Hey there Concealed Coalition, it’s Austin Davis, your Director of Training. Coalition members often send me questions about all things firearms, and today’s question is,
“Do revolvers malfunction?”
The Basic Question: Do Revolvers Malfunction?
Yes, yes they do.
But I hear it all the time – “I carry a revolver so I’m 100% guaranteed to fire!” Well, not so fast in that lane of thought.
Like all mechanical things, revolvers can fail. And when they do fail, it can be a far more involved process to fix than a semi automatic firearm.
When a semi automatic firearm fails to feed, fire, extract, or eject, it can usually be solved with a simple drill. But when revolvers malfunction, it can often involve a hammer, tools, and more than one set of hands to fix.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Off duty I often carry a five shot revolver, but over the years I’ve seen all types of reliability issues. When revolvers malfunction, it can often involve a bullet jumping out of its crimp (which is especially common in small, lightweight revolvers with defensive loads).
This “jumping” issue can be a result of the ejector rod, which may unscrew and lock up the action over time. The rod can get bent, or dirt under the ejector can cause alignment issues. It’s all too easy for even a revolver of poor quality – or even a high quality one after heavy use – to get out of timing so the cylinder no longer aligns properly with the barrel.
So, do revolvers have a place in self-defense and recreational shooting?
Yes, they absolutely do.
But are quality revolvers inherently more reliable than a semi auto?
My vote is no.
So how do we make our revolvers, especially our carry revolvers, more reliable?
Read your owner’s manual on how to clean and maintain the gun. Carry and use defensive and practice ammo you can trust, because if you’ve shot enough of it you’ll know how it should fire and function in your specific revolver.
Furthermore, make sure you expect wear to occur, and clean your firearm regularly. This will ensure optimal function, keeping your go-to gun companion trusty and not rusty.
Need pointers on how to get started with cleaning your revolver? We’ve got a whole series on our Concealed Coalition YouTube channel covering how to clean and care for different firearms that you can check out!
Regardless of what you choose to carry, just remember to be a guardian always, and a warrior when needed.