Revolvers vs Semi-Autos: Which is the Better Choice for Concealed Carry?
Handguns come in most every type of action that rifles come in, from bolt action to semi-auto and everything in-between. However, there are only two types of handguns that are ideal for concealed carry purposes – revolvers and semi-autos – and there’s plenty of debate about which type is best.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how these two types of handguns stack up against each other in a variety of categories to help you determine which type is best for you.
The first and most prominent argument in favor of semi-auto handguns concerns magazine capacity. Even small, single-stack semi-autos are typically able to hold upwards of seven rounds, while larger, double-stack semi-autos can often hold fifteen rounds or more.
Revolvers, on the other hand, rarely ever hold more than six rounds. There are even a few seven and eight round revolvers on the market, but they’re not nearly as common as the five and six round varieties.
Granted, in most every self-defense scenario, six or even five rounds should be more than enough. The key word here, though, is “should” – you never know what’s going to happen, and having more rounds than you need is always going to be better than not having enough.
Having looked at the most prominent argument in favor of semi-auto handguns, let’s look at the most prominent argument in favor of revolvers – reliability. Revolvers feature a much simpler mechanism than semi-autos with far fewer moving parts. Since the ammunition in a revolver isn’t cycled in and out of the chamber, it’s virtually impossible for revolvers to jam.
The same can’t be said for semi-auto handguns. While most high-quality semi-auto handguns are made to be incredibly reliable, no semi-auto handgun manufacturer can guarantee that their firearm will never jam. Revolver manufacturers, however, are able to make that guarantee with confidence.
The chances of a semi-auto handgun jamming when you are counting on it are quite slim, especially if your purchase a high-quality firearm and keep it clean and well-maintained. However, if you want to know with 100% certainty that your firearm will send a round downrange every time you pull the trigger then a revolver might be the right choice for you.
Neither revolvers nor semi-autos are inherently more accurate than the other. With that said, though, most shooters will find that they themselves are more accurate with a semi-auto than they are a revolver.
The reason why this is the case mostly has to do with trigger pull. When you pull the trigger on a semi-auto, all you are doing is releasing the tension on the firing pin. When you pull the trigger on a double-action revolver, though, you are cocking back the hammer, rotating the cylinder, and releasing the hammer. This means that the trigger pull on a revolver is going to be much stiffer than the trigger pull on a semi-auto, and experienced shooters know that stiff triggers are the enemy of accuracy.
While the stiff trigger pull of a double action revolver does make it a little more difficult shoot accurately, it can also make revolvers a little safer to carry. Many concealed carry enthusiasts are adamant about not having safeties on their firearms, which is understandable seeing as fumbling around with a safety could waste precious seconds in a self-defense scenario. Given this concern, many handguns designed for concealed carry don’t feature a safety at all.
Carrying a firearm that has a hair trigger and lacks a safety, though, causes some people to think twice about the possibility of accidentally putting a bullet through their leg. While this concern certainly still exists with revolvers as well, the stiffer trigger on revolvers makes them far less likely to accidentally discharge.
Ease of Concealment
Semi-auto handguns typically feature a slightly slimmer profile than revolvers since they don’t have to house a cylinder that bulges out from the side of the gun’s frame. This slimmer profile makes semi-auto handguns a little easier to conceal without worrying about the gun printing (bulging through your clothing).
Both semi-auto handguns and revolvers feature their own distinct pros and cons. In the end, the decision about which type is best for concealed carry comes down to your own personal preferences and priorities.
With that said, choosing a handgun that you are comfortable shooting and comfortable carrying is going to be much more important than analyzing the minor differences between the two types.
~ National Gun Network