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Women's First Handgun Purchase

Chapter Five - Revolver vs Semi-Automatic Pistol

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Women's Guide to Buying Your First Handgun

Ch 1 - Introduction

Ch 2 - Why Handguns

Ch 3 - Why Many Handguns Aren't Right

Ch 4 - What to Look for in Handguns

Ch 5 - Revolver vs Semi-Automatic Pistol

Ch 6 - Revolver Choices

Ch 7 - Semi-Automatic Choices

Ch 8 - Used or New

Ch 9 - Internet or Local

Ch 10 - Why Practice is Important

 
Women's First Handgun

Book Title:  Women's Guide to Buying Your First Handgun

Series:  Firearm/Pistol For Life Series

Author:  Ruperto Elpusan Jr.

Be sure to look for ISBN #0-9772088-3-4 at Amazon, Powells and other fine online retail bookstores.

Chapter Five:  Revolver Versus Semi-Automatic Pistol  

This is a classic issue for all newbies:  Should I purchase a revolver or semi-automatic?  There is no universal answer that is correct.  We cannot say that the revolver is ideal for a female beginner.  Or the semi-automatic pistol is ideal.

Ultimately, the answer is based on personal preference.  As a newbie, that determination will come from some education on the relevant characteristics of these guns.

After learning the facts, you will decide what is right for you.

We will not discuss all aspects of these guns but can focus on characteristics that the female beginner will find relevant.  From the prior chapter discussing what to look for in guns, the attributes of guns most relevant to the revolver versus the semi-automatic decision are:

       Ease of Use

       Durability

       Reliability

       Maintainability

       Safety Features

East of Use

Letís review the basic questions presented in the prior chapter with regard to the issue of ease of use:

1.                How easy is the gun to hold?

2.                How easy is the gun to shoot?

3.                How easy is the gun to shoot accurately?

4.                How easy is the gun to load?

5.                How easy is the gun to unload?

6.                How easy is the gun to store?

7.                How easy is the gun to obtain training with?

8.                How easy is the gun to obtain information about?

9.                  How easy is the gun to obtain parts and service for?

1.  How easy is the gun to hold?

This question is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue, as differences will be due to the specific model you are evaluating.  

2.  How easy is the gun to shoot?

This is another question that is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue.

 

3.  How easy is the gun to shoot accurately?

This is another question that is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue.  

4.  How easy is the gun to load?

Revolvers are generally easier to load than semi-automatic pistols.

With a double action revolver, you start by pressing the cylinder latch which will swing the cylinder open.  This is a very easy procedure and does not require muscle power --- unless the latch is stuck or the gun is defective, but this would be an exception.

Then, you insert a round in each of the chambers in the cylinder.  Again, there is little skill and muscle power involved in this.

After all rounds are inserted, you press the cylinder back into the frame.  The gun is ready to shoot.

With a single action revolver, you open the loading gate, which requires very little muscle power and skill.  Then, you insert a round into the chamber aligned with the loading gate.  After loading one round, you rotate the cylinder one chamber over, and repeat, until you have all the chambers loaded.  The gun is ready to shoot.

The process is more involved and requires more hand and muscle power with a semi-automatic pistol.  You have to load the magazine with rounds.  The magazine has an internal spring which will provide resistance to each round that you insert.  The larger the caliber of the pistol, the stronger is the spring and more difficult it is to load each round.  The first round will be the easiest to load but each subsequent round requires more finger muscle power and dexterity. 

Most people of marginal finger strength are capable of manually loading the 9th and 10th round in a 9mm pistolís magazine.  Many canít even load any rounds beyond the 5th round in the magazine.  Usually, most people will be able to load the first and second round but it starts becoming more challenging beyond those rounds for some people.

The use of a speedloader can facilitate the loading of a semi-automaticís magazine.  However, this is not part of the pistol and itís not a good idea to rely on a speedloader, which can be lost or misplaced.

Thus, the advantage goes to revolvers on the question of ease to load.

 

5.  How easy is the gun to unload?

The advantage remains with revolvers over semi-automatic pistols.

Unloading is basically the reverse of loading, as discussed in the prior question.

A double action revolver is unloaded without muscle power and very little skill.  The cylinder latch is pressed and the cylinder swings open.  The user presses the ejector rod down into the cylinder and all the rounds and spent shells, if any, fall out of the cylinder.  The gun is unloaded.

A single action revolver is unloaded by first opening the loading gate.  Then, the user presses the ejector rod to remove each round or spent shell, one at a time until the cylinder is completely empty.  The gun is unloaded after all of this is done.

With a semi-automatic pistol, there are two levels of unloading.  The first level of unloading is actually quite fast and easy.  You press the magazine release on the frame and the magazine drops.  You catch it and put it aside.

However, the gun may not be unloaded yet.  If you were firing some rounds before removing the magazine, there may still be a round in the chamber even though the magazine is not in the mag well of the pistol.  You will need to pull the slide back to eject that loaded round.  This will take a little muscle power, depending on the gun.  And you will need to use your fingers to keep the action open by activating the slide release --- again requiring a little muscle power.

Furthermore, for complete unloading, technically, you need to remove the rounds from the magazine.  And you will have to deal with the tension of the spring in the magazine, which does take a bit more muscle power and dexterity than with a revolver.

 

6.  How easy is the gun to store?

This is another question that is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue.

 

7.  How easy is the gun to obtain training with?

This is another question that is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue.

 8.  How easy is the gun to obtain information about?

This is another question that is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue.

 

9.  How easy is the gun to obtain parts and service for?

This is another question that is irrelevant to the revolver versus semi-automatic issue.

Continued on Part 2

Ch 1 - Introduction | Ch 2 - Why Handguns | Ch 3 - Why Many Handguns Aren't Right | Ch 4 - What to Look for in Handguns | Ch 5 - Revolver vs Semi-Automatic Pistol | Ch 6 - Revolver Choices | Ch 7 - Semi-Automatic Choices | Ch 8 - Used or New | Ch 9 - Internet or Local | Ch 10 - Why Practice is Important

 
     
 

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