Revolvers are one of the most popular types of guns for home defense due to their reliable and simple design. They were first invented in the 19th century to allow shooters to fire multiple times before reloading. These firearms work differently than a semi-automatic pistol or long gun, but it is relatively easy to learn how to use them.
How a revolver works and how to use it:
How a Gun Fires
The basic principle behind firearms is that they use a controlled explosion to propel a metal projectile (bullet) at a high speed. Although many people will use the term “bullet” to refer to the ammunition (ammo) they load into their weapon, the full object is the cartridge and the bullet is only the portion at the end that fires from the gun. The cartridge also includes gunpowder/propellant in the middle, which takes up about two-thirds of the volume. Finally, there is a small percussion cap or primer at the opposite end of the bullet. All of this is encased in metal.
When you pull the trigger of a gun, it activates a spring mechanism that hammers a firing pin into the primer. This ignites a small spark that in turn lights the powder, triggering an explosion. This generates gas which builds pressure that forces the bullet down the barrel of the gun very quickly, about 300 meters/second (1000 feet/second) for a standard handgun. The rest of the cartridge stays where it is and must be ejected, which happens manually or automatically depending on the gun.
How a Revolver Works
The barrel is the long metal part of the gun that the bullet travels down after the trigger is pulled. The chamber is where a cartridge is inserted before firing. In a semi-automatic gun, there is one chamber that remains stationary. Cartridges are automatically loaded into this chamber from a magazine. By contrast, a revolver has multiple chambers that rotate to line up with the barrel for firing.
Standard revolvers have six different chambers which are in a circle in the gun’s cylinder. This is the part that rotates and it can be swung out for reloading. In order to fire a bullet, a chamber must line up with the barrel. The firing mechanism is the same as with other types of guns: the hammer cocks then hits the primer and triggers an explosion to propel the bullet.
In a traditional single-action revolver, the shooter must cock the hammer manually between each trigger pull. Someone usually performs this action with the thumb of their firing or supporting hand. This advances the cylinder to the next chamber and pulls the hammer back. The trigger pull then releases the hammer and fires the bullet.
Whereas the trigger of a single-action revolver only does one thing (release the hammer), the trigger of a double-action revolver both cocks the hammer and releases it. There is no need to separately cock the hammer every time you wish to fire this type of revolver. This requires a longer trigger pull, which is less natural for many shooters but is relatively easy to do with practice.
Browse Our Selection of Revolvers
Revolvers have a classic design and they are familiar to many gun owners. You can browse our selection online or visit us at either of our Arizona gun stores. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have about the firearms we carry.