Revolvers vs. Semi-Autos Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Honing your shooting skills the old fashioned way
By Dennis Adler
A lot happed to firearms between 1873 and 1911 and the biggest change of all was the advent of semiautomatic handguns. A lot has also happened with airguns since 2014 when the Umarex Colt Commander blowback action CO2 semi-auto was introduced and 2015 when Umarex and Colt unveiled the first CO2 Peacemaker. Now the age old debate between revolvers and semi-autos has been reignited with BB and pellet firing copies of some of the greatest single action and semi-auto pistols in history being manufactured. And with those old debates also come the same old misconceptions about shooting and accuracy. We’re going to sort it out.
One of the more interesting discussions I have seen in recent articles, has been about the accuracy of revolvers vs. semiautomatic pistols, and in particular the 7-1/2 inch Colt Peacemaker compared to other airguns, including semi-autos. While this is truly an “apples and oranges” comparison, as one reader put it, it is a valid comparison in the light of how different handgun designs and systems of operation affect accuracy and, more importantly, one’s own confidence with a handgun. Testing handguns for as many years as I have, I’ve experienced every imaginable level of contentment and disappointment, either in myself or the firearm being tested. It is possible to have a bad or somehow flawed gun, or to have a bad day at the range shooting poorly because of weather, distractions, or just being off your game. Occasionally it can be both, which makes things seem even worse. But more often than not, the gun is unlikely to be at fault. When it is, things go south quickly. I have had single action revolvers with bad barrels and sights that were so off, I’d had a better chance hitting the target by throwing the gun at it! I’ve had semi-autos jam on every round, magazines that wouldn’t feed, sights that were impossible to adjust, and worse, random failures making the gun totally unreliable. And every one of these issues can be duplicated with an air pistol. However, just like cartridge-firing revolvers vs. semiautomatic pistols, the odds of a revolver having a failure are far less likely, which brings me to the question of revolvers vs. semi-autos for accuracy.