Insider Tips > Choosing a Self-Defense Handgun

Choosing a Self-Defense Handgun

The best handgun for most people is a revolver.

Skip Walters

handgun, Choosing a Self-Defense Handgun
handgun, Choosing a Self-Defense Handgun

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When choosing a handgun for self-defense, two questions must be considered. Are you proficient in the use of a handgun? Is the gun to be used daily as a concealed carry weapon or is it to sit idly in a bedside drawer until it is needed?


The best handgun for most people is a revolver. Revolvers do not jam, they do not require a firm grip to function properly and in the event of a misfire, the trigger is quickly pulled again. Within one tenth of a second, another round is brought into battery and fired. With the semi-auto, the defective round takes 2 seconds and both hands to pull back the slide and clear the problem before the gun can be fired again. This 1.9 second time period is deadly in a gunfight. Despite what is seen in the movies, deadly encounters are over in less than a minute… usually seconds.


Semi-autos have spring fed magazines which can fail to feed the rounds to the chamber if the magazine spring becomes weak, causing a jam. The spring becomes weak by keeping the spring compressed for a length of time. This happens when a magazine is left loaded, in a bedside drawer. Semi-auto magazines must be emptied frequently to avoid this situation. This is why people should have multiple magazines. One can be loaded when the other is empty. This is not the case with a revolver, as there are no magazine springs to depend upon for reliable function.


A revolver can also be held loosely in the hand of even the slightest individual and be fired without malfunction. A semi-auto must be held firmly so the springs have resistance against which to work. If a semi-auto is held loosely, it will usually jam for the next shot.


It is for these reasons that I recommend a revolver for novices or those that might actually go into harm’s way. If I am injured (or my arthritis is acting up) I may not have the strength to clear a jam. If I’m holding my granddaughter’s hand, I’m not letting go of her. I’m going to use my revolver and be confident it will function.