Understand the double-action revolver and know what you're looking for in your choice of self-defense handgun.
A Double Action Revolver: Is it for You?
The Revolver as A Basic Concealed Carry Handgun
Not all revolvers are made the same. But, the most important thing for you to remember, especially if you're new to firearms; a revolver is usually the most basic you can get in a concealed carry gun.
Literally, just point and shoot is the name of the game. I've written articles for you in the past explaining which semi-autos were great for new shooters, but this time I wanted to explore revolvers with a broad stroke.
For the most part, they are extremely reliable. Though a revolver can malfunction, you never really hear of it happening because it is an extremely rare occurrence.
What Is a Double Action Revolver?
A lot of today's revolvers are generally what is known as double-action, meaning, the only thing you have to do, is to squeeze the trigger in order for it to fire. It goes without saying, the cylinder should also be loaded with the proper caliber of ammo.
The trigger pull can be long and uncomfortable in a double-action revolver, but they are safe in that you have to want it. In other words, you have to mean for it to happen.
As you pull the trigger, a hammer begins to cock (either internally or externally). Once it reaches its break, the hammer is sent home coming into contact with the cartridge's primer, sending the bullet out of the barrel.
Single Action vs. Double Action Revolver
There is also some single action only, and plenty of single-action/double-action (SA/DA) revolvers on the market. Briefly, single-action refers to cocking the hammer before pulling the trigger, giving it a nice, short pull.
If you decide to buy a revolver with this capability, we recommend keeping it in DA, with the hammer down. You can still fire your gun this way, but you have to intentionally do it. It is a lot safer.
The .38 Special Revolver Handgun
Here is an example of a great double action only revolver chambered in .38 Special. This is my wife's concealed carry piece and it is a hammerless “Off Duty” model from Charter Arms.
We paid $300 for it brand new but got a good deal from one of my FFL dealers who is also a close friend of mine.
Even though it is a .38, it kicks like a mule because it is lightweight, has a two-inch barrel and not a very large grip. But, it's great to conceal carry because it doesn't require a lot of room and doesn't have a hammer to snag on.
Double Action Barell for Self- Defense
As I said earlier, it is literally a point and shoots a handgun. They are accurate for center mass self-defense shooting, not for competitive or longer-distance shooting.
The point is you want something which goes bang when you need to defend yourself from an attack. Something you don't have to worry about having to cock a hammer or pull back the slide.
This video from Cool Stuff Guys Like will explain to you the difference between the single action vs double-action revolver:
Sound Off Gun Carriers! Let us know if you carry a revolver, and what type it is. We want to know what action, which brand, caliber, capacity, what you think of it and anything else you'd like to share.
Remember, this is all in the name of education and helping someone pick out their first or next revolver.
Share your thoughts, experience, and suggestions with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 27, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.