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How to Shoot a Revolver

Quickly learn how single and double action revolvers work , how to shoot them, and how to unload to make them safe.

Here we’ll go over single and double action revolvers, how to shoot them, and how to unload to make safe.

Python head to head
A Pair of Colt Pythons

Again, here’s our four firearm safety rules.  Have you memorized them yet?

  • All guns are always loaded
  • Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it

Single and Double Action Revolvers

We’ve gone through the different types of actions in the start of our How to Shoot a Handgun article, but here’s a quick refresher catered for revolvers.

Single Action

Requires you to manually cock the hammer each time before firing.  Since the trigger only has one action of dropping the hammer, the trigger feel is usually very smooth and crisp.

Double Action

This time the trigger needs to cock the hammer back as well as drop the hammer.  The trigger feel is a lot longer and heavier while the hammer moves back.  Most double action revolvers will allow you to manually cock the hammer first, so that the trigger becomes a shorter and crisper single action.

Smith & Wesson 586 Parts Diagram
Smith & Wesson 586 Parts Diagram

Here’s a quick tutorial over the different actions of a revolver, as well as an overview of the more modern semi-automatic handguns.

How to Shoot a Revolver

We go back to Jerry Miculek who is the undisputed king of revolvers.

And of course, how do you unload your revolver?  I would add in to always count your brass along with an extra visual inspection to double-check.

What’s Next?

Again, my advice is the same—find a reputable course near you to learn more and practice with your revolver.

And it turns out…we finally have one.  Check out our Beginner Handgun Course that goes through all the basics…with none of the attitude.

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