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3/26/2019 10:33 AM

Below is an article that I stumbled across and it brings up an interesting debate.


The premise is that a quality revolver is easy to get a non-firearms enthusiast up to speed quickly on.  They can be found used at a reasonable price.  And they tend to be a bit more tolerant of neglect that some auto pistols. 

For non-enthusiasts what would be some other good options as a home defense loaner firearm in a natural disaster or grid down type scenario?  You have limited time and resources to get family or neighbors armed and up to speed. Durability, simple manual of arms, shootability, common ammo, and limited cost would be primary concerns.

Revolver:  The article does a GOOD job or arguing the point.  Daryl Bolke and Wayne Dobbs have similar input.

Singleshot shotgun:  Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith have both talked about the utility and simplicity of a singleshot SG.  The ability to use chamber inserts is also cool as heck if you have ever had a chance to use them.   Their biggest issue is most would need to be cut to 18.5” and have better sights installed somehow, instead of just a bead.

Pump shotgun:  More complex MOA than singlshot but larger magazine capacity.  Subsonic and low recoil load make training more tolerable.  The fact that shotgun can be pressed into food procurement service quickly doesn’t hurt.

Surplus sportorized bolt action?  Kind of a ghetto scout rifle.  Not idea for home defense…but it could work.

Others I am missing? PCC? 10/22? Just lay in a couple extra AR’s?

If you were going to lay in a couple extra firearms set up as “loaner” or “trainer” firearms what would you do?  Or is just a bad idea all the way around?

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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3/26/2019 11:12 AM
I disagree with pretty much everything he had to say.

I think trying to get someone spun up during some kind of event is a poor idea. I say spun up because of the term non-shooter, to me that denotes someone with no experience. Training should be done during times of no stress so they are open and receptive. Trying to get them good to go while other stuff is going on is just asking for an injury and that exacerbates potential dangers you have to address. Plus if they didn't have the mindset to be prepared, they certainly don't have the right mindset just because they are scared. Again I think you are asking for an injury or death. I hate to be cold about it, but at that point they are a liability due to their own choices before hand. Much like medical training, learning on the job is not a good way to learn when implements of death are involved. Handing a non-shooter a gun is trouble unless closely supervised and under controlled environment until they are proficient. The idea of five non-proficient "friends" running around armed and under stress isn't my idea of a good risk.

For the neophytes, I have argued before and will argue again that a striker fired semi is as simple or simpler a manual of arms than a revolver, and easier to shoot well to boot. The only hold up is if they can rack the slide. The M&P 380EZ fixes that issue for the most part in my mind, provided strength is really an issue. I would also argue the manipulation can be taught to overcome the "strength" issue for most folks. I am not a subscriber to the notion of a revolver being a beginners gun. I think it is quit the opposite. Again if strength is an issue a DA trigger is certainly not easier for someone to shoot, at a certain point they have to thumb cock it before each shot, which raises a whole host of other issues. That being said I think an exposed hammer is a plus for a beginner as they can visually see what state the gun is in. However, as I am not a fan of SA/DA guns I would probably recommend G17/19s or M&P Fullsize/Compacts if I wanted spares as loaners.

I have also argued before that revolvers are not more reliable than a good modern semi like a Glock. One huge issue that I seldom see addresses is that when a revolver malfunctions you usually need tools if not a proficient gun smith to get it up to speed. Not so with a semi, and that doesn't even address a steady diet of shooting.

Long vs short, there is no doubt in my mind that a long is easier to shoot more accurately than a pistol. Given any kind of choice I am going to pretty much always want a long if I have a choice. The only reasonable argument that I can see for a handgun in that case is in tight confines, but that assumes that you are clearing your house, which is a whole other discussion. Outside the house things change due to concealment issues, but anytime I here someone advocate for a handgun for HD over a long gun I am given a pause.

Due to recoil for most folks I am not a huge fan of shotguns, and when a shotgun is chosen in the past have recommended 20 gauges for the most part. I am also not a fan of single-shots for defense, simply due to capacity. In long guns I really like a lever gun for complete beginners as it is a very simple operation, non-threatening, and in a PC low recoil. I remove the safety and teach if the hammer is back the gun is ready to fire. Put a RDS on one and a light and you have a pretty compact, easy to shoot, low recoil option. Prices are lower than ARs. Really the only issue is unloading one for administrative reasons. I know a couple of guys who have gone to the Henry's for that reason. I haven't messed with the new Ruger Semi, but it might also be a good choice. However, a strong argument can be made for 5.56 ARs. They are light, ergonomic, have very little recoil, and are relatively easy to shoot accurately. It is also easy to put a light, sling, and RDS on one. Price wise you can still find a basic AR, and really a basic AR is just fine for this use, at a not to bad a price. Sure it is the cost of three used revolvers, but in my mind it is well worth the three used revolvers.

Finally, to reiterated, training should be done before, and with enough time to get them proficient, the notion of taking someone into the back yard and teaching them how to shoot and then having them roll around heavy scares me.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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3/26/2019 12:22 PM
I can sure understand all your points!

It looks like you can get a used G19/17 for about the same price as a S&W 66. ~$450 of there about.

A quality chrome lined AR is running about $700?

I have only used a levergun in the field a short period of time. I never warmed to them like many do. They are sure handy to carry and pack. Maybe if I ran one with a RDS more.

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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3/26/2019 2:35 PM
I agree that training and going live should be seperate events.

I also agree that a long gun trumps a handgun, and an AR is likely the best choice in the long gun category.

If we are having to deal with low experiance partners, there is nothing quite as simple as handing over an AR with a thirty round magazine, and saying: "If you see a threat, push this lever down, then put the red dot in the middle of the threat. Then press the trigger. If the threat stays standing, or is still holding a gun, knife or gas can w/ rag and matches, put the red dot in the middel of the threat and shoot again. When you feel safe, push this lever up again."

There is no need to reload for thirty shots. It cannot be short stroked or loaded backwards. It will shoot to roughly the same point of aim from 0-200 meters. It has no recoil worth bothering over. It is light and compact.

Many of the same principles apply to a striker fired pistol as has been noted. When a revolver goes dry after six rounds the loading technique is intricate. When a Glock 17 has been fired six times, you can fire 12 more times before worrying about reloading using a simple technique.

I cannot say the same for a lever rifle, pump or auto shotgun, bolt rifle, single shot or revolver.

My loaner fleet is going to look like a rack full of simple AR rifles with spare PMAGs and a few G17 or M&P 9mm pistols with decent holsters.
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3/26/2019 2:36 PM

I would fully second all of Scott's points on both platform choice and training, and I say that as someone who is a fan of revolvers for a variety of reasons, at least for certain contexts.

The popular, "revolvers are more reliable" argument is largely a thing of the past, imo. I have spent time with quite a few modern semis that I would put in the "very reliable" category. There may still be others reasons I'd choose a revolver for certain applications, but "more reliable" isn't really one of them.

The other common factoid I hear a lot that drives me crazy is, "revolvers are good beginner's guns and/or good for people who are not going to practice regularly." There are a number of things ass-backward about this notion, and I could write a whole essay explaining why, but suffice to say I strongly disagree and roll my eyes whenever I hear this.

Lever actions and ARs both have their merits, the former being more simple and straightforward to operate for someone who is new to firearms and probably less intimidating. If I had a choice and needed to hand one firearm to someone who was minimally familiar with firearms, it would be a lever action. If I had ample time to train them in a non-stressful enviro, an AR. 

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3/26/2019 6:18 PM
Why do you feel the lever gun has an easier manual of arms than an AR?
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3/26/2019 10:44 PM
Longeye wrote:
Why do you feel the lever gun has an easier manual of arms than an AR?


I don't necessarily think it does....IF you are already familiar with firearms. But if we are talking about putting one in the hands of someone who knows nothing (or next to nothing) about guns, I think the AR will likely be a more intimidating (or at least less intuitive) piece of hardware, without some instruction and training. 

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3/27/2019 10:10 AM
I think that making the gun fire is simpler on the lever gun than a bolt gun or pump. Simply because it is a linear thing, and in general easier than the pump to work. I am not sure I would argue that it is simpler than the AR. I know I wouldn't for loading. I think it is about the same as a pump or bolt gun (provided no detachable magazines). I think the biggest thing a lever action has going for it is its look. Most non-gun folks I show one to say either "a cowboy gun" or "my grandfather had one. Their response is positive in both cases. An AR can be seen as a machine gun, military gun, etc... simply because that is the mass media pushed image. That can be harder to overcome. Heck I have had pro-gun, pro-hunting folks ask why I was hunting with a machine gun out of curiosity, because their frame of reference didn't include them. Once I talked about why I chose it they immediately understood, but until then they didn't have an understanding due to lack of experience.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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3/27/2019 10:47 AM
For well over three decades now, I've trained a number of men, women, and COPS (age 18 to 80) to varying levels of proficiency with all sorts of firearms, so I have a decent idea of what's predictably doable.

The best answer obviously will be based on the individual in some relative context but GENERALLY speaking, non-gun enthusiast that are not willing/able to regularly train and/or practice are better off with a medium sized (mid-bore) revolver. With the untrained, the real concern is as much about making them SAFE as it is about them being PROFICIENT. In this respect, revolvers are just more forgiving in matters of storage, handling and firing - that's really not open to much intelligent debate.

But having said that, I wouldn't limit the average novice to ANY handgun for home defense. A much better option would be a reliable pistol caliber carbine or the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 (I like the Compact model for this role) with a few 25 rd magazines.
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3/27/2019 9:05 PM

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, I would also say that caliber choice is a factor in what I might choose to put in the hands of a "non-enthusiast." Of course, this will likely be more of a factor with handguns, where recoil is more likely to affect accuracy. Shooting a .357 mag load out of a 20" barrel is not going to be the same experience as shooting the same load out of a 3-4" barrel.

When people say "revolvers are easier to shoot" - sure, it may be easier to just pull the trigger and make it go bang than with some semis, if that's all you are expecting that person to be able to do. But that doesn't mean they are actually going to hit anything, in which case, this is largely useless in a real-world situation. Instead, I think that lighter calibers are good "non-enthusiast" guns. And I'd say that's likely true regardless of whether it's a wheelgun or a semi. A lighter caliber, that increases their chances of actually hitting what they are trying to shoot, is a lot better than missing wildly due to a combination of heavy recoil and poor shooting technique due to inexperience.

I do not think a revolver loaded with magnum loads (or even stout +P) is a good choice for the "non-enthusiast," - whether it be a learning environment or a self-defense environment, for reasons that I'm guessing are already obvious to those who may be reading this. And so, when people make statements like, "revolvers are good beginner guns" I think there are several significant qualifications that need to be put around that statement, at a minimum. 

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3/30/2019 2:59 PM

I've only ever fired one handgun, and the safest place to stand was where I was aiming. I'm not sure that stress or lack of sleep would help that at all.

When I take my sons' friends out to learn to shoot, everyone does well starting with a 22 and then moving up to a 30-30 lever gun.  I stuck a big squishy recoil pad on the end so recoil is not an issue.  After an hour everyone can hit milk jugs with pleasing regularity, leading me to think that they're a pretty great starting gun.  (And equally great in the hands of my older relatives who use them regularly.)  

I don't have access to AR's like you fellows do but if they're at all comparable to a mini-14, I can see the draw.

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