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A perception issue: are revolvers really the best thing for beginners?

A perception issue: are revolvers really the best thing for beginners?

A recent SHOT show write-up, regarding the new Ruger LCR revolver, contained the (sadly common) comment that the gun would be perfect for “non-dedicated personnel.”

I hereby give public notice that I am officially tired of reading excrement like that.

The snub-nosed, double-action revolver is the easiest gun in the world to shoot, but It is the hardest gun to shoot well. Mastering the double action pull takes time, dedication, and practice; that’s just a fact of life. The nice, light, short trigger pulls on autoloaders are much easier to become proficient with, which is part of the reason they are popular.

Let’s look at what happens when the “non-dedicated” person buys a double action revolver. Because he (or she) is “non-dedicated”, he’s not going to put in the range time to thoroughly learn how to shoot the gun to a good standard of accuracy, which means his target hit potential is quite low (but the innocent bystander hit potential is quite high.) If it has a short barrel the small sight radius compounds the accuracy issue, and those lightweight models make the gun difficult to control in recoil. Does this sound like the gun for an inexperienced shooter? Not me!

If that wasn’t bad enough, if the “non-dedicated” person doesn’t become proficient with that heavy double action trigger pull, he reverts to doing what he sees in the movies: cocking the gun to single action. Comes a deadly encounter and we end up with a poorly trained individual whose adrenal gland is going into extra innings, holding a cocked gun with a very light, very short trigger action. This doesn’t sound like a Good Idea to me! (Of course, this doesn’t apply to the LCR or the S&W Centennial, neither of which can be cocked.)

In terms of administrative handling, I’d agree that the revolver is certainly more suited to this type of person. When talking In terms of hitting the target, though, it just isn’t. In my mind, the non-dedicated person is better served by a gun that is easier to shoot well. Learning a slightly more complex manual of arms is a small price to pay to ensure that projectiles aren’t flung over half the county.

The revolver, particularly the short-barrelled variety, and especially with a lightweight frame, is a gun for serious shooters; it is properly thought of as an expert’s weapon. A pox on those who would insist otherwise!

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On January 28, 2009

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