Locked & Loaded Blog

Handgun Debate: Semi-Auto Vs. Revolver

The debate on defense handgun technology is nearly as passionate as "Is the dress blue and black or white and gold?" Ever since the first semi automatic pistol was invented in 1892, the debate was bound to be birthed. Which is better for defense, the old standby revolver or the fancy semi automatic? Over the years many fans of each have held passionate views on this debate and each side has their own valid points of difference, but there are also alot of myths and nonsense. When you boil it down to the core principles, a gun is a gun, is a gun no matter what kind it is. What is right for you is all that matters, but in the spirit of giving the best advice on handguns we break down the facts and the myths.

Let's take a look at some of the "myths" of this age old debate first:

A Semi-Auto is Prone to Jam

This just simply is not true. Gun manufacturers deal with a product that has little room for error in function. So most modern handguns produced by reliable names will fire as created to do, provided they are CARED for well and CLEANED regularly. Brands like Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, FNH and Glock all producers of semi automatic handguns all have excellent reliability and a stringent quality test. What you should really focus on is high quality self defense ammo. The better the ammo, the better your handgun will perform. Save the cheap rounds for the range, and remember a CLEAN weapon is a SAFE weapon. Clean and inspect your handgun often.

A Revolver has More Recoil

Newtons Law states that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. So with that being said, all things being equal, a revolver and a semi automatic will produce the same amount of recoil. The reason a revolver feels stronger is because when the bullet is fired nothing else on the handgun moves. This creates a greater perception of force because your hand absorbs all of that energy of the bullets forward motion. With a semi automatic, the slide racks back to load the next chamber and that movement helps compensate for the recoil but it is still the same. You just perceive it differently because the force is more evenly distributed. So bottom line here is, go with what you feel the most accurate with. In the end it's a matter of if you hit what you're aiming at that is the difference between life and death.

A Revolver Holds Fewer Rounds

Well, yes this is true but this is a real simple open at shut case on this argument. Most semi automatic handguns hold anywhere between 9 and 15 rounds. A semi auto stores rounds in a magazine while it would be impractical to have a revolver with a clunky 15 round cylinder so most hold 6 rounds. But, here is the real thing to think about, most encounters of self defense happen within five to ten feet of your assailant. If you cannot hit center mass on a target that close with SIX ROUNDS...you should get more training or glasses before touching a handgun again. PERIOD. More rounds can't fix bad aim or bad eyesight.

A Semi-Auto is More Complex

While this is somewhat true in terms of moving parts, actual operation of a semi auto is still very basic, especially if you own a Glock which is famous for it's simple take down and passive safety features referred to as "Safe Action." In the case of the Glock you point and shoot, that's all. Even in the case of semi autos with a bit more complicated take down like a CZ or a 1911 it is still fairly easy. Operation is not very complicated either and loading a semi auto is as simple as inserting the magazine and racking the slide. Let's face it in a day and age where we learn new tasks on our smart devices all the time, learning to use a handgun is far simpler than figuring out Snapchat or getting the perfect selfie.


Whether choosing a revolver or a semi automatic, we like what we like just, because we DO. There's really no rhyme or reason, right or wrong. Choose from a sampling of revolvers and semi automatics and then find the one you are most comfortable with. The real debate will come when you decide to choose which caliber for self defense and carry purposes, but that will be in another blog to come. In the meantime, do yourself a favor when you get that carry gun. Holster that bad boy in a quality Tucker Handcrafted holster like the Mini-IWB. Yes this is shameless self promotion, but then again it's our website, and well...we're armed. Got any problems with that pardner? We didn't think you would.

At Locked and Loaded we want our customer as informed as possible, an educated gun owner is a customer for life. We make the best holsters on the market for open AND conceal carry. Our Tucker leather products are crafted from the finest materials and endure a strict quality assurance test that have made our brand what it is today. Visit our online shop to find the perfect fit for all your carry needs.


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