The reader commentary on the blog entry located just below this one, about senior citizens with six-shooters, gives me hope that there are some “young guns” who haven’t consigned the old ways to “the dustbin of history.” Some other recent events point in the same direction.

While I was teaching at the Reichard family’s Sand Burr Gun Ranch, at the end of the first week the top shot in class was Denny Reichard’s son in law, Austin Gibbons. The kid used a Smith & Wesson Model 386 revolver to beat everyone on the range (including me, on tie-breaker, the little brat!). His gun was chambered for .357 Magnum and had a SNUB BARREL no less, and having seen him shoot in the past, there’s no doubt in my mind that if he’d shot full Magnum loads instead of .38 Specials, the outcome would have been the same.

The same week, I shot the Indiana State IDPA Championships in the Enhanced Service Revolver division, using a Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 625 revolver, caliber .45. Got whupped down into third place by a couple of younger guys using the same archaic technology: Pete White, whom I would describe as being in the “prime of life” age group, won the division overall. Right behind him was Caleb Giddings, a young buck who can be seen currently on The History Channel in their cool new series, Top Shots.

Just a few days ago, at the Carolina Cup in Oxford, NC, I watched Randi Rogers shoot the High Female score among a record field of 330 contestants and more than 30 women. Randi – in her early 20s now – performed that feat with a Glock 34 9mm semiautomatic pistol. However, she couldn’t be there for the awards ceremony on Saturday evening because she had flown West to compete in a major event of the discipline that is her first love: Cowboy Action Shooting. There, she uses SINGLE ACTION “frontier style” revolvers…and it was there, as a young teen, that she established her dominance in that immensely enjoyable and nostalgic sport, by beating the men and winning national championships.

Young people who dominate their disciplines in the shooting sports, with old-fashioned guns. Sniff…excuse me while a happy old man wipes a tear from the bags and wrinkles under his eyes and mutters, “It’s good to see the next generation understand the old values.”

Young Austin Gibbons kicks young and old butt alike with his short barrel S&W revolver. There are 60 timed shots in that target.

Twenty-something police officer Matt Morgan has won many trophies with the Glock he carries on duty, but recently had his S&W Model 66 .357 Magnum revolver worked over by Dennis Reichard for recreational shooting.

In her early twenties, Randi Rogers (shown here at last year’s IDPA National Championships) wins national titles with her Glock 9mm, but shot her way to fame with single action revolvers.


  1. Sixguns are for those people who like them whether they are young or old.
    I don’t care for them because I don’t shoot well with them and can’t afford the ammo it would take to shoot well with one.

    I’ll stick with semi-autos since I shoot better with them.

  2. Dear Mas,
    I have just read all of your blogs since you started in the last two days and I was wondering if, in your opinion, LEOSA applied to military law enforcement, as well as civilian law enforcement?

    Thanks much,

  3. Joel, I’m really not on top of that. You might want to bring that question to your base’s JAG office.

  4. You know, these revolver posts have made me start considering carrying a revolver instead of my 1911.

  5. Mas, thanks for the link! Sorry I didn’t get to meet you at the Indiana State Match, but from what I heard you shot a great match. It was a pleasure to compete against you, and I look forward to future matches.

  6. I’m 25 and own 2 wheel guns and have another one on layaway at the local gun shop(Should pick it up next pay day). The one on layaway is a S&W in 44sp the other two are 38 snub noses. I’m told I’m old school about my guns but my Wheel guns and 1911 goes Bang when the trigger is pulled so they work for me and have been working for longer than my 25 years.

  7. Although I’m not exactly young anymore, I didn’t realize how much fun the shooting sports were until I switched to revolver! It was a pleasure meeting you at the Carolina Cup – hope to see you at the East Coast in August.

  8. I love both pistols and revolvers, but I can tell you from recent experience that trading in a good revolver generally results in a big loss. Because of the popularity of semi-autos, revolver trade in value is poor. This is a great time to buy a lightly used revolver because they can be relatively inexpensive. I traded in a never-fired model 66 for an alloy 325 S&W and the price difference was very substantial. Big mistake on my part. I should have kept the model 66, but I wanted all of my weapons in .45 ACP.

  9. Mas,

    Thanks for the recent posts about wheelguns and the fine folks at Sand Burr Gun Ranch. My first time there was earlier this month for MAG-80, but it definitely won’t be the last.

    There must be something in the water out there…I’ve been shooting mostly polymer pistols lately but felt compelled to break out a revolver by the end of the course. Now, I’m thinking that shooting Stock Service Revolver at the next IDPA match may be just what the doctor ordered!


  10. By the standards in which I was raised I don’t own a lot of guns, but I will say that my revolvers outnumber my “bottomfeeders” by a 4::1 ratio.

    Heck I sometimes prefer to carry a revolver as a “primary” when I’m off duty. I don’t feel “underarmed” with a good wheelie or three. 🙂 Lots of good work has been done over the years by good people carry revolvers. I consider it an honor to be able to carry one.

    In my humble opinion there will always be a place for a revolver in the defensive line-up.


  11. I’m not a “young gun” any more (remember fishing for trilobites). My 1st “serious” handgun was a 4″ M19 bought in 1963, and I learned to shoot with that gun and Col. Cooper’s tome “Modern Handgunning.” Still have re-volvulators and think they are great for walkabout or serious defence.

  12. the best upgrade I ever put into my 1911 was a few days of practice with my new SW686 ssr. Mas, Thanks for the suggestion.
    cliff matushin
    LFI 1 2009

  13. Most days my carry gun is my Sig GSR C3. 7+1 But some days it’s a Ruger SP101 in .357 5+ none. I don’t feel disadvantaged because of it. Training and shot placement is more important than bullet capacity in my opinion.

    Have talked with way to may people that believe that capacity makes up for crappy training and shooting.

  14. In two weeks I will attend a camp out in which the theme is “sixguns” This group has been getting together for close to 10 years at the same date to shoot, compare and share newest revolver aquisitions and cast bullet loads. We enjoy a weekend of good food, good guns and great people. Ages this year will be from 3 years old to 70+. All of these people share a love of revolvers and other timeless firearms.

    (I will be bringing my Jim Stroh tuned Mountain Gun in .45 Colt among others.)

    Thanks for all you do.

  15. Mas,
    Interesting thread..
    Being a geezer of 68 and having a Smith K – 22, a Model 19 – 357, and a Model 29 – 44, there is a couple of tid bits for the audience.
    I had all the pieces triggers tuned up nicely by a good guy to a 2 lb crisp pull years ago. All the pieces are many decades old and the 357 was for years the most powerful piece in the world. Remember those days?
    The ability to punch lots of cheap holes with 38 special wadcutters is a great advantage for economy practice, and the same with the 22… Especially with ammo costs these days.
    Moving to the 44 then on the similar frame is then not such a stretch.
    Also my first instructor taught me that it is OK to dry fire these at a convenient small target in the house for practice practice practice, as the firing pin is in the shroud of the hammer…
    After all these years of crisp triggers I cannot imagine getting usede to the slop in the triggers of the Glocks and others.
    Had a Browning Hi Power and traded it for the 44 as the darn thing was forever jamming the short hollow points on the feed lip.

  16. I bought a Glock 22 for my first handgun when I was and it was ok but shooting my Dad’s model 19 was an eye opener. Sights fixed to the barrel, not a slide, a trigger that makes any striker type pistol feel awful in comparison. The feel of a S&W target grip properly held way up high… I was hooked.

    I now not only have 4 revolvers, but I load all my ammo and cast the bullets too. I’m particularly fond of the big bores.

    I’ve shot no other handgun as satisfying as a S&W Performance Center.

  17. Interesting that very few big-game hunters (and virtually no varmint hunters) opt for auto-loading rifles. They’re rarely accurate accurate enough for really long-range shooting, and unlike a turning bolt rifle or falling block single-shot, have to operate within fairly limited pressure ranges, making them the bane of handloaders.

    Service-grade wheel guns will almost always outshoot service grade autos, and they can digest any safe load that will clear the muzzle. They’re also available in powerful calibers at manageable weights that would require an auto-loader to weigh five pounds.

    Last, most handgun shootouts are short-range affairs, and a man who keeps his head with a revolver is likely to be a far more deadly opponent than a man who adopts the “spray and pray” method of combat shooting with an autoloader.

  18. Howdy all!
    I ain’t a senior yet, but close. I wuz borned in a house with guns, but my rebel nature led me to be a passifist as a young un. Then I woked up! I wuz given 2 pistoles, 1 with a turnin’ wheel… The uther is a S&W MP .40 semi. I luvs the feel and accuracy of this pistol!

    The revolver is a S&W .38 Special, Victory model, made in 1934, supposedly the exact model of the original 1904. Some folks question that. A very good ol armorer did some work on a part (not available at the time) that kept the barrel from lining up perfectly. Recent target shootin’ revealed that the hollow leads would not fire. FMJ and partials did fine. This is a fine revolver and I wonder at it’s value since some say it is close to being a collector’s item.

    Any comments from the shootin’ gallery here wood be appreciated.
    Likin’ all the articles from Mas, Claire, et all at BWH mag; at times linked from LRC.
    Thank ye kindly!
    the banger whoaman

  19. Admit it gunfighters…we got poor training whether in the police academy or in Marine Corps boot camp (1978). Every kid would benefit from going rabbit hunting with Dad and acquiring the skill to hit a Cotton tail zig zagging with a classic Sears .22 cal. Likewise, having gun fights with the neighbors tagging each other with pellet and BB guns..nailing sparrows perched on the highest phone wire constitutes “quality training”.

    Unless capable of hitting moving targets while under fire, it’s unconscionable commanders send their people into the field.

  20. Hey Mas,
    My Dept. ( CDCR ) still uses S&W M-64s. I love wheelguns,and love to hear the youngsters whining about having to carry dinosaur guns. We’re now gonna transition to the Glock 22 which will take a couple years due to Ca.’s budget woes. I own and shoot all kinds of handguns but will always have a soft spot for good ol’ Revolvers.

  21. I’ve been carrying since age 26 (I’m 31 now). I have a number of carry guns in my rotation, all but one are DA revolvers. I carry everything from a S&W 642 to a 4″ Model 28 Highway Patrolman. I carry wheelguns because that is what I shoot best, so I am most confident with them. And with so many different stock combos, you most people should be able to obtain a perfect fit with some experimentation. Plus, there is something to be said for a gun that can be fired from odd angles up against cover with a limp grip/wrist (perhaps because of injury) and function as reliably as if it were being fired from a bench at the range.

    But one should always carry the gun they are most confident with, and that is convenient enough to have with them as much as possible. If that’s an auto, great. If a revolver, great. Though I think a lot of people automatically rule a revolver out because it is seen as yestertech; as if the basic design of today autos is signficantly newer.

  22. I’m 29. First gun I bought was a semi-auto. I didn’t think revolvers were “cool” when I first got into shooting. As I learned more about shooting, a lightbulb suddenly went off in my head: Wheelguns are REAL guns (thanks Clint).

    So as a grad school graduation present to myself, I got a S&W 627 PC. Man, is that a joy to shoot.

  23. I started with revolvers in the early 50’s and when I enlisted in 62, they swapped me over to autos. When I retired in 84, I went back to my revolvers. Carry a 44 sp. and shoot my Smith M21 ofter. I own autos but carrty and shoot revolvers.

    ah dicho

  24. Thanks very much for a very interesting article. I share your respect for the revolver and for whatever reasons have reverted back to using the double-action revolver more than my semiautomatics. (Truth be known, part of that is that as the decades slide by, it gets farther and farther to the ground to pick up brass for reloading!)

    At the current time, my “house guns” are S&W Model 10’s and 64’s loaded with Remington’s “FBI Load”. (These guns have been convereted to DAO as well.) Some will look down at my choice of an “obsolete” handgun and “inadequate” caliber but these can be handled by my wife…who cannot handle anything more in “power” and who is not a shooter. I do not feel “undergunned”, but do practice quite a lot with not only these handguns but others as well.

    I appreciate younger shooters seeing the positive side to the DA revolver and thank you for your splendid article.

  25. I’m a bullsye shooter and enjoy going online to read reviews and forums about guns. I’m always disappointed when I read rude or crude comments. I’m not a prude but feel this childish behavior diminishes the image of all legitimate shooters.

    I’m extremely impressed by the comments I’ve read here and learned a lot. I’ve come to expect first class from everything Mas does and have never been disappointed. I’m 68 so I can fully identify with the pro-revolver comments expressed above.