Benefits of a revolver for home defense

If a handgun is your choice for home defense, the humble revolver has advantages.

When an average person is starting to consider physical safety, the first step is keeping themselves and their family protected while at home or other fixed location. While skill training for protection inside the home vs out in public overlap, equipment needs can be somewhat different. After considering options including rifles, shotguns, and handguns some decide a handgun is the best option for them. If that is the case, many of the needs for carrying such a weapon outside the home are less important; you don't have to conceal it, thus it can be as large or small as you can handle. Weight is less of a concern, and accesories (such as lights, holster design, etc) are more broad.

Lights & sights are easier to mount on a pistol

While semi-auto pistols are an excellent option, so too is the tried and true revolver in this role.

Revolvers have several advantages as well as disadvantages when compared to pistols (semi-automatic handguns). Pistols have higher capacity, tend to be less expensive, more easily allow accessories such as lights and are easier to reload. While modern versions of both systems are very reliable, each must be understood and trained with to become proficient.

The first benefit of a revolver for home (or stationary) defense is simplicity of operation. The cylinder is loaded, closed and pulling the trigger fires a round. If the round does not fire, simply press the trigger again and the next round will be fired. In a pistol, clearing a misfired round takes additional training and practice to overcome. Next, revolvers are less prone to damage from neglect or (mild) abuse than many pistols - though they CAN be broken. But a double action revolver can be left loaded for an indefinite time, with little spring tension or other parts to weaken or fail under stress. Difficult working environments might favor a revolver over some pistols - such as deep concealment carry in an ankle holster, or wearing exposed on the hip while working a farm or homestead. It's not that pistols can't operate in these environments - indeed, military style pistols were designed for austere conditions. However in my experience a revolver is less prone to fail due to these situations and requires less maintenance.

Next, a revolver works in contact conditions. While a pistol can be 'unlocked' or knocked out of battery by pushing on the front of the slide which prevents it from firing, a revolver can be literally pressed into a target and fired. While not ideal, if you happen to be surprised and find yourself in an exterme close quarter fight this can be a life saving feature.

Grips make a huge difference

A key benefit is the ability to change how the revolver fits in your hands. Some modern pistols have different size backstraps, but for the most part, what you get is what you have. Most revolvers come shipped with a fairly middle of the road grip that may fit many, but not be ideal. Fortunately, changing grips is an incredibly easy, inexpensive option and one of the best upgrades you can make in order to more comfortably control and shoot. Take a look at the pictures - the small black Hogue grip on this S&W L frame revolver is compact and may fit small hands, but the larger wooden grips really fit me better. With a better and more stable grip, I can confidentially makes hits at 50 yards - as well run it much faster and more accurately up close. You can even put larger grips on a compact revolver to gain more control and stability when you have it at home, then switch to compact grips if you wish to carry the gun concealed. While revolvers don't have the capacity of many pistols, they are no slouch; medium and large frame revolvers such as the pictured S&W 686+ hold seven rounds and several designs can hold up to ten rounds depending on caliber. If you live in a state which prohibits magazines greater than 10 rounds, you're not giving up that much. Given that most civilian self defense shootings average 2-3 rounds fired, it can be overcome. A great resource which demonstrates & discusses the capacity of the double action revolver can be found from the Paul Harrell youtube channel, where he discusses this exact issue. The one critical down side is that most revolvers do not have a means of easily attaching a white light for positive target identification. However if you're in your home, you can wire lights switches to be readily available as well.

Different sizes for different needs, however larger grips can be put on the snub

As you begin selecting a proper tool for defensive needs, don't dismiss something because it might be an older design. You might just find that the humble revolver is the best option for you as a home defense option.