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Thread: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

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    Moderator Jayhawker's Avatar
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    Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    It's no secret that I've been trying to simplify my life and am, therefore, a huge fan of the KISS principle. Now I go armed pretty much every day and while we have plenty of handguns to choose from, most often, I find myself carrying a single action revolver - depending on whether I'm going into town or not, it's either a 3 or 5 inch. Stupidly simple...Cock it and pull the trigger.... No extraneous safeties to deal with, no de-cockers, no failure to fire, feed or eject drills to remember, no ejector stars for cases to get stuck under... the concept of limp wristing is a non-starter, as are worries about bent magazine lips, polishing feed ramps, or carrying spare mags.

    With a well-designed holster, I don't have any problems using an SA revolver for concealed carry. (I'm working on an IWB rig for my Birdshead Vaquero)

    The six-round ammo capacity doesn't concern me in the slightest, nor does the rather pokey reload time.

    All this being said, where you live certainly plays into the decision, in my previous life, there were places I wouldn't go without a topped off XD45 AND a couple of spare mags simply based on the fact that IF you got attacked it would likely involve multiple attackers (gang country)...Now however, I'm as likely (more likely actually) to be taking a shot at a coyote or putting down a sick cow as I am to be getting into a scrape that would involve pulling a gun.

    Your thoughts..... .
    Last edited by Jayhawker; 01-20-2013 at 10:42 PM.
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    Senior Member DoctorWho's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawker View Post

    With a well-designed holster, I don't have any problems using an SA revolver for concealed carry. (I'm working on an IWB rig for my Birdshead Vaquero)

    The six-round ammo capacity doesn't concern me in the slightest, nor does the rather pokey reload time.



    Your thoughts..... .




    There is much to be said for a good stout revolver for personal defense, .45 Colt or even a SA revolver in .44 magnum, I was at a LGS and I saw a Ruger Super Blackhawk convertable revolver on display, priced @ $ 399.99 .45 Colt / .45 acp, such a revolver with warm loads in .45 Colt should prove a decent enough fight stopper.
    Last edited by DoctorWho; 01-20-2013 at 11:48 PM.
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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Depends which design (pistol/revolver) the individual runs better.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

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    Senior Member DoctorWho's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    As Clint Eastwood said: "a mans gotta know his limitations" if you can't effectively use a particular arm due to handicaps or other limiting factors, chose one you know you are better or more capable with.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996

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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Exactly.

    I, for example, have no business bringing a single action revolver to a gun fight if I have a choice. I can use it...........but there's no comparison.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Unless you're planning to take on football-team sized groups of scumbags, six rounds should be plenty to handle the SD situations most of us are likely to encounter. The Colt Peacemaker rode untold thousands of holsters for decades and served its purpose well, and there's no reason the same type of gun wouldn't work in the vast majority of situations today. Given the choice between my .45 Colt Blackhawk and some sort of mouse gun, I'd take the .45 hands down!
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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    My concern is not capacity. My concern is familiarity.

    I have 3 single action revolvers and they are all hunting guns. I've never had to draw/hammer/fire them under pressure. So, it wouldn't be fast/accurate/effective for me.

    A pistol..........yes.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

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    Moderator Jayhawker's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    It should go without saying (or maybe not) that no matter what you're carrying you really need to know how to run it...and run it well...

    I would wager that Zee, given a couple of weeks of trigger time, would become a bag guys nightmare with a single action...
    Last edited by Jayhawker; 01-21-2013 at 01:35 AM.
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  9. #9

    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    If you have trained on it, and can effectively employ it... Sure. Why not? Reloads might be a bit... leisurely.

    I've been carrying a roundgun for the last few days, but it has been a Smith 66 4". If I HAD to carry a single action, it would be a Schofield replica 3.5"
    ca853-schofield-3.jpg
    Just to make it a tad bit easier to get more rounds in the gun
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    Senior Member shotgunshooter3's Avatar
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    If you are comfortable with it then go for it. I am perfectly comfortable with being "limited" to 6 rounds for a self defense situation.
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    Senior Member NN's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I would not have a problem using a SA revolver for SD and
    with an IWB holster it should be about the same as a SA/DA revolver
    in such a holster.

    I was trained to shoot SA with a SA/DA revolver and shoot SA and plan
    to always shoot SA, so, IMO you have a good plan.

    I would suggest some speed strips if you do not already have them,
    at least for organizing extra ammo if you would need to pocket carry
    such ammo.
    Last edited by NN; 01-21-2013 at 01:56 AM.
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    Senior Member bruchi's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Don't know your particulars regarding this but a huge problem most of us face is that we will not know for a fact how one is to, "handle oneself" and for that matter anything that is an extension of yourself in such a dangerous situation.

    When my life is on the block I want the most reliable and effective but also the most user friendly tool and one must add to this the ever present "Murphy Principle", taking all of this under consideration has to be kept in mind when choosing that tool and of course a lot of continued PRACTICE with that chosen tool is a must.

    Single action revolvers are cool but NOT FOR ME as a SD gun, as they say your mileage may vary.

    They require cocking the hammer prior to shooting every single round, this is going to factor acquiring a sight picture, unless you know that you just will not need sights on whatever situation comes up or that you will not miss shooting from the hip like Hollywood cowboys, exhibition shooters or at the range shooting at paper but when you must do this under the pressure of a real, life or death situation.

    Now if it is either a sharp stick or a single action revolver, I'll take the SA revolver, after all it works great for Stallone on the "Expendables" movies but as long they make Sigs, Glocks, HK's, Double Action revolvers and so on, for SD I'll take one of those instead. Again, your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by bruchi; 01-21-2013 at 02:42 AM.
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Well, there's no question that SAR's are legitimate fighting arms (I seem to be careening towards a 7.5" '75 Remington clone myself), but I think if you really are after KISS principle, the DAR is a more sensible way to roll.

    You are ABSOLUTELY in the right mindset with "get it done with six", only problem is, with an SAR, you're pretty soundly committed to that program. The DAR gives you the option of speed strips, and really doesn't give up much in terms of being utterly simple.
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    Senior Member Fat Billy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    A manual type writer will record the same info as a PC or iPad. Single action worked in the old west and single shot rifles worked in the Civil War. The single action pistol is an awesome weapon and it will make you a better shooter by teaching you that good shooting is better than more magazines. Site picture and trigger squeeze rule the day. Single action revolvers(with transfer bar) are safe, accurate and fool proof. If you aren't a good shot carry two so trying to reload fast is not an issue. In a quiet dark room the sound of pulling the hammer is pure sex appeal. Later,
    Fat Billy

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    How about elderly and/or disabled folks who simply don't have the hand strength to run the slide on a pistol or shoot a revolver double action? In the past month, I've been involved in introducing three ladies to handgun shooting, and all of them had problems with racking the slide on a pistol. Two of them were wildly inaccurate with two of my revolvers DA, but they were very proficient shooting SA with the same guns. A 6" Ruger Blackhawk .357 with +p 38 Special ammo would be a good bedside table gun for elderly folks with arthritic hands. They just need to practice enough to be comfortable with the mechanics of operating the gun.
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    Senior Member bruchi's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    As "Teach" shares there will be situations where a particular tool will be the best perhaps even the only option.

    What gets me the most of SAR's for SD is that instance of precious time you have to invest in arming the hammer that interferes not only with getting a sight picture, but with getting the gun steady and pointing at the threat on that first shot that IMO counts do much in an SD situation, recoil is there on subsequent sots on all guns but again having to arm again that hammer is going to add time and all of this will be augmented if only one hand is available like when holding a flashlight with the other to see at what one is shooting.

    SAR's with picatinny rails for a flashlight? Hey add a laser too while at it!

    The faster I can get my gun in battery the better, at least to me.
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    Moderator Jayhawker's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    You're thinking too hard Bruchi... it's a different tool, it requires different training but in the end, it takes no more time to to get a SAR out of the holster, cocked (happens during the draw stroke) and into action than it takes to get a cocked & locked 1911 out of the holster, wipe off the thumb safety and acquire a flash sight picture.

    As I'm recovering from recoil the hammer is getting cocked, by the time I'm back on target, the next one is ready to go....

    Just a matter of training with and shooting what you've got....a lot...
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    Senior Member CHIRO1989's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I go with 5 in my J-frame all of the time, though, that mom in Georgia that put 5 .38 into the head and neck of that BG and he was still breathing, that gives me pause. As to the original post, in a rural setting, a bigbore SA is just fine, especially if there is a rifle in the truck.
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    Moderator Jayhawker's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by CHIRO1989 View Post
    especially if there is a rifle in the truck.
    That too
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by shotgunshooter3 View Post
    If you are comfortable with it then go for it. I am perfectly comfortable with being "limited" to 6 rounds for a self defense situation.
    The virtues of carrying a Kahr have been extolled here every time the subject comes up. My CW .45 is 6 + 1.
    Shooting side by side with you, when we both ran dry you would have a much better club.
    Granted I could reload much more quickly. But i think, real world scenario, you'd be fine. If I were to choose your SA scenario I'd definitely up my practice, especially the draw and thumb cock part.
    That said, my revolver 1st choice would be DA. My wife that I introduced to shooting, I started her out SA with a DA. She did okay. But when I introduced the front sight thing and DA shooting her accuracy skyrocketed. So that's what she uses.
    But I've followed your posts on SARs so rock on with your bad self. Personally if I decided to go the BG route and dude pulled a SA on me and thumb cocked it on the draw, if he shot me it'd be in the arse.

    Edit: When i said "shooting side y side", I meant the OP not SS3
    Last edited by Razorbacker; 01-21-2013 at 05:25 AM.

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    Senior Member DoctorWho's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I have been liking the balance and heft of the Blackhawk more and more, the trigger is smooth as glass, it has plenty of advantages and power, even with mild .44 special loads it is more than sufficient for most personal defense encounters.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    The "plow handle" grip on a Colt SAA has a tendency to roll the hammer back under a shooter's thumb on recoil. As the sight picture is re-acquired, it's pretty instinctive to thumb the hammer back. That's actually a carryover from the percussion revolvers, which needed to be cocked with the gun in a basically vertical position to let the spent caps fall away instead of jamming up the cylinder rotation.
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I have no problems with single actions for defence.
    I feel that I'm faster at getting the first round on target than with a DA or auto for the simple reason that the SA just seems to point more naturaly for me.
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    we are not in Kansas any more, well you are but we ain't. as long as you are comfortable with it and can place your shots well you will be better of than most with higher round count that pray, spray and hold their gun side ways

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    Moderator Wambli Ska's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawker View Post
    It should go without saying (or maybe not) that no matter what you're carrying you really need to know how to run it...and run it well...

    I would wager that Zee, given a couple of weeks of trigger time, would become a bag guys nightmare with a single action...
    While I would not do it today I can tell you that during my CAS (SASS) days I carried a .45 Colt chambered Ruger Vaquero concealed quite a bit, mostly just for variety, and was very comfortable that multiple targets would have been addressed quite well under pressure.

    I think Zee would be a BGs nightmare armed with a nail clipper...
    "Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching." General George S. Patton

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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I think a SA revolver is fine for a self defense weapon in a low-threat rural area. If you operate and shoot it well, you are probably armed more practically than I am, carrying an XDs with six rounds.

    I've actually thought about a bird's head in .45 Colt for my 'barbecue gun.'

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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I think the general consensus is, "if you're comfortable with it, go for it". My personal nightstand gun is a DA .357. Still dead simple - pick it up, aim, and fire. I have moon clips at the ready of course, but if I unload 6 .357 HP's at less than 10 yards into someone and they're still coming at me, I've likely got bigger problems.

    I love my semi-autos for plinking, but I'm a big fan of revolvers for simplicity in a SD situation when your adrenaline is going to be pumping and you probably won't have the same coordination that you would normally.


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    Senior Member farm boy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I have spent quite a bit of time carrying a Blackhawk around on the farm. I would be comfortable carrying one in a SD scenario.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
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    Senior Member farm boy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    I do really like that 3.5" Schofield replica. I wonder if you could get a speed loader for it? A speed strip would be useful too.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13

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    Senior Member Nomadac's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Single Action Revolvers for Self Defense

    My Ruger Vaquero is great for SASS shootings, but I prefer one of my Colt .45 acp's for SD. A SA does not fit into my most comfortable concealed carry options. In the past I have carried revolvers, Ruger Speed Six .357, S&W 624 3"bbl. .44 cal. and Colt Det. Spl. .38 and find concealing a semi-auto easier and provides more capacity w/spare mag(s) it the s___ hits the fan. Since I am more prone to travel in a Metro area vs. rural area I do not expect to have to shoot wildlife, etc. to this is not a reason to consider a SA.

    I respect what others choose and that is most important for everyone to decide what will work best for them. What ever you choice is better than a knife or sharp stick.

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