Discover how revolvers played a great part in personal defense, law enforcement, or even the movie industry through the decades!
In this article:
Revolvers | A Popular Sidearm of Choice
A Brief History of Revolvers
For many people, revolvers serve as more than just as a sidearm for personal defense. Their revolvers serve as a memory of some of the most reliable firearms passing them down from grandfathers to fathers to sons.
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For decades, revolvers are some of the most popular firearms gaining notoriety throughout Hollywood gaining more popularity and sales.
Many police departments purchased large orders of revolvers for use by their deputies from companies such as Colt and Smith and Wesson. Not to mention even military contracts issue revolver gun types for use by officers during times of war.
Revolvers remained the most efficient reliable sidearm until semi-automatic pistols became a sidearm of choice based on ammunition capacity. This is because a magazine-fed semi-automatic pistol has a higher ammunition capacity than most revolvers that are based on a rotating cylinder of only five to six rounds.
However, to this day revolvers still, remain to be one of the most popular choices as a sidearm in various survival situations.
Evolution of Revolvers
Some of the earliest revolvers were cap and ball but soon became less used once cartridge ammunition became widely available.
Revolvers then became well known on the battlefield but were mostly used by ranchers against various lethal animals such as rattlesnakes. However, these revolvers can load only one round at a time as well as emptying it such as Colt’s Peacemaker model.
This revolver design soon made way for the hinged frame revolver which exposed the entire cylinder allowing for quicker reloading.
Finally, the revolver evolved again to the side opening model. This style ultimately became the most popular style revolver on the market.
For years the side opening revolver is a personal self-defense carry which people use up to this day.
One of the most popular style revolvers carried for self-defense is the snub nose revolver. The snub nose is easily concealable.
However, revolvers are not carried for self-defense as often as they used to be as the semi-automatic handguns have been shown to provide more ammunition.
Fortunately though among hunters, survivalists, weapons collectors, and even various law enforcement and military personnel, revolvers still remain a reliable and trustworthy firearm to this day.
In various survival scenarios, the reliability of a revolver can serve more purpose than some of their competitors.
For example, while out hunting or trekking through dangerous terrain, the revolver is a great self-defense tool. It will help against wild animals because of the various calibers they are available in.
One of the best caliber revolvers, besides the .357 and 44 magnums, is the 410 birdshot. These 410 revolvers pack the same punch a shotgun can but in the size of a handgun.
In most survival scenarios, however, the revolver may not always be the best choice. Although a revolver is better than having no weapon at all in a situation such as an economic collapse where rule of law is no more than weapons where having a higher ammunition capacity would be preferred.
Luckily, in case a zombie apocalypse ever occurs, then the revolver would be an excellent choice for a survival weapon. The Colt Revolver .357 Magnum Python is seen with Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.
See the .357 Python in use here as a survival weapon.
Issues and Drawbacks
While it is a very reliable firearm, the revolver still has its issues and drawbacks. The first issue would be, as previously mentioned, the lack of ammunition capacity.
However, in order to combat this, speed loaders are available for almost all models of revolvers and their calibers.
Speedloaders make for an excellent quick reload. All you need to do is pop open the cylinder, empty the previous shells and drop the speed loader in.
A drawback to the revolver, ironically, is they are one of the most reliable firearms to date. Therefore, if a part on the revolver were to break, it would require a skilled gunsmith to fix it.
This is because many of the revolvers from older generations have handmade parts. Unfortunately, many of these parts are no longer available.
Compared to most modern-day firearms, parts for revolvers are not nearly as affordable or widely available.
Handgrips and replacement cylinders are typically available for most revolvers but hammers and firing pins are not nearly as common, especially the older the revolver.
To counter these drawbacks have available replacement parts if carrying a revolver for self-defense.
The reliability of revolvers is nothing but consistent and only improves until today's modern firearms. While semi-automatic pistols have an increasing demand due to ammo capacity, the classic wheel guns are still the top choice for ease of use and efficiency, especially for new gun owners.
What type of revolver do you carry? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 11, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.