Does the Revolver still have a role as a modern Self defense handgun?


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For the first time in months I am handling my 4.25 inch GP100 in .357 Magnum.... after taking it out of "storage" I am struck by several things:

- How beautiful it is.
- What a piece of mechanical art it is.
- I remember how accurate it was in my hands..
- But I am also dumbstruck by how heavy it is compared to my full size M&P 9.

Of course this is a full size revolver.
It has to be heavy to fire the famous and much loved .357 Magnum cartridge.
357 Mag is in my very humble opinion the most powerful handgun round that is still practical.

What do I mean with the last statement?
Its the most powerful round that you can still train with w/o hurting your wrist in training or introducing training scars due to flinching.

It's the most powerful round that anyone with a good job can afford to feed with ammo for training .
Tho .357 Magnum is not cheap 41 Magnum and 44 Magnum etc are more expensive.

This brings us back to why my 4.25 inch GP100 is so heavy (40 oz the equivalent Smiths are 38 oz)
It has to be in order to be able to shoot all sorts of loads to include the popular real hot ones for a lifetime.

At its weight/bulk it will never be a conceal carry gun unless fashion goes back to a time where men wear coats/suits in (almost) any weather..
This is the kind of firearm thats well served a shoulder holster.

But I digress.

So what is the role of the modern revolver?
Simply a nostalgia item?
Did revolver makers like Ruger and Smith&Wesson finally break the code to make the perfect revolver at a point in history when this method of handheld firepower is eclipsed?

Maybe, maybe not.

Here are the roles in which it still shines IMHO:

- Nightstand gun...:They are so simple to hold/shoot and so naturally pointable they are perfect for someone half asleep just woken up. Also in court they are a handgun most americans (=potential jurors) are trained to associate with "the good guys"
- Training gun: They are so simple to operate , they are a great way to introduce new shooters to the sport... Especially since you introduce them not just for the simplicty but also for the stressless fun of this visceral piece of machining.
- Trail gun: This is still a big niche. A combination of self-defense in the boonies but capable of being loaded with very powerful loads ( that would rip most semi-autos to pieces) to take that occasional piece of mid sized game or fend of a predator that is much tougher than humans.
- Post Apocalyptic use. No need for concealment.... but the ability to feed it with all sorts of different loads from 38 SPC training loads to the hottest bearloads.. Also if/when we are at a point where professionaly made ammo gets scarce even the poorest handloads are generally still safe if too strong and still function if too weak (since they dont have to rack a slide for you)



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As far as training, even the 357 magnum is pretty expensive unless you handload. Handloading is a big time game changer. I can reload magnum cartridges for less than 9mm factory ammo. As for power, I am inclined to agree that it hits a sweet spot.

On concealed carry, it largely depends on the particular firearm, climate, and style of dress. There is still some room for revolvers in a concealed carry role but not as much as autos.

For a trail gun, the revolver is still king. It simply does things an auto isn't as good at. It fires potent cartridges with heavier bullets designed to penetrate deeply yet the same gun can fire ideal self defense loads or even extremely light loads great for new shooters or even children.

I have a 6" GP100 and love it. If I am at home, it is still the gun I am most likely to reach for. Everyone that shoots it loves it. It is the handgun I have the most confidence in. Unfortunately though, it doesn't see much use as a carry gun simply because the M&P is much easier to carry concealed and in the woods where concealment isn't an issue, the Casull is just far better at quickly dispatching a big angry hog.


Active member
Personally I have a New Model Blackhawk in .45 ACP and .45 Long Colt . . . . Now this weapon is definitely a nostalgia piece since speed loading is NOT an option, however, my wife can kill the center mass of any target with it . . . So I would say that for her, it is probably the best weapon for self defense in the house because I know that she will remove the threat with little to no collateral damage. I am not as accurate with a revolver, at least not that one, but the XDS .45 I have a similar shot pattern to what she has with the revolver.

Revolvers still have a place in defense, but I would have to say that I would recommend one that can be speed loaded so that you can reload faster.

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