Pistol vs Revolver; the big debate


So which one of the two is better? Pistol or revolver? There are those who love semi-auto pistols and then there are those who adore wheelers. It’s almost a never ending debate, they say carrying a pistol means having more capacity, and that wheelers are old fashioned. Then there’s talk of accuracy and speed and looks and safety and what not. The average Joe gets confused and in the end has a hard time deciding which one to go for. Interestingly in our part of the world (Pakistan) revolvers are considered old fashioned and out dated. Actually this isn’t so. Surf the web and you’ll come to know there’s a sizable population which prefers wheelers over semi-auto pistols. Here’s some points to consider before going for any one of them.


Reliability. Ask any gun enthusiast and he will tell you the number one factor in choosing a firearm should be reliability. If it ain’t reliable it ain’t no good, its that simple. In actual combat an unreliable gun is as good or bad as a mobilephone in self-defense. As revolvers are not prone to having faulty mags, spring pressure issues, follower problems, feed problems or the damned FTE so they are more reliable. Just feed in any ammo be it FMJ or JHP and you’re good to go. Even in the extreme case of a failure to fire you just need to squeeze the trigger, that’s it.

Ammo variety and choices: A 9×19 mm will eat only 9×19 mm in case of a pistol. With wheelers you can use .38 special in a .357 magnum; a .32 S&W Long will easily gobble .32 S&W. So you get more variety. In pistols one has to be careful in choosing ammo, some JHPs have ejection issues and its better to try out the brand and type of ammo in a particular pistol before using it for EDC. Revolvers on the contrary will eat anything.

Simplicity. There’s no doubt about the fact that revolvers are more simple. Pistols are advanced machines with multiple moving parts and hence more complicated. Its always good to recommend revolvers for newbies. Revolvers are also easy to maintain, load and fire as compared to pistols.

Capacity. There’s no doubt pistols beat revolvers in this area since they can carry many times the capacity of a revolver. But there’s a counter argument which might hold true in case of an SD situation, “if you can’t do it in 7 shots, you won’t be able to do it in 17 either”. Still I would say capacity is a big plus in case of pistols, but for EDC or even CC revolvers are a better option.


Safety. Gun safety is an issue which can never be over-emphasized. Most pistols and revolvers come with manual safety which is good. However, the major difference lies in the way these things work. A pistol works fires and then cycles a fresh round, whereas a revolver first completes a small movement before discharge. So in case of a revolver one just has to pull the trigger to fire, but in case of a pistol a round has to be chambered before it is to fire or all you will hear is a click. And in case of a revolver, even if the chamber under hammer is empty one has to pull the trigger for the magic to happen.


So to conclude, firstly this discussion is purely about SD, not a combat handgun which you take to the battle field. And for SD, I believe revolvers offer more advantages as compared to pistols. However, if your peculiar circumstances warrant more capacity then a pistol is the way to go. But the bottom line is whatever you plan to choose and buy you should train yourself well on it. There’s no handgun better than the one you feel comfortable with. 🙂

Image credits: https://pixabay.com/

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50 plus….loner……foodie….day dreamer….bibliophile…..gun freak….peace loving….smitten by wanderlust….happy go lucky….tea junkie….coffee lover….once in a while movie goer….laid-back blogger with no interest in politics….Happy reading! :-)

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