View Full Version : Gunsite or S&W Academy revolver question

November 21, 2006, 08:12 PM
I know that the majority of articles I have read regarding both training places seem to show or focus on a semi- auto of one type or another. Now that S&W make Gunsite revolvers it has me curious. A couple of questions:

1. Has anyone attended either training? Thoughts? Opinions?

2. How many attended with a revolver or would attend with a revolver?

3. I have been saving my money for a long time to get some training and was thinking of taking the gun I shoot the best with - a Model 10 4" S&W.

Am I in for a disappointment and should I just bring my 639 9mm?


November 22, 2006, 04:37 AM
I have not attended either but would probably choose Gunsite for its notoriety as an amazing school. If I couldnt take both weapons I'd choose the one I'd see myself going to in a grave situation. If you think one would be more fun than another theres nothing wrong with that either.

November 22, 2006, 06:28 PM
Although not listed on their current class list, Gunsite has in the past offered "revolver only" courses. Might want to check and see if they are going to again.

November 22, 2006, 09:04 PM
What is a S&W "Gunsite Revolver"? Anybody have a pic? Does it have the lock? Regards 18DAI.

November 24, 2006, 03:37 AM
Its the name of a class they offer not a signature weapon.

November 24, 2006, 05:42 AM
Its the name of a class they offer not a signature weapon
Not according to the original post:confused:
Now that S&W make Gunsite revolvers it has me curious

November 24, 2006, 09:58 AM
I thought the Model 21 (an N- frame fixed sight revolver in .44 Spl) was considered a Gunsite revolver. I think they made another one in .45 ACP. I did some research on gunsamerica and Smith made a special revolver for Thunder Ranch NOT Gunsite. Sorry for the confusion.

November 24, 2006, 11:42 AM
In a nutshell: The 21 (.44 SPL) and 22 (.45ACP) were both Thunder Ranch special guns by S&W. They were "re-issued" at the prodding of Clint Smith of TR and others. He is a major believer in big-bore sixguns.

21 had the TR logo in gold on the frame, the 22 on the grips and carrying case.

Thunder Ranch also runs "revolver only" courses I believe.

November 24, 2006, 11:54 AM
Short History lesson:

Until about 1975, all police officers and agencies carried revolvers. The military had semi-autos and a very few local departments had free-thinking policies, but revolvers were the mainstay.

The Practical Pistol Course, or Police Pistol Course was introduced in the early 1950s as a training and qualification course. It later developed into a competition format. Because an autopistol could reload so quickly with extra magazines, the FBI limited autopistols to one magazine. Obviously an artificial requirement, but it made sure revolvers would beat out autos in the general scheme of things.

Then Jeff Cooper struck. Probably the advocate of the autopistol in those days, Cooper started competitions 'free' from artificial rules, like only one magazine. Of course, he threw in his own artificialities, like a reload every other shot. Okay, not every other shot, but enough to where a revolver could not compete on an even basis. I think Cooper was originally trying to make a point. It got out of hand.

This tradition carries on in the 'thirty-round-burst' syndrome of IPSC and the emphasis on reloading mandated in IDPA. Even in modern PPC shooting, one may load no more than six rounds in a magazine - so every reload is from slide lock.

At some point, one of the major 'academies' may actual start concentrating on defensive use of the sidearm under real world conditions. That is, a preponderence of scenarios wherein a competent shooter could solve his problem with less than six rounds. (Take a look at how many hits are made in a typical self-defense shooting; not shots fired.) When that happens, a revolver will be every bit as suitable as an autopistol. As long as shooting schools presume IPSC or IDPA mirror reality, this won't happen.

If any shooting schools already have this mindset, my apologies to you. And a salute.

Ala Dan
November 24, 2006, 01:30 PM
I'd proly go too Thunder Ranch~!

November 24, 2006, 04:52 PM
Depending on where you are, Tiger McKee (a former TR instructor) teaches a Revolver course here in Alabama. Only about 20 miles from me, but I've not been able to schedule a course.

Dang Overtime:(

December 6, 2006, 02:20 PM
You mentioned S&W Academy. Michael DeBethencourt of Northeast Tactical Schools does some work with them. He des an excellent class on how to fight with a revolver, not just punch holes in paper.

He's also doing a one-day class in Bridgeport, CT on Dec. 17, if that's in your time zone.

December 10, 2006, 12:33 AM
I attended a 3 day revolver class at TR in April 04 (TX) when the TR revolver was about to be released. As Clint Smith says "wheel guns are real guns." You learn revolver specific techniques re running the gun. However, much of what is taught will translate across all weapons systems. i.e. mindset, tactics, movement, etc. TR is a great place. I suspect that Clint Smith has forgot more about firearms training than some people think they know.

David Armstrong
December 11, 2006, 05:51 PM
Any of the "old names" in the training business should be able to handle a revolver shooter at any of their handgun courses. Folks like Ayoob, John Farnam, Chuck Taylor, Clint Smith, Paul Abel, etc. all were teaching/working back when revolvers were king. For that matter, I've seen a number of folks take courses at DTI (Farnam) with revolvers, including myself.

December 11, 2006, 07:55 PM
the emphasis on reloading mandated in IDPAOh please.

There is no such emphasis.

December 13, 2006, 12:48 PM
I'm confident any of the recognized commercial/public training venues & instructors ought to be able to offer you value for your dollar, and investment of time, when it comes to enhancing your revolver-related skills.

Revolvers are still even seen in LE here & there, although they're in the minority and declining. I've still seen the occasional revolver in service holsters, from small college campus cops to regular PD's.

I carried an issued revolver up until '90, and saw a couple of them in my FBI Firearms Instructor's Course in '90 (which I attended with my newly issued 9mm pistol). Increased need for reloading was the only real disadvantage experienced by the wheelgunner in the class, and that didn't slow him down all that much.

I even saw someone armed with a revolver in a undercover/plainclothes street tactics course I attended somewhere back around '99/00. Didn't notice any 'lagging behind' by the revolver gun.

They're certainly a presence when it comes to Secondary Weapons & off-duty weapons. A couple of S&W J-frames are my common off-duty weapons. I still occasionally take one or another of my large .44 Magnum revolvers through our pistol qualification courses, just to show the younger folks (many of whom have only seen revolvers in TV shows and movies) that they can still be effectively used.

FWIW, I still see more revolvers than semiauto pistols in the CCW classes I teach.

The revolver isn't completely obsolete as an individual personal defensive handgun in some respects.

I miss the basic DA revolver skills that used to be imparted to LE shooters.

Call around, email and/or write to the schools which interest you. You might find that you're not the only person interested in attending training with a good quality revolver.;)

Glenn E. Meyer
December 13, 2006, 02:41 PM
I think the comment about IDPA reflects that many of the scenarios have multiple targets that require double taps and perhaps two reloads.

They are not SW 642 friendly. However, if one wants to shoot a match with one - I think I might try this someday - then do it for the practice and forget about the competition. Ignore the standard double tap and fire one in each, etc. Don't reload if you think you have good enough hits after firing the course. Club level would probably let you play.

Imagine you have your real carry gun (chuckles), not the match gun. A J frame and a speed strip - negotiate the COF with those resources and concentrate on good hits.

Few folks really carry a sW 625 and a load of moonclips or speed loaders. Some do but most revolver carry is a J and one slow reload method (except for Jerry - I know).

December 13, 2006, 09:02 PM
I've seen people shoot IDPA with a snubbie.

If you want to shoot your J-frame in IDPA, go for it. You won't win (unless it is a backup gun stage), but you'll probably have fun and get some good practice.