Tips for First time Revolver Shooters

I’ve shot a few revolvers and it’s definitely a different experience than shooting a semi-auto.

What tips do you have for a person who is going to shoot a revolver for the first time? Should they shoot one before they shoot a semi-auto pistol, or does order not matter to you?

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/blog/what-to-expect-when-shooting-a-revolver-for-the-first-time/

I’d shoot a semi auto first. The revolver has little nuances that a semi auto doesn’t. Like don’t put your thumbs in front of the cylinder so you don’t get hurt. There is also the recoil of a revolver. None of the energy is transferred to the slide, so you’re getting a lot in your palm.

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Shoot a heavy one first in a light caliber, like a 6 inch .357 loaded with .38’s. That’s how I taught my wife to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the cylinder gap is hard ghky important.

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I agree with both @James and @45IPAC
I’ve only shot 3 revolvers. Colt, taurus and Pietta. All .357. The Taurus was a snub nose while the other 2 were full size. The Taurus was the worst with recoil. I’ll gladly shoot 38 outta that one, but I’ll pass on .357. Thankfully shot the Taurus after the Colt. If it would have been the other way around I may have been more hesitant.
Like they mentioned about, careful of the rotating cylinder. And as tempting as it may be, I suggest leaving the gun spinning to Johnny Ringo. :sunglasses:

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An important thing to know about your revolver is the direction in which your cylinder rotates either clockwise or counterclockwise. Sounds simple but all part of fully knowing the operation of your firearm.

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Ok - my lack of revolver experience is totally going to show - I didn’t realize they don’t all revolve in the same direction.

Any reason they go different directions? Or is it just manufacturer spec?

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I believe it’s just manufacturer design. To my knowledge of modern revolvers, Colt is the only one that turn opposite. Now, some use a reverse pawl on their single actions so the cylinder can be rotated backwards.

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I’ve heard different theories of CW vs CCW.
(All points of direction mentioned as the shooter looking at the revolver in their hand.)
older SA load/eject from the right side. The cylinder doesn’t swing out. These tend to be CW. Their predecessors of black powder did the same. This was supposed to help have the spent percussion cap free fall as the cylinder rotated. The cylinders that swing out to load/eject tend to be CCW to aid in rolling while they swing out. Of course this isn’t always the case.
Good to know which way it turns if you plan to stack your ammo. Meaning the first round is a warning of birdshot, the second is straight business.
I’ve also heard that the rotation could effect your shooting by torqueing the revolver ever so slightly one way or another. Not sure how true of a statement that is. Anybody have experience with that?

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I have never noticed and torque from the cylinder rotation, but I guess it could exist. If so, it is so minimal I cannot detect it even in dry fire - the muzzle does not seem to wobble at all as the cylinder rotates.

My revolver is a S&W 66, rotates CCW as viewed from the rear.

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The biggest difference in firing a revolver for me was to learn the long double action trigger pull. I was used to a nice crisp 1911 break - the trigger on my revolver is smooth and breaks clean, but has 3/4 of an inch of travel before it breaks! Mastering the DA trigger pull has made my semi-auto shooting better, though!

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Yes. It’s like driving a car with no power steering or brakes, then getting in a modern Cadillac. When I first started trying to quickly dry fire my GP100, the muzzle was all over the place. Balance an empty shell casing on the end near the front sight. Now, work the trigger as fast as you can, without the shell casing falling off. That helps learn trigger control on a DA wheel gun.

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I am a revolver shooter and did start with pistols and evolved to shooting revolvers. For a first time shooting a revolver I would recommend that they fire a “K” or (medium frame.) Avoid the ultralights because they have huge recoil. A “K” frame revolver with 125 or 130 grain ammo. Again for first time you dont need the heavy artillery of 357 magnum’s! It is important to feel confident that you are in control of the firearm especially as you learn shoot!

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Colts rotate clockwise Smith’s and most others counterclockwise.

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And if you dont remember the rotation direction by brand, you can always check the arrowhead
cylinder

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What inspired you to move to revolvers?

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Hi Bulldog, I started out with Glock 19 and it was a terrific pistol. I think I did my first CC class and test with it. Pistols are beautiful to shoot. I didnt like the worry about if there was a round in the chamber and the lightness of the trigger pull. When I got my Glock I also got S+W 627 Performance Center revolver (7 rnd).
The revolver felt solid in my hand. What you see is what you get! I now have In addition to my 627, a S&W Model 19-9, S&W 640 Pro Series (pocket carry) and S&W Model 66-8 Combat Magnum. I have also owned Taurus, Rossi, Ruger and Colts. Needless to say, I do like the mechanics of the revolver and how solid they feel when firing. I just got the S+W Revolvers Shop Manual and enjoy reading about them as well!

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Love a good revolver myself. Started out with a Smith Model 15 Combat Masterpiece .38 with 4" barrel. Then got a Centennial Style 642-1 .38 snubby without internal locking system (hate em.) Carried the 642 as backup. Since it was concealed hammer I often carried it in the front pocket of my patrol jacket. When stopping a car load of gangbangers I had that gun in my hand inside the pocket. As I was near the driver’s window homie had no idea he was under the gun. If it broke bad he would have no idea what hit him. Could have fired all five rounds no problem through the material. Still have that gun. Kind of a sentimental thing.

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My 640 is a concealed hammer, so I appreciate the pocket carry as well!

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Your right, and if you do, you won’t do it a second time.

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I grew up shooting semi-autos - in fact my first pistol was my Army issued 1911 in 1978. When I retired and started carrying my own weapons, I went with Springfield XD and XDM. When they became available, I bought a Hudson H9, and love it.
Recently I purchased a S&W 66 and I am learning to work with revolvers. The only downside to revolvers I can see so far is the reduced capacity in the gun, but I am learning to use speed loaders and speed strips, and am considering getting the cylinder milled to use moon clips and 9mm ammo in the model 66.

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