Revolver or Rifle: Which One to Choose?

As a gun owner, you will probably find yourself in the circumstance of having to pick a gun. But what should you go for? The revolver seems like a good choice – but then again, so does the rifle. How do you even decide between the two? That’s quite simple: you just need to think about your current knowledge, and exactly why you need that gun in the first place.

No matter if you are choosing it for hunting, airsoft, or for self-defense, this article will give you all the details that you need to know. Both the revolver and the rifle have their advantages and drawbacks and knowing what they are will allow you to make a more informed choice.

Understanding the Revolver

The revolver (or the wheelgun, as we popularly call it) has been around for more than two hundred years. Revolvers generally have between five and seven rounds of ammunition on a cylinder that keeps rotating with every shot you make. They are a great option if you are looking for something lightweight to carry around, as revolvers tend to be quite small – making them a better option for self-defense, but also a good backup for when you are hunting.

Nowadays, modern revolvers are double-action guns. This means that they have a single trigger pull that will cock the hammer and release it. This is how these types of pistols are fired. Ultimately, handguns can also be fired using a single-action mode, cocking the hammer first, which results in a slightly lighter trigger pull.

Modern revolvers will also have aluminum or steel frames, making them generally heavier, for every round, in comparison to other handguns. This provides heft to the revolver and allows it to absorb recoil – allowing you to operate it with only one hand.

However, one advantage of revolvers that cannot be denied is their ease of operation. Even if you are a beginner in handling guns, it should not prove very difficult to learn how to shoot with a revolver. All you have to do is open the gun cylinder, add the bullets, shut the cylinder closed, and pull the trigger. This type of simplicity is quite great in a high-stress situation where the user does not necessarily have to worry about racking slides – something that often happens with semiautomatic rifles.

The disadvantage of revolvers lays in the fact that it can only hold a limited number of bullets – in most cases, six of them. As a result, you will end up having to reload them quite often, which is inconvenient when time is of the essence. Six rounds can sometimes feel inadequate, particularly when you are a beginner and you have yet to improve your aim.

The fact that revolvers take quite a lot of time to reload can also feel like an eternity when you are faced with a very stressful situation. You will need to take your eye off the target just so you can add a fresh set of bullets.

In a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages of a revolver narrow down to the following aspects:

  • Pros: Very easy to carry, compact, and may easily be shot with just one hand.
  • Cons: Can’t hold much ammunition in comparison to rifles. Also, as opposed to long guns, they have quite a low firing power.

Going for the Rifle

Those who need a bit more firing power might want to go for a rifle instead of a revolver. Rifles are quite popular because of their power – but they are also the favorites of those “old souls” that want to bring old firearms back to life.

Granted, these guns are much larger, but they also provide more accurate shots – particularly since you will be using both hands to stabilize them. An air rifle, for example, handles really well simply because you have both hands on deck to prevent most of the recoil from happening.

An AR-15 rifle handled by a competent firearm user can deliver shots going well over 100 yards – which is more than any revolver or shotgun can do. It is a great option if your target is at a longer distance, making it a good choice if you’re buck hunting, for example. If the marksman using it has enough experience, then this type of gun can provide an accurate shot even when your target can’t see you. Combine it with a good scope, and you’ll be able to improve your accuracy even more – all while reaching quite a long distance.

Because of this, rifles tend to have a devastating power per round, particularly if your target is closer than 100 yards. In comparison to revolvers, you also have more flexibility when it comes to ammunition – and you will not have to reload them as often. They are great for working around in a bind, due to their versatility and ease of use.

Still, considering that rifles are rather bulky and long, they are quite difficult to operate in small spaces. Plus, considering their firepower, they are much harder to come across. Since the Second Amendment gave people the right to bear arms, most of them have been buying revolvers and handguns for self-defense. This means that the demand will cause gun shops to be stocked more on small guns rather than the big ones.

To summarize, here is what you might expect from working with a rifle:

  • Pros: Higher capacity compared to revolvers and very powerful shots. It is perfect for long-distance shooting.
  • Cons: Quite difficult to maneuver in limited spots and requires two hands to use. It is not as common or as varied as handguns.

The Bottom Line

Whether you buy a revolver or a rifle, it mostly depends on your personal preferences. If you want to get a gun for self-defense or as a backup, then the revolver should prove quite useful. On the other hand, if you have long-distance shooting on your mind, then you should go for the rifle instead.


Authored by  Jay Chambers – Minuteman Review


Jay is a pro free speech business owner based in Austin, Texas. Having lived through several natural disasters and more than a few man-made ones (hello 2008), he believes that resilience and self-sufficiency are essential in this increasingly unpredictable world. That’s why he started a business! Jay writes over at Minuteman Review.

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