Revolver reloads are slow, but how slow are they? I think this is an important aspect of the revolver to understand because it informs some of the other decisions around using and carrying a revolver.
Caleb Giddings who runs Gun Nuts Media is one of the guys I keep up with for revolver shooting stuff. He has run revolvers in some legit matches, and knows pretty well how to shoot one. Just as important, he shoots at a level I think I can acheive, which is why I don’t bother keeping up with Jerry Michlek all that much. I have no illusions of being that good with a revolver, but Caleb Giddings good, I might be able to pull that off if I work hard enough.
This is a video of Caleb doing a 2.5 second revolver reload from IDPA concealment. It is the only video I have been able to find with known time standard, so you may see it a lot on this blog as I try to break stuff down.
That is a pretty good time on a revolver reload, even from gamer gear like he is using. So how does that compare to a reload on a semi auto, from concealment?
That reload is around 2 seconds, from someone of my skill level, which isn’t all that high comparatively speaking. So we are looking at a minimum half second difference, but more relealsiticly, probably a 2 second difference if I reload a revolver from true concealment. My best times for reloads from a pocket are right at 4 seconds.
So how does this change how I think about running a revolver vs. a semi auto with 15 rounds stuffed in a magazine? For starters, there is no room for missing, or even bad hits on a target, because the onboard ammunition capacity is not sufficient to compensate for the mistake. Accuracy is paramount, but that is no excuse to go slow either. Second, are their viable alternatives to reloading the gun? If I have to reload, then fine, I have to, but what else can I do? The New York reload has been around for a long time, and in this case, might be a better idea than an actual reload. I can draw a handgun from concealment in about 1.5 seconds. We can call it 2 seconds to account for it being a smaller gun in a less ideal place. That is still half the time of an actual reload. The downside might be giving up some prrformance because the second gun will have to be smaller, like a j-frame. With a semi-auto, given the time it takes to accomplish reload vs. draw a second gun I wouldn’t give this option much thought. A revolver changes all of that though. I am fairly certain this is consistent with the opinions of the old time gunfighters from back when revolvers were still the firearm of choice for both good guys and bad guys.
Guess I need to go buy a j-frame and see how it all works out.