I have been lurking this forum for a few months but this thread, specifically several posts by Sig Ocelot, made me decide to register.
Some of what I have to say has already been mentioned by a few other people.
Ocelot, I will grant you you a few points in favor of your semis: They do typically hold more ammunition, and reloading is generally faster in a typical scenario.
Modern semis have come a very
long way in terms of reliability and durability, particularly with reliable ammo that the gun likes. However, my wheelguns have no FTF or FTE to worry about, and the only failure to fire I ever have to deal with is due to a bad primer, not
the gun. I will also grant you the point that if and when a revolver does royally fuck up
it is something that usually must be repaired by a gunsmith. The semi is more likely to fail in the short term, but when the wheelgun fails in the long term it is generally out for the count until it can be reworked by a smith. I say that at this point in gun evolution, between a quality revolver (Smith, Ruger) and a quality semi (Sig, H&K, Beretta, Glock) reliability and dependability is pretty much a wash.
With that being said, here are the reasons why revolvers are not
dead and why there is
a place for them in the modern as well as SHTF/PAW/Zombie Uprising world.
1. First, several of your statements about revolvers are your opinions, not facts. Revolvers don't have good sights? Give me a break. There may be more aftermarket sights available for semis, but that's not to say that revolvers have lousy sights, particularly when you look not just at the aftermarket options available but also to the ones that come on the guns from the factory. Look at S&W's entire revolver inventory. It runs the gamut from fixed sights (durable and reliable in the PAW), adjustable sights, fiberoptic front sights and if I'm not mistaken tritium sights as well. Your dislike of revolvers' sights is personal preference, and I would say that you haven't handled enough of the many options out there to make your argument. Additionally, better accuracy in semis? I would give the slight edge to the revolver, particularly one with a six-inch barrel (with a nice, long sight picture), but this is an academic argument. You like the accuracy of semis because that is what you shoot best
. But just because you are more accurate with a Sig (arguably one of the most accurate semis on the market today) doesn't mean that it is more accurate than all revolvers. There are plenty of people out there who would happily compete with you in a bullseye match using a revolver and would happily take your money on a bet. You may be the finest, most accurate handgunner on this forum, but there are wheelgun professionals in the world that are better than you are. To take the human factor out of the equation we could perform an experiment by testing several quality semis with several quality revolvers, lock them down in Ransom rests, and check their groups at 25 yards. Likely, they would all shoot ragged one-hole groups. Your argument of accuracy again comes down to personal experience and opinion. Moreover, when talking about reliability and never having had a FTE or FTF in any of your semis, you're talking about your personal experience
. Your experience with your particular guns do not represent all experiences with all semis. If no semis ever had FTE or FTF, then nobody would be practicing clearing drills. Likewise, your two bad experiences with revolvers were isolated incidents with two particular guns, and they do not represent all
modern revolvers. At some point you have to realize that you're talking about opinions, not facts.
Meanwhile, here are some facts.
2. I've already covered dependability, and I think the choice between semis and double-action revolvers largely comes down to personal preference. My
preference as far as dependability is concerned is the wheelie. As I've already stated, I don't have to worry about a failure to eject or a failure to feed. I don't have to worry about fumbling with any safeties when I'm woken up in the middle of the night by an intruder in my apartment and I'm still half-groggy and my contacts aren't in and I have to point and shoot right now
. Or if I'm accosted in the street, same thing: draw, point, fire. No racking a slide, no safeties to worry about. When every last fraction of a second counts, the DA revolver's manual of arms helps even the odds when someone has the drop on you. Additionally, when the hammer is down on a DA revolver, all the internal springs are at rest, with only enough tension on them to keep them in place. They do not weaken over time. If you keep all of your magazines fully loaded all the time then the springs will weaken over time, and that will lead to feeding failures. Not so on a wheelgun.
3. Speaking of dependability, that brings up the subject of ammunition. A semi must be tested with various ammunition to find out which particular brand and bullet the gun likes before the gun can be relied upon as a life-saving tool. And even then, it is limited to certain types of bullets: FMJ or a JHP that feeds reliably in the gun. With my revolver, I can pick up anything off the shelf, load the gun and shoot. This is probably a good time to point out that my personal handgun that I intend to have with me in a SHTF scenario is a S&W 686+ with the 4" barrel. Seven shots of .357 magnum goodness in a quality gun with an excellent trigger. I have a wide variety of power levels to choose from, from light .38 special up to raving-lunatic .357 magnum handloads. I can put any of them into the gun and they will fire. Concerning power levels (muzzle energy as you pointed out when comparing .38 special to 9mm) I have a wider range of power to use in my gun than you have in any of your semis. And at the upper end, I have more power available than anything
you can load in your 9mm, your .357Sig, your .40S&W, or your .45ACP. The .357 magnum's upper end reaches into the 700 ft-lb range or higher, something that you won't get with any of your Big 4 semi calibers. You have to move up to 10mm to eclipse my .357 wheelie's power levels. And I must admit that a Glock 20 with 15+1 rounds of 10mm is an awesome amount of firepower. But I can come back with .41 mag, .44 mag, and on up to the absurdly powerful .500S&W. In addition to the energy level envelope of my .357, I also have a wider selection of bullet types: FMJ, hollow-points, wadcutters, semi wadcutters, semi wadcutter hollow points, truncated cone, and any other type of bullet type I may have left out. The point is that in a PAW I will be able to find something
to put in my gun, and .38 special and .357 mag are stocked everywhere.
I will not be lacking for ammo. Oh, and I can also shoot all of them out of my Marlin 1894CB in .357 magnum, which happens to be my SHTF rifle. I have ammo commonality for both my long gun and my side arm.
4. Regarding the reloading times of semis and autos: A magazine is fast to change out, but so is a revolver with a speedloader or moonclips. Just as fast, in fact. Moreover, what happens if you run out of ammo in both of your magazines and have to reload the magazines themselves in the face of a threat? What, are you going to walk around with ten mags? Let's be reasonable here. Reloading those mags once they're empty takes time, and if you're faced with an adversary it will be the longest time of your life. Meanwhile, I can throw seven shells in my revolver faster than you can load your magazine. If I find myself facing a threat, out of ammo, and come across a box of ammo in a department store, I can reload my revolver faster than you can reload your semi if you were faced in that exact hypothetical situation. Far-fetched scenario? Sure. But so is the idea of SHTF/PAW, and in that situation this scenario just might present itself.
5. Finally, lets look at the guns themselves. Again, look at S&W's offerings of DA wheelies. You have everything from basic fixed-sight models for durability in a harsh environment, stainless models for corrosion resistance and durability in said environment, up to and including high-end models made of lightweight alloys for ease of carrying and concealment, night sights available on a wide range of models, and even some specialty models with accessory rails. http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=51525&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y
There's a scandium-frame (lightweight) revolver with a tuned action, an integral rail under the barrel, an included removable rail for the top, chamfered charge holes for ease of loading, machined for moon clips, fiber optic front sight, adjustable rear sight, etc. Oh, and it's an eight shot .357 magnum
. You don't think a gun like that helps to bridge the gap between the "old-fashioned" wheelgun and the "21st century semi?"http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=43926&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y
How about that one? That's a combat revolver if there ever was one. Concealable size, seven shots of a powerful caliber, tuned action, chamfered charge holes, machined for moonclips, tritium sights, and a ported barrel for less muzzle flip allowing for faster follow up shots. There's not a place for this gun in the PAW?
As I've already stated, the choice between semis and wheelies comes down to personal preference. There are pros and cons to each. I like revolvers, you like bottom-feeders, and that's cool. But the OP specifically asked if there was a role for SA pistols AND revolvers
in a SHTF scenario, and you have said:
"Revolvers are dead. They are fun range toys, that's about it."
"So to answer your question, no, there is no role for revolvers."
And that's bullshit.
I know my tone in this message is rather angry, and I apologize for that. I tend to get a little riled up when people try to pass off their personal experiences and opinions as incontrovertible fact.
The DA wheelgun absolutely does have a place in SHTF/PAW. As long as there is a need for a gun that people absolutely must depend on to go BANG every single time
then there will be a place for the double-action revolver.
Speak softly, but carry a .357 magnum.