“Battlefield Pickup” is a standard drill in our handgun courses. Students are given opportunity to run a revolver or two.
A less dramatic reason is that there are millions of them in circulation. They aren’t going anywhere. As Americans, we need to know proper handling. From a relative that passes and leaves them behind to the neighbor talked into buying one by a store clerk, we never know when we may be called upon to deal with a revolver.
On top of that, revolvers still serve a practical purpose for self-defense.
Instructor extraordinaire Tom Givens brought this statistic to my attention:
The TYPICAL gunfight in America requires THREE rounds, occurs under a distance of THREE yards, and is over in THREE seconds.
Tom uses the word “typical” not “average” for a reason. Averaging 0 and 100 gives us 50, but it tells us very little. His experience and record keeping over his career, as well as that of the FBI Agent who originally pointed the stat out to him in the 70’s, has indicated exactly that – gunfights in the US typically follow the 3-3-3 pattern. Yes, there are fights that require more rounds, take place at longer distances, and exceed the three second duration, but they are the exceptions.
Personally, I’m a “worst case scenario” kind of guy. I leave the house with as many guns and as much ammo as I can reasonably carry, and it’s my understanding that Tom does, as well. But, if we’re honest about the self-defense requirements against a run-of-the-mill parking lot sociopath, 5 to 6 rounds in a revolver can be argued as sufficient for such social work.
Many will counter that more is better, and they would be correct. As Jeff Chudwin says, “the only way you can have too much ammunition is if you’re drowning or on fire.” And I’ve never heard anyone comment after a gun fight that they wish they hadn’t brought all that extra ammunition. Being “over-armed” is not something I’m arguing pro or against, here. What I am suggesting is a closer look at tailoring the tool for the job.
Revolvers allow reliable implementation of specific defensive techniques auto-loading pistols do not. I’ll touch on two, here.
One is the contact shot, the other is shooting from (through) a pocket, bag, or purse. Both are issues with defense at 3-feet. The practicality of revolvers when attempting such comes down to the mechanics of the operating system.
Firing from inside a pocket or purse
With autoloaders, the slide portion of the pistol needs to reciprocate unmolested during firing. When the slide path is interfered with, the pistol will experience a stoppage. This negates the idea of “pocket carry” if for no other reason than we’ll most likely be relegated to a 1-shooter as the confinement of a pocket will retard the slide operation. However, the trigger weights of most autoloading pistols are reason enough to avoid that idea all together. It’s simply not safe to do so with most autos. Revolvers, on the other hand, experience no such problems when fired from inside a pocket, and generally have heavy, long trigger pulls, making them far less prone to negligent discharges. That said, it’s my advice that all defensive handguns be carried on the waistline in a holster that covers the trigger guard. In a perfect world it would be non-negotiable. But, we don’t live in a perfect world, and waistline carry is not practical or possible for everyone.