All of us have seen those old western movies, where two cowboys, one hat white, one hat black, approach each other from the opposite sides of the road for a showdown at high noon. Tumbleweed, rolling over the scene, loaded six-shooters, and worried saloon visitors observing the show are all integral parts of the play. We are not here to reenact those iconic scenes but rather talk about the element that made those episodes possible and was the main source of the thrill: revolvers.

Revolvers, also known as six shooters, are repeating handguns that have an apparent distinction from their siblings, semi-automatic pistols. A six shooter features a revolving cylinder containing several cartridge chambers that gave this handgun its name. Revolvers are hammer-fired handguns, so cocking a hammer is an integral part of the shooting. In addition to bringing the hammer to a ready position, cocking sets the cylinder in a circular motion, aligning one of its chambers with the barrel to let the bullet go through the bore. Since the cylinder is multi-chamber, a revolver can fire several shots before it requires reloading, though not as many as semi-automatic pistols. 

Naturally, there are several types of revolvers. They differ in the action, caliber, and design. 

Single-action vs. Double-action

In single-action revolvers, the trigger pull performs only one function: it releases the hammer that hits the firing pin and fires the round. Since the hammer is always down, unless cocked, the user needs to cock it manually, usually with a thumb of shooting or supporting hand. This motion also rotates the cylinder so that the next chamber is aligned with the barrel. Such a system makes pulling the trigger easier (since it performs only one action)  and increases shot accuracy. Manual hammer cocking also works as an additional safety measure.

Double-action revolvers, on the other hand, spare the user the need to manually cock the hammer. In such firearms, the stroke of the trigger performs two actions: it cocks the hammer, indexing the cylinder to the next round, and releases the hammer. Therefore, all you need to do is pull the trigger - and the shot is fired. Most modern revolvers are Double Action to Single Action, which means that a hammer can still be cocked manually if you prefer to shoot this way. But unlike with DA/SA pistols, where only the first shot is double action, and the rest are single action, every new shot of hybrid revolvers will be double action unless the shooter cocks the hammer every time. Double-action-only revolvers do not allow for manual cocking and can be fired only in double-action mode.


Caliber is the diameter of the bullet that can fit into the bore. Bigger bullets tend to have more impact and shoot further, but they weigh and cost more. Since revolvers have much lower ammo capacity than pistols, revolver projectiles often have a higher velocity range and more powerful impact to make up for the decreased chamber capacity. That is not obligatory though, as many revolvers feature the same calibers as semi-automatic pistols. 

Most popular calibers include 22 revolvers, .38 special revolvers, .357 mag revolvers, and .44 mag revolvers. The 22 revolvers can, in fact, suit two kinds of ammo at once, .22 Magnum and .22 Long Range. .22LR is a rimfire caliber that features cartridges with a different construction than the rest of the calibers. .22LR are much cheaper and make for an excellent choice for beginners. .22 Magnum is a less frequent caliber, not unmet, though. The 0.38 Special was a revolver caliber widely utilized by the police until the 90-s brought semi-automatic pistols into their ranks. The 0.357 and 0.44 Magnum are heavy artillery of the revolver world. Not too comfortable to shoot all day in the range, these calibers fit for protection against big animals like bears, so casually carrying such a revolver as a concealed carry might be excessive. 

Gritr Sports has dozens of revolvers for sale, all made by industry leaders. Smith & Wesson revolvers, Colt revolvers, Taurus revolvers, and six shooters of other renowned brands like Heritage Manufacturing - all of them can be found here.