The Way of the Wheelgun: Welcome to My World

Posted on April 9, 2011 by


So you’ve decided to carry a revolver? Congratulations. You’ve just made one of the most controversial decisions you can make in the circles of the fairly contentious world of gun rhetoric. Potentially more explosive than even the ever faithful “9mm vs. .45 ACP” argument, “Revolver vs. Semi-Automatic” is an argument that will inflame both youthful mall ninjas and old geezers alike. Me? Well, I like them all, and I think it’s fantastic that we have such wide variety of handguns to choose from for recreation and personal defense. But I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m a wheelgun guy at heart.

I like the way they look and feel. I’d venture that 90% of the factors that go into most people’s personal handgun selections have to do with aesthetics. And that’s okay. If you don’t like looking at or handling your gun, you probably won’t spend very much time with it. Spending lots of time with your handgun is one of the single most important aspects of good defensive shooting – be it with a tactical-Tupperware wonder nine or a stainless steel six-shooter.

I also like the reliability they afford. Yes, revolvers can fail. In fact, there are a few failures that are specific to a revolver and that we have to take account for if we are going to be responsible shooters. And yes, there are some very, very reliable semi-automatic pistols out there (virtually any modern service pistol will function reliably for 99% of the shooting public’s needs). But on the whole revolvers are also much, much less prone to ammunition-related failures and can feed remanufactured ammunition with greater impunity. This is not true of semi-automatic pistols.

I like the way they work. There is something inherently simple and friendly about the workings of a double-action revolver. I don’t mean to say that working a semi-automatic is too complex – I think if you can drive a car you should be competent enough to run virtually any handgun. But it’s easy to see when a revolver is loaded and when it isn’t. And if you’ve decided to start down the Way of the Wheelgun, chances are that you share some or all of the same feelings I’ve just iterated.

But if we are going to be responsible pistoleros – if we are going to handle our equipment with proficiency and back that handling up with the skills and the mindset that it takes to win at the range or on the street – then it’s critical that we lay down a foundation of good habits early on. And that’s what this series of blog posts are going to be out: fundamentals.

Let me clarify. I’m not an expert. And I don’t make claims to be one. But I have learned a lot since I started shooting wheelguns, by reading and following and observing people who are experts. And it’s my hope in this series to pass some of that knowledge on. Most of these posts will be applicable regardless of whether you shoot a wheelgun for recreational or defensive purposes. But I’m a practical shooter and shoot mainly to train for self-defense, so that’s how this series of articles will be geared.

Join me now, each Wednesday and Saturday, as we take a long, hard look at my favorite shooting platform, and frankly discuss its advantages and shortcomings, its variations and accessories, and the skills that you’ll need to develop to put it all together.