View Full Version : How should you handle a revolver and should the cylinder?

February 21, 2005, 10:55 PM
Yesterday, instead of using my Colt revolver I decided to rent a S&W .38 model 15 from the indoor range I use. I examined the revolver and the gun was not pulling back and turning the cylinder very smoothly. The action and cylinder were kinda herky jerky.
I turned to the employee across the counter and told him that their smith might want to take a look at the gun as it seem to be having a little trouble. I tried to show him and the employee instantly said "Ha, first off you're holding the gun wrong. You've got too much finger in the trigger guard. Man I've never seen anyone put that much finger in a guard. That's probably what your problem is. Your supposed to use the tip of your finger when squeezing off a shot. Your probably shooting the the far left when you shoot like that. All revolvers are supposed to operate like that there is nothing wrong with that gun."
I told him that none of my revolvers (our household has two colt OPs and two S&W Model 10s) nor any I have ever handled in dealer stores have functioned like this.
His response was, as before very full of himself, "Well, maybe your guns just had an action job. I know there is nothing wrong with the gun. I do this for a living. I don't know what you do, but I know what I'm talking about."
1st: I put my finger in the guard with my first joint from the hand wrapped around the front of the trigger with my whole hand having a frim grip on the grip of the gun. I squeeze off a shot and DO NOT shoot to the left. I make a good grouping dead center. I have shot this way since I started shooting 15 years ago.
2cond: I have never heard of an action that is "supposed" to be herky jerky. Plus after I took the gun into the range and about a dozen rounds in it, the action started to clear up and work just as smoothly as any other revolver I've used. By the time I left the firing range to turn the gun in, the action was smooth as it should be (though other things were wrong with the gun such as the timing in DA and SA and I think the main spring was loose as 1 or 2 out of 6 shots was misfirng every time).

What do you smiths think of this incident and of this guys view of how revolvers work and how much finger should be in the guard?

February 21, 2005, 11:08 PM
Don't know if I'm qualified to answer but

The gun especially being a rental was probably gunked up from a month's worth of uncleaned shooting

I hate starting a statement like tis I think I read this somewhere complete with illustrations, a single action is fired with the first section of your finger , a double is fired with the tip of the second section on the underside of the knuckle , the same you describe but described worse.

That's how I do it it works for me and feels natural

But like I said I'm pretty sure I read this but it could have come from granddad's teaching, or it could have been something I made up in my sleep

February 21, 2005, 11:10 PM
Forgot to add, if the action is even remotely herky-jerky I won't buy it

February 21, 2005, 11:53 PM

I'm behind you all the way. S/A firing is done with the tip of the trigger finger depressing the trigger. D/A firing is done with the joint of the first & second digital junctions (i.e. the first joint of your finger).

If the timing was off then the gun may have been gunked up with tiny bits of lead working their way between moving parts, especially the star extractor and the cylinder hand. Shooting can dislodge some of the gunk and make it start working better again.

If the timing is off and the gun is shaving lead, I'd tag this gun "Unsafe to fire" until it was corrected. I know a L.E. student who took a shaved lead fragment right next to the corner of the eye during a firing session.

FWIW - I would've handed the gun over to the clown in the shop and told HIM to demonstrate a slow squeeze with the gun without bobbling the sights. Then looked for an apology when the muzzle moved.

And if you use that indoor range a lot, find out who's in charge of it. Be nice & polite. Praise the good things about the range. But be known to those in charge and if said bozo is insulting customers as he did you, just let the bosses know that this guy will drive off business, maybe even yours.

February 22, 2005, 02:34 AM
I would definitely say something to the management. He shouldn't talk like that to anyone that pays his salary. If you have a question about a rental gun, ask it. It never hurts to be on the safe side. I would suspect the gun needed to be looked at. If it got better then why did you say it had SA and DA timing problems. Also if it was making light hits, it definitely had problems. I would have brought it back to him and asked him to shoot it.

As to how you pull the trigger, I learned a long time ago how to shoot from my grandfather. The first thing he told me was to put the pad of the first joint against the trigger. I was 7 and had very weak fingers, so naturally I used more of the finger to pull the trigger. When I got older and learned to shoot, I went back to what he told me. If you wrap the finger around the trigger, it can cause the finger to pull the round off. That being said, if you shoot fine like you do, I wouldn't worry about it. I never had a problem when I did it. I do think it gives a little better control of the pull using the pad of the first joint though. Shooting is like a lot of other things, if it works for you now, why try to change.

Harry Bonar
February 25, 2005, 09:01 AM
Dear Sir:
[email protected]*( is EXACTLY right! I tell my customers that want a super lite trigger (to keep them from flinching - which it will not) to learn to properly pull a trigger as 1289s' dad told him!
The middle of the first pad is where you do it. My distant relation Russel Bonar told me the same thing many years ago.
I have 1911 customers come in all the time; - "my trigger is too heavy" - I'll measure it and it will be 4 # or even maybe 4.5# which is perfectly acceptable.
On two KIMBERS I dressed the sear on a Ron Power fixture and the hammer hooks on a white stone (.020) and released some spring tension and it read 2.75#!!!!! It would not follow and I told him, "don't rack it or touch it and never drop that slide on an empty magazine or chamber!
Rarely will this happen on a 1911!!!!!!! ;)

February 26, 2005, 12:29 AM
Hmmm... there's a world of difference between shooting a single-action revolver OR auto (e.g. 1911) and a double-action revolver.

In the case of SA guns, including most semi-autos, you want the tip of the fingertip centered on the trigger. Most folks will use the pad and that's acceptable unless you're shooting for score in competition.

Shooting a DA revolver, on the other hand, especially for combat speed use, trying to use the pad of the finger will usually cause jerking of the muzzle unless the gun has a lightened pull. Using the joint of the index finger (or just before the joint) provides added leverage and speed. Can you "pull" your shots towards your strong side? Sure, but its surprising how little that changes things until you're out to 25 yards and beyond.

Dave Sample
February 26, 2005, 03:26 PM
The trigger on my personal shooter for SASS has about a 1 1/2 lb release. It is gold plated and the trigger pull is not for amatuers. I would not do that for a client. Mine come out at a nice three pounds, give or take a few onces. Harry is right about triggers. A good shooter does not need a light pull. Oops, there I go again!




It's a nice one from Captain Eagle's bench.

February 28, 2005, 02:41 PM
Agree with comment(s) about dirty guns. I was talking to a standard-fare know-it-all gun store employee. (Son of the owner. BTW, even his dad says he's full of it.)

Anyway, I mentioned that since their rental guns were so filthy you couldn't tell what kind of finish was on them that he might want to have somebody clean them periodically. His response was that his employees make $20/hour and that he wasn't going to pay that kind of money to clean their guns.

Meanwhile, he and his employees did nothing but sit around all day since the store had such a poor reputation. Few customers came in.

They didn't last much longer. Bought out by some real gun people.