Can You Really Get By With Only Six (or Seven) Bullets?

In war and gun legislation, much is made about magazine capacity. It would seem this has always been the case and though practically anyone who teaches self-defense would tell you more rounds are preferred in any conceivable attack, politicians love to claim otherwise and as such have been passing and trying to pass magazine capacity limitations for over 30-years now. The results have been mixed. Some states limit shooters to 10 rounds, others state’s a few more, others still less, while here in New York state, we have to deal with the admittedly absurd (and some would say punitivelimit of only seven rounds.

The number of bullets a weapon can fire before reloading is something that both sides of America’s never-ending story gun debate obviously feel strongly about (regardless of the relative ignorance when it comes to defending oneself displayed on the gun control side) and like it or not, it is going to be something American shooters are going to have to contend with (well, until we get some new blood in office and some black robes who know what the word infringe means). If history is any indication, magazine capacity is something the gun control cabal will always overzealously target and with insane new laws popping up like weeds in my own backyard, I think it’s time to talk about the realities of only have a bullet for every finger on you in some places while concealed carrying.

Said better, can a shooter really stake his life on six (or seven) bullets?

Six-gun shooters unite

Most people who know me, know me first as a revolver shooter. I have always carried revolvers despite the fact that I am limited to five or six rounds. Because of this penchant, my neighbors used to chide me as old fashioned (a compliment in my book), but now that these folks are all limited to seven bullets, so my five or six round wheelgun is not as ‘old fashioned’ as it used to be. To me though, this six-gun stigma underlines an important point in self-defense: for a lot of us, revolvers never went out of style.

Though they’ve stood behind a couple of decades of semi-auto, polymer craze that has for all practical purposes overtaken the national handgun market, revolvers are still considered viable weapons by any standard in law enforcement and civilian circles. Comprehensive defensive handgun training looks at both semis and revolvers, shot placement is complemented by the large calibers wheelguns can tame and they are above all else deadly reliable. Indeed, there are many candidates out there in the world of six-guns that can handle the job of individual defense despite being “old fashioned”.

If you’re a reader, you’ll know that a personal favorite gun of mine is the Smith & Wesson Model 19 and its stainless steel counterpart theModel 66. These guns have served in law enforcement agencies and have been carried for personal defense since the 1950’s and they are just as good in a pinch as always. You can load them up with .357 Magnum as intended or if you must carry them with .38 Special +P ammunition. With a 4-inch barrel they are the same size as any duty pistol and in the shorter lengths they can be notoriously easy to conceal. There is no arguing with the more powerful .357 Magnum cartridge for defense either – in many minds it has been the standard by which all other calibers have been judged since 1935.

If you want something more concealable, there is a whole host of “battle tested” small revolvers. Most are limited to five rounds, but for what they’re intended for that’s probably more than you’ll ever need. Smith & Wesson (you know I’m a fan) has an entire line of small revolvers based on their J-frame like the original Model 36 up to the latest Airweights. In .38 Special and .357 Magnum these little guns are nothing to sneeze at. Likewise Ruger has their own line with the LCR’s that weigh about a pound or just a little over and are also in .38 Special and .357 Magnum.

If you fancy a used gun, don’t overlook the older Colt Detective Specials. These will give you six rounds in a gun that’s the same overall size as the Smith & Wesson J-frames. There are enough used snubnosed sixguns out there in everything from .38 Special on up to fill a battleship. If big bores are your fancy Charter Arms has their .44 Special Bulldog which will certainly ruin anyone’s day.

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