The iconic revolver is loved by shooters around the world. But it does have some negative qualities. One of the biggest problems people have with revolvers is their slower reload times. To combat this, speed loaders were invented.
There are three main types of speed loaders currently on the market: the basic speed loader; full-moon and half-moon clips; and speed. Each type has its own pros and cons, and often it is more the preference of the user than one choice being hands-down better than the other two . Here is a quick review of the different types of revolver speed loaders.
Basic Speed Loader
These loaders are designed for specific revolvers, so there are plenty to choose from. They are made to quickly reload the full cylinder at once. When you only have 5-6 shots before a reload, these all-out, all-in loaders can significantly cut the time it takes you to reload. These loaders are considered to be magazine loaders due to the way they fully stock the weapon, much like a magazine does a pistol. The fast and reliable capabilities of these loaders do have their downsides, though. Due to their size, they take up considerable room in your pockets. There are speed loader carries, but if you are trying to carry concealed, this is yet another thing you need to keep hidden. Likely the most apparent downside is that the loaders are not universal. If you are using two different calibers and types of revolvers, you will need to own a different speed loader for each.
Full-Moon Clips and Half-Moon Clips
These loaders are thin discs that can hold six (for the full moon) and three (for the half-moon) rounds to be easily loaded. These clips can fit in a closed cylinder with the ammunition, so to reload your revolver gun you only have to eject your spent cartridges and cycle in a fresh clip. The half-moon clip applies the same concept, only it removes and adds three rounds at a time. Compared to the other loaders, these clips tend to have the fastest load times of the bunch. There are some drawbacks, though. First, not all revolvers accept moon clips. Additionally, if your weapon does take a moon clip, you need to be sure that the clip can hold the caliber bullet for your weapon. For half-moon clips, a degree of accuracy is needed when loading to make sure your first three rounds begin at the start of your clip; if you fail to load the cylinder in this manner, you may eject several rounds prematurely. It is important to note that moon clips are more comfortable for carrying in your pocket than traditional speed loaders.
Somewhat resembling an open magazine, speed strips are clips that can feed revolvers one to two bullets at a time. These strips can be easily carried in your pocket. More importantly, they are generally universal. That is to say, if your revolver uses a .45 caliber, then the speed strip needs to hold that type of ammunition and will be compatible with any revolver that takes those rounds as you are not placing anything other than the rounds inside the weapon. Furthermore, since speed strips only load one to two bullets at a time, you do not run the risk of wasting any rounds by discharging unspent rounds prematurely, as with half-moon clips. One of the biggest downsides to using a speed strip is it requires more practice to become quick at reloading your weapon. Your fingers must move in a succinct and dexterous fashion to accurately and efficiently load your weapon. However, practice with your revolver is how you get better with it – both for shooting and loading.
Each of these options has its benefits and its drawbacks. Practice with your revolver, try out each speed loader in the place you will carry it, and think about the situations in which you will find yourself needing to quickly and accurately reload. All of the above options are viable; it is up to you to find the speed loader that is best for you and your revolver.
Sometimes it takes some good old-fashioned American ingenuity to create an icon: Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson are two prime examples of that statement. These two New Englanders formed a partnership in 1852 with the goal of creating a lever-action repeating pistol that utilized a self-contained cartridge. Financial difficulties would plague the company during its early years, forcing the partners to sell the company to another little-known manufacturer called Oliver Winchester.
The partners would not be deterred by their initial setback, and in 1856 Smith & Wesson would again produce a revolver aimed at firing the Rimfire cartridge they had manufactured in 1854. It was the first of its kind to fire fully self-contained cartridges. A patent would buy Smith & Wesson a few years to improve their product, leading to the creation of the Model 3 American. The original large caliber cartridge revolver, the Model 3 had two big market clients: the United States government and Russia.
Smith & Wesson thrived for decades, until Horace Smith retired at the age of 65. D.B. Wesson, now the sole owner of the organization, would continue the work he and his partner had started. In the late 1800s, he introduced a line of hammerless revolvers. Most notably, however, was the following Smith & Wesson introduction: the Model 10. The Model 10, or .38 Military & Police, has been in continuous production since it was first introduced.
The 20th Century would also see some iconic revolvers introduced, including the .357 Magnum. From there, S & W would manufacturer the Model 39, the first American-made double action auto-loading pistol.
Smith & Wesson Revolvers Today
The company has undergone some changes over the decades, but they still hold try to their core values and ideals. Many of the Smith & Wesson firearm models from the 20th century can still be found for sale today, though in an updated version of their predecessors. That timeless aspect of the brand has caused gun stores and online gun stores to continue to carry a vast inventory of the Smith & Wesson brand. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites you might find when looking for revolvers for sale.
Smith & Wesson 10 Blued .38 Special
One of the longest running models in production, the Model 10 is a true classic. It is as much a part of firearm history as it is American history. The wooden grip and steel frame symbolize how far the revolver has come and how yesterday’s materials are still some of the best options for today’s firearms. If the past is an indication, the Model 10 will continue to be produced for decades to come.
Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum
Another revolver that has withstood the test of time is the .357 Magnum. This is their Model 586, a single/double action medium-sized revolver. Like many other S & W’s, it retains the wooden grip that many collectors are looking for. Six rounds are ready to be fired out of the 4-inch barrel at the touch of a trigger. The modern version is every bit as fierce as its earlier renditions.
Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum
When people see this weapon, it often evokes memories of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. There is a reason this weapon strikes fear into people, and it is not just from that iconic movie. Today, it features a 6.5-inch barrel, carbon frame, and a double action. It’s hard to find a revolver you will like more. The Model 29 is a true stand-out among pistols.
Smith & Wesson as a Company Today
Though revolvers have been – and will continue to be – the staple of the Smith & Wesson name, the company realizes that it needs to branch out. So now when you are looking for a handgun for sale, Smith & Wesson will also be able to provide more equipment produced from the same manufacturer to fulfill all of your handgun and accessory needs. Check out your favorite gun provider for not only some of the updated versions of classic S&W revolvers, but for many of their products to help amplify your next experience with your revolver.
The Colt name is nearly synonymous with revolvers (and a terrible malt beverage, but we won’t discuss that here). Samuel Colt’s revolver is believed by many to be the first of its kind. He is a big reason we have cheap revolvers for sale today, but was he the person who invented the weapon? A deeper look into history reveals that Samuel Colt might not have been the first person to use a revolver, but rather simply the first person to patent the weapon for manufacturing.
Modern day revolvers are complex firearms that have the same basic revolving cylinder mechanism that is its namesake. Today, revolvers can be found to fire bullets from the bottom chamber rather than the top which increases both reload times and accuracy. The cylinder has been made into a more hexagonal shape for a more compact weapon that helps meet the demand of the concealed weapon community.
Sample Weapon: Rhino
By this time, the revolver has long been a staple of law enforcement; many officers still carry this weapon rather than a Glock due to its simple mechanics. Advanced polymer technologies were introduced to offer more lightweight weapons. The recoil that is absorbed is higher and the weapon is sturdier to handle repeated firings. The range of cartridges used is also at an all-time high, with ammunition such as the .22 rimfire, .38 special, .357 Magnum, .45 Colt, and .500 Smith and Wesson to name a few.
Sample Weapon: DT .357 Magnum
Samuel Colt and the 1800s to mid-1900s
In 1836, the patent for the Colt revolver was granted to Samuel Colt. His design featured a revolving cylinder containing five to six bullets. The firearms were all manufactured with the cap-and-ball technology of the time. The 1846 Mexican/American War saw the U.S. government ordering 1,000 Colt revolvers and gave rise to Colt being able to mass produce his product by opening what was the world’s largest privately owned arms factory at the time. By the time of the Civil War, the Colt revolver was one of the world’s best-known weapons. Revolver sales increased exponentially due to Samuel Colt.
During the 1850s-60s, manufacturers toyed with combining machine guns and revolvers into hybrid weapons that used large capacity circular chains to load ammunition into the barrel. These were early forms of the chain gun, which itself spawned a new line of weapons. The trigger-cocking double action was also introduced in the 1940s.
Sample Weapon: Webley-Fosbery
Revolvers Pre-Samuel Colt
This is the point at which many knowledgeable readers might say that the weapons discussed are not actually revolvers. However, each of the firearms outlined below use the key component that defines a revolver weapon: a cylinder use to store ammunition which is loaded into the barrel of a weapon and fired.
In 1718, James Puckle devised a tripod-mounted weapon that utilized an eleven-shot cylinder. It was operated by a crank mechanism and exhibited many of the same qualities we see in modern revolvers (except this version was not handheld).
Looking back even further unearths several weapons that all utilize a revolving chamber. In the late 1500s, German weaponsmiths had crafted both the shoulder-length revolving rifle and a hand-held revolving arquebus. Revolvers crafted this early were said to occasionally catch the wielder’s hand on fire from leaked powder and emissions.
The earliest known example of a revolver came with the original one-shot weapons of the 1500s, over 200 years before Samuel Colt had developed his weapon. Granted, these firearms were limited by their ability to reload and were not an item that many people found as valuable as the revolvers of today. Revolvers for sale in the modern market have little in common with their archaic ancestors, but the lineage can still be drawn to these early European designs. The debate continues as to the precise creation date of what we refer to as a revolver, but the fact remains that there were several stages of development for producing what became the modern-day revolver.