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Think revolvers are "outdated" and gone for good? Or will they make a big comeback

8557 Views 108 Replies 48 Participants Last post by  Will44
Think revolvers are "outdated" and gone for good? Or will they make a big comeback

It's often said by most people, cop and civilian alike, that revolvers are "outdated" and are "a thing of the past" Most of these people don't realize that the Double Action Revolver Pistol and the Semi Automatic Pistol are not too far apart in terms of age. Furthermore, many of these same people will respond by saying "well we have high capacity guns now" not realizing also that high capacity guns have been around since 1935 with the Browning Hi Power (and it didn't even have any kind of market in the US until the 1950s and didn't gain any kind of real following until the 1980s). They'll then say "well criminals are better armed now" forgetting that criminals have been armed to the teeth in the past with gangsters like John Dillinger, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and mobsters with Al Capone and other mafia thugs armed with BARs, Tommy Guns and 1911 pistols. Much more than I can say for the average crackhead of today.

All things considered, nothing has REALLY changed in terms of weapons technological effectiveness (although bullet designs have in some ways improved....but then the "old school" FBI Load in .38 Special still reigns king compared to "modern" .38 hollowpoint bullets). The only thing, as I see it, that has really changed is the culture. This mindset of "more means better" and that the style needs to look "new" and we take our model off of what we see and experience in movies and television. If an idea is over 20 years old, it's "outdated". Doesn't matter if it's right, just that it's "old".

Well, one day the world I think will swing back the other way and realize that speed kills, old people are wiser, history has more to teach than we think and revolvers means Six for Sure and the polymer semi-automatic fad will die out or at least retract into moderation.
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If revolvers were outdated, the single action wheelgun would have been the first to go. Yet, it survives and thrives in the hands of the collector and nostalgic shooter. Double action revolvers have their place, semi-autos have theirs.

In the context of handguns, we have varying types of duties. Pistols and revolvers fill different niches. A high capacity auto may be a better application for a law enforcement officer where a revolver may be a better back-up.

I don't see one obsoleting the other any time soon; they co-exist in harmony, especially for the shooting aficionado.
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Well said dabney. If you're in a situation where you need more "firepower" you don't want any handgun, you want a rifle or a shotgun. When FBI and local and state police were pursuing the likes of Bonnie & Clyde, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, etc., they didn't scramble for massive orders of the Browning Hi Power 9mm with it's high capacity 13 round magazine (that gun didn't even become widely available on the U.S. market until the 1950s and then not even in high demand until the 1980s with the rest of the "wondernines" that everyone sees now), they scrambled for Thompson Submachine guns, they scrambled for Shotguns, they scrambled for Browning Automatic Rifles.


People back then were not stupid, they just understood things modern culture doesn't. Contrast that with the FBI agents in Miami in 1986 armed with only handguns and A shotgun who went after two psychos armed to the teeth with long guns.....and then said "we need 'better handguns'" (and shot placement from a revolver ended the situation)
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Good, lively discussion.
To my small mind, there is little or no difference in what you use to spare your gizzard.
The historic fact, not statistic, but fact is, the first one pretty much needs to go where you want it. 17 misses is not a reliable defense.
So, pay your bucks & take your choice.
Just be sure you can trust the thing to go bang on the first round, and that you have the wherewithall to put it where it will be the most effective.
It takes a lot of balls to stand in harm's way long enough to poke a bloody hole in the other guy.
Cover is always preferable to concealment, etc......
Stay safe, boys.
If you want a handgun for home defense, and if you are the type of person who gets a handgun, loads it, and locks it away for months or even years at a time, until you might need it; then you might find that when you do really need it, a semi-auto that has been stored loaded for a long time will suffer from metal fatigue in the magazine spring, and might not function correctly. A good revolver that is stored loaded for years should still fire every time. I am not advocating such long-term storage, but many people do it.
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A good quality to begin with Revolver or Automatic...I am sure, if lubed well, and put away in a safe manner...would still function fine a hundred years from now, or two hundred. Maybe even three or four or five hundred.

About all which might go south, would be if a tensioned Spring got 'tired', and, a well made Spring, can resist fatigue a long long time.

So, leaving un-Cocked, and leaving Magazines empty...probably, five hundred years even, either would function just fine if stored well.
Oyeboten, I don't deny your knowledge of the topic, but I had brand name magazines for a semi-auto (Browning, to be specific) that failed to function reliably if stored loaded for a few months. The same magazines worked correctly when new.
I received my "black widow" Luger from a vet still loaded with ww2 ammo. That magazine still runs like a champ.

Oyeboten, I don't deny your knowledge of the topic, but I had brand name magazines for a semi-auto (Browning, to be specific) that failed to function reliably if stored loaded for a few months. The same magazines worked correctly when new.
The most collected gun in the world is a revolver (SAA).
I'm no expert but I prefer to carry my revolvers over my autos just for the fact in a situation where I need it, all I have to do is point and shoot with no worries about feeding, safeties, and the possibility of limp wristing with my off hand. It"s just my personal choice, I for one would hate to see revolver take a back seat to autos and I don't see them ever being gone by the way side. I am only 35 so they will stay alive in my house for years to come then handed down to my kids to keep them going. I am sure there are many here that will do the something. Just my two cents.
It is hard to pronounce the revolver outdated just because of fluctuating interest in it. I think that revolvers are more popular today than they were a dozen years ago. If you look at the prices of used S&W pre-lock revolvers - and their accessories - you will most likely agree with me.

Revolvers like Colt and S&W pre-locks are high quality weapons that are more expensive to manufacture than semi automatic pistols made out of polymer resin, so the bulk of new gun purchases will fall into the huge offering of moderately priced semi auto pistols for the occasional gun owner, they will probably also pass the 1911.

We are probably all gun enthusiasts here and are expecting more from our guns than the average gun owner, quality and performance wise.

I learnt shooting with a club owned rimfire Colt OMM about 30some years ago and I can shoot my S&W M14-2 just as well as my SIG P210 and a bit better than any polymer framed pistol that I have shot and I own a bunch of them, too.
Oyeboten, I don't deny your knowledge of the topic, but I had brand name magazines for a semi-auto (Browning, to be specific) that failed to function reliably if stored loaded for a few months. The same magazines worked correctly when new.

None of these Companys ( or their Metallurgists, nor their decision-makers, or quality control, or quality of outsourced parts ) are what they used to be.



Properly made Magazine Spring would/should remain viable a long time, even under compression...a 'Charged Magazine' in other words, if having a properly made Spring, should remain viable in compression, for I am sure, a very long time indeed.

I would not expect a Magazine with properly made Springs to fail to feed perfectly after say, sitting charged for fifty years anyway...and I would not be surprised if some would function and feed perfectly after sitting fully charged for seventy five or a hundred years.

Sitting uncompressed, un-Charged, I would expect a well made Magazine ( or the Automatic itself ) to still function fine pretty much indefinitely.

But at some point, things would start to get 'iffy', I am sure, Spring Wise...or some would fail from breakage, others from being 'tired', and others would stay alright. I just have no idea how long a time it would be, for that to eventuate meaningfully.
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I received my "black widow" Luger from a vet still loaded with ww2 ammo. That magazine still runs like a champ.

Good mention!


I was just musing on this myself -

I have come across several stories of WWII 'Bring Backs', and or issue Pistols, which were put away in 1945 or something, with a Charged Magazine in the Pistol, and, 1990 something or 2000-n-something, it falls to others who then give away or sell the Pistol, and, long story short, Magazine would still feed just fine, were one to have asked it to.
Revolver wise, various of us here have Revolvers which are over a Hundred Years old, and, which have had a good deal of use ( and or abuse ) prior to our acquiring them, and, these Revolvers generally do not require new Springs.

An early 1900s Colt Revolver put in storage, left un-Cocked of course, could very well function and fire perfectly after sitting five hundred years or more...even if likely being in need of some cleaning and some good fresh Lube first ( but collectors by then would get mad if one went and did a 'Range Report' with it, no doubt! - I can see it now "Should I shoot it? Or let it be a Safe Queen???" Lol...)
Unless someone has "seen the Elephant" I think it a little unrealistic (if not delusional) that they can whimsically state that they feel confident they can survive the melee with a mere five or six shots that they really "feel" that they can deliver with Camp Perry precision in said circumstances. :rolleyes: Far better to error on the side of caution and assume the worst as truth be known most people are lucky to hit a bus at ten yards under duress, let alone a moving and unpredictable assailant at night in a strange location.
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Based on retails sales and also production , revolvers are not making a come back .
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Based on retails sales and also production , revolvers are not making a come back .
Thank you. I mentioned this but nobody else seemed to care. Doug's title says in part..... "Or will they make a big comeback?"

BTW: I have more revolvers than semi autos. I like both and I carry both. I also practice a lot with both. Revolvers will never outstrip semi autos in the US market again, no matter how much many of us like them.
IMHO revolvers are here to stay although in smaller numbers than the "Tactical Tupperware" crowd. In regard to my experiences with "New" production revolvers I have had 2 MOdel 640 S+W revolvers blow up on me after never seeing cartridge 1 of 357 Mag and the replacement "Classic " Model 36 revolver they sent me had to go back 4 times for a torqued to the right barrel.On return #4 I called and was informed"They replaced the barrel". 4th time was the charm but I tell my students to get a used S+W revolver because the quality control just isn't there or a used D/A Colt......Mike
they may not be replacing semiautos,but they aren't going away anytime soon.a 2 inch 38 is still a viable handgun,and medium and big bore revolvers rule for hunting and outdoor use
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I think we alll agree revolvers will never disappear. They may never have the majority market share again, but they do have many virtues and I doubt there will be a time that somebody isn't making a few models, if not more than a few.
I love 38 Special snubbys.

I shot my latest revolver on Thurs. A 1953 or 54 shooter grade Baby Chiefs Special. At 10 yds. it put every bullet in the black with quite a few Xs registered, mostly 10s and 9s with some 8s. Same for the head of the silhouette. One flyer on the head shots, I think.

I also shot the 1937 .380 Colt Hammerless I bought not too long ago. It was a pleasure to shoot and very accurate! Again, every shot in the black @ 10 yds. with Xs registered, mostly 10 and 9s but some 8s. and no flyers. A couple of misses on the head shots. It's too old a design for a carry gun for me, but I was very impressed with it. It was like shooting a 22lr pistol. The Hammerless is a great historical gun I think most Colt fans want or have. I prefer a .380acp over a .32acp. If I wanted to carry this gun, I'd have to retrain mysellf to draw the gun and then rack the slide, something I just won't do after so many years of carrying revolvers and modern semi autos.
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