Sifting through the endless firearm options to choose the right gun for you can be confusing. In this four part series, Carrie Lightfoot and guest Ashley Suris answer your questions to help walk you through making the right decision. This episode will dive into the differences between revolvers and semi-automatics.
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Carrie: Hi, I’m Carrie Lightfoot and I am so excited to introduce the series how to find the right gun. With all these choices out here, how the heck do you find the right one? Well we are going to help you. I am joined today by Ashley Suris who is a long-time chapter leader, she has worked with The Well Armed Woman, she knows everything about guns, you use to even sell them behind the counter?
Ashley: I did
Carrie: So, we have the expert and my experience and we are just going to talk about how do you go about finding the right gun and not be overwhelmed by the process. We should tell them what guns we have here. We have the Ruger LCP II, this is the new one with a great trigger pull and a much easier slide and as you can see this is really really small. Great for conceal carry but a little harder to shoot.
Remember there is that explosion happening and all that energy has to go somewhere so that ends up in our hands. This is the Ruger LC9S this is 9mm, this is a.380. So, we are going to talk caliber in another video, this is a Ruger SP101 revolver we have the Glock 42, there is also another one called a Glock 43 which I don’t have on the table which is a 9 mm this on is a .380. This is a Walther CCP which is a great gun. This was actually deigned to have a much easier slide to rack and to have less recoil. This is a Sig Sauer p238. This is a 380 as well and my good old Kimber here.
Carrie: So, I guess we should start at the beginning and the beginning is you have to know what the purpose is. What’s the purpose that gun is going to serve. Is this a home defense gun, is it a on conceal carry, is it a hunting gun, so we have to start there at the beginning. So that’s the so that’s the first question. I think in our series we are going to be focusing on conceal carry guns. So that’s where we are starting today. Ok are you good with that Ashley?
Ashley: Sound good.
Carrie: Ok awesome. So, we know that you are trying to find the right gun for yourself for conceal carry so now what?
Ashley: Well it starts like you said from the beginning, you walk into the gun story and the have shelves upon shelves upon shelves of firearms and it can be overwhelming on where to being. So, I think you start with breaking handguns down to the basics. You have semi-automatics and revolvers and each have their own specific advantages and disadvantages to consider when you’re making your decision.
Carrie: So, what we want do is we want to know what those are and then we can prioritize them based on our own needs. Let me tell you a quick story before we go farther because when I first started shooting there was no Well Armed Woman there was no place for me to go to get advice. I went and my very first gun, this is the very first gun I purchased, and it is actually a beautiful gun this is the Kimber and it’s the ultra-carry so it’s a 1911 and it is, it’s a great gun. But here just feel that, I mean it is heavy.
Ashley: It is very heavy and very bulky
Carrie: I had no idea what questions to ask. At first I was carrying this big gun around and it was weighing me down and I really couldn’t carry effective. I didn’t have anyone to answer my questions, and so everybody loves her first, so this is my first and I call her black call her black pearl but just not appropriate. I just didn’t have the resources you know, to answer those questions. So, we are going to talk about revolvers and semi-automatics let’s talk about revolvers first. Ashley what would you say is one of the advantages of a revolver?
Ashley: A big advantage of revolvers right off the bat is the reliability. There’s less moving parts which inherently means that it’s going to fail less.
Carrie: So, it will be more reliable. I think it’s also a more simple machine and mechanically, it operates very simply. So, you know that it has the cylinder, which is where the rounds are placed in, and the trigger and the hammer and that’s it. So, cleaning it for example it’s a lot easier or a little less complicated, I wouldn’t say easier because,
Ashley: Less steps.
Carrie: Yes, less steps. What else you think would be an advantage?
Ashley: Typically, they have a little bit more weight to them which is going to cut down on your felt recoil. A heavier gun is going to recoil a little bit less so that’s a definite perk.
Carrie: That is a good one too, because the recoil can be something that’s kind a hard to handle. So, good point. I think one of the other advantages is they typically, again we are talking generally, they typically cost a little bit less. So, revolvers tend to be a little more of an economical purchase. What else, anything else for advantages of that you can think of?
Ashley: I think those are the biggest ones the simplicity, the ease of maintenance and then the lower up front cost.
Carrie: So, the disadvantages, let’s talk about that. One of the more significant disadvantages in my opinion is the limited capacity. So this one has what, 5 rounds? So that means that if I am carrying this gun I only have five rounds and that’s it. Whereas will talk later about some of the other semi-automatics hold a lot more, so that would be a disadvantage. Any other disadvantages?
Ashley: Yeah typically revolvers are going to have a heavier trigger pull, which means it’s going to take more strength to depress the trigger.
Carrie: Right and they have what’s called a double action trigger which means you really, really have to intend to press that, pull that trigger and it can be really hard. The next the next video we are going to talk about hands. So, we’re going to get into that specifically but it can be really difficult trigger pull.
Ashley: It can, yes.
Carrie: And I think you mentioned the weight earlier which is good for recoil. The weight can be a disadvantage because they’re heavier and bulkier to carry-on our bodies. So, it can be a little more cumbersome I think. There are a lot of options on that, we only have one here today. I will have some resources for you in the show notes and things like that where you can see more variety of guns.
Carrie: Alright let’s talk about semi-automatic pistols. So, the semi-automatic pistol which is what we are seeing here, each of those have a magazine so the ammunition is placed into the magazine where as in the revolver we placed it in here. So, what does that mean what’s a real advantage of a semi-automatic?
Ashley: You’re going to be able to carry more rounds.
Carrie: You’re going to be carrying more rounds. You know I don’t see a double stack on our table, but you can get up to 17 rounds in a magazine. That’s a big difference from five. So I, for a conceal carry self-defense situation I think that’s really important because I want to have as many as I need. I want one more round than the bad guy has. So the more I have the better. That’s one of the real advantages with a semi-automatic. What else do you see as an advantage?
Ashley: They’re slimmer typically there is less gun to it that’s going to make it inherently easier to hide.
Carrie: Let’s compare the revolver to a smaller semiautomatic and just kind of, let’s compare the width and the size. So, I’m going to pull that I’m going to close the cylinder so we have a good look here
Ashley: So, you can see,
Carrie: What difference.
Ashley: Yeah you can see when the two of them are side-by-side especially here where the cylinders is, it’s quite a bit thicker than the smaller semi-auto.
Carrie: And the weight too.
Carrie: And let me feel that one, there is a big difference in weight and these don’t have any ammunition so we have to remember once you add the ammunition, everything gets a lot heavier.
Carrie: We should make sure everybody knows we’ve cleared all of these guns we did so beforehand you can see the actions open and the magazines have no ammunition. So just to make sure that we got that covered. So, the thinness is really important that’s a real advantage for conceal carry. What else?
Ashley: You’ve got the higher capacity, The slimmer profile,
Carrie: The trigger is a little easier to pull.
Carrie: So, the trigger pull is a little lighter,
Carrie: On a semi-automatic and that’s a real advantage. Let’s talk about disadvantages, what would be a disadvantage to a semi-automatic?
Ashley: So, like we said before with the revolver there aren’t very many moving parts. With a semi-auto, you are going to have more moving parts so they do tend to malfunction more often than a revolver would.
Carrie: They will, they will and the takedown for cleaning you have to take it apart. There are many pieces and it’s a little bit more of a complex cleaning procedure. So, if you don’t like to clean, you are not into lots of parts and cleaning them all out then maybe a revolver is a choice. I actually enjoy it. I just cleaned two of my guns yesterday and it’s a good way to get to know your gun which, I think is really important.
Ashley: I agree
Carrie: You become very comfortable with it. Anymore advantages or disadvantages on the semi-automatic?
Ashley: I think the only other important one to talk about is it just a disadvantage of a semi-automatic is you do need to be able to rack the slide and if you have weaker hands or arthritic hands that can become a challenge.
Carrie: And there are different models and some of the firearms will have an easier slide to rack. So, Walther firearms for example typically have a very easy slide to rack. Some of the Sig Sauer’s, the new LC 9S by Ruger is another good one, the Glock.
Carrie: You know, another potential disadvantage of a semi-automatic is that if you’re considering carrying a firearm in a conceal carry purse, semiautomatic because this has to slide it has to cycle to load the next round. If you had to shoot through your purse meaning you didn’t have time to draw, you just had your hand on your gun in your purse and shot, this firearm would get jammed inside of a purse because it can’t cycle. Whereas a revolver would just keep shooting and shooting. So, if you’re considering carrying in a conceal carry purse, that’s an advantage for the revolver and a disadvantage for the semi-automatic. Something to think about.
Carrie: I think we’ve talked about a lot of the different advantages and disadvantages, your task now is to weigh those. Which ones are really important to you and kind of weigh the pros and cons and that will at least get you started into making those decisions for yourself. Next show, next video we are going to talk about hand strength specifically and also gun weight and what that means so join us on video 2!