Sixgun Savvy


Practice firing with your strong hand.

Some day, whether you like it or not, you may be required to know how to shoot a revolver. A battlefield pickup or your buddy’s, either way you need to make it run. Indeed, if it’s by choice — even if unusual in today’s world of auto pistols — the revolver bearer is by no means under armed. Sure, in some cases revolvers have a limited number of rounds, so it seems to me — after marksmanship — your priority would be an ability to load the revolver as quickly as possible.

A redeeming value of a revolver is in case of a failure to fire, you simply compress the trigger and bring another chamber into line. This, by the way, should only be done under conflict conditions and not in the case of range practice exercises. In fairness — if you like fair stuff — a flaw of the revolver is a squib load not clearing the cylinder, sticking in the forcing cone. Then the gun will lock up tighter than a drum, and it will be time to make ready with the Red Ball Jets or go to another gun, period. There’s always a thorn, no matter how attractive the rose.

Basics should be applied, as always, at minimal ranges and at moderately sized targets. With 100 rounds and based on the number of charge holes, try the following. And remember, all of this should be fired DA, which is the smoothest and safest way to shoot a revolver.

Make your target two paper plates aligned one above the other and topped off with a 3″x5″ card on an 18″ by 30″ piece of cardboard. Or, whatever target rings your bell. If you don’t like the plate concept, just have a target with three zones to replicate the three zones on the human anatomy: head, chest and pelvis.

Key points? Shoot well; keep your eyes on the target area during the reloads and let empty brass and used speed loaders drop on the ground= during this whole exercise.

Practice firing with your opposite hand. Anticipate more recoil
as photo shows until you gain more experience.

Revolver Exercises

• From a ready position bring the revolver on-target and fire one round center zone, remembering to get the follow-up sight picture after the gun fires. One shot, two sight pictures. Fire one cylinder, one round at a time.

• From ready bring the revolver on-target and fire two rounds center zone. Repeat two times.

• From ready bring the revolver on-target and fire one round at each zone. Do this two times, being sure to change the order the zones are engaged. Shoot at a speed where you are hitting each zone correctly.

• Repeat the previous exercise twice, firing two rounds at each zone with a reload in between. When you fire this, change the order you engage the three zones in.

• From ready, engage the target in the center zone with one round. Repeat firing two rounds. Repeat firing three rounds then load smartly.

• Do the previous exercise with the strong hand only. Use both hands to load. Then do it using the opposite hand only. Use both hands to load.

• Repeat all of the previous drills, this time drawing from your method of carry. If your range doesn’t allow drawing, then set the revolver on the bench or table to start each drill, or increase the distance.

• When you are finished you will have two to four rounds left. I would shoot these at the smallest zone on your target with the opposite hand. No sense in doing the easy stuff. As you get better increase the distance or add a second target and split the exercises so you are engaging two targets.

You may have to fight with a “Battlefield” find.


This could seem to be a relatively easy exercise and in fact probably is. Not to worry, using a ready position as a starting point and then changing to a presentation or drawing for each segment will be a significant change. Putting a coat or vest over the holstered revolver and then completing the exercises will increase the difficulty and the value of this work. If your range allows a simple single lateral step and or a withdrawal or= backward step, these acts will yield positive value to your range time.

As you improve, add a flashlight into a low-light environment and you will significantly change the dynamics of this exercise. Sans doing something stupid, all of these exercises will increase your skills for defensive formats. In fact, there’s no reason anyone mastering all of these issues and exercises cannot defend themselves — and do it well. Even with an old style, archaic revolver.

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