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Old December 15, 2013, 07:16 PM   #1
Biff Tannen
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The FLIP SIDE to "revolver vs semi" debates

In self-defense discussions, we've all been in friendly "revolver vs semi" debates...
For the most part, such summits seem to end with a "reliability vs round count" draw...
Can anyone point us to any statistics which might show us another side of this friendly debate?
(despite your handgun or choice, let's try to keep it open to learning and not proving you are infallible hahah)
Thanks, stay safe, and God bless!
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Old December 15, 2013, 07:21 PM   #2
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I know of no statistics regarding the type of gun used in self-defense shootings. There are really not that many, and they are rarely broken down even to handgun vs long gun. Obviously, there are no statistics at all regarding guns which provided a deterrent to criminal action and no shots were fired.

The best gun for home.self defense is still the one the owner is most comfortable with and can use the best.

Jim
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Old December 15, 2013, 07:49 PM   #3
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Well, Best gun for home defense: 12 gauge. The sound one makes when chambered is enough to make 90% of the bad guys to drop any thoughts that they have.

Semi auto vs revolver... Yup, I think you said it best in the Reliability or rounds.
Personally, I say revolver. It (for the most part) a guarantee that she will go bang (as long as its a double action) when you pull the trigger. Semi auto, most of them seem to have some sort of safety if not more then one. Just more to try to navigate around when that 1 sec counts.

lol... Funny, I CC a 9mm Semi.....
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Old December 15, 2013, 09:30 PM   #4
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Been hearing that hoary story about the sound of a shotgun being racked for years, never heard much saying it was true. I'd think it gives away both your position and what you are armed with, but that's just me talking out loud.

Nothing wrong with a good revolver - I'd feel just as good with either my Smith 10-8 or CZ P-01 in hand if the chips were down.

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Old December 15, 2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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I'm sure the statistic for number of rounds fired, at about 2.3 is still pretty close. Of course, that includes the guy that fired one round and the threat gave up, ran away or tipped over dead. And it also includes the guy that needed 15 rounds to score a hit (with the same results) against one-two-three bad guys ducking and weaving behind cover.

There is no definitive answer to the great question. Because one tiny little thing can be different and, you have either exactly the right gun with exactly enough rounds, or you don't.

Pick one (or a few you like and trust) shoot them. Get good with it (or them) and accept the fact that you are doing as well as you can.

For me, in order of importance in a self defense gun, it's:
1. Reliability. I'll take a reliable .32 over a questionable .45 all day. And, it has to be reliable no matter how I am holding it, if my hands are slick or wet, right side up or upside down.
2. Accurate at combat ranges.
3. Enough horsepower to do what needs to be done.
4. Capacity.
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Old December 15, 2013, 10:46 PM   #6
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I've heard that one about the sound of the 12-guage being cycled for years, too. Maybe it's true, but if the bad guy doesn't freeze, turn and run, or start begging for his life, all you've done is give him time to react against you. It's only an instant, but I'm not inclined to waste that instant.

I've already made the decision to shoot if need be. I'm not turning the initiative over to the other guy, even if only for an instant. Load and be ready to fire when you put your hands to the shotgun in the first place.
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Old December 15, 2013, 10:51 PM   #7
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I read a post here on TFL with a study on LEO shootings over the years.
Going back to pre semi auto issue days, the average rounds fired per officer in a shooting incident was 3 or maybe less

As soon as autos with larger round counts hit the scene, it jumped to 12 or close to it.
If I was on my laptop I'd post a link to the exact comments.
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Old December 16, 2013, 01:04 AM   #8
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Copied from my post in another thread:

I know a Dallas PD internal affairs investigator. When he goes to an Officer in involved shooting, the first question he asks is "how many rounds did the Officer fire?"

If its 2-3 rounds, generally it's an older Officer who is still carrying a revolver (yes, Dallas still has a few) or, an older Officer that still has the trigger discipline of carrying a revolver even though he is now carrying an auto.

If its 10-12-15 etc, he generally deduces that its a younger Officer that started with and carries an auto. And, is generally right.

No hard science, just an observation.
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Old December 16, 2013, 01:39 AM   #9
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The biggest problem with statistics is that we've been trained to believe that the data to make them always exists.

It doesn't.


All the revolver "jams" I've witnessed with quality brands at matches were not reported to the National Revolver Reliability Database.

Nor were all the NDs that didn't hurt anyone or get the police involved.


The reality is that we actually know very little about how reliable guns are in the real world, how often their owners screw up while using them, and how often they made a life or death difference when brandished.


I usually come down on the side of autos if the debate is about defense, because they are more size efficient and easier to reload and carry the reloads. That's true whether it is a 6 shot auto or a 20.

If the debate is about something like survival, I tend to side with revolvers because they are generally more accurate and can chamber a wider range of loads.

I don't think either is more reliable, and otherwise they are just two very similar ways of making a repeating handgun.
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Old December 16, 2013, 01:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loademwell
Well, Best gun for home defense: 12 gauge. The sound one makes when chambered is enough to make 90% of the bad guys to drop any thoughts that they have.
I get so tired of hearing this over and over and over again. It's really not a good idea to rely on this sound to scare away an attacker; that means you're intentionally keeping the chamber empty until the bad guy is close enough to hear it. And at this point he knows where you are and what kind of weapon you have.

Sure, if the sound of a 12 ga. being chambered just happens to scare away a potential attacker that's a good thing. But that shouldn't ever be a conscious part of your self-defense tactics.

Also, I much prefer an AR-15 for home defense due to the much lower penetration through walls. I like my neighbors. Don't get me wrong, a shotgun is a great choice, but I think a 5.56 AR-15 is a better one. Either way, I'm leaving my long gun in the safe room and using a handgun around the house for portability.
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Old December 16, 2013, 01:46 AM   #11
RX-79G
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Quote:
Also, I much prefer an AR-15 for home defense due to the much lower penetration through walls. I like my neighbors.
One hears this all the time, too. There doesn't seem to be any basis in reality for it, either.
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Old December 16, 2013, 01:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX-79G
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theohazard
Also, I much prefer an AR-15 for home defense due to the much lower penetration through walls. I like my neighbors.
One hears this all the time, too. There doesn't seem to be any basis in reality for it, either.
You're kidding, right? I would hope this is common knowledge by now. A .223 ballistic-tipped hollow point will fragment violently in walls and penetrate FAR less than almost any handgun or shotgun load. Try it yourself; set up some wood and drywall and shoot at it. Buckshot is the worst, but even birdshot is going slowly enough and is still clumped together enough at self-defense range that it penetrates father than a .223 hollow point through walls.

Here's the results of one test:

http://how-i-did-it.org/drywall/results.html

And I encourage you to try it yourself. The myth of a .223 overpenetrating through walls is just that; a myth.
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Old December 16, 2013, 02:42 AM   #13
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Reliability vs round count = draw

Ok, but what about comfort? Wearing a full size service weapon on the hip, owb... Is totally different from iwb and in all sorts of daily life situations. So you know, people try to offset that awkwardness with the semi auto pocket pistol -- - a snub nose can have all sorts of advantages over micro autos, especially when round count is now, "comparable," we would have to look at other pros and cons.

The ccw license has definitely made the revolver just, "even more of a logical, better choice."
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Old December 16, 2013, 07:51 AM   #14
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I am fully on board with the AR-15 being the best home defense weapon.

Proper ammo is important though. I have seen FMJ rounds go right through cheap cinder block walls with no issue. Stick with hollow points.
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Old December 16, 2013, 08:15 AM   #15
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Bedside is revolver=Simple
EDC is Semi=Thinner
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Old December 16, 2013, 08:44 AM   #16
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you can get a semi automatic, that is dependent upon bullet profile for proper functioning, as well as being dependent upon a specific chamber pressure range to ensure proper functioning of the weapon. Combined with the small sights and small grips that exist on small guns, regardless of being snub nose or small semi auto.

But the small semi auto, doesnt have the option to change the clumsy grip. And has lots of switches to move.
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Old December 16, 2013, 09:00 AM   #17
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hmmm. we bear in mind, revolvers can handle more powerful cartridges ( generally ) & the autos carry more capacity ( in general ) so if you can't hit the broad side of a barn, carry the auto

I guess I look at the caliber as much as the type of weapon ( even though I'm really a revolver guy ) I'm not a fan of the hyper velocity calibers for emergency self defense... I don't think anyone can argue with the effectiveness of the light bullets in the 357 magnum, as far as stopping power, but it's not something I'd relish shooting in my bedroom at night, both from the noise & blinding muzzle flash points of view...

I prefer 44 special, 45 Colt, 45 Auto, or similar for a night stand gun, or a gun I may have to shoot in a building
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Old December 16, 2013, 12:03 PM   #18
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Sgt127,

That anecdote doesn't provide for or consider a LOT of relevant information. Here are some example questions:

1) did firing fewer shots resolve the situation, or did the choice to fire fewer rounds result in failure to achieve desired outcome? Did firing more rounds result in failure to achieve desired outcome?

2) what is the difference in time to resolution, as it relates to number of shots fired? Did more shots result in faster resolution?

3) If capacity DID influence the user's CHOICE to fire more or fewer rounds, what did that shooting actually look like? Was the user forced into a conservative and defensive approach, trying to stall or hold off the attacker? Did having increased capacity allow for more effective defense? Did having more rounds on board allow the user to be more aggressive/offensive in seeking resolution?

4) In situations where OIS went BADLY for the good guys, were more or fewer shots fired? In situations where OIS resulted in officer death, were more or fewer shots fired by the officer?

5) how did the number of shots fired by officers effect the mindset (aggressive vs defensive) and confidence of the bad guys? What is the effect of rate of incoming fire on the resolve of bad guys?

6) was capacity really the reason that the choice to fire fewer shots was made? did older or more experienced officers simply process or problem solve with more calm than more brash, younger officers?

7) If we know that a person who carries a 'high cap' (standard service capacity, 15+1 to 17+1) pistol has drawn and refrained from shooting as the situation allowed, are we to believe that this same person lacks appreciation for the value of each shot fired, and will carry a "spray and pray" mentality into a live fire incident?

8) does capacity outweigh training? If an officer is taught to value each shot fired, and is then issued an M&P 40 (15+1), will that officer or a similarly trained and armed citizen decide to throw rounds indiscriminantly, simply because of what they are holding?


I ran out of time at this point, so this post will go up as it is. Little one has an eye appointment!
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Old December 16, 2013, 12:28 PM   #19
Sgt127
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There are so many variables, I don't think there can ever be a definitive answer. Trying to determine how confident one Officer was in one particular shooting as a determination as to how many rounds he fired, for example, would be difficult.

If he freaked out, jerked the gun out and fired one round that dropped the bad guy, he would likely say he was very confident. Then the video might show he fired that one round, that ricocheted off the cash register before hitting the bad guy once in the forehead.

Just a gut feeling, when we carried revolvers and single stack 1911's, it seems the round count, in shootings was lower.

But, since we got high cap guns, I've personally seen 18+ rounds fired in one shooting against a single suspect a couple times....and, one round fired against a single suspect numerous times.

So, I wouldn't hazard a guess based on what I have personally been involved in.

The NYPD likely does the most comprehensive study every year. I'll try and find a link.
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Old December 16, 2013, 12:33 PM   #20
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The double action revolver in the hands of a master level shooter is nothing to sneer at.
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Old December 16, 2013, 12:57 PM   #21
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I think the debate can be divided into two groups. In today's world, a LEO could be much more apt to encountermultiple attackrrs, and therefore a rekiable high capacity semi-auto, and extra magazines would be more in order than a revolver. Thus making the higher capacity of te semi-auto more important.
In civilian concealed carry, with concealed being the operative word, lower capacity mouse guns, mini 9's, and compact revolvers are all capable of the one or two close range shots most encountered by a civillian in a self defense situation. So if one doesn't trust a semi.auto, the lower capacity of a revolver doesn't really make any difference.
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Old December 16, 2013, 03:02 PM   #22
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Well during the US Army Pistol Tests of 1911 the Colt 45ACP fired 6,000 rounds without a failure. Over 100 years have passed and the 1911 has proved itself admirably in two World Wars and many smaller conflicts. No doubt quality semiautos have improved since then but still, that's reliability we all can heartedly accept.

When using proper ammo and magazines, quality semiautos are just as reliable as quality revolvers so pick the one that suits you best.
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Old December 16, 2013, 03:51 PM   #23
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http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloa...eport_2012.pdf

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloa...r_20111116.pdf

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloa...eport_2011.pdf

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloa...0920101101.pdf

I'm sure you could find the archives from when they carried primarliy revolvers...if anybody has the time and energy, it might be interesting. If you Google NYPD Firearms unit annual report (and year) you can see quite a few of them.

Last edited by Sgt127; December 16, 2013 at 04:00 PM.
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Old December 16, 2013, 04:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
lower capacity mouse guns, mini 9's, and compact revolvers are all capable of the one or two close range shots most encountered by a civillian in a self defense situation.
The wording of this makes it strictly incorrect.

The most common DGU involves 0 shots fired. When shots are fired, the average is said to be 1-2 shots fired. It is important to view this with the understanding that most DGUs do not result in the death of the threat. The 0-2 shots range is so common largely because most offenders aren't determined attackers. This is part of why we hear about "number of shots fired", as opposed to number of hits to resolution. I expect that many 1-2 shots fired incidents involve 0 hits.

It is also important to note that that 1-2 shot average isn't calculated because every incident involves 1-2 shots fired. Informing events include a number of incidents where 6+ shots are fired. The averages remain pretty low, simply because of the frequency with which the BG needed only to be scared to end the threat. The numbers would probably look different if we looked only at incidents where the DGU resulted in the offender dying within 5 minutes of the start of the event.


This post is not a pitch for the value of capacity, though it plays into why I choose to carry what I do. Rather, this post is to say that we need to understand that anomalies happen, and that it is up to each of us to decide where our lines are drawn. We're all clearly on a sliding scale, somewhere between "bad breath is my lethal force option", and "I carry an M249 when I have to wear shorts, and can't conceal my Abrams", after all.
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Old December 16, 2013, 05:19 PM   #25
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Normally I'd say revolver if it's a Ruger , S&W, Colt. That being said I have an LC9 that hasn't jammed since I bought it, 2 years now so I do trust it. I'm still more likely to carry a a 642 rev. The other autos I have or have had have had hiccups for one reason or other.
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