If you carry a revolver and you “practice” with it by shooting really small groups at 25 yards while thumb-cocking the hammer … you’re doing it wrong. And I very rarely say “you’re doing it wrong.”
Please understand how serious I am about this. There are many elements of self-defense where personal preference is acceptable, but sometimes you just have to put your foot down. Firing the fighting revolver in the single-action mode is one of those times. Gunfights are up close and personal. They are dynamic, and everyone who has been in one cannot believe how quickly they are over. Double-action shooting with a revolver is faster, and in a fight, faster is better.
Instinct Takes Over in a Gunfight
We always say that we will fight like we train, but there is a fair amount of evidence out there showing that some elements are really just too difficult to overcome with the limited amount of training that most of us are willing to do. One of those elements is the fact that under the extreme stress of a deadly force incident, revolver shooters will very likely grip the firearm and start firing in the double-action mode.
Even if you have trained enough and now quickly thumb-cock the revolver when the fight starts, you have still made a mistake because thumb-cocking that hammer changes your grip and slows down your follow-up shots. If you decide to stop shooting, having that hammer cocked greatly increases your chances of committing a negligent discharge if you fail to maintain trigger-finger discipline at the end of the fight.
Using double-action mode provides you with a consistent trigger pull — it feels the same every time — and presents very little chance of producing a negligent discharge. So grab your revolver, empty the cylinder, remove all ammo from the room and get busy practicing your double-action trigger press as part of your daily dry-fire regimen.
Never Stop Training With Your Firearm
Once you get in the habit of running the trigger properly, you may begin focusing on how smoothly you can complete the double-action trigger press. You never want to pull the sights off target, so do the “Wall Drill” in double-action mode until you have built up your strength and skill so that your double-action pull is silky smooth. You can do this.
About Kevin Michalowski, Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine
Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine Kevin Michalowski is a USCCA and NRA Certified Trainer. He has attended training as both instructor and student in multiple disciplines, including pistol, rifle, shotgun, empty-hand defense and rapid response to the active shooter. Kevin is also a fully certified part-time law enforcement officer in rural Wisconsin.