Way of the Wheelgun: Reloading the Defensive Revolver, Pt 1

Posted on July 16, 2011 by


Spend a few minutes at the range with a revolver and even a new shooter will quickly notice the platform’s biggest deficiency: you have to reload every six (or five) rounds, and when you do reload it takes longer than it would take to stuff another magazine into your auto-chucker. It’s true. For all of the things that we like about revolvers, they do take more time to reload. And this is something that the defense-minded citizen should take into account when selecting a handgun for daily carry.

But first, forget everything you’ve ever seen in the movies or on television. If you foresee being pinned down behind a car, dumping multiple magazines into waves of oncoming attackers, then you should stop reading this article and start making some lifestyle changes. In reality, most gunfights are going to be up close, they’re going to be in the dark, they’re going to be fast and intense and the fight will be over in just a few shots.

That said, being able to reload any gun quickly is still important.

The proper defensive mindset must take into account several levels of things that could go very wrong. If you or someone you love is violently attacked at all, something has gone very wrong. If you find yourself in a situation where the six rounds of .357 Magnum in your gun are not enough, something has gone even worse. If you find that another two speedloaders worth of .357 Magnum isn’t enough, clearly you need more friends, not more bullets.

It’s the very assumption that things are going to go wrong that makes us carry guns. And therefore, no matter how unlikely it may be that you will have to perform a combat reload, you’d better know how to do it and you’d better be good at it.

The good news is that there are fast ways to reload a revolver. They take some practice, yes, and the development of the proper muscle memory. But they work. And next week we’ll take a look at all of them.