Shoot Safe: Handling a revolver

FALL RIVER COUNTY, S.D. — Revolvers are a classic short barrel gun, with popularity among beginner and experienced shooters. Regardless of experience level, it’s important to be reminded of basic safety and technique practices.

I jumped right into practice with Conservation Officer Chris Dekker, with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

“This is a .22 caliber revolver. It is what’s called a single action. So any time we want to shoot, we have to cock the hammer fully and then we’re going to be able to fire,” he explains. “There’s another type of revolver. It’s called a double action revolver, and with a double action revolver, you can pull the trigger and it will cock the hammer or you can pull the hammer back and treat it like a single action revolver.”

Loading RevolverThe revolver we used was a six shot, and was loaded just like one of the originals.

“We have to go to a half cock, open the side gate, and then we can start putting rounds into the cylinder. So we’ll slide our rounds in, rotate it through. Now, this is just a six shot revolver. Some of these smaller .22 caliber ones can go up to nine,” says Officer Dekker.

He adds that it’s important to know exactly what kind of firearm you have, so that you know exactly how many rounds you have and when your gun is safe. 

Some revolvers are equipped with a safety, while others aren’t. Officer Dekker notes one important grip rule for revolvers to prevent burns.

“We don’t ever want to have our hand up here around the cylinder because hot gas does escape from the sides of the cylinder. So you don’t want to grab like that because you will burn and or hurt yourself.”

After practicing my grip, we checked the range and made sure it was safe before coming up on the target, switching the safety off, and firing all six rounds.

Revolver PracticeOfficer Dekker also demonstrated a way to take the cylinder out to make the revolver extra safe.

“In this gun, it’s kind of like pulling the magazine out of the Glock, and then our gun is safe and we go downrange, take a look at our target.”

Although all of my shots were low, they made a fairly tight group, meaning that the shots were precise, but not accurate.

Consistency is important, so if you’re able to make a good group like this, you can work on becoming more accurate. So being precise and then being accurate are two different things, you got good precision there. All together we can work on your accuracy and bring that right in. It takes time,” Dekker says. 


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