A double action revolver is one of the best guns for a person to learn to shoot with. Everyone has to start somewhere, after all. Granted, the large magnums are not a good place to start, but a double action wheelgun is the easiest pistol to learn and one of the best teaching tools for all the fundamentals of handgun shooting.
There are, to be sure, many good and easy-to-learn autos on the market as well, but nothing is going to reward the novice (or juvenile) shooter more in the long run. It’s how a lot of people learned in years past, and the value as an educational tool in this regard should not be underestimated.
Revolvers Make Learning To Shoot Simple
The first pistol a person should learn to shoot will ideally have an easy order of operation. It’s not that a complete novice can’t learn to shoot a 1911 pistol (many people’s first handgun, both due to military service or a 1911 pistol being the one they had to learn on) or for that matter a Glock, a double-action semi-auto like a Beretta 92 or CZ-75, but there are few guns that can be learned in as short a time as a double-action revolver.
Load the cylinder, shoot, remove shells. Repeat. Not much to get wrong there.
Likewise, shooting is relatively simple. Take a long, hard pull for a double-action shot, or cock the pistol and shoot single-action for an easier trigger pull…and that’s about all there is to learn.
There are no recoil springs to wear out, no magazines to malfunction, no need to teach “tap, rack bang” or anything else. In fact, the simplicity and reliability of a revolver is why some people still prefer them to autos and why the CCW revolver has not died out.
Furthermore, a decent revolver, even with minimal maintenance and care, can last for a person’s lifetime…or longer. Some people have revolvers that have been passed down from grandparents that they still shoot regularly.
No Better Way To Learn Trigger Control
Want to learn trigger control? Start with a DA revolver. A semi-auto will be a cakewalk. The long, hard trigger pull of a DA revolver doesn’t take much to master, but once you have a feel for it…handgun triggers are usually a cakewalk after that.
I learned to shoot with my dad’s H&R 649. The gun was nothing much when it was produced – just a cheap double-action dual-cylinder six-shot .22 (it came with two cylinders, with one for .22LR and one for .22WMR) and today, now that it’s in my possession, it’s still nothing much to write home about. It’s worth about as much as my shirt.
However, I learned double-action and single-action shooting with that gun. I still love shooting it, as it’s a good plinker (many a pop can and soup tin has been perforated by it) and could be called on to shoot small game, if I had to. (.22 WMR will do for grouse, squirrels, rabbits and such.) The long DA trigger pull (haven’t tested it recently, but I’d estimate 12 to 13 lbs) taught me trigger control.
I’m no Robbie Leatham or Jerry Miculek, but I can do the dry-fire coin balancing drill practically in my sleep, thanks to all those years shooting dad’s H&R. So today, when I read reviews where someone complains about the trigger reset on a striker gun with a 6-lb trigger pull…I can’t say my cup runneth over with empathy.
Revolvers Remain Viable Concealed Carry And Home Defense Pistols
Another good reason for a person to acquire a revolver as a first pistol, or at least to have one for shooting practice, is that revolvers remain viable concealed carry and home defense guns. Snubbies are still very popular CCW pistols, and with the right holster, even a 4-inch .38 Special is easily concealable.
There also happen to be some very affordable .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers out there, perfect for the first-time buyer. Beginners may want to avoid snubnose revolvers to begin with, as the recoil can be punishing.
Granted, the same thing could be said of double-action semi-autos, since the operation can be nearly as simple, but the double-action revolver is still one of the best platforms to learn handgun shooting, as the ease of operation, fundamentals of trigger operation and all-around utility speak for themselves.