Revolver vs Pistol: What’s the Difference?

Between 2010 and 2019, 13 million weapons were sold lawfully in the United States annually.

Pistols and revolvers are different types of guns that serve other purposes. If you are trying to buy a gun for the first time, it is essential to know the differences between them all.

Both pistols and revolvers have advantages and disadvantages over one another. If you choose the wrong gun for the job, it could prove fatal.

Want to know the difference between a revolver vs pistol? If so, then read on.

Revolver vs Pistol: How They Work

Both revolver and pistol are firearms that work by using pressure to fire a projectile. The main difference between the two is the type of ammunition each uses. Revolvers use a cylindrical magazine containing bullets, while pistols use a rectangular magazine.

Both types of firearms can be semi-automatic, meaning they can fire more than one shot without reloading, or they can be manual, meaning they must be reloaded after each shot.

Consider the Design

There are many types of revolvers versus pistol design considerations. The following compares and contrasts some of the key design features:


A revolver typically holds 5 or 6 rounds, while a pistol can hold 7 to 18 rounds.


A revolver has a swing-out cylinder that is manually rotated to align the chamber with the barrel. A pistol has a slide that reciprocates to a chamber a round.


A revolver has a front and rear sight that is generally integral to the barrel. A pistol has a front view and a rear sight that are typically integral to the slide.

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A revolver has a trigger that is connected to the hammer. A pistol has a trigger that is connected to the sear.


A revolver typically has a manual safety engaged when the hammer is down. A pistol typically has trigger safety and manual safety.

The Ammunition

When it comes to ammunition, many different types of firearms can be used. However, when it comes to choosing between a revolver and a pistol, there are some key differences that you should consider.

For example, pistols typically have a higher capacity than revolvers, meaning you can fire more rounds before needing to reload. Additionally, firearms tend to be more accurate than revolvers, thanks to their higher rate of fire and longer barrels.

However, revolvers are typically more durable and reliable than pistols, meaning they can withstand more wear and tear. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which type of firearm is best for your needs. If you are looking for the best gun, click here.

Size and Weight

Most people think that revolvers and pistols are the same. However, there are some key differences.

The revolver is a larger and heavier gun than the pistol, and this size and weight difference give it its main advantage over the gun. The larger size and weight of the revolver make it more stable in hand and more accurate than the pistol. The extra weight also makes the revolver more durable and less likely to break if dropped.

This is because revolvers have more rounds and are less likely to malfunction. In addition, pistols can be more easily concealed than revolvers.

The Shooting

A revolver is a cylinder with several chambers that rotate to bring a new round of ammunition into position. Each time the trigger is pulled, the cylinder rotates, aligning the next round with the barrel.

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A pistol is a semi-automatic firearm that uses the energy of the firing cartridge to cycle the action and load a new round into the chamber. Each pull of the trigger fires a round and cycles the action.

A revolver has a cylinder that contains the bullets and revolves around a central axis. A pistol has a magazine containing the bullets inserted into the gun's grip.

Both guns can be used for self-defense, but a revolver is better for close-range self-defense because it is easier to aim and fire. A pistol is better for long-range self-defense because it is more accurate.

Consider the Cost

There are many factors to consider when choosing a revolver or a pistol. The cost is one of the most important factors. Revolvers are typically more expensive than pistols.

This is because revolvers are generally more accurate and have a longer barrel. Pistols are less expensive, but they are not as accurate as revolvers. 

The Difference in Caliber

There are many types of pistols and revolvers debates with no clear winner. It really depends on the shooter's needs and preferences. Caliber is one of the main considerations when choosing between the two.

In general, caliber is the bullet's diameter and is measured in millimeters or inches. The most common revolver calibers are .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum. The most common pistol calibers are 9mm and .45 ACP.

There are pros and cons to each caliber. For example, a smaller caliber like the 9mm is easier to control and has less recoil. However, it also has less stopping power than a larger caliber like the .44 Magnum.

In the end, it is up to the shooter to decide which caliber is right for them.

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The Difference in Effectiveness

In a gunfight, every advantage you can give yourself is crucial. That's why understanding the difference between a revolver, and a pistol is so important.

A revolver is an older design, and while it is still effective, it has some drawbacks. A pistol is a newer design, and while it is not perfect, it is the better choice for most people.

A revolver typically has a longer barrel than a pistol. This gives the revolver better accuracy and longer range. However, the revolver is limited to six shots before it must be reloaded, while a pistol can usually hold twice as many rounds. 

Pistols also have the advantage of being easier to aim at. The longer barrel of a revolver makes it more difficult to keep the sights on target during rapid fire. And while revolvers can be fitted with optical sights, it's not as easy to find a good fit as it is with a pistol.

Choosing the Right One

If you're wondering what the difference is between a revolver vs pistol, this article has you covered. Revolvers and pistols both have their pros and cons, so it's important to choose the right one for you. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.

Be sure to read our other articles for tips on staying safe.

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