Should You Ever Use a Revolver for Concealed Carry?

Many firearm enthusiasts will have a few AR15 platform rifles with tactically configured upper receivers featuring multiple accessories in their arsenals. These same gun owners may also have a favored pistol they’ve chosen for concealed carry. While most of these will be semi-automatic, sporting single or double stack magazines that offer between ten and fifteen rounds, many prefer using a revolver to meet their concealed carry needs.

There are several viable reasons why you may want to use a revolver for concealed carry, and unfortunately, just as many reasons why you may want to consider a semi-automatic type of pistol instead. When making a choice, you should know the pros and cons of each to make your own informed decision.

Ease Of Use

One of the more essential aspects of carrying a revolver for concealed carry is how easy the pistol is to operate. There are no slides needed to work with a revolver to chamber that first round. In simple terms, you only need to open the cylinder, load the ammunition, close the cylinder, sight, and pull the trigger.

If you’re a first-time gun owner, revolvers typically represent a good solution when you’ve got fundamental shooting skills under your belt but still need more experience. Understanding the operation of a revolver will help you expand your overall handgun knowledge base.

A Durable and Well-Sized Solution

Most revolvers will provide years of durability and dependable use. Of course, as with any firearm, you’ll want to keep the gun well-oiled and clean. One interesting note to remember is that even if a revolver sits idle in your arsenal for years if you keep it properly maintained, you can rest assured that the pistol will operate as advertised and expected when needed.

Many owners who maintain a concealed carry solution will tell you that revolvers are the perfect sized gun stating that the gun’s cylinder provides sufficient distance from the hip when holstered. According to many revolver fans, this clearance makes it easier to get a more positive grip on the gun when drawing it.

Unfortunately, the very nature of a revolver’s construct makes IWB or inside waistband concealment uncomfortable. Regardless of the holster chosen, remember that a revolver’s cylinder must be large enough to handle the caliber of ammunition you’ve chosen and must be of sufficient size to rotate with each shot. When worn inside the waistband, you’ll need to experiment with your carry style until you find the correct holster placement you can wear all day comfortably.

Another feature is the overall size of most concealed carry revolvers. While you’ll find many pistols of the revolver variety with much longer barrels, the ideal revolver for concealed carry is typically short and designed to be small enough to fit several different types of carrying styles.

As overall size goes, remember that the ammunition in a revolver isn’t in the grip; it’s in the cylinder. Although the magazine’s dimensions on a semi-automatic pistol usually determine the overall size and shape, this is not the case when using a revolver. If you decide to carry a revolver, you can easily modify a revolver grip to suit several different types and styles of concealed carry.

Cleaning and Safety

Another feature you’ll discover the first time you clean your revolver is how easy it is. Giving your revolver a thorough cleaning typically results in cleaning the barrel, the cylinder where the ammunition resides, and removing any traces of carbon build-up on the trigger hammer.

Be sure to wipe the entire gun down with proper solvent and apply a few drops of lubricating oils on the action items to reduce or eliminate the possibility of a malfunction. While teardowns and cleaning of other pistols and rifles may take a little more time and a more thorough understanding of the internal operation, cleaning a revolver will only take a few minutes. Not only will you discover that your revolver is easy to clean, but you’ll also realize that it won’t require a degree in gunsmithing to make it happen.

Gun safety should be a primary focus for any gun owner, whether you’re new to the sport or a veteran, and what you’ll discover is that a revolver is exceptionally safe to use. If your choice of revolver for concealed carry is a single-action pistol, accidental firing is next to impossible. To fire a single-action revolver, you must pull the hammer back into a locked-back position before pulling the trigger. A double-action revolver is just as safe, and you must give the trigger a forceful tug to move the hammer back and then forward.  

Six Shots and Done

One of the most significant challenges most revolvers have is ammunition capacity. However, you’ll probably hear a few arguments for and against carrying a revolver that typically has a lower capacity of between five and eight rounds in the cylinder.

When it comes to limited ammunition capacity in a revolver, a rule of thumb is that if it takes you more than six rounds to hit what you’re aiming at, you probably need to spend more than a little time at the range working on your accuracy.

In contrast, most veteran gun owners will tell you the entire purpose of concealed carry is to provide an advantage over imminent threats when forced to draw your weapon. With a revolver’s limited number of rounds, your ability to protect yourself and your family may depend on the amount of ammunition in your revolver’s cylinder.

In conjunction with the limited shots, you’ll also discover that a revolver, especially a double-action one, requires a heavier trigger pull. When firing a revolver, you’ll need to deliberately pull the trigger with enough force to get the shot off while ensuring your aim is accurate enough to hit the desired target. When the situation is dire, firing a revolver with a heavier trigger pull weight in an emergency may prove to be a disadvantage when staying alive is on the line.

Sight Radius

As mentioned earlier, the choice to carry a revolver as your concealed carry gun has its own set of limitations; not the least of these is that you’re sighting your target with a much shorter radius. 

Snub-nosed or short-barreled pistols traditionally offer closer sight systems, and the rule of thumb is that the farther apart the front and rear sights are, the better accuracy you’ll have. With a short sight radius on a revolver, you’ll need to regularly spend sufficient time at your local range to ensure accurate placement of your shots.  

Semi-Automatic Slide or Revolver

Although many owners will settle on a more slim, higher capacity semi-automatic pistol for concealed carry, revolvers still have a place in the concealed carry market. Understanding their capabilities and shortcomings is the best thing to do when it comes time for you to choose. There are a host of good reasons why you may want to consider carrying a revolver for concealed carry and just as many why you shouldn’t. One fundamental rule of thumb is to never decide without understanding the benefits and drawbacks of both styles of pistols.

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