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Posted on 11/13/2018 by FFL Dealer Network

Revolver or Semi-Auto for Concealed Carry?

Revolver or Semi-Auto for Concealed Carry?

Most licensed concealed carriers prefer to carry a semi-auto handgun. Their reasons almost always include the fact that they're thinner than a revolver and hold more rounds in a magazine than a revolver does in the cylinder.

There is a certain amount of Old West romance in carrying a revolver. There is also the widely accepted fact that a revolver is less prone to malfunctions than the semi-auto. There are more moving parts in the semi-auto, and carrying it around, especially if it's a pocket carry, can result in lint or other cleanliness problems that can cause a failure to feed or an ejection problem.

Though there can be rare problems with timing that cause revolver malfunctions, usually when you pull the trigger the gun does fire. However, it's often not enough of an advantage to get someone to choose to carry a revolver if they want a small and thin profile in a carry gun.

The advantage of carrying a spare magazine for fast reloads is another often cited preference for the semi-auto. Even if you use a cylinder loader with the rounds pre-positioned to pop into the cylinder, it is a little slower to reload the revolver. With manufacturers making all handguns designed for concealed carry smaller, even revolvers are getting thinner. However, this can mean dropping one round for a five-round load instead of six.

Some people just prefer the caliber choices for the semi-auto. The 9mm, 40S&W, and the .380 ACP are all rounds explicitly designed for semi-auto handguns. The rims of the brass cartridge, designed for the automatic mechanism, are too narrow to seat correctly in a revolver cylinder or to eject with the standard spring-loaded rod mechanism in the revolver.


The popularity of the semi-auto cartridges has resulted in some manufacturers rolling out revolvers chambered for those rounds. They usually require a "moon clip," a thin metal ring into which you insert the rounds. This ring positions them such that the ejection mechanism of the revolver will pop out all of the rounds with the rod. Another set of rounds in a moon clip also make reloading faster.

Now that you know that you can get revolvers in semi-auto calibers, which should you carry? It's a very personal decision, and most prefer the semi-auto handgun, although sometimes the allure of that Old West-style wheel gun is irresistible.

Of course, you can buy both and practice enough to switch off and be the modern police type sometimes and the old west sheriff type other times.

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