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The revolver is not a low-capacity autoloader. Don’t treat it like one.

The revolver is not a low-capacity autoloader. Don’t treat it like one.

Over the years a number of 4×4 vehicles have come under fire for being “prone” to rollover accidents: the Suzuki Samurai. The Jeep CJ. The Ford Explorer. The Isuzu Trooper. While the government probes their safety and juries award inflated damages, one pertinent fact is conveniently ignored: a four-wheel-drive isn’t a family sedan, and can’t be driven like one. The results are predictable.

Guess what? The same relationship exists between the autoloader and the revolver.

In the last couple of decades, the revolver has become the red-headed stepchild of the shooting world. Since autoloaders became the dominant handgun platform, the necessary skills to efficiently run a revolver have fallen by the wayside. Many instructors, particularly in police service, have little to no experience with the wheelgun. This lack of familiarity has led to the wholesale adoption of handling and shooting techniques that work fine with autos, but don’t work so well with revolvers.

Last week I linked to a little problem that Robb Allen experienced, and used the phrase which serves as today’s title. The thumbs-forward grip that works very well on the autopistol is simply out of place on a revolver, as Robb painfully discovered. Robb’s singed thumb is the perfect illustration of my contention: the auto and the revolver are different tools, and need to be handled differently.

Autoloader techniques imposed on the wheelgun lead to reduced efficiency, and sometimes more. For instance, trying to emulate the reloading techniques of the autoloader – shooting hand staying gripped on the gun while the support hand does the reloading – forces the revolver shooter to perform a complex, fine motor skill with the hand least suited to do so.

That’s not all, though; leaving the cylinder unsupported can result in crane damage during the reload cycle, particularly on the newer light alloy guns. It’s much better instead to use a reloading method that is designed from the ground up to work around both the shooter’s and the revolver’s weaknesses.

It’s time that firearms training reflected the strengths and weaknesses of the revolver, instead of assuming it’s just like an autoloader “except for that round part.” I’ll have more to say on this in the coming months.

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On February 8, 2010

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