So…I just finished teaching a class with a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver as my teaching gun…and out of 21 students, only one was using a revolver instead of a semiautomatic pistol. He was 78 years old.  This told me something.

That said, though, he finished with a score of 220 out of 250 possible with his snub-nose Ruger SP101, and there was at least one instructor on the line with the same kind of gun to show him how to work it, since the “least modern gun” on the hips of my staff instructor cadre was a 1911 .45 auto, and all the rest had Glocks, S&W M&P autos, or the Springfield XD. Today, I start an advanced class, and have seen the writing on the wall: I’ve switched to a polymer Glock 26 9mm autoloader as my teaching gun for this week.

About ten days ago I was in Phoenix, competing in the South Mountain Showdown, and using the S&W in Stock Service Revolver class. Significant Other and I found ourselves shooting one stage with some other revolver fans. “Cool,” I said, “we’re in a nest of revolver shooters.”

“Or maybe a gaggle of revolver shooters,” she suggested helpfully.

“A cylinder-full of revolver shooters?” I ventured hopefully.

“Or a speedloader of revolver shooters,” she said supportively.

Now, I know the proper term.

We were obviously a “museum” of revolver shooters.

Help me out here…I’m not the LAST dinosaur, am I?

It’s hunting season, for Heaven’s sake. How many of you are going to be hunting birds with a good old classic double barrel shotgun, and how many are going after the Thanksgiving turkeys with a shotgun made of Fiberglas and synthetic stocks with Sorbothane recoil pads?  How many will be stalking the winter venison with good ol’ bolt action or lever action rifles made out of blue steel and walnut, and how many will be using something that’s plastique fantastique and tactique-al?

Like that guy said to Clint Eastwood in the first “Dirty Harry” movie… “I got to know.”



  1. I love some semiautos – but the FACT is that I just shoot better with either a J-frame or a K-frame revolver, much better.

  2. At 42 I am in the museum crowd. I carried a 1911, M14, and was a gun captain on a M2 in the navy. As a deputy sheriff I proudly carried my S&W M29 44 mag daily (and was the only one in the department to carry a 44 as a primary weapon).

    I currently own 4 pistols –

    My all time favorite – a S&W M29 44 Mag.
    A S&W 686 that I have “owned” since I was 15.
    A Ruger 10 inch Super Balckhawk 44 Mag.
    And my Citadel Compact 1911.

    If I could afford any pistol I wanted my next one would be the shortest barrel S&W 500 I could find.

    Safe to say that I am in the revolver crowd.

  3. I started out with Ruger SA’s that still hold a place in my heart though I no longer own any. Was a firm revolver guy for years not really trusting semi auto’s. The gun that changed my thinking was a Glock 21 SF, ran like a sewing machine and shot great.

    These days after winnowing out the collection my go to handguns are Glock 9’s for defensive use and Ruger DA .454’s for field use. I just read Mel Tappan’s Survival Guns recently and saw he had an inclination towards auto’s for defense and revolvers for working guns as well, so I feel in good company with my choices. My defensive rifle is a 5.56 AR, hunting is a Ruger 77 hawkeye .338 win mag. My only shotgun is a semi auto FN SLP, though I have hopes of getting a Browning Cynergy for sporting use. Only wood on any of my guns is the laminate stock on my 10/22 Charger.

    Though I admire pretty I view my guns as tools for working and want them to be as tough, weatherproof and durable as possible. As much as I admire history, I’m all for incorporation of improvements where possible for the best utility and function.

  4. Mr. Ayoob,
    First off, Im a huge fan and read as much of your writing as I can set eyes on. In regards to your blog, my everyday companion is a S&W Model 36, it is the only handgun I own. I carry it everywhere I go, my girlfriend made fun of me because I took it to the mailbox the other day (honestly, I didnt even notice that I retrieved it, its just habit by now). I desire to own other guns, but have decided the revolver is the way to go for me, so I will be purchasing more revolvers. I trust it and shoot it well. At the range I often notice Im shooting, reloading and shooting again faster (and making good hits) than most of the autoloader guys around me, although they are admittedly mostly untrained and novice, there are a few guys there that really know their gun and those guys would smoke me in a competition… unless we were shooting wheelguns. Chances are the thug I’ll run into here where I live will also be untrained (I dont think there are any professional “movie” hitmen out to get me). How does the saying go, “Beware the man who only owns one gun”? Last thing, Im only 32 years old.

  5. Hey Mas,
    My first abbreviated wheel gun was a S&W Mod 37 Flat Latch that I liberated from Dick Riley in 1977 for $105. Gee I’m getting old, that was when Bill Weber was there and Ralph was just a young silk sheet commando. That 37 is in my pocket as I type, sporting a set of Crimson Trace grips seated comfortably in a Don Hume 001 front pocket holster. When traveling I prefer a 13.3 ounce S&W Scandium 360 .357 snubbie charged with Federal 147 grain +P+ Hydra-Shoks. High cap semi’s are nice for a fire fight but light is nicer for me and the 360 is easy carry even in shorts. After the first Perp takes a hit, the question of who’s next is not one they often want to answer. In addition to the wheel gun, bedside there is a 1911 with night sights, laser grips and two extra mags of 230 grain Hydra-Shoks. Like you said, a weapon won’t help if it’s in the safe when the glass breaks at 3AM.

  6. Mas, I’m a 57 yoa Deputy Sheriff on his 14th month of recovery from a work related car accident. I hope to go back to (modified) duty as a Sgt of CID in a couple of months.

    The first handgun I ever fired was a S&W Model 15 in USAF SP Tech School. I (to paraphrase Spock) “…have been and always will be…” a wheelgun guy. I will be limited to desk duty for quite some time.

    I have carried SIG P-226’s, Glock 31 and 22 and a 1911 on duty. Our new Sheriff allows us to carry our gun of choice. Mine will be a 4″ S&W 19.


    Admittedly, it’s partly nostalgia. The 19 is very close in feel to the 15.

    But I am convinced that I am not “undergunned” in any carrying a 6 shot revolver and three speedloaders vs an issue Glock 20 or even my Kimber Raptor with 2 spare mags. I recently took my first trip to a square range since my accident. I was hitting pepper poppers at 70 yards consistently with that Model 19 and Remington 125 grain magnums, single action, sitting, two handed unsupported. While I love my Kimber, I wasn’t having the same kind of results with it.

    Power, reliability, accuracy and ease of carry. Not to mention blue steel and wood. Call me an old fogie all they want. Just meet me at the range…

  7. I deer hunt with a Colt Python, King Cobra, or S&W 460, at 44 yrs old. The latter is newer, but the revolver theme is in place. I like the “old” style revolvers, mainly the double actions. Occasionally I will bring out my pre-’64 Winchester 30-30 lever action. My carry guns include a J-frame, depending on what type of clothing I have on. I enjoy both types of firearms…new and old. I qualified for your instructor course, with some 300 scores, using my M&P, but my back up gun was a .357 revolver.
    See you in Dec., in the frozen north.

  8. Im 25 and I love revolvers. I carry glocks and 1911s sometimes. But they dont mean as much to me as my Smith’s do (N frame mostly). I took my first handgun kill on black friday with my 6″ 44 model 29. It was great.

  9. I am 48 and carry a Ruger SP-101, 3.06″, .357. It will shoot a knat off a fly’s rear at 25 yards and make a coffee can dance at 100 with any .38/.357 I put in it. That kind of accuracy is hard to find in an out-of-the-box semi- auto.

  10. Hello Massad,

    I realize that this thread is a year old but then hunting season is here again and I thought I’d add my two cents. It may be a little obsolete but my deer/bear rifle is an original 1895 7mm Mouser. My bird gun of choice is a replica 1887 lever action shotgun. My usual carry piece is a little more modern S&W 642 revolver but I have been known to carry a single action revolver from time to time.

  11. I am 37 and didn’t have my M&P 9c long before I swapped it for a Ruger SP101 w/ 3″ barrel. It never leaves my hip…..ever. It carries easy, handles full power ammo like yummy M&M’s, will never jam, and best of all…….it doesn’t send me to my knees scratching the friggin ground looking for brass! It is the gun I harvest deer with, practice with, and protect my family with. Sadly, it reloads a mere five rounds of ammo much more slowly than an auto…….but I do carry a reload, and while I am not a competition shooter, I would not want to be on the wrong side of my sweet little wheel gun! I intend to trade my Flat Top 44 Special for a 4″ GP100 in the future. By the way, it is legal for me to take deer with it here……it has always killed quickly and humanely leaving a nice entry and exit hole………much better than a pointy stick!

  12. I’m 49, and I carry a Taurus Model 85 as my EDC. It is rugged and reliable, acceptably accurate, easy to conceal, and delivers a nasty punch. I’m not a “gun guy” and I don’t get my jollies by showing off my gun. I just want a reliable and effective self-defense gun that is easy to conceal and that doesn’t require that I strap on ten pounds of gear to go about my business. The humble snubby and two speed loaders full of Nyclads give me just what I need.

  13. I guess I’m a geezer too, at 66 I’ve been carrying a revolver since rookie school in 1968. It saved my hide more than once during my 30 year LEO career using both Colt and Smith service revolvers in .38 spl. In retirement either my Smith 442 or ’68 Colt Cobra (first off-duty gun) is carried daily.

    Old Cop
    LEO (Ret.)

  14. My father gave me a Browning BL .22 for Christmas when I was nine. Two years later I recieved a model 1200 pump shotgun. 30 years later the act of thumbing back the hammer after acquiring my target, moving my finger into the trigger guard and firing is second nature. I ran BRICKS of shells through that .22. My 686 has a similar feel. I am the only one left in deer camp with out a scope, still using a lever action 30-30. I am also the only one in that duck blind with a pump. These actions are so familiar to me I see no need to change. I still shoot semi-autos, but have not found one I am comfortable in carrying. Not quite 40, so I have time to change, but have not found a reason to change my choice of actions yet.

  15. Since I can not run very fast anymore ( 73 ). I carry either a Ruger LCR in 38 spc. or a HK4 in 380 ACP. when I’m running the dog in the woods. I got started in hand guns with Models 12 & 15 Dan Wessons. With barrels from 21/2 inches to 8 inches who could ask for anything more? These were followed by a Ruger Single Six and a Ruger Blackhawk 45 Conv. Then I moved on to 2 model 58 S&W’s, a 3 inch SS and a 83/8 inch with a 2X scope. I’ve had several 1911’s and other autos, but I guess I just like revolvers the most. As for hunting birds my old 20 ga. Ithica SKB O/U can’t be beat. Or my Rem. 11-87 Special Purpose for turkeys and ducks. I retired my Rem. 1100 to my grandson. As for deer my SAKO .243 and my Mossberg 500 12 ga. with a scoped rifle barrel does the job. Over the years I have seen all the new stuff come on the market but nothing out there is any better than what I already have. And mine is paid for!

  16. At 52 years of age I have been privileged to serve for over 30 of those years first in the Marine Corps and then and up to today in federal law enforcement. Around ’86 while serving in Okinawa as a cannon cocker I recall we transitioned over to the then new Beretta 9mm from our well-worn Colt .45s. Scores went up and fewer duty desks got dispatched by over imaginative 2nd Lts on duty reenacting Gunsmoke episodes. Maps ain’t the only things Lts are infamously dangerous with. Left the FBI Academy in ’90 with a solid S&W model 13 .357 with several thousand flawless operations of that finely tuned cylinder and smoothly predictable trigger that produced complete confidence in my old wheel gun. Almost got to buy her back, but a certain female AG of old decided to turn my trusted old friend into just so much scrap metal when us feds caught the semiautomatic pistol bug. Since then I’ve carried 10mm, 9mm, .40 cal, and .45 semiautomatics. All great weapons that have needed some tlc to stay in fighting trim whether it be cracked frames, bag mags, or finnicky feed ramps. That little ole 5 shot Smith is still with me as a backup/off duty weapon that hasn’t seen a gun plumber since it defected from that Yankee factory for the sweet southern breezes of the Southland many years ago. And my Smith will get handed down to my own son someday. Sure makes me nostalgic for the good ‘ole days of shooting semi-wadcutter ammo and hearing your classmates shout, “you’re spittin lead” as those rounds shaved off a piece ‘o lead that would land on your partner’s neck. ‘Ya just can’t have that kinda fun with modern polymer guns. Thanks for making me nostalgic for the early days of chasing after bank robbers and fugitives with nary a wheelgun and a speedloader or two. And with iron sights we were trained to shoot back to the 60 yard line. The spray-n-pray crowd doesn’t know what they missed out on. God Bless and stay safe out there. Smitty from somewhere in the Carolinas…

  17. hey massad i went through your class. speaking of revolver , i do carry a l frame 7 shot 2′ sometime. i carry sigs,xds auto,s but i still hunt or back pack the wheel gun in 44 mag,41 mag or my 445 supermag. i reload my own ammo & when you shoot in the winter with revolvers you don,t have to pick up brass in the snow like you do with my auto,s

  18. Massad,

    I’m 66 years old. I definitely would be considered old school. That said I do have 9mm Glocks. But for carry (I live in Florida) I prefer either my Ruger lcr or my S&W 642-1. I’m a retired Florida corrections officer and was trained on .38 revolvers and feel well armed with one. For deer and hog I use a 30-30 Win. and for turkey and duck I use a Benelli M-2 with wood stocks.

  19. Retired LEO with 39 years on the jay-oh-bee. Started with a S&W model 13 about in 1975, ended with a Glock model 22. Now that i’m retired, my first handgun choice is a RUGER GP100 3 inch, my second choice is the CHARTER ARMS POLICE UNDERCOVER, (6 shot snub-not the undercover). Long arm of choice is the HENRY Big Boy in .357 Magnum. Scattergun choice, Mossberg 500A 18.5 inch barrel. I have sold all of my semi-auto pistols except for my RUGER P95DC, which I haven’t shot in a long time. I just prefer the simplicity of these small arms under stress. Their ability to get the job done is second to none. Guess I’m old school.

  20. I own both a Ruger SP101 w/3″bbl and a S&W 686 w/3″ bbl. After shooting both, I enjoy the S&W better of the two. Besides having 2 extra shots, I like the sights better because I was raised on S&W sights.

  21. I’m a 55 year old not-really-a-gun-guy. Just traded in my 9mm TZ-75 and a Ruger 10/22 carbine that sat almost completely unused for 14 years for a new 642-2. I’m mildly bothered by the non-traditional finish and finding out later that it has some MIM innards. It does seem more like a commodity than something made to be durable. That said, as a novice shooter I was able to shoot a few five inch groups (5 shots) with it at 10 yards after my second visit to the range.

    It is dirt simple to use. Should be reliable. Is light and easy to carry. And recoil isn’t far more manageable than the online whining led me to believe – even with +P ammo. This is a gun that a non-shooter like me can put to practical use with a good level of safety. If the finish chips or wears a bit, no big deal. With a few more trips to the range I should be able to get those groups a little smaller. That’s clearly my limit, not the gun’s.

  22. Mas,

    The .270 is good but even Jack O’Connor, quietly, admitted that the 30-06 was as good, if not better, than his beloved .270 Winchester.

    As for round gun versus bottomfeeder, while I own both I’m relying on a model 58 and it’s brother, the 57. I’m a troglodyte whose knuckles drag the ground when he walks.


  23. Mas,
    I ran across this while goggling something I forgot. At 74 my memory is not wonderful but that is more something of too many hours over the years spent at a computer going to who knows how many places and not knowing where I started.
    I think round guns are a matter of what we know and being one who grew up on round guns it is like family. They are part of us and not open for discussion.
    Over many years I had single actions and double action revolvers and loved every one of them.
    I migrated to the 1911 around 1980 or so and then for a while had none and tried the 1911 type again and loved them too. Then I found the glocks and after much thought and research I bought the first of several and the fit was good and they shot beyond good.
    While the round types still feel good, it is the glocks that feel the best and I shoot the best. One cannot argue with the way a gun fits the hand and points. I never met a gun I did not like, just some I shot better. It was fun reading this and I appreciate the different guns we all like knowing it is a common thread that brings us all to this thread. Thanks to all who posted and to all you have done to further my knowledge in all things gun related.

  24. I’m staring down 30 here in a few weeks, and am still finding myself a revolver guy. I’m former Army and current LEO. I carry a Sig P229 at work due to policy, but off duty I find myself carrying either my 642-2 or my 2.5″ 686 most often.
    I do have a Glock G30sf, a Kahr K9 and an XDm 5.25 in .45. The XDm is a nightstand gun with a TLR-1s. It still often times plays 2nd fiddle to my 686. The Kahr and Glock are rarely carried, as I just love my wheelies more.
    I take my Marlin .44mag levergun to the woods for deer, and have a side by side 12 for upland birds.
    Do I have an AR? Yes. Do I like it? Yes. Do I feel the same affinity for it as I do my other guns? No. Same holds true for my semis and my other shotguns. Out of my decently sized collections including other rifles, handguns and shotguns not listed, I still find myself gravitating to the “classics” even if they are outdated by some standards.
    Perhaps I truly was born a few decades late.

  25. I am just shy of 60 and use a .44 Magnum revolver (Colt or Super Blackhawk) when after deer or hogs and carry a .357 Colt Magnum Carry
    for protection against 2 legged predators. I am confident in all of them and don’t miss very often. There is nothing like a magnum revolver for size/power ratio, except maybe a .357 SIG.

  26. Trying to decide right now, If I want to trade my S&W Mod. 19 .357 mag 4″ for a Glock 32 .357 Sig. It boils down to: blam, blam, blam. blam, blam & blam, blam . . . . vs. KA-BOOM! The single KA-BOOM! with 140 gr HP seems more defining to me. And no brass to pickup.

  27. First handgun, a pinned S&W M-13, has accompanied me on all desert adventures from the 70s on. Early 80s, I acquired a shrouded, .38sp. Colt Cobra for the more discrete city carry.
    I purchased “Tupperware”, a Kel-Tec P-40, after amazing Wife adopted my M-13 as her desert adventure sidearm.
    Bilateral hand arthritis has compelled me to acquire a Glock 36.
    It is so much more forgiving to shoot than either Colt or Kel-Tec!

  28. I carried a 38 special, model 60 for 25 years in NY, also had a DS, taken in a robbery prior to that, and a ppk’s for 20 years around the same time frame.
    If it were not for Glock and several others making the hi-cap Dbl stack guns popular for the NYPD to switch over to them back then. We would still be using them, as they were effective, easy to use and fired every time.
    Also a gun lasted a lifetime, not like now when every month a dozen new guns come out that for some reason people think the need.
    the entire industry has turned into a marketing ploy. Let’s understand that if you are shooting 15-30 rounds of ammo at something that requires that mudh lead, the chances are that you were already hit a dozen times, unless you are shooting against the Lighthouse shooting team.
    AT this point Body armor should be a consideration prior to a new gun. Very few people can shoot on the fly and hit the broadside of a barn, that’s the truth. 5-10 rounds should cover any possibility for the normal human being, especially when Special ops teams only carry 4 mags tops, including the 1 in the gun. The newbies have played too many video games, when you get shot, you are usually done for.
    Oh I cary a single stack 9mm, with 7+1, and a extra mag.