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Semi automatic pistol or a revolver - which is best for you?

If you are currently shopping for your first handgun for concealed carry, or are simply pondering the decision, one of the first questions you will face is whether a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver is best for you. Here are some of the pros and cons of each weapon type to help you make your decision.

semi auto vs revolver

Semi Auto Handgun

Semi-auto handguns are a very popular choice with concealed carry permit holders. They offer high shot capacity, quick firing, and rapid reloading speed in addition to their superb accuracy. There are literally dozens of different calibers, models, sizes, and companies to choose from when purchasing a semi-automatic pistol. However, there are also some downfalls to the style.

One of the main cons to the semi-automatic pistol is the chance that a jam will occur. This renders the weapon inoperable until the jam has been cleared.

That can be the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation. A shooter with the proper training will be able to quickly clear a jam, but training can be forgotten in the heat of the moment. This is not to say that jams are common, especially in firearms with modern designs. Read any review for a new semi-automatic pistol and you are sure to hear a lot about the reliability of said pistol. Modern semi-auto handguns are generally very reliable, but the potential for jams still does exist.

Another con against semi-auto pistols is the strength that is required to rack the slide. This can be difficult for some shooters who may lack the necessary strength. While this con certainly does not affect all shooters, it is an important consideration for some.

Take a look at our OWB and IWB holsters for semi automatic handguns.

Choosing a gun that can be safely and comfortable operated is one of the main deciding factors in any firearm purchase.


Once the absolute go-to in handguns when it came to self-defense and concealed carry, revolvers have somewhat gone the way of the dinosaur. However, revolvers are starting to make a comeback and some companies are once again producing revolvers and introducing new innovations into the time-tested design. Although they may not be as flashy as some of the modern semi-automatic pistols on the market today, revolvers still get the job done effectively and efficiently. Revolvers also require far less maintenance than their semi-automatic counterparts.

Revolvers are renowned for their reliability. With every round loaded into a separate chamber, there is essentially a zero percent chance of a jam occurring.

If a round does fail to fire, it is a simple matter to simply pull the trigger again in a double-action revolver or pull back the hammer again in a single-action and pulling the trigger to fire the next round. Revolvers intended for concealed carry are almost universally of the double-action variety.

One of the main cons with a revolver is the slower reload time that they require. Instead of simply releasing a spent magazine and slamming a new one home as is done with a semi-auto, fresh ammo must be loaded individually in a revolver. Another con against the revolver is that it holds less ammo than semi-auto handguns do. This could pose a problem if you ever found yourself in a situation where you are facing multiple attackers.

We are adding more and more holsters for revolvers, take a look here:   Revolver Holsters

Final Thoughts

Your final decision on which type of handgun to buy for concealed carry will come down to what you are the most comfortable with shooting.

Although online research is a great place to start, it is very important to actually handle and fire any handgun that you are considering for concealed carry.

Most shooting ranges will have several different models of handguns available for rent which is a great way to try out a couple of different models and styles.

With the increasing popularity in concealed carry, firearm manufacturers are putting a lot of focus into producing weapons for that purpose. This means that it is almost impossible to go wrong with whatever style of pistol and specific model that you choose. No matter what your budget or need, there is definitely a gun out there that will fit your needs perfectly. Take your time and make the choice that is best for you and your specific situation.


About The Author

Brian Belko is a freelance writer and blogger. His primary areas of focus include sports, the outdoors, technology and human interest, but he is proficient and comfortable covering a wide range of topics. Brian joined Wide Open Spaces as a contributor in November of 2013. He writes articles on the latest news in the Ohio hunting and fishing world as well as creating original content of interest to any outdoor enthusiast. He is also on the Pro Staff at Military Hunting and Fishing. When he isn't busy writing, Brian enjoys fishing farm ponds for bass and hitting the spring woods during turkey season.