Is the Revolver dead?

By  | December 12, 2017 | Filed under: News

Is the Revolver dead?  Has this iconic piece of self-defense machinery gone the way of the DoDo Bird?   I don’t think so.  I think that it still has a place in today’s society as a valuable tool in the Self-Defense tool box.  Okay, what started this topic?  You guessed it, two men.

I was recently talking to a buddy of mine and this question came up.  His opinion was yes, the revolver was obsolete.  Being the scientist that I am (really I will argue with a stop sign), I began to think about this question.    I took it one step forward and told him, “If you’re going to throw that question at me, let’s go further.  What is better to have in a fight for your life, eight rounds of .357 Magnum or eight rounds of .45ACP?”  I asked this question because he carries a Kimber 1911 in .45ACP.

I have recently been looking at a Smith & Wesson R-8 .357 Revolver, thinking about purchasing one.  So, I had the specs in my head.  I think this will be a good comparison.  As far as cost, the Smith & Wesson and my buddies’ Kimber were close in cost.  Below are the overall specs of the two pistols:

S&W R-8 .357                                                  Kimber TLE/RII .45ACP

  • Weight: 35.9 oz                                                            39 oz
  • Caliber: .357 Magnum, .38 Special                                 .45ACP
  • Capacity: 8 Rounds                                                      7+1 Rounds
  • Barrel Length:  5 inches                                              5 inches


Kimber TLE/RII .45ACP

Smith & Wesson R-8 .357 Magnum, 8 shot.


   Ok, let’s get to the argument, I mean discussion.  Below are his statements, followed by my answers:

-My Kimber holds 8 rounds of .45acp.

The Smith & Wesson hold 8 rounds of .357 Magnum. 

-Kimber uses a magazine that is faster to reload.

The Smith & Wesson uses a Full Moon Clip that holds the 8 rounds together.  It is basically a speed loader that stays in the gun.  Open the cylinder and place the Full Moon Clip complete with ammo in the Chambers.  Close cylinder. 

Smith & Wesson Full Moon Clip

-The Kimber is easier to carry.

I will give him that the Kimber is flatter than the Smith.  However, the Smith actually weighs less than the Kimber. 

-I can put a light on my Kimber to help with target identification.

Hmm, so can I. 

-The Kimber can be shot faster.

Go to Youtube and check out videos of Jerry Miculek.  He is one of the world’s fastest revolver shooters. 



-The revolver does not have a place in today’s Law Enforcement.

Really, let’s look at that theory.  The Smith that we are using for comparison was designed by a request from a Police Department that wanted them for their SWAT Officers that were utilizing a Ballistic Shield.  It seemed that the Officers with the Shields were experiencing malfunctions from their Semi-Auto pistols due to getting the slide to close to the shield during firing.  Don’t have that problem with the revolver. 

Smith & Wesson R-8 .357, 8 shot revolver.  **Pic taken with remote camera*


Smith & Wesson R-8 .357, 8 shot revolver.  **Pic taken with remote camera*

  • The Kimber utilizes the .45ACP Cartridge which is a proven “man stopper.”

Before I get into the answer of this, please be aware that there is no such thing as a “Magic Bullet” or “Man Stopper”.  Let’s look at facts.  Back in 1990s, Evan Marshall and Edwin J. Sanow began research and published 3 volumes of research about “One Shot Stop Percentages.”  This information was taken from actual police reports.  The information was broken down in caliber.  I happen to have the 3 books.  I checked them. 

The .357 Magnum posts a proven factor of 96 % of one shot stops.

The .45ACP posts a proven factor of 94% of one shot stops. 

Now, please remember these factors come from actual police reports.  Just as a comparison, I am including a couple of more.  Calibers that you think would have a high “One Shot Stop” sometimes doesn’t.

.44 Magnum posts a proven factor of 90% of one shot stops

.22 Long Rifle posts a proven factor of 34% of one shot stops

.380ACP posts a proven factor of 70% of one shot stops

.9mm posts a proven factor of 91% of one shot stops

Now with all the information above, who won the argument, I mean discussion?  No one, we are men; of course we are not going to admit that we were wrong.  With that being said, both sides had good points and both sides countered these points.  If a semi auto pistol is your choice, as long as you can operate it, use it.  However, some people do not have the hand strength to operate a semi-auto pistol and a revolver may be what they need.



Actually, here is the real basis to this article.  I have been a semi-auto pistol shooter forever.  I have never carried a revolver in my 21 years as a police officer.  However, yesterday, I went shooting and realized that I do not have the dexterity in my hands anymore for operation of the semi-auto pistol.  I figure this is due to the Stroke that I have had.  So now I make the change over a revolver.  It is going to be different.  Whatever your choice of a self-defense firearm, make sure you practice with it and stay proficient.    I hope this article has helped you.


Kimber TLE/RII .45ACP.  **Pic taken with Remote Camera***

Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service.  He is the Store Manager of Southern Heritage Gun & Pawn in Tuscumbia.   He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble).  He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion.   He is a Senior Investigative Reporter for the Quad Cities Daily


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