Last time we touched based on revolvers we looked at the grip, and how it differs from that of a semi-auto. This week let's look at manipulations. Now, having said that I have to say this: There's no way to talk about manipulating the revolver in five hundred words, or even two thousand words. Why? With revolvers there are two ways of doing almost everything. You can transfer it to the support hand or keep it in the strong hand to run your manipulations. Or, you can use a combination of the two, keeping the gun in the strong hand for some work and putting it in the support hand for other manipulations.
"The Modern Technique of the Pistol," by Morrison, is a good place to start your research. For example, in the Manipulation chapter it has sections for loading broken down into "Right-Handed Shooter Controlling the Revolver with the Support-Hand" and another for "The Right Handed Shooter Controlling the Revolver with the Firing-Hand," and then "The Left-Handed Shooter."
Read five different books or watch various instructional videos on revolvers and you will probably get five different schools of thought on how to run one. So, there are a variety of ways to manipulate a revolver. Determining what works the best for you involves several factors. First is hand and pistol size. For example one technique may work fine for someone with large hands and a larger frame gun, but a person with smaller hands and the same size pistol may need to go a different route.
Another "hand" factor is dexterity, how much one hand differs from the other.
Your "strong" hand may be lot better at fine motor skills than the support hand. You transfer the pistol to the support hand, freeing up your best hand to finesse feeding rounds into the chamber.
How and where you carry ammo is also a consideration. You can use pouches, speed strips or speed loaders. Ammo can be carried on the strong side, support side, or to the front. The carry method may dictate which hand does what, or the way you need to manipulate the gun determines where and how you carry.
Ultimately, learning how to manipulate a revolver requires a lot of experimentation and repetition. First, you have to perform the skills using different techniques to decide what works best. Then, like all other skills, repetition is necessary to learn these skills, practicing until they can be performed at a subconscious level.
After getting to know your gear you start experimenting again. Something that didn't make sense initially, when you really didn't know what you were trying to do, might work well now with your new, expanded education. Dry practice, as always, is the best way to achieve these results.
Revolvers are great weapons. For example when the fight is close and you have to shove it into the threat's ribs revolvers don't come out of battery like a semi-auto will. You don't have to worry about "limp-wristing" – a revolver can be fired from compromised positions and still function. You can get rounds like the .357 Magnum in small packages, which might not be fun to shoot a bunch of rounds through on the range, but are easily carried and pack a good punch.
With all weapons training and practice are mandatory. With revolvers there's just more, but in my opinion it's time well spent.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: