The term “Revolver” has had a long place in firearm history. Any person who has seen a movie set in the Wild West will see numerous revolvers also know as “six shooters”. These types of guns were popular during the 1800s and has origins back to the 16th century. It wasn’t until Samuel Colt revolutionized the revolver mechanism and redefined sidearms for the modern age.
In 1836, Samuel Colt, patented the mechanism which led to the widespread use of the revolver and ultimately his firearms company – Colt
We have a modern version of a Colt revolver – the Colt Cobra. This version of the Colt Cobra is a short barreled double-action revolver chambered in .38 Special. Double-action will mean that it is not necessary to cock the hammer to arm but the trigger pull will be tougher to pull.
The original Colt Cobra was introduced in 1950 and used for over 3 decades. This small revolver was especially popular for concealed carry law enforcement. In 1981, production stopped but Colt reintroduced a new version of the Cobra in 2017. We have one of the new versions of the Colt Cobra.
Revolvers operate differently than many other types of firearms. If you are only familiar with semi-auto weapons, take a look to familiarize yourself with the differences in functionality for revolvers.
Check out the images below for reference:
Barrel and Ejector Rod
Short cylinder where the round is shot out of. The rod to eject the empty casings out is set just below the barrel.
The revolving mechanism that hold the ammo and turns to load a new round every trigger pull
Front and Rear Sights
Reticle device for aiming the weapon. Standard iron sights are pictured here with front sight and rear sights.
Activates the firing pin which fires the round.
Activates the firing pin when the trigger is pulled if cocked
Lever or button that releases the ammo cylinder so it can open
Handle to wrap your hand to aim the revolver. Reinforced with rubber gripping
Once you have a good idea of where these important gun components are located on the weapon, you should know what is referred to in this “how-to” article.
Loading the Revolver
Loading Semi-Autos vs Revolvers
Loading a revolver is fairly simple. Compared to semi-automatics, revolvers are different because the ammo receptacle is actually part of the revolver itself. Releasing the cylinder and adding ammo to it is all you need to do to load a revolver.
To load the revolver, grab the revolver with your good hand and either pull or push the cylinder release with your thumb of the hand that is griping the gun. Some revolvers either have you pull it or push it. The Colt Cobra is a pull release. While the cylinder release is being held down, use your off hand push the cylinder from the right side of the revolver to the left so it sits open.
Like any other magazine, you’ll have to add ammo to the ammo cylinder one by one. Take a round and insert the front of the round into one of the bullet cylinders. Keep doing this until every bullet cylinder is filled with a round.
Once the whole ammo cylinder is loaded, close the full revolving cylinder with your off hand by pushing it back into place.
Attention: Your revolver is now loaded!
Firing the Revolver
Identifying your sights
With most revolvers, Iron Sights that are placed at the tip barrel and the rear of the gun come standard. You can upgrade them on your own but we’ll be using the standard iron sights here.
Pull the hammer or not
When you are ready to shoot, it is up to your discretion on whether you want to pull the hammer or not. Since the Colt Cobra is a Double Action revolver, you can pull the hammer or not pull the hammer to fire. Pulling the hammer makes the trigger easier to pull when firing. If you didn’t pull back the hammer, the trigger pull would require a lot more pressure.
Early revolvers were usually Single Action only. This meant that you had to pull the hammer to fire. Think of it as an early safety feature.
Ready to Fire
Point the revolver at your specific target. Make sure you are aware of the strength you need for the trigger pull depending on whether the hammer is pulled or not. Pull the trigger when ready.
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Once done firing, make sure you TAKE YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER. Be aware that most revolvers do not have an active safety. Since this is a small firearm, it is very easy to point this weapon in a non-safe direction. So always be mindful and never point the revolver in the direction of where you don’t want to shoot.
Reload the Revolver
Emptying the can
Reloading the revolver is basically the same as loading except you have to clear the empty ammo shells first. As you might have noticed, the empty shells do not get ejected from a revolver as they would in a semi-auto handgun. You have to manually remove them yourself.
Open the ammo cylinder by hitting the cylinder release and move it open as stated in the loading section. Now use the Ejector rod to get the used shells out of the ammo cylinder by pressing the rod in. This should allow the shell to released. While pressing the rod, point the revolver up slightly so the empty shells can slide out.
One by one
As you did with loading the revolver the first time, repeat the process of adding new ammo to the ammo cylinder one by one. Close the ammo cylinder and you should be good to go.
Warning: You once again have a loaded revolver
Reassess your target to be fired upon once again. Repeat the Firing section to continue firing your revolver as you were.
Revolvers are a unique classic style of firearm. I can see why the Colt Cobra was a concealed favorite. More practice is needed for me to be efficient, though. If you wanted to buy yourself a pair of shooting gloves, the ones pictured in this tutorial are listed in our favorite gloves for shooting. Get your self a pair. They really come in handy.
All in all, get better by learning as we are. To do this you have to practice. Practice Makes Proficient.