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Are Revolvers Good Survival Guns

Are Revolvers Good Survival Guns
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The old adage that says: the best gun is the one you’ve got, applies to not only everyday carry, but also to survival in general. Of course, it’s always better to have a gun chambered in a readily available caliber, should the S ever HTF. But again, whatever you’ve got and have ammunition for is better than a pointy stick.But this begs the question, then:

Are revolvers good survival guns? Let’s take a more in depth look.


Generally speaking, anything mechanical can break. Having said that, one thing that most revolvers have going for them, is their ability to function under almost any circumstances. They have earned the reputation as the ultimate point and shoot handguns, and it’s easy to see why.

Once the cylinder is loaded, it’s ready to fire.Taking it a step further than that, since they’re reliable without recoil springs and many other parts that wear out over time, they won’t need much work to stay running should parts become scarce. Are there inner workings inside a revolver that we don’t generally see? Absolutely.
And, those parts can wear out. They just usually don’t do it as fast as their semi-automatic brethren.Simplicity:There are no slides, safeties, or magazines that you need to manipulate. When the cylinder is loaded, simply aiming and squeezing the trigger are all that’s required for the “bang” to happen. In the rare instance where the gun does not fire, whether due to ammunition or otherwise, there is no need to clear the malfunction.Simply squeezing the trigger again will rotate the cylinder and fire the next round in line.


The main drawbacks to a revolver, is the limited overall capacity to hold ammunition, and the inability to fire it quickly. In other words, a semi-auto with a 12 round capacity magazine is much faster shooting than a revolver with six rounds. The trigger can usually (though not always) be squeezed quicker and there is no need to drop empty casings to reload.
Having said that, anything with practice becomes easier. And, as something becomes easier and you get more proficient with it, you can get faster.
While there are devices to help you load faster, I come from the frame of mind that says less is more. What I mean, is that I don’t want to become dependent upon anything externally, if I may end up losing or breaking it.

The Perfect SHTF Revolver:

What do you want to look for in a survival revolver? Well, it’s hard for me to say what you should look for, instead, I’ll tell you what my perfect survival revolver looks like.

  • First, it needs the ability to shoot two different calibers. I’d look for a revolver chambered in .357 Magnum, because it will also shoot .38 Special. If ammo is hard to come by, the more options I have, the better off I’ll be.
  • Second, it needs to hold as many rounds of ammunition as possible, just as long as it stays within my price range. There are plenty of six and seven shot revolvers available, along with a few eight shot revolvers. I would not go lower than a six-shot revolver.
  • Finally, my best survival revolver would have a barrel of no less than four inches. I love my snub nosed revolver, and while it’s a good travel gun, I wouldn’t hunt with it. All of my survival guns need to serve two purposes: Self-defense and hunting. .357 Magnum is more than capable to hunt deer with, but shorter barrels sacrifice velocity for concealment.


Just a quick word on calibers, before we part .38+p in a .357 magnum is likely my choice. There are plenty of other revolvers out there that, with the use of a part I might lose, could shoot cartridges generally not found in a revolver. While I think 9mm is a great cartridge for self-defense and survival, I would advise against having a revolver in nine that could turn into dead weight if my clip breaks or gets bent.
Larger calibers than .357/.38 are fine, but I won’t be able to find ammo for them for long. The more popular the ammo, the easier it will be to find.
That about does it. What is your go-to survival gun? Is it a revolver? Semi-auto? What is your opinion? Are revolvers good survival guns?

Let us know in the comments below.

Like myself, the Author has been a firearms enthusiast for many years.  Joshua has also, served honorably in the US Marines, and has been working in the firearms industry for several years. His work can be found on guns dot com, TTAG, Home Defense Gun, Pew Pew Tactical, Live Outdoors, Concealed Carry, and Gun Carrier. He also owns a website the gun minded readers of this site should definitely check out.

Published inSurvival & Outdoors


  1. Mike Mike

    I do a combo rifle and pistol. both chambered for the same caliber. Mine is .357 and I keep a supply of 180gr hardcast on hand (plus various SJHP). Like the idea of having the rifle and pistol match. One ammo, 2 different weapons.

  2. Tabitha Martin Tabitha Martin

    S&W Governor.

    .410, .45ACP, & 45 Colt. everything from snake to bear is covered in one cylinder if you are carrying “mix six”.

    the barrel is short. its shorter than some of the rounds the weapon fires. but it is still crazy accureate. i have fired the Colt at 125 feet at a 6 inch plate and got an 80% hit rate with out hardly trying.

    it looks scary and doesent go “pew pew”, it goes BOOM! the kick is easily manable, even a bit fun if you ride the recoil instead of fighting it.

    and it makes BIG HOLES…

  3. Jason Krohn Jason Krohn

    Ruger has made a 357 Blackhawk with a spare 9 mm cylinder. 357 mag will also fire 38super, 38 long Colt and 38 short Colt. 327 Federal mag will also fire 32 H&R, 32 long, 32 short and 32acp.

  4. Jerry Jerry

    One pro for revolvers is if you reload you don’t have to search for empty brass, if you don’t and are preparing for when SHTF you should start reloading

  5. steve bramschreiber steve bramschreiber

    Great info!! I own a .44 Ruger Super BlackHawk..a “hand cannon’ as my dad use to say and am most comfortable with it. While it will not fill the air with lead, I can punch through pretty much everything in my home with it. I guess what I’m trying to say is the bad guy(s) can hide all they want behind things…I’m STILL going to get them!!

  6. Ben Leucking Ben Leucking

    Good article. I have a Ruger .357 Blackhawk as well as a Ruger with interchangeable cylinders for .22 and .22 Magnum. Both are single action, of course, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use either in a self defense or hunting scenario if needed. Otherwise, my EDC is a 9mm semi-auto with several magazines of Hornady Critical Duty ammo, backed up by an abundance of standard FMJ. I’d have to call that my “go-to” sidearm. But, as the old saying goes, a pistol is what you use while getting back to your rifle…

    • 357 great gun , most ideal would be a 6 in barrel it allso shoots 38 special ,nice to have a22 revolver 6 to 8 in great 4 small game ,ammo realy cheap o can stock up a lot of ammo easy to find,by the way i wouldnt want to be shot with a 22 lomg ,plus they are usally 8 shot

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