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Old July 23, 2013, 07:56 AM   #1
simonrichter
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Semiauto vs. Revolver - which is more popular in the US?

speaking of privately owned handguns in the US: Are there still more revolvers around or has have the semiautos long turned the tide?
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:06 AM   #2
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Since the movies and tv predominately have their characters racking semi autos in dramatic fashion, I'd guess that they are selling better, especially to folks new to guns.
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:59 AM   #3
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Old July 23, 2013, 09:07 AM   #4
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I read that (don't remember where I saw it) that the S&K J frame snubbies are the biggest sellers.

Add to that Ruger, and some of the others.

I attend a lot of matches and semi's seem to show up in more numbers then revolvers,

But if you throw Cowboy Action, its really hard to tell.
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Old July 23, 2013, 09:11 AM   #5
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Actually I used to be quite a revolver fan in my childhood (in the 80ies), with semiautos being kind of secondary stuff for the bad guys, Russians and thelike.
Yet, due to their superiority in terms of compactness and capacity, I switched to semis when I grew older and was finally able to get my own guns.

All considered, still the revolver would be the better gun for most home defense scenarios, being easier to handle and to be kept at hand ready. However I as well reckon its numbers are dwindling compared to the semis.
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Old July 23, 2013, 09:25 AM   #6
Grant D
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In my house, revolvers by a narrow edge

Revolvers 15

Semiautos 13

seven of the revolvers are S&W snubs, and one Colt detective Special.
So, a little more than half of my revolvers are snubs.
( at the moment, but that's subject to change at any time,depending on what deals I come across )
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:13 AM   #7
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A while back my girlfriend's niece, a young woman in her 20's asked me to show her some handguns. Aside from what she saw on television and the movies, she had no exposure whatsoever to firearms. I started showing her revolvers. She immediately said in the tone of a world-weary expert, "For me I have to have more than six." I had nothing that interested her. My collection lacked a single high capacity polymer 9mm Even my semi-autos were only single stack Browning patents.

The world has changed and left me behind. My father bought a Colt Single-Action which I still have on the day I was born. I never used a double-action Smith until my late teens, and in my early 20's, I bought a copy of Cooper on handguns. Despite the assurances of a number of WWII veterans who I grew up around that the 1911 was worthless, I knew instinctively that the man who wrote that book had something to teach me.

So yes, if there are more revolvers around, and I don't know that to be true, they are older ones. Young people today want black semi-autos.
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Old July 23, 2013, 11:00 AM   #8
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Don't know where you'd get data you could trust, but I'll put my money on pretty close to a dead heat.

Since last Friday, my household is revolvers up by one.

Which, of course, means pretty much nothing to the OP's question.

W
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Old July 23, 2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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I prefer semiautomatics, but own both revolvers and semis. Though there is obviously overlap in certain areas, they are different animals with different strengths and weaknesses. I don't know of many firearms enthusiasts who own only revolvers or only semiautomatic handguns.
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Old July 23, 2013, 12:29 PM   #10
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I see more semis at public ranges than revolvers. most of the revolvers I do see are big bores that make everyone go "Wow" (or "OW!)... and now I'm thinking of replacing the SBH .44 Mag I traded off in 1991.

I have currently twice as many semis as revolvers.
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Old July 23, 2013, 03:08 PM   #11
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No scientific data, just my observations. If you only include guns sold new within the last 30 years I'd say semi's by a large margin. If you look at all guns in peoples homes it is probably pretty close.
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Old July 23, 2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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I own more revolvers than semis but I see a lot more semis at the range.
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Old July 23, 2013, 03:34 PM   #13
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Here's an interesting OLD stat from an OLD US Dept. of Justice publication:

"(Automatic) pistol production grew from 28% of the handguns produced
in the United States in 1973 to 80% in 1993."

Now, that's only guns PRODUCED in the US but, still, we can see that there was a big shift towards autos during that time period.

Here's a link to that report:

www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/GUIC.PDF
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Old July 23, 2013, 04:11 PM   #14
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Personal observation, leads me to believe that

auto-loaders are predominate sellers, but revolvers are holding their own.

I'm more comfortable with a revolver being carried than a auto-loader.
ranges from 2" J-frane to 4" .38Spl/.357MAG, auto-loaders are 4" 9MM to GM.45

It a matter of preference.
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:13 PM   #15
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I grew up with revolvers. Everybody had one. I love revolvers, but for my kind of shooting, semi autos rule the roost.
I bet autos sell 2 to 1 over revolvers, but I'll bet there are more revolvers owned overall than autos. Think about it, just about every cop carried a revolver for 100years before switching.
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:24 PM   #16
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I think revolvers would have a much bigger market share if good quality offerings were available. Revolver enthusiasts tend to like the beauty of a well made gun. Alas, today we have Rugers, built like tanks but as ugly as sin with all kinds of warnings stamped all over. Smith & Wessons with horrendous locks that no one but Obama and Clinton want. The only beautiful guns left are Colt, US firearms and Freedom arms all single actions. Personally I'd be trading in some semi's if I could get a new Colt Python, a trooper, Detective special, a Smith without a lock or a Dan Wesson.
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:16 PM   #17
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My local club hosted a plate shoot last weekend we had 16 shooters show up with semi autos and 1 person showed up with a revolver. He had to shoot against the semi autos and he did very well.
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:28 PM   #18
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I actually started out liking revolvers exclusively. My first gun was a S&W 686, my second a 3" S&W 60 in .357, and my third a S&W 640 no dash in .38 special. As it happens I no longer even own a revolver because I was a broke college student back then and usually had to sell a gun to get a new one. Seeing as I still owe on my college loans I still cannot go on a buying spree when I see a new gun I want. These days I prefer semi auto's but my next pistol purchase will indeed be a revolver. Either a Ruger Vaquero in .45 Colt or a Redhawk in .44 magnum.

Both have their places, and I always will have a soft spot for revolvers, but I just shoot auto's better and enjoy shooting them more.
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:37 PM   #19
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My guess is alot more semis than revolvers sold in the last 20 years. Alot more semi options. Concealed carry has favored semis in my opinion. TV plays a role too.
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Old July 24, 2013, 01:38 AM   #20
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I find that a WHOLE lot of bottom feeder shooters don't practice, and therefore aren't particularly good shots. Some come right out and say "I want 15 rounds because I'm not a very good shot". The overwhelming majority of guys I see at the range with autos are shooting very close sillhouettes. The overwhelming majority of revolver shooters are shooting significantly farther out, including out to 50 and 100 yds.

I use to have all kinds of fun shooting my six gun against other cops and their slab guns in bowling pins. We'd set up MORE than six pins so I'd have to reload. Yet, simply because I practiced a lot, I killed all the pins faster than they did with their black plastic ray guns.

So as far as the topic question, I think square guns are more popular. Heck I think there's more Glocks in the closet in Phoenix than any other gun made. I think the wheel gunners are fewer, have had theirs longer, tend to be older and practice more.


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Old July 24, 2013, 02:56 AM   #21
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As a gunsmith, I see probably 4 or 5 semiauto pistols for every revolver. Not that it means a whole lot, but in the gun store downstairs, there are 8 display cases of semiautos and 1 display case of revolvers. My money is on semiautos being more popular. As far as total numbers. there is a 100 year history of revolvers being the predominant handgun, and a 30 year history of semiautos being commonly owned, so there are probably more revolvers in circulation but most may be sitting in safes and cases.
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Old July 24, 2013, 06:22 AM   #22
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Currently semi auto handguns are more popular and I believe the option of concealed carry has increased their popularity.

With that said, the revolver is far from dead and still has a large fan base.

My collection actually is evenly split between the two types.
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Old July 24, 2013, 07:18 AM   #23
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Quote:
Smith & Wessons with horrendous locks that no one but Obama and Clinton want.
If nobody wants them, how do you explain the fact that they sell every one they make? And they make a fair number of them.

While I don't onw one at the present time, I've owned a couple in the past. Didn't bother me a bit.

Same thing goes for those ugly Rugers I suppose. To my way of thinking Rugers have always been ugly. Good guns, just not as nice looking as Colt or Smith & Wesson.

Back the OP's question. I've a revolver guy. I've owned semi-autos in the past and while I don't mind them, I just like revolvers better. I suspect, and it's just a SWAG that there are more revolvers out there than there are semi's but only because revolvers have been around since...what? The early 1800's or so? The semi-auto didn't get started until late, took a while to really get going, and has in just the last 30 or 40 years started to make a serious move, especially in the civilian market. They may not have caught up yet, but the total market has grown a lot in those 40 years, and almost all of it has been semi-auto's.
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Old July 24, 2013, 10:20 AM   #24
g.willikers
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If all that's stopping anyone from buying a newer S&W revolver is the internal lock, just do a quick youtube search on how to remove them.
There's plenty of easy to follow videos on the subject.
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Old July 24, 2013, 12:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
If nobody wants them, how do you explain the fact that they sell every one they make? And they make a fair number of them.
I don't think they do make a "fair number of them" compared to autos. There's a dozen manufacturers that make only autos. There's a couple that make revolvers and autos, and they're liikely focusing on their autos, which are more popular in the market.

If there were a lot of revolvers being built, I think we'd see a lot of them for sale. But we don't. For every revolver we see, we see a ton of autos. My local Cabelas has what they say is the world's largest gun counter. They have TWO revolvers - S&W 500 Magnums. The other couple of hundred pistols are autos, most tupperware.


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