Assuming any intelligence on the part of a predator, it will attack from ambush. Predators that get injured in the course of the hunt can't successfully predate, and so predators tend to employ relatively cautious tactics.
This is true of coyotes, cougars, and criminals.
Personally, I'd take a revolver over an empty-chambered auto, if I were worried about "safety." I tend to agree with those who assume a surprise attack, with possible injuries sustained prior to reaction.