There are several viewpoints on the subject of how many rounds would I need to thwart an attacker. Revolvers, also known as “wheel guns”, will commonly have either five or six rounds in the cylinder.Some people advocate keeping the hammer resting on an empty chamber, thereby lessening the capacity even more.
An advantage of a revolver is that most of them are what is called ‘double- action”. This means when you pull the trigger, the cylinder advances, bringing a new round into position for the hammer to strike. So if the first hole is empty the spin of the cylinder will bring a round up to the ready. Unlike a semi-auto pistol, if the chamber is empty, you have to rack the slide to bring a round up to the firing position. This requires two hands in most cases. Carrying a semi-auto with an empty barrel is like being “unarmed”.
Another advantage of the revolver is shooting from a pocket if that is required. The hammer and cylinder are the only things that move, and they don’t go very far. A semi-auto fired from a pocket will only fire one round, then the slide will surely snag on the inside of the pocket, and be somewhat worthless. A third advantage is the lack of moving parts. The wheel guns tend to malfunction less than the autoloaders. Therefore, maintenance in autos is more of a concern.
Five or six rounds will be all you need to take down the bad guy. Hit him where it counts and he’s done.
The adrenaline rush and physiological makeup of the human body will overtake your accuracy. Tunnel vision will prevent you from seeing anything but the attackers weapon, and your first, and maybe second, shot may not hit the intended target.
What will you do if there is more than one attacker? Thugs frequently run in packs or pairs. If you have two or three muggers coming at you, and you only have five rounds, who do you try for first? What if the other muggers don’t run? Reloading a wheel gun is much slower than a semi-auto, especially with the stress of the situation.
Many times an attacker can be shot in a major organ (like the heart or head) and still keep coming at you. The first shot doesn’t always stop the attack. It may take three hits just to stop the first guy.
A larger caliber bullet will stop an attacker better than smaller rounds.
According to the FBI and almost all Local Law Enforcement Agencies, a 9mm hollow point bullet has the same stopping effect as a .45 ACP or .357 Magnum. Any of them may take two to three hits to stop a determined thug.
When Six Is Not Enough
My personal preference, if I would ever need it, would be the semi-auto pistol. A full-size autoloader will hold as little as six or seven rounds or as many as seventeen or eighteen. This depends on the model you carry, of course. My full-sized gun is a Glock 17 chambered in 9mm. The standard magazine holds 17 rounds and then one in the chamber (referred to as 17+1). I also carry at least one spare magazine that gives me a total of 35 rounds. It will, in all likelihood, be more than I would ever need, but it prepares me for multiple attackers, and I know I may miss the first shot.
I also have a couple revolvers. My experience in shooting them, like the Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum, tells me the trigger pull is likely to draw my aim off. The pull is around 11 or 12 pounds in double action, and 5 pounds in single action (this is when the hammer is cocked before pulling the trigger). Carrying a revolver with the hammer cocked is a serious mistake since most of them don’t have a safety you can set.
My Glock is always ready with a round chambered and the striker in the firing position, putting the trigger pull at 5 pounds all the time. This gun can’t be fired in double action since it doesn’t have an exposed hammer. Carrying a Glock with a chambered round is OK because they have redundant safeties built into the gun mechanically. Nothing happens until the trigger is pressed.
To The Point
I would guess that probably 95 % of the firearms chosen to carry concealed are autoloaders. They are quicker to reload and carry more ammo. They also, in my opinion, tend to be more accurate because of the heavier trigger pull in the revolver.
There are always differing viewpoints with this subject. I would like to hear yours. Please leave a comment at the end of this article and I will reply promptly. You can also email me at; [email protected]
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