Semi auto vs revolver? Which is your preference?


For me, it really just depends on what I am doing. I will use both as they have their purpose.

What is your preference?


I prefer a semi-auto for the magazine volume, @Deril. When would you prefer the revolver?


@Dawn I prefer a revolver as an ankle piece. Typically revolvers are smaller and fit on an ankle better.

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That’s definitely one difference between male and female carrying - ankle holsters aren’t very handy for most women’s clothing these days. :slight_smile:


I enjoy both but, tend to gravitate more to semi auto. Semi autos tend to recoil less and, after a trip to the range they are easier to get clean. With my revolver the burn rings on the front of the cylinder are kind of a bear to clean off while trying not to damage the finish.


@Dawn, you bring up another great topic that I really want to dig into (holsters). I believe that Kevin addressed the importance of having a sturdy belt. That’s a topic that we can really do a “deep dive” on - what are your thoughts?

You also bring up a sub-topic that I also want to dig into. Carrying positions in different times of year or in formal vs. everyday attire.

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All great topics, Deril! Kevin advocates using good equipment - no matter what the equipment is for. Here’s a YouTube video Kevin did about belts (about 2 years old)

There’s another old video that I’ll look for where Kevin and Tim discuss the options for how to carry. It’s very entertaining!

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I’m semi auto all the way. They have higher magazine capacity (usually; depending on the gun you get) and they’re easier to reload. Easier to control (I carry 9mm so other calibers may be different) and I feel that you have more options with a semi auto than a revolver.
Oh and you don’t have as much recoil as a revolver because the recoil helps chamber the next round this diminishing it. (That’s how it’s been explained to me).

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I shooter autos better defensively, and carry one. I prefer revolvers. Autos just can’t match a revolver for shear power. Also, nothing says “Wrong House” like a magnum wheel gun😁. Last, I can’t hunt deer in Illinois with a semiautomatic pistol. Revolvers and single shots only for handgun hunting.

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I never knew you could hunt with a revolver.

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Like all other gun laws, they vary state-by-state, @mdstanzel. Wouldn’t it be awesome if gun laws were like driving laws? :laughing:


Yes, and it is awesome! In Illinois, it has to be a revolver or single shot “handgun” that has a barrel length no less than 4 inches, and the ammo must have at less 500 ft/lbs of muzzle energy, be at least .30 caliber, and straight wall cartridge, or a bottleneck cartridge no more than a.4 inches in length. I use a 6 inch .357 loaded with Underwood 180 grain hardcast lead. I know a guy that built a single shot, AR pistol in 300 blackout(under 1.4 inches overall case length) and it is a 300 yard deer slayer. One of these days I’ll be disciplined enough to save up and buy a Smith and Wesson 460 XVR.


I’ve used both in my law enforcement career. However, I now carry a semi-auto, I believe it’s,a matter of personal choice for the user.

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Illinois has some interesting gun laws, @45IPAC! Have you the laws incredibly limiting or just more frustrating?

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Both. Frustrating in the sense of the whole FOID card thing. Limiting in that for hunting, I can’t use centerfire rifles for deer. Now, with the anti gun governor we have in JB Pritzker, many gun dealers will go out of business limiting choices for us to buy guns and ammo. He also is pushing for capacity limits on magazines, and a ban on sporting rifles, under the guise of calling them “military style” weapons.


This is a topic I discuss a lot with family and friends when they want to look into concealed carry. I usually carry a primary and a back up my EDC is a glock 42 for deep concealment and in the warmer months a p320 with less clothing I’m not as concerned with draw time as there are fewer obstacles to get through but in cold weather you could be talking about multiple shirts and a heavy coat to slow you down. In those cases I often like to carry a bodyguard .38 in my coat pocket. For most experienced CCWs this goes without saying but food for thought. A less then honorable looking person walks toward you on the street and is broadcasting bad intentions your way, until they act you can’t really react appropriately which puts you behind the 8ball. I have known people who would fan their IWB as a deterrent however if it’s just a guy having a bad day you could be on the hook for a deadly threat. With pocket carry you stick your hands in you pockets and while your ready for the worst no one’s the wiser. All that being said I love a small revolver for pocket carry for the ability to put 5 shots through a garment (in the event there is no time to draw) without jamming.

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Semi autos beat revolvers in 2 major areas, capacity and reload speed.

Revolvers function more reliably, can fire more powerful rounds, if you have to barrel stuff someone the gun won’t go out of battery, and they are always carried in condition 1 or 0.

For me I typically carry a .357 sig semi auto of one or two variety depending on my mood, and a .38 DA revolver in my front pocket.

Anything worth carrying is worth carrying 2 of.


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I haven’t ever thought of pocket carry. But I hope to buy the Full Conceal M3D (collapsible G19) for pocket carry. Though the idea of a revolver for pocket carry in the winter is another great idea.


Great point about indicating you’re carrying as a deterrent, Andrew. Especially in a he said/she said situation where the aggressor is the first to call the police. If they say you were the aggressor and brandished your gun - even if you didn’t - there’s a chance their word will be taken over your word and then you’re in for a legal nightmare.

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That’s assuming that they know you’re carrying @Dawn. Or so I would think. But I guess they could say that if they survived a self-defense shooting and then you’d be in for the nightmare.