Why You Need a Revolver in Your Life: Wheelgun Wednesday By: Kat Ainsworth


There’s more to life than striker-fired polymer pistols, but if you’re here, you probably know that. In fact, there are good reasons to have a revolver—or several revolvers—in your life. If you’re in need of a compelling reason to expand your gun collection to include revolvers, read on. If you already have a revolver, we’ll give you a reason to get a few more.

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A selection of carry-sized revolvers.
A selection of carry-sized revolvers. There are a lot of options out there. (Photo credit: Kat Ainsworth Stevens)

What’s so great about revolvers?

This is one of those areas where fact must be separated from myths. There are some shooters who will try to claim revolvers absolutely, positively cannot fail. These are guns that can run through an alien invasion, they say. However, if you’ve spent any significant time running revolvers, you know that’s not true. If this is starting to sound like a reason not to get one, bear with me. It gets better.

Revolvers do tend to be more reliable and deliver greater consistency than modern semi-automatic. That might be because their history stretches all the way back to the 1800s. The first design with a self-rotating cylinder that was mass produced and patented was invented by Samuel Colt and officially produced in 1835. These guns have a rich history and literally, centuries of thought and skill poured into their design.

That isn’t something you can say about Glocks. You could even take it a step further and say Glocks were created on the backs of the revolver’s very existence, and you wouldn’t be precisely wrong. Revolvers are part of the bedrock of the firearms world and played a vital part in the development and advancement of technology.

Reason number one why you need a revolver: because they have a fascinating, lengthy history, and centuries of brilliant gun-inventing minds have been involved in their design.

Revolvers are cool. (Yes, they are)

It’s simple fact: revolvers are cool. They’ve been featured prominently in some highly memorable movie moments brought to us by shows such as Dirty Harry and True Grit. If you ever dreamed of being a cowboy or a 1970s-era crime-fighting cop, revolvers probably played a role in your future hopes for fame and glory.

Dirty Harry with revolver
Who doesn’t recognize Dirty Harry? (Photo credit: The Black List)

Revolvers remain cool today. They’re available with a lot of different barrel lengths and are chambered in a variety of cartridges, so whatever you’re after, there’s probably something in the gun world for you. Want an ultra-light-weight snubby? Revolver. Looking for a long-barreled, magnum hunting handgun? Revolver. Want a gun you can run both 10mm and 40 Smith & Wesson? Revolver.

Reason number two why you need a revolver is clear: the cool factor.

Being a Well-Rounded Shooter Matters

There’s a lot to be said about being able to run a wide variety of firearms. For one thing, you never know what you might need to do in the future, and if picking up a dropped revolver during a fight for your life baffles you, it’s probably time to learn to shoot them. Of course, the odds of that scenario are low, but the reality that learning to run multiple platforms enhances your skills with all guns is true at all times. Mastering a double-action—or single-action—revolver trigger translates to better trigger control when you’re shooting your striker-fired guns, too.

Reason number three of why you need a revolver: because it makes you a better shooter, and who doesn’t want that?

A good revolver is a thing of beauty.

Whether we’re talking about the original Colt Python or other classic models, well-made, hand-fit revolvers are beautiful. From their wood grips to their polished finishes, a quality revolver is something to behold when it’s made with care. It’s almost impossible to deny their curb appeal.

Nighthawk Mongoose revolver
The Nighthawk Custom Mongoose is a fantastic example of a high-quality, modern revolver. (Photo credit: Kat Ainsworth Stevens)

Does that mean you should get a collectible or otherwise high-end revolver and let it become a safe queen? No! Guns are meant to be fired, so whatever you do, don’t let them become dust collectors. Shoot your revolvers, even the rarer models, at least once in a while. There’s no admiring them if they’re always locked up.

Reason number four of why you need a revolver: they add a layer of interest and solid aesthetics to your firearms collection.

Traditional Handgun Hunting

It has to be said, at least briefly: revolvers have been used for hunting for a long time. Thanks to their design it’s possible to mount optics and red dot sights to them and with their larger chamberings, deer and feral hogs don’t stand a chance. If you call yourself a handgun hunter, you’d better have at least one magnum revolver.

Ruger Redhawk revolver
Ruger’s Redhawk is a popular model among handgun hunters. (Photo credit: Ruger)

Reason number five why you need a revolver: if you hunt, it should be required, just like your hunter’s education card.

Self-Defense Use

Yes, revolvers can be legitimate self-defense weapons. There are a lot of models with short barrels and/or frames made from lighter materials that are ideal for concealed carry. If capacity is your concern, remember that you can carry speedloaders of ammunition for your revolver just like you carry a spare magazine for your Glock.

Revolvers can be great backup guns (BUGs) or deep concealment choices in non-permissive environments, but they are also decent options for your main carry. And, as mentioned before, they do tend to be more consistently reliable which is a big plus for use as self-defense guns.

Reason number six of why you need a revolver: to defend your life.

It’s a revolver, of course you need one.

The general moral of the story is that everyone should own at least one revolver. Not only does it make you a better shooter overall but there are legitimate pros to having a few in your collection.

When you do get one, just remember the wisest thing to do when the gun suffers a significant failure is to have a qualified gunsmith fix it rather than tearing it apart yourself. Revolvers do tend to take a skilled hand to repair, but they’ve earned it with centuries of service and reliable use, haven’t they?

disassembled revolvers
Do have a qualified gunsmith do any important work and repairs to your revolver. (Photo credit: Kat Ainsworth Stevens)

This makes the biggest reason you need a revolver that they should be admired for what they are. With a revolver, you get consistent function, accuracy, versatility, durability, and fantastic design. In the revolver world, there’s something for everyone whether you’re interested in self-defense, hunting, or fun at the range.

Do you have a revolver? Share your reasons why you think gun owners should have revolvers in their collections (and as part of their regular shooting repertoire) in the comments below.