For the person who felt the need to acquire and carry a revolver of any consequence, where did he (or she) get it?
Trade for it? Handed down from dad or grand dad? buy it from a private individual? Buy it from a store or shop?
And when he did, how much control did he have over what he got? Did the individual have to be satisfied with some slim pickens, or were there enough revolvers available that he could pick and choose?
Most hardware stores carried guns. I suppose it was a lot like today. Some bought them new, some traded, some bought from individuals. A lot of cowboy guns were not what we consider cowboy guns, especially later in the century but were the cheap Iver Johnson, Allen & Thurber type guns. Colt was the weapon of choice if you could afford to pay 13.00 for one. The cheap stuff ran around 4.00 and really no more than they were actually used did a pretty decent job. I would think and this is JMO that most hardware stores carried a decent selection. I remember when I was young going to the local hardware store and looking at guns in the mid 60's and they had a good selection of rifles, most used and were willing to trade. The pistol selection wasn't quite as good but still adequate for a small town. They also still sold horse shoes and mule pulled plows etc. so I doubt things were much different then than 80 or 90 years before.