folks probably haven’t put more than a few hundred rounds through a revolver in their lifetime, if that many. Some of us who have put thousands of rounds through revolvers and quite a number have even bet their lives on the lowly wheel gun. Our observations on the whole subject tend to be a lot different.

Regarding quality guns that are properly maintained, there is no handgun that is more reliable than a revolver. In all of the training that I got as a young policeman, I don’t remember a single class that involved malfunction drills and that was because they just were a very rare occurrence. You learned to check your ejector rod to make sure it was tight and you learned what to do if it wasn’t, you learned how to do a proper speed reload to keep an empty cartridge from getting caught under the ejector star, and that was about it.

Cartridge capacity is important only if one plans to miss a lot. Statistics show that most civilian-involved shootings are resolved, one way or the other, with what is in the gun. How much ammo a person carries does not stop fights. Center hits stop fights.

A check of the current gun market quickly makes it clear that DA revolvers come in all different sizes so that it is quite likely that an individual will be able to find one that fits their hand best. In addition to this, after-market stock makers offer a whole lot of sizes and shapes to further fit the shooter. With just a bit of experimenting it is possible to come up with a frame size and choice of stocks to fit just about anyone.

There just aren’t any other handguns that are more reliable or accurate than a good DA revolver. I’m not about to tell you that everyone ought to carry a revolver; a smart person carries what suits them. But, don’t let some Johnny-come-lately keep you from considering the double-action revolver while searching for your personal defense handgun.


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