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The Magic Wheel

The Magic Wheel

Editor’s Note: Due to a demand from readers, we’re reprinting Clint’s column from May/June 2006. Seems you guys can’t get enough of revolvers!

In a conversation with some young folks, I noticed they were looking quizzically at me wearing a revolver during a class. They were stunned I would actually carry one. I mean, “revolvers,” they said, “being old fashioned and all.” I thought maybe they were tugging a geezer’s leg. Then I looked at their heads cranked around like the old RCA dog commercials and realized something astounding: They really, really didn’t get it.

So, it occurred to me there’s a generation of people — not counting the “I don’t like guns” crowd — who are in fact, “sort” of gun folks, but don’t know of the legend of the amazingly simple wheel idea.

That Magic Wheel

It would be a foolish child who believes someone can’t defend himself with a revolver — even today. From the cap-and-ball revolvers of the Civil War, passing though the failure of the .38 cartridges in the Philippines and the consequent recall of the .45 big bores, the revolver has often been asked to step up to the plate and swing. And swing it did with the advent of the hand ejector systems. Though the maze of time and tools consisting of dump pouches, speed strips and speed loaders of the twist and Jet types, the revolver grew over time into a viable tool for personal protection. Is it the best tool? Maybe not; but then again, no handgun is. Is it a viable tool? Without a doubt.

The truth be known, many people’s perceptions of personal protection are based on volume of fire going down range or, perhaps more correctly, down the hallway. I’m not sure, but last time I checked I think there might be this legal-accountability thing hanging around the edges of gunfights, and all those stray bullets flying around. I’m simply not convinced I need a bucket of bullets to solve my problem.

And so this isn’t like the .41 Magnum — misunderstood or misrepresented — I don’t believe a 5-shot Chief’s Special is the ultimate fighting handgun. In fact, most 2″ guns should be used by highly competent shooters, not the “gun in my purse or fanny pack” crowd, who often buy them. Before someone launches off the chair, I’ll say this; yes, the gun in your pocket is better than the one at home in the safe when the fight starts. Someplace in between these vastly split poles is the equator of common sense for personal protection.

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  1. Are revolvers for everyone? It wasn’t that long ago that there were revolvers and then there were single shots; semi-auto pistols are a relatively new entrant in the firearms arena.
    I’ve used both (actually all three) and while the single shot cap-and-ball pistol is a no-starter; the other two are probably about equal in utility with revolvers edging out auto pistols because revolvers are less ammo sensitive.
    Yes, autos carry more bullets. Yes, they can be more easily concealed because they are flat. However… Revolvers are easier to shoot well, and all things being equal, are probably better for the “occasional” shooter because they are less fussy. A double action revolver will have an easier trigger pull than an automatic (even a striker fired auto like a Glock) mostly because the trigger is doing less work in the revolver than it is in the auto. The only weakness in the revolver is the lack of a place to put a white light so you can see what (or who) you are maybe shooting at. I have an old S&W model 10(4″) that I frequently shoot out at the local range. I may put a laser on it, but even without the laser, hitting a 2″ bull at 15 yds is easy over the stock sights. I just wish my Glock were as easy to shoot that well, since 9mm ammo is cheaper than .38spl most of the time.
    In my experience, it isn’t the gun, it’s the person holding it that is the important part.

  2. Dennis R. Allshouse says:

    Thank you for showing Clints older articles. I have taken several classes with him years ago and learned a lot. I have to mention that when he states “S&W & Taurus are the only two significant makers actively manufacturing revolvers in any number for self-defense needs” I would like to say that Charter Arms has been making GREAT self-defense revolvers for years in AMERICA. They also make the only left hand revolver that I know of.
    Dennis R. Allshouse
    NRA Life Member

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