Gun sales are up. Perhaps it has to do with uncertainty of what might happen next with regard to the erosion of, or the ongoing attacks on gun rights (and the 2nd Amendment), or maybe it has to do with a heightened awareness of self security in today’s increasingly uncertain times and future, but more and more Americans are buying guns for the first time.
Most people want a handgun for self defense and personal protection. If an armed intruder breaks into your home, YOU are the first line of defense. While seconds count, the Police are at least minutes (or more) away. They will not get there fast enough to potentially save you and your families lives during a home invasion or burglary intrusion.
But which type of handgun should you get?
A revolver or semi-automatic pistol?
Semi-automatics (“pistols”) might seem like the best handgun to get (since it is the majority market, and that’s what we see on TV and the movies), but for a novice it might not be the best choice (might not). Pistols can be somewhat complicated to use (although not always), especially in chaotic, high-stress situations. Each additional step necessary to operate a handgun, is one more chance for something to go wrong. First and foremost, a gun HAS to go “bang” every time you squeeze the trigger — your life might depend on it.
This article has been updated from an older guest article (by “Night Owl”) with my additional input. Hope to get some fresh comments and opinion…
For a pistol to operate reliably EVERY TIME, you HAVE to make sure –
1) the magazine is properly loaded and inserted into the gun,
2) The pistol must be cocked and/or the slide must be pulled back and released*.
3) The safety must be in the “fire” position.
4) The slide must be all the way in the “forward locked position” or the pistol won’t fire.
5) If you get a “dud” round of ammunition not only will the pistol not fire but you will also have to “rack” the slide again hoping the “dud” round just falls out easily and make sure the slide locks all the way into the forward position before you can again try to fire the pistol.
Note *Not all pistols require it be cocked and/or slide pulled back (e.g. the Glock)
Now imagine trying to go through all of these steps while a rapist, murderer or gang banger is attacking you — and by the way, you’ll need BOTH hands free to do this. By now the bad guy has potentially killed you and your spouse three times.
With a revolver however, you just squeeze the trigger. Most revolvers don’t have or need a safety, as the trigger pull is “heavy” enough to prevent accidental firings. If you get a dud round, you just squeeze the trigger again and a new round is fired. The Police carried revolvers for 100 years and it served them well, some individual officers still choose to carry revolvers in part because of the guns absolute reliability.
For a first time gun owner a revolver might be a better initial choice. Revolvers are utterly reliable and easy to use. With that said, the semi-auto Glock might be the equivalent ‘reliable’ choice if one wishes to go the route of the pistol.
Thoughts: Some might argue the difference between a revolver having fewer shots than a semi-auto. While that is true, the revolver in this case (purpose) isn’t meant for ‘battle’, and I believe that most personal protection shooting incidents are over with quickly (though not always). With that said, reloading a revolver (unless practiced with a speedloader) will likely take longer than reloading a magazine in a semi-auto.
Another thought: Mounting a laser to a revolver makes the weapon even simpler during a highly tense critical moment — point the red dot on the target and squeeze the trigger. I have mounted a Crimson Trace laser grip to my S&W 642-1 and can attest to the simplicity.
I will also add this… Take a class and get training from an instructor.
And then practice, practice, practice. It’s fun 😉
What is your opinion on this subject for a first time buyer?