For many, many years I had only one firearm. A single action “cowboy gun” in .357 magnum, with a 6" barrel.
It wasn’t because I didn’t shoot much, I did. It also was not because I was ignorant of self defense needs or because I didn’t hunt. It’s just that I could already do all those things with what I had. And I could do it with about the least objectionable, least offensive gun a person could own. Even the staunch anti-gun folks would have trouble finding an excuse to take it. And so, for a very long time, that was what I had. It was not the best at anything, but it was solid and competent for just about everything. sitting in the holster with the hammer down, it was also safe, and visibly so, there was no chance of an accidental discharge. you couldn’t fire it without meaning too, because you had to cock it first.
I did eventually move on, for all the obvious and important reasons. The reason for this topic however is two fold, and is born out of a question I was asked. That question was, did I “feel” like anything was missing from my selected set of arms. And curiously, I “felt” the lack of that simple, single action, 6" “cowboy gun”. But why? - I really had to think about that for a while.
The best way I know how to put the conclusion I came too, is that it’s like a pick-up truck. If what you need to do is haul things around from here to there, be it person, produce, or portland cement, a pick up can be counted on to do all of it, and do an acceptable, competent job of it. I realized that the sense of something important missing was coming from the same sort of place when it came to that single action revolver.
There is nothing fast or automatic about a single action revolver. Each step in the process is a very deliberate, distinct act. yet as to reliability, utility, power, and accuracy, they can be very hard to beat.
I wanted to put that “instinctive feeling” about the value of a single action revolver to the test of other thoughts and opinions , especially as pertains to relevance, and self defense, in the modern world.
I think the single action revolver has two very valuable virtues, 1. reliable utility ( with proper caliber choice ). and 2. Teaching the distinct steps of gun handling and accurate shooting.- But perhaps the liabilities as a defensive tool outweigh these perceived benefits. I’d be interested to hear the opinions of both skilled shooters, defensive trainers, and those of new, or novice shooters. Some people I have met are only comfortable with the single action.