Top 9 Reasons Why You Need a Revolver for Self-Defense – Final Prepper

Top 9 Reasons Why You Need a Revolver for Self-Defense

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Packing heat is always a good idea because you never know what this world is going to throw at you next. Revolvers make an excellent choice as a Concealed Carry Weapon, backup or self-defense piece. Here are seven reasons why the wheel gun excels.


Revolvers have the earned reputation of being dependable under pressure.

A wheel gun can put up with a lot more abuse than an auto-loader. Drop it in the dirt. Roll it around in the mud. It is still going to function. Semi-autos are a lot more finicky about dirt and dust.

Even a cheap revolver is going to shoot a round that fits correctly in a cylinder chamber. New ammo or reloads, it does not matter. You can mix loads too. Load the first one or two out the barrel with a hot JHP to avoid over-penetration. Then, lower power loads behind that like lead ball to fill the rest of the cylinder.

Auto-loaders definitely express preferences in ammo. I once had a 1911 that digested factory JHP and FMJ just fine. Drop some hand-loaded round ball and it jammed every time.



Revolvers do not jam. Auto-loaders can. Misfeeds can be caused by a bent lip that you didn’t notice before slapping a new mag home or a weak mag spring. Auto-loaders are also susceptible to “limp wristing”, a problem that a revolver never has.

Fits your hand better

Even a cheap revolver is going to shoot a round that fits correctly in a cylinder chamber. New ammo or reloads, it does not matter.

Revolvers come in all sizes from the diminutive North American Arms .22 and .22 Mag to the behemoth North American Arms BFR in .45-70
Auto-loaders do get small, but not as small as the NAA revolver.
The BFR is not suited for concealed carry, unless you are about 12 feet tall. A lot of people say the NAA revolvers are also not suited for concealed carry. If you must have maximum concealment and minimum size, the NAA offers fit both categories. If the choice is between no gun or an NAA revolver, these pocket powerhouses win every time.

Read More: Top 5 Firearms you need to get your hands on now!

Auto-loaders do not reach the sheer size of the BFR either.
A new generation of auto-loaders with different grips is out. Revolvers have had this for years and the choices are much broader.
A good revolver will also fit in the best hunting backpacks as a backup.

Shooter Friendly


Light loads are the perfect way to get used to shooting a revolver and to teach newbies. Shoot light and carry hot.

The revolver is more shooter friendly than an auto-loader. Because the revolver does not require recoil or gas to cycle, you can load revolver rounds very light. If you load auto-loader rounds light, you run the risk of a jam. The slide may not come all the way back. It may come back just far enough to begin the ejection of spent brass, but not complete it. There is another jam.
Light loads are the perfect way to get used to shooting a revolver and to teach newbies. Shoot light and carry hot.

Auto-loaders have a slide that comes back to cycle the weapon. More than one person has been pinched by the slide, usually because of limp wristing.

Easier to repair

A revolver has just a few parts. Most revolver parts can be milled in short order by any good metal shop.

Greater Durability

Revolvers have the least chance of failure of any handgun except single shots and the derringer.

The revolver is older than the auto-loader. What we know from a century of using both firearms is that the revolver lasts longer. Shooting does wear both firearms, but a well-built wheelmen will last longer than all but the most expensive semis.

The move to polymer parts on handguns in the semis is another reason many of these guns will not last as long as a wheelgun. Plastic, call it what it is, won’t hold up the way steel does.

Put another way, revolvers have the least chance of failure of any handgun except single shots and the derringer.


The revolver does not have a safety by and large. A few, like the Heritage rim-fire, do have a safety, but this is not common. Why no safety? Not needed. To make the revolver fire, the hammer-firing pin has to hit the primer hard enough to effect a detonation.

Double action revolvers do take some strength to pull that trigger to cock the hammer. Single action means you have to manually cock the hammer.

If the hammer is back, you know the gun is ready to fire. In a semi auto, especially with no exposed hammer, you have no idea if the gun is ready to fire.

Easier to Clean

Cleaning a wheelgun means running a patch down the barrel and through the cylinder chambers. Cleaning an auto means field stripping and putting it back together. For experienced shooters, this is not a problem. For someone who is new to guns, it can be daunting.

Law Friendly

Getting a permit to carry a revolver is easier in states that link a carry permit to the type of gun. Even New Jersey is more likely to issue a permit for a wheelgun than an auto. If you live in a state where the permit is keyed to you instead of the gun, a revolver still makes a good choice.


Hiding a revolver is easy. Modern holsters hide the profile very well. The holsters also come with features that make the holster snag in your pocket when drawing. You come out with the gun, the leather stays behind.

Revolvers also carry well in a shoulder holster, if that’s your thing.

I carry a Cobra hammerless snub .38 in a Bianchi 152 holster. The pistol is rated for +P ammo. The little holster fits most snubs. This is the second .38 snub I’ve had as a carry piece. The first one was traded to lady who wanted something for her purse and had a rifle I wanted. If I ever trade this one, its replacement will be a .357 snub hammerless or shrouded hammer. That way I can carry .38 Smith & Wesson, .38 Short Colt, .38 Special or .357.





  1. Kevin Nelson

    September 12, 2017 at 1:03 am

    I agree with everything here. I have a J frame SW I keep by the bed. I own several high end 1911’s but this is my go to, for all the reasons stated here.

  2. What I Know

    October 6, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Wheel guns do jam!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Revolvers (most are not off the shelf parts) are almost hand fitted & hand made guns. They have the most fragile parts & one off parts that will not interchange with other guns even the same model & make. This requires skill & talent to hand fit them to the parts into your broken wheel gun.

    The auto loader factory parts are interchangeable. They are all mass produced & made to a certain & standard size making every gun the same. This gives them interchangeability of all parts between the same make & model guns when it quits.

    When an auto loader quits & breaks the skill level needed to change broken parts, is that you have to be able take apart & clean the gun, & you find a broken spring you go to a store or find another gun & swap the part (do that with a wheel gun), you find that something else broke in the slide, you just replace it from a donor gun & keep the old for spares. (You have wheel gun boat anchor at this time)

    When wheel guns jam it requires more skill to them than just the slide to clear it.

    Here is a list of wheel gun fails that requires a large amount of skill to fix.

    #1 Primmer comes out of the shell casing pocket & welds itself to the gun
    in the firing pin & hole & locks the gun up to the point it wont even
    open up.(With reloaded more ammo {to many reload on a shell casing} this
    happens more but will happen with factory ammo. The more power the load
    has the bigger the problem,

    #2 Firing pin breaks & it comes forward getting stuck in the shell casing
    primmer locking the cylinder up to the point it will not open up. (too
    much dry firing)

    #3 The firing pin spring breaks & the pin is stuck forward locking the
    cylinder up.

    #4 The cylinder pin, rotating star & lock work parts get too much dirt &
    crud inside the frame & wares out parts too the point its gets out of

    #5 The main spring fails, breaks, too much dirt & jams, needs replaced.
    This requires someone skilled to tune it & the lock works at the same
    time, too work right.

    #6 Hammer mounted firing pin & spring fails, breaks off & wares out.

    #7 Cylinder lock spring fails, breaks or wares out. Pain

    #8 Cylinder pin bends fails.

    #9 Cylinder rotating parts fails.

    #10 Cylinder gap closes up.

    #11 The barrel moves & becomes lose in gun. This happens a lot on aluminum &
    brass frame wheel guns, high end & cheap guns one in the same.

    #12 Wheel guns cleaning are a pain there 6 holes too clean on a 5 shot gun.
    There is 7 holes to on 6 shot gun and so on.

    #13 Pistols only 1 hole to clean, the barrel.

    #14 Pistols take wet & cold better. Wheel guns will freeze up & lockup up
    when they get very wet & cold.

    • chuck

      March 10, 2018 at 8:35 am

      If you’ve had all those problems you should probably stay away from the $39 crap. I have quite a few revolvers, all Colt or S&W. A few of them are 40 – 50 years old. Not a single one of them has ever failed in thousands of firings.

      I suspect your reply is greatly exaggerated because, truth is, you just don’t like them… and that’s fine. That is why they make so many different kinds of handguns. You can justify in your mind that they are not good, but, truth is, they are everything stated in the article.

    • James B. Lumsden

      March 10, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Certainly all of these things CAN happen to a revolver however in many years of firing many thousands of rounds through quality revolvers, the only malfunction I have ever experienced was a squib reload which resulted from my own inattention when I reloaded that round. I suppose that a malfunction is more likely if you are using a poor-quality revolver though the same is true but even worse of poor quality semi-autos. For example, I once had a Raven .25 which was unable to get through a box of factory ball ammo without at least one malfunction. The ‘cheapest’ revolver I ever owned was a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 spl which never malfunctioned even once.

    • Steven Bailey

      January 28, 2019 at 11:16 am

      Forgot only one thing,sometimes the bullet will separate from the casing and lock up the cylinder,doesn’t happen often but can happen with magnum loads and a bad crimp on the bullet and case junction.Very good list as some I had not thought of!It is called bullet jump,only takes once and you will always remember.

  3. Ron Matthews

    March 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Sorry but you quote identical unquote parts are far from identical unless very very loosly fitted gun. Wheel guns are definitely less picky about what load you shoot in them, bar nothing. yes , however replacing any critical firearm component requires a certain level of expertise, but I have fired thousands of rounds in both types of firearms and have only had a jam or stovepipe in semi-auto or full auto firearms and only one broken retaining pin ever on a revolver a Roger single six. Drift pin out new pin in trim to length polish and cold blue, gun was back in action. Yes any mechanical device can break or fail.

    • Ron Matthews

      March 10, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Sorry, typo that was Ruger Super Single Six Convertible.

  4. Anne

    June 22, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Sounds lovely. And I tried some. Only problem is that my hands are not strong enough to pull the trigger unless I use two hands or pretend I’m in a cowboy movie and “fan” the hammer.

    Maybe if I worked very hard I could pull the trigger, but accuracy would suffer badly. And if I had to pull the trigger for self-defense, I’d really want to hit my target.

    • Oldjeep

      November 5, 2018 at 6:41 am

      Talk to a good gunsmith, my wife has a S&W 442 hammerless .38, original trigger pull was around 15lbs which she could not pull. Had a gunsmith work it over now pull is around 8lbs and very smooth she has no problems with it now.

  5. Dean Holloway

    June 22, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I own several semi autos and have no issues with them at all. I purchased a Heritage 22 that you mentioned, basically as a novelty for my wife. To my surprise, I like it quite a bit. It is not something I would want for defense but it is a fun shooter. I think my next purchase will be a mid sized .357 revolver as I am also looking at a lever rifle that will also be chambered in .357. Good article.

  6. JJM

    August 3, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Granted, I do not shoot thousands of rounds but the only problem with revolver I have had was a stuck bullet in a Judge due to a bad box of 45LC. Thankfully I recognized that the report was not as loud as it should have been. My dial caliper was not precise enough to measure but most of the bullets slid snugly into the mussel up to the case while a few of them were slightly too large to slide in.

  7. Randy

    August 22, 2018 at 7:27 am

    No gun is perfect & Wheel guns can jam!
    In 1983 I was a Houston police Officer carrying a 6″ J frame S&W 357.
    Houston weather is rough on guns so I swapped out my duty ammo every 6 months by shooting it before reloading. On one occasion the first round fired was a factory squib load that pushed the bullet forward just enough to jam the cylinder. Had this happened one week later I would have been killed in an on-duty shootout.
    Modern ammo is much better than back then, but do not think any gun is without potential surprises. ROTATE YOUR AMMO OFTEN AND KEEP YOUR GUN CLEAN.

  8. Roger Davies

    August 26, 2018 at 11:25 am

    one thing to note. there is a reloading tool made by Lee that does not require all the bulk of a normal reloading setup. It can be carried in a package about the size of a normal reloading die set. There is one problem, the Lee loader does not fully resize the case only the mouth to accommodate seating of the slug. This does not bode well for any semi-auto firearms but a revolver has no problem.

  9. Graywolf12

    October 25, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    What I know, I might have at least one of your failures, but it better hurry as I am 83. Never saw a frozen revolver, but have not hunted when temps were lower than -45.

    • Ron Matthews

      November 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

      I think the most important issue when hunting in subzero weather is the selection of a lubricant for you handgun that is rated to not change viscosity or “freeze” at those temperatures. The second factor, in those conditions use VERY light lubrication.
      Hust a couple of thoughts.

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