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  1. #1
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    Autoloaders versus revolvers

    Which do you prefer and why? I prefer autoloaders for various reasons, but I'd like to hear what the rest of you have to say.

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  3. #2
    submoa is offline Member
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    Depends on the purpose.

    Revolvers

    hunting because of the availability of large calibers such as .500 S&W or .454 Casull
    .38 snubbie backup weapon as they do not jam
    house gun so I don't have to worry about wife limp wristing
    DA revolver best for learning to avoid trigger anticipation

    Auto

    IDPA, IPSC... fast reloads
    rangework... reloading a hot revolver is unpleasant
    primary ccw... flat shape and melt for a smoother draw
    carrying spare rounds in mags is easier CC than speedloaders

  4. #3
    Ram Rod's Avatar
    Ram Rod is offline Senior Member
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    Autos. I've had revolvers in the past, they were carried in vehicle only and never carried one on my person. I guess I've depended on the semi-auto pistol since I shot my first qualifying in the USMC at the age of 17. The 1911 of course. I don't hunt with handguns, and I don't feel the need to own a revolver of any type any more. Personally I don't think either is more prone to problems, or more maintenance friendly than the other. A plus for the auto is larger ammo capacity, and maybe a slight reduction in recoil.

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    soldierboy029 is offline Junior Member
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    Depends on what I'm doing, In most defensive situations I would opt for an autoloader. But if I'm hunting I would lean towards a revolver due to their ability to handle larger calibers more suitable for hunting with ease.

  6. #5
    P97
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    I agree with the above posts. It depends. I have both and use both. I hunt and target practice with the Revolver, and Carry and target practice with the Auto. My house gun is my CCW. I do like to have a loaded shotgun close at night.

  7. #6
    neophyte is offline Member
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    which

    P97 nailed it. With exception, I carry revolver or semi. Seems that 638 likes to ride, or go shopping. Semi's like road trips. 638 doesn't like to left home.

  8. #7
    Maximo's Avatar
    Maximo is offline Supporting Member
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    Autos for me. It is a toss up between ergonomics and capacity. I can't shoot small revolver to save my life. It is truly embarrassing how badly I shoot a snubby. I do shoot larger revolvers ok, but I just prefer autos all the way around.

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    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    revolver for hunting, or initial gun in .22 for learning, or if wife can't rack the slide on the auto for HD

    rest - semi-autos of all various sizes and calibers

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    astrogus is offline Junior Member
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    Smile

    Interesting thread, I always like reading the responses to this old conversation.

    snubbie/ hammerless .357 mangum goes everywhere(IWB), beretta 92 goes to the range and on trips, fullsize 7rnd .357 magnum protects the house.

  11. #10
    Black Metal's Avatar
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    Auto because i have a rifle to hunt with and if there are more then two people attacking you the extra ammo is a big plus. And autos are prettier

    Quote Originally Posted by astrogus View Post
    .

    snubbie/ hammerless .357 mangum goes everywhere(IWB), beretta 92 goes to the range and on trips, fullsize 7rnd .357 magnum protects the house.
    Why such a large high power caliber for in home defense? I always thought it would be better to keep my projectiles out of my neighbors houses if at all possible lol.

  12. #11
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    I prefer autoloaders to the point where I don't even own a revolver anymore, but my only interest in handguns is for defense, where good modern autoloaders are simply more efficient tools.

    Revolvers are superior for some shooting activities, as has been mentioned above, but I do not participate in those activities, so I have no personal use for a revolver.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew_Rami_P View Post
    Why such a large high power caliber for in home defense? I always thought it would be better to keep my projectiles out of my neighbors houses if at all possible lol.
    Any handgun round suitable for service/defensive use will go through 3-4 walls - including 9mm, .40 and .45 - so there seems to be little reason not to choose a .357 if that's what you like. Any round powerful enough to put down a bad guy will also go through walls. There's no free lunch. The key is to hit the bad guy, because a miss with almost anything is an "overpenetration" hazard.
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  13. #12
    CardRED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    Any handgun round suitable for service/defensive use will go through 3-4 walls - including 9mm, .40 and .45 - so there seems to be little reason not to choose a .357 if that's what you like. Any round powerful enough to put down a bad guy will also go through walls. There's no free lunch. The key is to hit the bad guy, because a miss with almost anything is an "overpenetration" hazard.
    Know anything about how an exterior wall will hold up to these calibers, as they are generally more reinforced? i.e, what are the chances a shot could actually leave your house/building provided that it does not hit a window? Just curious...

  14. #13
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Autoloader for me..It's mostly a capacity issue. I carry an auto and that's what I like to range shoot with more. I still have one revolver and I do get it out now and then but for the most part I target shoot with my carry pistol or ones a lot like it.

  15. #14
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardRED View Post
    Know anything about how an exterior wall will hold up to these calibers, as they are generally more reinforced? i.e, what are the chances a shot could actually leave your house/building provided that it does not hit a window? Just curious...
    I think lot of it depends on the method of construction. Obviously a brick or stone building will stop a bullet better than a sheetrock-and-stucco house. Still, I'd be willing to bet that since most handgun rounds will sail right through several pieces of plywood, they will also go through the exterior walls of most modern homes. If, on the other hand, they encounter 2-3 interior walls before hitting the exterior wall, they will very likely be contained in the structure.

    The results of one test I saw (on a house set for demolition) actually found the .45ACP Winchester Silvertip the safest service round in terms of completely exiting a house, but it was a very limited test, and not really conducted in a scientific manner.

    I can tell you from first-hand experience that a 110gr SuperVel .38 Special will stop in an exterior wall when fired at a steep angle.
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  16. #15
    bangbang is offline Member
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    As mentioned, each gun type has its role.

    I prefer the auto-laoder, but I feel the revolver has a specific role.

    I would think of a revolver as a set-it and forget it gun. I am not up to speed on revolver cleaning or lube, but I bet it does not need lube at all to shoot off all 5-7 rounds.

    I like that. I also like that there is no slide that violently gets cycled every round. That slide makes it impossible to shoot the gun while in your pocket. Sure, the first round will fire, but you may hurt yourself with the moving slide, and there will probably be a failure to feed and the slide will probably get jammed by the clothing.

    A hammerless revolver (even one with a hammer) can probably be shot pretty easily in more awkward positions successfully.

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    More ammo capacity.

  18. #17
    hargroder's Avatar
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    I prefer a semi-auto for the range and for ccw, However I do keep a Ruger sp101 revolver in my nightstand for home defense because it is easier for my wife or kids to use if God forbid an intruder comes when I am not there. I have trained them on this gun because of its simplicity of use-no safety or slide, Just point and pull the trigger.

  19. #18
    gmaske's Avatar
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    I have both. My interest is focused on auto's now but my .357 S&W 586 is just to pretty and accurate to part with and my old S&W 38 special belonged to my grandmother so it ain't goin anywere. She use to conceal carry with it in her Bra....4" barrel too!

  20. #19
    mccoy's Avatar
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    Probability of malfunction:
    3 main causes:

    1)misfiring of rounds: a function of rounds not guns

    2)Breakage of gun's parts (springs, pins adn so on): I have no data, let's assume it's the same for semiautos and revolvers, although someone may not agree

    3)Jamming: usually when springs get weak, then extractors go out of tune, when ammo is not 100% perfect, when they get a little dirty, when the wrong lube is used in cold weather, when the user has mucked with it ...

    So many causes of jamming for autoloaders which do not exist in revolvers.

    Have you noticed that imperfect ammo may cause jamming, whereas imperfect ammo in revolvers often will result in misfire but next round in the chamber if OK will be fired.

    Qualitatively speaking, it would appear that semiautos have significantly higher probability of malfunction than revolvers. However good may the gun be and wide the magazine be, a jam makes it all useless. Everyone would just hate a jam in a critical situation,
    Revolvers have less fire power, but a more reliable firepower it is!!!

    I've heard people speaking about carrying a rev plus a semiauto for that reason.

    And please, do not tell me Berettas never jam. They sure do from the info I received.

    It would be interesting to have numbers. as far as Isaw, probability o fjamming runs from 1% in some 1911's to 0.5% in beretta's.

    Do you accept that? When your life is at stake? I agree that carrying two semiautos would reduce the Prob of malf nearly to zero.

    If you have hard and reliable data-numbers on mlfunction, I'll be very happy to reconsider the above...

  21. #20
    P97
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    What is funny to me is that Police, Servicemen, and others that use them daily for self defense don't know which is best. I'll go with the tried and proven instead of opinions.

  22. #21
    sheepdog is offline Banned
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    My primary's usually a P90...bofore that a P97...my backup is always a Bodyguard .38...any gun that proves itself reliable and you can hit well with is fine...I'm as comfortable trusting a .357 or .38 as a primary, but my first choice will always be .45---but may not always be in a semi-auto...

  23. #22
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccoy View Post
    Probability of malfunction:
    3 main causes:

    1)misfiring of rounds: a function of rounds not guns
    A misfire in auto can be cleared in under one second by a trained shooter. It is still obviously faster to simply pull the revolver's trigger again, but misfires with quality factory ammo that has been properly cared for are so rare as to be practically discounted.

    2)Breakage of gun's parts (springs, pins adn so on): I have no data, let's assume it's the same for semiautos and revolvers, although someone may not agree
    Revolver have a more delicate and complex internal mechanism that depends on much closer tolerances than modern autos.

    3)Jamming: usually when springs get weak, then extractors go out of tune, when ammo is not 100% perfect, when they get a little dirty, when the wrong lube is used in cold weather, when the user has mucked with it ...
    There is a difference between a jam and a malfunction. A jam is something that cannot be rectified on the spot without tools or disassembly. A malfunction is something that can be cleared by the user in few seconds. Malfunctions can be broken down into types based on severity and time required to clear them.

    I have seen several types of jams and malfunctions with revolvers:

    1. Case stuck under the extractor star on a too-hasty speed reload.
    2. Bullets backing out of cases under heavy recoil and preventing the cylinder from turning.
    3. Primer-only rounds causing a bullet to get stuck in the barrel (and a revolver doesn't let you know when this happens, unlike an auto).
    4. Broken main/hammer spring that rendered the revolver totally inoperative.
    5. Cylinder release latches fall off.
    6. Ejector rods come unscrewed and prevent the cylinder from opening/closing.
    7. Went "out of time," giving off-center hits and unreliable ignition.

    Some of these have happened to my revolvers, others happened to different shooters in matches or on the range when I was present.

    So many causes of jamming for autoloaders which do not exist in revolvers.
    As you can see, there is also a long list of things that can go wrong with revolvers. I know you are a new shooter, but after you shoot a while, you will see these issues come up, especially if you shoot in competition where guns are run hard.

    Qualitatively speaking, it would appear that semiautos have significantly higher probability of malfunction than revolvers.
    A lot of it depends on the environment. Revolvers were shown to be less reliable than autos in the military context many decades ago, which is one major reason all armies now use autos. The overwhelming majority of worldwide police forces also issue autos, and American police, at least, get in lots of shootings. I've talked to an awful lot of cops (I mean well into the hundreds if not thousands) in my civilian job, and I don't recall talking to a single one who wanted a revolver after being issued a good modern auto. If autos were the jammamatics you claim they are, every one of these cops would want the old, reliable round gun back.

    However good may the gun be and wide the magazine be, a jam makes it all useless.
    Modern autos like Glocks, SIGs, Berettas, HKs, etc. are all extremely reliable weapons, and are very unlikely to malfunction even under extreme circumstances. This has been proven over and over and over again in brutal tests by dozens of military and police forces.

    But even in the unlikely event a modern auto does malfunction (not jam, which would also kill a revolver), it is the work of at most a few seconds to clear the malfunction. Malfunction clearance has been taught at several private shooting schools I have attended, and it is done against the clock. A "stovepipe" failure to eject is resolved in under a second. A misfire is cleared in similar time with a "tap rack bang" or "tap rack assess" drill. The worst malfunction, a failure to feed or eject, can be cleared in about three to four seconds by a trained shooter.

    Now, a second or especially three seconds is a very long time in a pistol fight. But my point is that a simple malfunction does not render an auto completely useless and totally out of action, assuming the shooter knows how to identify and clear the malfunction.

    Revolvers have less fire power, but a more reliable firepower it is!!!
    And if we want to talk about time in a gunfight, let's talk about reloads, a component of "firepower." It takes a decent (not Jerry Miculek, but good) revolver shooter about 3-4 seconds to reload a revolver, and maybe a second can be shaved off that with moon clips. Most revolver shooters I see aren't that good, though, and take about 6-7 seconds to reload a revolver. Revolvers also require a lot more dexterity-intensive small hand movements to reload, and this makes them much more prone to fumbling under stress.

    Last time I took formal training, at Front Sight in Nevada, I was easily beating their required reload time limit of 2.0 seconds. At one point I had my speed/emergency reload times down to 1 second, when I was shooting in competition. I am far from exceptionally fast, and these times are pretty common and easily achieved by almost anyone with some practice.

    mccoy, maybe you could post some reload times with your revolver.

    And please, do not tell me Berettas never jam. They sure do from the info I received.
    Any pistol can jam or malfunction. However, between my Guard training back in Arizona, the First Army training at Fort Bragg, and the voluminous practice shooting we do here in theater (in the wind, dust, rain, cold, snow, etc.), I have never seen a military M9 malfunction. I am sure it has happened, but I have seen many thousands of rounds fly downrange from a fairly large number of M9s, and they've all worked extremely well.

    It would be interesting to have numbers. as far as I saw, probability of jamming runs from 1% in some 1911's to 0.5% in beretta's.
    Jamming or malfunctioning? The M9 has nowhere near a malfunction rate that high, and it is the same gun as the civilian Beretta 92FS.

    Do you accept that? When your life is at stake? I agree that carrying two semiautos would reduce the Prob of malf nearly to zero.
    Carrying a single modern auto reduces the malfunction rate to near zero. I have two Glocks that have digested thousands and thousands of rounds with zero malfunctions, despite the fact that I clean them maybe twice a year. My father used to carry a SIG P220 with a similarly excellent track record. As mentioned above, our M9s work fantastically well, and in horrible conditions. I took a class from instructor Chuck Taylor, who has written of his long-term torture test of a Glock 17 that last I read had gone 175,000 rounds without a jam or malfunction. Forum member propellerhead likes to do long-term, high-round count tests of Glocks and XDs. Take a look at those.

    If you have hard and reliable data-numbers on mlfunction, I'll be very happy to reconsider the above...
    The info is there for the taking. Start with the results of the US military's JSSAP tests that resulted in the selection of the Beretta. None of this stuff is a secret.
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  24. #23
    mccoy's Avatar
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    Mike,
    this is sort of a continuation of the other thread, I regret I could not find any hard data, so my main input is based on limited forum and real-life discussions. You also know I like revolvers, but am not so biased that I rule out semiautos without reasons. I might take both, and if take an autoloader, I'll take the one which is known to give as little probs as possible (not the beretta though, it has not a fame of very accurate pistol, if I do not err...). Also, as you rightly affirm, having an auto is more committing, timewise, for the owner. The revolver is something even ladies or boys can be taught to shoot in emergency with very little fuss...

    I trust your figures since your experience with firearms speaks for itself. Also, other members' experiences look interesting, although coming from (very) experienced shooters.

    Some other sources claim the 1911's out of the box are very prone to malfunction (including jams), whereas others are little prone to it. Real life talks (wich we'll take at face value) would suggest that no brands and models are immune.

    It appears that en experienced shooter who can easily tackle a jam has good likelyhood to avoid troublesome situations.

    I'll go look up the army study you speak about.

    Do police guys have a choice on their autoloaders? Here they don't have, it is Beretta OR beretta, period.
    The fact that they would never get back to the sixguns is obvious though, they carry all the time and a revolver may be a hassle. They have specific requirements like rapid reloading and the others you cite. And they do (frequently?) come across combat situations, at least those in bad neighborhoods.
    Also, they've (the combat-wise cops) lots of time to practice at the range with ammo and occupancy paid for by the citizens money. That's not a little factor at all, prices of range-shooting are downright discouraging everywhere, as I see it. A lot of practice with your autoloader I can figure it becomes an appendix of your body.

    Bottom line: as I said previously, for those who have a reliability fixation (I'd put myself among them), a couple of autos, among which a light-weight poly type or compact type would appear to be a feasible solution with minimum added hassle. Better yet, two identical models so your mags are good for both.

    P.S.: please do not construe my statement that police officers are shooting using taxpayers' money as offensive. As a matter of fact I regard that as a VERY GOOD use of taxpayers' money with returns.

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    astrogus is offline Junior Member
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