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revolver carry vs pistol carry

Difference Between A Revolver Or A Pistol For Concealed Carry

If you're using a high retention inside the waistband concealed carry holster, your revolver will likely need to be adjusted differently than your pistol. Let's take a Taurus Judge holster, for example. The Taurus Judge can hold either .45 long or 410 shotgun rounds. This makes the Taurus Judge extremely versatile.

A strategy some Judge owners have adopted is interchanging different types of 410 shot in each of the five cylinders in the Taurus Judge. That's fine, but how are you are drawing from your revolver holster versus your pistol? Let’s talk about some of the differences you may notice.


How High Retention Revolver Holsters Work


The way high retention holsters work is by applying firm, uniform pressure across the surface area of the gun. This is usually done through a polymer shell and either a spring-steel backing or even a leather or fabric back-pad. Because a revolver has a cylinder versus a magazine, the retention may need to be more subtly adjusted to ensure you have a nice, clean draw. Your average J frame leather holster is going to have a different feel and draw than a high retention custom molded polymer shell.

One of the problems with leather holsters is that they often attempt to wander into the “one size fits all” design. This is a flaw. Even though some gun owners think all revolvers are the same, there are quite a few subtle differences even within the same make and model of revolver. Subtle changes to the length of the barrel, width, and height can all affect how it rests in the holster.

Even in best cases for leather revolver holsters, though, they can only shape so much retention into the leather. Things like daily perspiration and use will subtly wear down that revolver holster. Using a polymer shell framed revolver holster will ensure that the same shape is kept over time. This means more reliability. If you practice drawing from your high-retention IWB revolver holster, you can expect that same draw to remain constant. Consistency is a big thing in concealed carry.

Differences in Loading and Holstering a Revolver

pistol and revolver differences

Revolvers are not fed by magazines. Their shells are usually ejected after opening the cylinder. Most modern revolvers, like the SP101, there’s a shell ejector rod that can be pushed down to push all the expended shells out. It’s good to practice pulling your revolver from its holster and then changing out shells before reholstering. Even if you have neutralized your target, always practice reloading because if you have the capacity to do so – you should.

Several considerations for IWB revolver holsters:

  • Consider “C clips” for inside the waistband. They can sometimes grip your gun belt more ergonomically than traditional J clips.
  • An IWB with a backpad is ideal for IWB revolver holsters. Two clips offer better distribution of the revolver’s weight and anchor it better when you draw.
  • An interchangeable polymer shell that’s compatible with an OWB holster; this is great for those times you want to be able to carry outside the waistband but don’t want a completely different holster. This also provides consistency for training purposes.

Revolvers hold a near sacred place in the firearms community for their reliability. A good revolver can be an excellent choice as an everyday concealed carry handgun so long as you go with a holster that properly protects it and keeps the revolver secure.

What differences did you notice when you started carrying a revolver versus a pistol as your everyday carry handgun? Tell us your experience in the comments section below.

James England

About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.