#Wheelgunwednesday – Comparative Standards

The Editor of a publication I occasionally write for asked me to participate in a project about comparing different handguns. Being the revolver guy I am, he asked me for some input about how wheelguns fared. His concept is:

[R]each an objective: identifying a short (20-rounds) base of standards for defense handguns to (1) compare similar format guns, one to another, (2) compare formats of handguns (small, single stack or subcompact), (3) “shoot out” duty/defense ammo for replacement while evaluating personal skills, (4) yet another “cold course” of fire to identify skills areas that need attention.

This is the Course of Fire he developed.

  • Basis: 3-second strings
  • Lots of draws
  • Few reloads (on the clock)
  • Limited Vickers: use a target, feature .5 second added for 1-down; shortest time “wins.”
  • 25 yards – singles from holster – 5x – 5 rounds
  • 15 yards – single from holster – 1x
  • single from guard – 2 x      — 3 rounds
  • 10 yards – Pair from holster – 1x       2 – rounds
  • 7 yards – Failure from holster – 1x – 3 rounds
  • 5 yards – Pair SHO from holster – 1 x – 2 rounds
  • Pair WHO from guard – 1x  — 2 rounds
  • from holster, 1-Reload-1 – 1 x – 2 rounds
  • from holster, 1 head – 1 x – 1 round

Total: 20 rounds

The breakdown:

  • Draws – 7
  • From ‘ready’ (guard) – 3
  • Singles – 6, one to ‘brain housing group’
  • Weak Hand Only – 2, Strong Hand Only – 2
  • Shots to smaller target – 2; one is transition from larger target.
  • Pairs – 4
  • Reload – 1 (under time)

All in a 20 round box of ammo.

It’s an interesting concept, so I shot it with four different revolvers and two autoloaders.

  • Smith & Wesson Model 65 – one of my favorite wheelguns and what I shot at the 2018 Rangemaster Tactical Conference
  • Smith & Wesson Model 642– perhaps the most ubiquitous revolver encountered today
  • Ruger LCR – another commonly carried wheelgun
  • Smith & Wesson SD9VE
  • Beretta PX4 Storm Compact, modified to G configuration
  • Smith & Wesson 43C – a nice little .22 snub revolver

All were shot from Appendix Inside the Waistband carry except the SD9VE. The centerfire revolvers were reloaded using a speedloader carried in a centerline carrier. The 43C was reloaded using a QuikStrip carried in the watch pocket of my jeans. I used Remington Golden Bullet bulk ammo in the 525 round box for the 43C. Despite it having a 9 pound mainspring, which I have been told will get me ‘kilt in da streetz,’ there were no Failures to Fire.

We were free to use any target we wanted, so I used the printable target from my ebook Concealed Carry Skills and Drills. Per his instructions, the scoring was Vickers Count with ½ second added per point down. I used the Circle as the -0, the paper target as -1, and the balance of an IDPA target backer as -3.

An interesting aspect of the Course is that every shot or two is scored individually. This involves a lot of walking, especially for the five shots at 25 yards but gives a lot of feedback about the efficacy of one’s shooting. In the spirit of the analysis, I marked the target at every distance change to keep track of where the bullets were hitting.

Range setup

Range setup

65 sq

Model 65

642 sq

Model 642-2

LCR sq

Ruger LCR

SD9VE sq

SD9VE

PX4 sq

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact

43C sq

Model 43C

Here’s how the results came out.

results pic

It’s a demanding benchmark analysis. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the other testers.

If you would like to purchase Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

3 responses

  1. Mr. Werner – Thanks for sharing this data. With the reload of the 43c being slower that the 642 due using a speed strip, have you ever considered a 43c speedloader from DS-10 Speed (https://ds10speed.wordpress.com/sw-31763/)? I have 2 for mine and they work very well and very fast. I replaced the little plastic nut on top with a rubber expansion nut from Ace Hardware (1/4-20 x 5/8) to create an HKS speedloader knob type feel and purchase. Now quicker with this setup than a traditional HKS. Maybe this gear will let the 43c shine with the others on the reload side of things. I don’t work for or am affiliated with DS10 in anyway, just a satisfied customer that hopes this might help like it helped me.

    1. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.

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