I’ve been a fan of the five-shot compact revolver for years. They’re small, reliable and potent. They don’t throw brass all over the place and they work especially great from a pocket or a purse, capable of creating a priceless look of surprise from a criminal predator trying to take the room temperature challenge.

While I’m typically kitted out with a 9mm, on some occasions I’ve run errands with little more than a .38 snubbie in a jacket or coat pocket. Or stuffed in my pants. And I (used to) carry one in the console of my car for my “extra” piece.

Not any more and I’ll tell you why: it surely seems like a sole attacker today is the exception, not the rule.

Put another way:  bad guys often run in packs today.

These days, brazen bad guys in cities seem to love rolling up in a (stolen) SUV, three or four deep, hop out and announce a robbery or carjacking. They’ll even boldly rob groups of three, four and more. So much for safety in numbers!

What’s more, these young teens today value the currency of violence, not life. They have no respect for life. Being a “nice guy” is seen to them as weakness. Jobs are for suckers.

Meanwhile, shooting someone only enhances their reputation among their peers. Shoot a bunch of people and they become a rock star among their fellow scumbags.

Not only that, but full-auto drop-in sears for Glocks from Wish.com seem increasingly common even in downstate communities in Illinois. Unless you have nerves of steel, facing down a full-auto pistol with a five-shot revolver seems somewhere between foolhardy and suicidal.

Even if you’ve got two (or more on your person), you’re still undergunned.

Many, many years ago, when I took coursework from John Farnam and Massad Ayoob, both mentioned that ammo is like bubblegum. You better have enough to go around or you’re going to be in trouble.

If, Heaven forbid, I see two, three or four sets of eyeballs staring intently at me as they’re approaching me on foot or in a car with evil in their hearts, I certainly want to have enough bubblegum to go around. That means plenty for seconds, thirds and more for those who need extra therapy.

While I can’t say I’ll never have a J-frame wheelgun in my jacket pocket in the future, I can guarantee if I do, it won’t be the only firearm on my person.

If you’re old school, carrying a little J-frame revolver (or a single-stack .380 pistol), I’d urge you to consider upgrading to a larger-capacity bubblegum dispenser.

5 thoughts on “Retiring the small-frame, 5-shot revolver as a sole carry piece [VIDEOS]”
  1. How many of these confrontations are over after good guy gets off a shot or two?? Most thugs are cowards, that’s why they run in packs and as soon as someone fights back they flee. Nothing against larger capacity firearms but wheel guns are still a viable self defense option.

    1. Tell that to the firefighter who was shot and killed by one of three bad guys who flanked him as part of an attempted carjacking. Nah, I’m not going to count on cowardice of my opponents. If they are cowards, great. If not, I’ve got plenty of therapy for them.

  2. I live in a small town. A little J frame in my pocket makes me feel comfortable enough.

    1. That is an imporant consideration for the type of gun you need to carry – the crime rate and legal system where you live. If you are in Effingham, and not Chicago your five-shot revolver is fine. The thugs pictured in the crime videos here and all over online can’t survive in small town America because they have no job skills, personal morality, or gansta’ support system. And they will get shot or go to prison for a long time (at least in a red state).

      Jesse Kelly has been saying on his show repeatedly recently that now is the time to MOVE if you live in a large city in a blue state where all the crime is happening, or in a blue area where you are more likely to be prosecuted for a defensive shooting. We’ve got leftist Democrat prosecutors in those cities who are as likely to charge the victim in a defensive shooting as the criminal. The “no-bail” laws just let the criminals out after arrest, and the leftist prosecutors will plea bargain down charges (with the cooperation of judges) so felons are back on the streets in a few years, and could take revenge on you. So get out now if you live in one of those areas. Do it for your family. Or risk your life and theirs every day.

      All that said, anther consideration with revolvers is that they are much easier and more forgiving with reloading if you do a lot of target shooting. Since ammo is expensive (and has gotten more so recently), I have reloaded for years. It is not as popular as it was many years ago, but is coming back somewhat with the ammo prices and limited availability. If we have another “riot season” in the cities, the shelves will be empty again. With semiautos you have to worry about crimping enough to hold the bullet secure, but crimping too much will cause a dangerous condition with the front of the case jammed in the chamber and excessive pressure (ka-boom). Also on some semi-autos the case is not fully supported at the base (due to the extractor?), and so you must carefully inspect cases for bulges there and case life will be shorter – there can be a tiny crack causing a gas blow-out (dangerous also). Your bullet choices may also be limited for reliable feeding in some guns. There are even YouTube videos about novice reloaders blowing up their semi-autos with their sloppy reloads. None of that enters the picture with revolver cartridges due to the fully-supoorted rimmed case and simple cylinder. Case life is very long; you can get several reloads before cases show any signs of fatigue. If you cast your own bullets (again, not very popular anymore) cost can go down even more. Since lead auto wheel weights are going away (one major lead source for bullet casters), there are a lot of lead bullet companies that now sell sized and lubricated lead bullets online. Even if you buy more expensive jacketed bullets, your cost for primers, cases, powder and bullets will be less than buying boxed ammo. If you can buy powder and primers locally you also avoid any hazardous shipping fees from the online stores. So for a (poor) person who is going to reload to target shoot a lot, and who lives in a low-crime area, revolvers are still fine. And be sure to practice with speedloaders and full-size metal snap caps per Mas Ayoob’s videos and others until it is second nature (Mas can do it in a flash). I carry two stacked vertically in an old leather cell phone case, works great. And a revolver was good enough for Dirty Harry.

Comments are closed.