Revolvers Are Just Better

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"This is the greatest handgun ever made. The Colt Single Action Army. Six bullets. More than enough to kill anything that moves."

Views are mixed when it comes to guns. However, there is one gun that we can all agree is cool:

The Revolver.

Let's face it, revolvers are cool. In fiction, revolvers are often shown to be better than any other handgun. In video games, they may be the most accurate, most powerful, and rarest of all handguns. If a character is The Gunslinger, chances are it's a revolver he'll be slingin'.

In Westerns, cowboys and outlaws are seen with revolvers. But this is because revolvers were the only repeating handguns at that time in history, not because of any cool factor. That doesn't stop it from being cool, though. One could argue this is where revolvers first picked up their mystique, though Dirty Harry is probably responsible for popularising Magnum-loaded revolvers as the Hand Cannon of choice; this has faded a little in recent years, with the first choice for movie hero personal artillery more likely to be a .50AE Desert Eagle, much to the annoyance of gun enthusiasts. An enduring legacy of Dirty Harry is that it's often assumed that every powerful revolver is a Magnum.

Revolvers have historically tended to be more reliable, smaller, lighter, and simpler to use than comparable automatic pistols (especially prior to 1980; advances in design make this less universally true in the 21st century): just pull the trigger, no need for things like safeties or a loaded chamber. Versus an easier reload and more ammunition, the traditional argument has been that you rarely need more than six bullets in a gunfight. Up until the seventies, it was commonly known that revolvers were much more accurate than semi-automatics. They do tend to have a better trigger, and the reputation tends to stick even today.

This makes them a good choice for self-defense and similar applications, where their low ammo capacity and slow reloading is usually not an issue. This is also the reason why they are usually recommended for people who have never fired a handgun before. In addition, for single-action revolvers (mostly those designed in the 19th century), the Dramatic Gun Cock is actually standard procedure; more modern designs are "double action," meaning that the trigger both cocks and releases the hammer in a single motion. Even with double-action, however, cocking the hammer on the first shot greatly reduces the weight of the trigger pull, making the gun easier to fire accurately.

They do have a few downsides. Most people know of more difficult reloading - versus loading a single box into a semi-auto, one has to either load six single bullets, or load six bullets into six holes at the same time; this can be quite difficult at times and is very hard to do one-handed. They're also very watch-like mechanically and many owners never open up a revolver because of the incredibly complex internal mechanisms. On a tightly-fitted revolver, carbon buildup on the cylinder face can cause the action to lock up, and poor ammunition can allow bullets to slip forward in the chambers, jamming the revolver completely. The advent of inexpensive semi-automatics like the Glock also means they can be more expensive unless one seeks out a used model. And there is the traditional problem - lacking capacity, though many designs have more than the normal five or six, some .357s packing eight rounds.

Revolvers are often shown to be more "powerful" than semiautomatic handguns, and this is true to some extent: revolvers can utilize much more powerful ammunition (see page pic) because they usually have a solid frame, and therefore are physically stronger, and because a revolver cartridge can have a much larger overall length as it don't need to fit within a grip. Semi-automatics have to cycle in some manner (necessitating a design that opens), and the vast majority are recoil operated, which places an upper limit on cartridge power. Recoil springs can only be made so strong and still fit into something that a person can hold in one hand. Some semi-autos are chambered for powerful revolver cartridges, most notably the Desert Eagle but they are gas operated, which has its own drawbacks.

However, most revolvers are chambered for lighter rounds with less recoil, such as the popular .38 Special, which is only about as powerful as a 9mm round. This is because most rounds larger than the .357 Magnum are viewed as too powerful for self-defense or law enforcement use in the hands of anyone who isn't built like an Action Hero, and are largely limited to sport shooting and backup hunting weapons.

There is also some real world reason for this trope being reasonably common in Live Action TV and Film. Most automatic firearms require modification to allow blank ammunition to cycle them (using live ammunition on a film set is incredibly dangerous), as they either fail to produce enough gas pressure, or haven't enough recoil. They can be fitted with adaptors on the muzzle to increase the back pressure to cycle the action (blank-firing adaptors) but these are both bulky and obvious, and decrease the muzzle flash and report, making the blank shot much less dramatic. Revolvers or manual action (pump/lever/bolt/break) weapons being cycled by user effort, don't require any alteration to allow them to cycle with blanks.

Another reason is cultural, at least in the US. Revolvers are associated with cowboys and cops: heroic archetypes with ties to older traditions and the subtle implication that someone who uses a "six-shooter" is old-fashioned or at least conservative in outlook, if not necessarily politics. This is true even today, despite the fact that most police departments traded in their revolvers for semiauto pistols in the 1980s (although in some, like the NYPD, long-serving cops can retain their revolvers.) Then, too, especially in the 21st Century, someone who by preference uses a weapon holding only six rounds may be perceived as being confident in his skills ("Beware the man with one gun"), when more modern designs holding several times that much ammunition are readily available.

For some reason, top-break revolvers seem particularly affected by this trope, which is odd because they can't fire most high-pressure rounds, like .357 Magnum, and are for the most part rather rare.

Noticeably unusual designs include:

  • Pepper box: Does not have separate cylinder and barrel, but rather the rotating multi-barrel assembly. The earliest type, as it appeared back in the matchlock era. Later was made for almost [1] every basic type of small arms ammunition [1] and is still used as at least one underwater design. Also, rather obviously inspired Gatling gun.
  • Semi-automatic: Curious, but exotic, since it seems to defeat the purpose of having a revolver in the first place - other than looks. Usually means Mateba.
  • Fixed frame: The cylinder does not flip or detach. Instead, the chambers are accessed via a loading gate, allowing to load and unload the weapon only a single round at a time. Obviously, this makes reloading painfully slow, but the mechanism can be even more reliable than other revolvers, or at least significantly more dirt-resistant, making it an acceptable trade-off for a sidearm. Colt "Peacemaker" and Nagant were quite popular.

A subtrope of Rare Guns. For a competing product, see the shotgun (particularly the Sawed-Off Shotgun) or the katana. Might be a Hand Cannon. Compare and/or contrast with Revolvers Are for Amateurs, where they're just better for someone inexperienced.

Examples of Revolvers Are Just Better include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The titular character in Akagi asks for one from the Yakuza, supposedly for self-protection. Russian Roulette and False Roulette follow soonafter.
  • In Grenadier, Rushuna defeats hundreds of people that are armed with various automatic weapons and exotic weaponry with just a six-shooter. Her schtick involves popping bullets out of her boobs and into her gun in a single motion.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Togusa uses a Mateba Autorevolver instead of the standard-issue semi automatics of the rest of Section 9. The explanation for this is somewhat complex:
    • In the manga, the Major questions why he uses a revolver, when he should be afraid of it jamming, even if he carries a semi-automatic as backup. On the Major's request, he uses the semi-automatic throughout the manga. For some added irony, a semi-automatic of the same model jams in a later issue... In addition, Togusa is presented as someone with an odd gun choice, using an AS-11 shotgun in addition to his two handguns.
    • In one SAC episode, Togusa testifies in court that he prefers a revolver to an automatic because revolvers don't jam. It's implied that this is just him rationalizing, and that he really prefers them because he thinks they're cool. He probably wouldn't have been so defensive if the guy asking wasn't acting as this was case-turning material.
      • In a different episode, Togusa is able to quickly load a bullet containing an electronic tracer into his revolver and fire it into the bumper of a fleeing vehicle. He uses a similar trick in the first movie, with another character pointing out that, had he been using the standard issue semi, he could have planted two trackers on the car in the same time.
      • Only assuming that the semi-auto had trackers already in the clip, as manually loading bullets into a clip, or into a semi-auto takes longer than loading bullets into a Revolver, as the Revolver has more access.
        • Or He could just keep a separate magazine loaded with trackers,just press the magazine release button, insert the magazine loaded with trackers, pull the slide back and shoot, that is unless trackers rounds require modification for semi-auto to cycle the action,but then he would still be able to fire the first shot.
    • Some episodes have shown him have an appreciation of older stuff in general, and while the gun he has is probably not as old, its style certainly is. The company that makes his gun went out of business in 2005. Unless it's a reproduction, that gun is at least 25 years old by the time Stand Alone Complex starts. It's almost as old as he is.
      • Togusa himself is a bit of an old thing, in that he is a flesh and blood human (with old-fashioned family values) with few cybernetic enhancements in a time period (and profession) when doing so is considered a liability. His use of revolvers is often implied to be an extension of that.
        • Finally, in Solid State Society, The Movie of Stand Alone Complex, Togusa has succeeded Kusanagi as the commander of Section 9, and has received cybernetic implants and, at the same time, replaced his revolver with a semi-automatic. He himself Lampshades the symbolism behind this.
        • Furthermore when Togusa is Driven to Suicide he initially reaches for his automatic, then takes out his revolver instead which he's apparently still carrying as a backup gun.
  • In Trigun, fitting the Western-influenced setting, revolvers predominate. They're not the only kind, though—nearly every cool-looking gun made without plastics has a counterpart on The Planet Gunsmoke, along with a few sci-fi ones and some outright crazy designs. However, Vash and Evil Counterpart Knives use distinctive large, super-accurate (when appropriately serviced) six-shooters with a few special features.
  • RizeGreymon from Digimon Savers (though in the dub his bullets are energy lasers).
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Devices can get "cartridge systems" that allow them to fire powerful bursts of magic. The titular character's staff loads cartridges from assault rifle-style magazines, and the Wolkenritter's Devices have shotgun-style brute-force mechanisms... but guess what Fate, the former Dark Magical Girl who gets the really cool gear, gets for hers? Yup, six-shot revolver cylinder.
    • The Revolver Knuckles of Subaru and Ginga's devices (Mach Caliber and Blitz Caliber respectively) load cartridges via a revolver cylinder, hence the name.
    • Runessa Magnus, Teana's partner in the Sound Stage X of Strikers, wields a revolver with projectile ammunition.
  • Resident Badass Cross Marian of D.Gray-Man uses a six shooter, as do Jasdero and Devit.
  • Mobile Police Patlabor - the AV-98 Ingrams use "Revolver Cannons," which are actually giant versions of standard police revolvers. Apparently the rounds are so expensive that speedloaders aren't issued, the operators instead being required to get out of their Labor and load the gun by hand.
  • Hades from Appleseed uses an implausibly large six-shooter as his sidearm... even when in the middle of a military formation where everybody else has assault rifles.
  • Mukuru, vicious pirate from Samurai Champloo, uses a single-action revolver. However, although he is certainly an "accomplished" pirate and killer, all the killing we see him do is not so much Improbable Aiming Skills as it is him simply plugging samurai who only have swords.
    • As such, it is probably the most realistic use of firearms in any anime ever.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bandit Kieth's flagship monster is the Barrel Dragon, a giant mechanical dragon made from three enormous revolvers. Revolvers that are loaded with three bullets each, and play Russian Roulette pointed at the enemy monsters. What's not cool about that monster? Other than the fact that the head revolver is really goofy?
    • This gets confusing as there is a monster named Revolver Dragon in the English version, who has a revolver for a head and has an ability similar to Barrel Dragon. The difference being that Revolver Dragon is basically a Nerfed Barrel Dragon. Note, however, that the original [dead link] had much more realistic revolvers.
  • Justice in Afro Samurai dual-wields a set of revolvers. He's a Cowboy.
  • Sumire in Venus Versus Virus has a revolver in the manga. In the anime she only has a cheap, dime-a-dozen semi-automatic for a weapon, however the Elegant Gothic Lolita Lucia (who gets all the awesome gear in the series) sports a revolver.
  • Ein from Phantom of Inferno wields a revolver.
  • All of the cops in Death Note.
    • Also used during Takada's abduction; one of her bodyguards points a revolver at Mello in the manga. In the anime he instead points a semi-automatic pistol at him.
    • Japan is one of the few countries in the world, including Hong Kong, where its police departments (singular in the case of HK) still issue revolvers for patrolmen.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi's Day of Sagittarius video game features, at least in the characters' minds, revolver space ships loaded by smaller space ships.
  • Jigen, gunslinging sidekick of Lupin III, uses all manner of firearms during his career, but seems to prefer a revolver as his sidearm of choice.
  • Dutch from Black Lagoon has one (though he's also used a shotgun as well). Chaka (the asshole from the Yakuza arc) also uses one. Revy derides Chaka for being a poser for using one for show more than effectiveness.
  • Train Heartnet from Black Cat goes with this trope... and damn does he make it look hot.
  • "Cowboy Andy" from Cowboy Bebop uses a revolver as opposed to the usual semi-automatics everyone else uses. Of course, this fits with his intended theme.
    • The missile launchers on Faye's ship Redtail are a Rule of Cool mashup of revolvers and pump action shotguns.
  • Jo from Burst Angel uses two revolvers, though usually only one at a time, and through her Improbable Aiming Skills it's shown to be good enough to take out most anything. Takane also has a revolver.
  • High Class Demon Commander Scanty from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is very fond of her revolvers. Granted she have been shown capable of turning them into a shotgun,and unlike most revolvers Scanty doesn't seem worried about reloading them.
  • David from Blood Plus wields a revolver as his Weapon of Choice. A very large, high-powered revolver. Presumably because smaller bullets hardly even count as an annoyance to Chiropterans, but David's revolver doesn't do much better.
  • Very much subverted in Gunsmith Cats. Two times revolvers are used they fail noticeably, and when the main character gets hold of one she is visibly disgusted with it.
  • In GoShogun: The Time Étranger Remy Shimada's favourite weapon is a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Saint of Killers from Preacher (Comic Book) is appointed as the replacement for the Angel of Death, who melts his sword down into two revolvers for the Saint to use. Said revolvers can kill absolutely anything, are enchanted such that they never miss, never need reloading and each shot will never be less than fatal. In fact, the first person he kills after getting the job was the Devil himself. The last is God.
    • Preacher also features a subversion with Herr Starr, who near the end of the series, starts carrying a huge revolver around to substitute for his missing genitals. In the next to last issue, during his final duel with Tulip, he manages to nail her in the shoulder, get her against the wall with his revolver to her head and...click. If he'd stuck to an automatic, he would have won.
  • Calvin and Hobbes's Tracer Bullet has two magnums in his desk. One's a revolver, and he keeps it loaded. The other's a bottle, and it keeps him loaded.
  • Sam, of Sam and Max Freelance Police, uses a gigantic revolver. His partner Max favors a Luger.
  • Jack Kirby creation Serifan, a young member of the Forever People, has a pair of six-shooters with self-styled "Cosmic Cartridges" with the most unusual and unexpected functions.
  • Hellboy has the Good Samaritan in the comics, and in the films he has the Big Baby [dead link] too.
  • The Joker uses a revolver (drawn in loving detail by the great Brian Bolland) to cripple Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke.
  • The favored weapons of Superhomey Single Action in Empowered.

Thug Boy: What kind of idiot would make his energy weapons single action? Having to manually cock hammers started going out of fashion in 1892, asshole - not that hammers are relevant to the operation of plasma guns, of course-
Single Action: Reckon ah jest thought it was plumb cool... anachronistic, but cool...

  • John Hartigan uses a revolver in Sin City and seems to be the only character to do so. Then again, he is based partially on Dirty Harry.
  • After Jonah Hex is transported to the future in Hex, he acquires a pair of Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnums. He choses these because they are single action revolvers like he was used to in the Wild West, but he still manages to outshoot everybody armed with more more modern weaponry.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Dirty Harry famously uses a gigantic Smith & Wesson Model 29, which chambers .44 magnum bullets. The gun is extremely powerful, and the long barrel plus adjustable sights make it basically a pocket-rifle. Around the time the movie was filmed, some police actually did carry such large revolvers, but they eventually proved excessively powerful.
    • In Magnum Force, the "rookies" carry revolvers which stand out (.357 Magnum loads), and Dirty Harry explains some technical details of his gun such as the specific load he uses (probably an effort of the writers to justify his use of a powerful handgun like a water pistol).
  • In Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Marlboro Man prefers a revolver over an automatic pistol. This gets him in trouble more than once and causes Harley to berate him.
  • Although he's been seen to use a wide variety of firearms in the comics, the movie incarnation of Hellboy carries the Samaritan, a huge and massively holy four-round revolver that fires equally huge and holy bullets. When that's not enough, Hellboy 2 introduces the Big Baby, a grenade-launching revolver that can kill tree elementals. Ironically it's mentioned Hellboy can't aim worth crap though usually his targets are really big and at really close range.
  • Reversed in The Boondock Saints. The main characters berate their friend, David Della Rocco, for bringing a revolver to kill nine people, when his revolver only has six bullets. Rocco had been told there were only two or three men in the room; Rocco's boss, Papa Joe Yakavetta, was actually setting him up to be killed during the assassination so that it couldn't be traced back to the boss.
  • In Tim Burton's Batman, Joker brings down the Batwing using a revolver with a really Freudian barrel.
  • V for Vendetta. Mr Creedy uses a revolver in his final confrontation with V himself. However, it is ineffective, because V is wearing a breastplate. Also, ideas are bullet-proof
  • For Indiana Jones, the revolver was as much a part of Indy's image as the whip or the bag, but not the hat. Nothing beats the hat.
  • Rick O'Connell, as well as the Americans from The Mummy 1999 loved to use revolvers. O'Connell was shown to be an aficionado of many types of firearms, however. Early in the movie O'Connell is using semi-automatic pistols vs the horsemen, in the desert. Inappropriate weapons for the conditions, being prone to jamming from dust and dirt. In the commentary on the DVD Brendan Fraser, who played O'Connell, confirmed that the weapons kept jamming due to the dusty conditions. In the third movie, there's one scene where Rick and his son, Alex, are comparing their handguns (a Colt Peacemaker revolver and a Walther P38 pistol respectively). Rick boasts of the superior reliability and bigger size of the revolver, but Alex claims that size doesn't matter.
  • In Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, the Sky Captain keeps a revolver tucked into his boot, where he can easily grab it if seated in a cockpit or hoisted into the air by a Killer Robot. For some reason though in the uranium mine scene he's changed to a Colt .45 automatic.
  • Xander Cage in XXX wields a revolver with several specialty bullets, including incendiaries, distance listening device, blood splatter/tranquilizer...
  • Six-Shooter of the Puppet Master movies carries tiny revolvers that carry a big punch. Because he's, you know, a cowboy. A cowboy puppet. With six arms.
  • Inverted in The Great Silence, in which the western gunslinger packs a hyper-modern Mauser C96 semi-auto pistol.
  • Played with in the Lethal Weapon series: Riggs, the hotshot Badass, packs a slick automatic while Murtaugh, the aging family man, packs an old-fashioned revolver. Riggs notes that "Lotta old-timers carry those." However, a running gag in the series has Murtaugh display sniper-like accuracy with a single aimed shot.
  • In The Quick and the Dead, Leonardo DiCaprio's character runs a gun shop and shows off a series of increasingly cool revolvers to Russell Crowe, who must ultimately take the cheapest and ugliest gun in the store.
  • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Tuco enters a general store and is unimpressed by the storekeep's selection of revolvers. He breaks the guns down and assembles a new gun from the parts that meet his high expectations. In reality, this would have been fairly improbable. Gun parts at the time were rarely interchangeable even between guns of the same model.
  • Subverted in Shanghai Noon, in which Owen Wilson's gunslinger character grabs the villain's cool top-breaking revolvers, but can't seem to figure them out. When Jackie Chan's character asks what's wrong, Wilson protests, "These guns are really weird!"
    • It even carries over to his final gunfight with Van Cleef at the climax. He's wildly inaccurate with them, while Van Cleef, carrying Wilson's gate-loading Peacemakers, is spot-on in his shots.
  • In In Bruges, Colin Farrell's characters blinds a man with a blank-loaded revolver then loads it with live rounds nearly 3 minutes later. Yeah, versatility! Revolvers don't need any modifications to fire blanks. However, he does lament carrying it, referring to it as "a bloody girl's gun" when compared with Brendan Gleason's character's silenced automatic.
  • In Johnny Dangerously, the villain packs an enormous revolver, proclaiming, "It shoots through schools!"
  • In Planet Terror, when Wray and Abby take out the grotesquely mutated Lt. Muldoon, Wray, the American/Mexican(kind of hard to be positive which) fires a revolver, while Abby, the Brit, fires an automatic.
  • In Last Action Hero, the Big Bad, Benedict, uses this trope to maximum effect in one scene in the "real world". Benedict fires at Slater with his revolver until the hammer falls on a empty chamber. When Slater comes out of cover and points out that guns need to be reloaded in the real world, Benedict replies that he merely left one chamber empty and then shoots Slater with the bullet still left in his revolver.
  • In Three Kings, PFC Conrad Vig has a Thunder 5 pistol, even though using a short-barrelled .410 revolver in the desert makes no sense at all.
  • Crank: High Voltage subverts this at the start of the film. A mook fires on Chelios with his revolver, as Chelios takes cover. As the revolver runs dry, the mook starts cursing, clumsily trying to eject the spent cartridges and load in new ones. As the mook is fumbling with his revolver, Chelios casually walks up to him and beats him down.
  • Boyz N the Hood: Tre's father, Furious Styles, uses a .357 when trying to kill an intruder in his house. Later in the movie, Tre uses his father's revolver to engage in a revenge plan with Doughboy after his friend Ricky was murdered, but was stopped by his father before doing so.
  • Subverted in Back to The Future Part III. Marty is given a Colt Peacemaker for his shoot-out with Mad Dog Tannen, and is thrilled about having a real revolver, which he is shown to be incredibly accurate with (thanks to hours of practice on arcade games). Along the way he gets a reality check, doesn't use it in the duel, and gives it away completely unused.
  • The film Faster seems to be all about Dwayne Johnson, a Revolver, and Revenge!
  • Point Break: Bohdi uses a Freedom Arms Model 83 revolver when robbing the bank and uses it on an off-duty cop by shooting him point blank in the heart.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Dark Tower, Roland's revolvers are significantly more Badass than the automatic handgun Jake brings from Earth. They're also cooler than the blunderbusses and semiautos that show up on occasion. Given that the metal of the revolvers was obtained from a melted-down Excalibur, one can hardly expect them to be otherwise. After using an automatic, Roland describes it as little more than a toy, and making him feel "dirty".
  • The use of a revolver in Stephen King's Cell. The revolver is the only gun to ever actually kill anything.
  • In The Half-Made World, many of the Guns manifest as revolvers. Like all Guns, they never need to be reloaded and usually kill in one shot.
  • In The Dresden Files, wizards aren't allowed to kill with magic on pain of beheading, so Harry sometimes carries a gun—and because he's a Walking Techbane (against anything with a tech higher than the 1950s, mechanical[2] or electronic), he uses a revolver in preference to a semi-automatic specifically because it's less likely to jam or misfire. He also mentions on occasion that he specifically picked the "Dirty Harry" type.
    • He originally carried a Saturday Night Special (a .38 revolver, basically very small caliber and power), but upgraded to the .44 when his first gun was destroyed and he got seriously scared after some supernatural run-ins. He also doesn't have a concealed carry license for it...
      • Seeing as Illinois is the only state in the nation that doesn't offer a concealed carry license, that should come as no surprise.
    • Lieutenant Murphy often berates Harry for his choice of gun, noting that her SIG semi-automatic carries 20 rounds to Harry's 6, and Harry has no speed-loaders, only loose rounds in his pocket. When he remarks that he uses a revolver because of the Walking Techbane issue, she suggests that he get an older semi-automatic, like her own M1911. Harry goes on to note that he likes his revolver just fine; it makes him feel like Indiana Jones.
    • Every other character in the books subverts this, as Harry is the only person with a revolver. Marcone uses an Assault Rifle and a Shotgun, Hendrix uses an assault rifle the size of a motorcycle, Murphy has her semi-autos and a P90, Sanya has his Kalashnikov, Thomas uses shotguns and a Desert Eagle, and Kincaid uses whatever he feels is the best gun for the job.
      • Although Kincaid notably packs one set of "big-ass revolvers" to go up against Mavra in "Blood Rites"
  • In the Aubrey-Maturin series, Stephen Maturin has one of the earliest "revolving pistols", in around 1812. Note that these were flintlock rather than percussion cap, required you to spin the drum by hand, and had a tendency to jam.
    • Matthew Hervey also gets one a few years later in Alan Mallinson's books.
  • Any British action-adventure children's book from the 1930s or 40s can be relied upon to use the word "revolvers", almost invariably carried by the villains (whereas if the good guys use guns, they're typically rifles or shotguns) - for example, several books by Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome.
    • The logic behind this probably runs that if someone has a revolver, with its easy concealability and inadequacy for gamekeeping, hunting or any other non-criminal/law-enforcement use, then they're probably up to no good. In contrast, rifles and shotguns are common things for any farmer/landed gentry (heroes in classic British adventure fiction tending to fit into the latter category) to have lying around as a matter of course.
  • In David Gemmell's Wolf in Shadow and its sequels, Jon Shannow, a.k.a. the Jerusalem Man, carries a pair of percussion cap revolvers. These represent the cutting edge of firearms technology in the post-apocolyptic world in which he lives and make him far deadlier than most his opponents who are armed with single shot flintlocks.
  • In Vampire$ by John Steakley, Badass gunslinger Felix wields one of these, later upgraded with silver bullets for extra vampire-slaying awesomeness.
  • In the novel that inspired Logan's Run, the sandman guns are six cylinder revolvers, each cylinder loaded with its own special cartridge. The homer would follow and kill the runner. The tangler was a webbing bomb, the ripper would go through armor, the nitro was self-explanatory, the vapor was a gas bomb, and the needler, which function was not explicitly stated, could be conjectured to be a needle slug filled with an anesthetic.
  • In Brian Daley's Floyt/Fitzhugh stories, the bureaucrat turned reluctant adventurer protagonist Hobart Floyt has access to a whole galaxy's worth of futuristic weaponry but he chooses to carry a reproduction Webley revolver for its simplicity and reliability (albeit with depleted-uranium dumdum bullets.)
  • Skulduggery Pleasant uses an older style revolver (give him a break, he is over 400 years old), and at one point he uses two of them, emptying both guns into the chest of one enemy, and then sticking a spike bomb in said wound before it could heal. The resulting explosion still didn't kill said monster.
  • Inverted in The Shadow. The titular vigilante uses a pair of .45 semiautomatics, whereas most of the crooks are described as using revolvers.
  • The UnGun in Un Lun Dun is a revolver that takes anything as ammo and magnifies or replicates it. Even when it's empty, it still will unfire and produce a vacuum
  • In Time Scout, given that most gates lead to times before automatic and semiautomatic weapons, this just plain sense. Why carry anything but a revolver when nothing but revolvers exist?


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Firefly, Jayne Cobb's sidearm of choice (though not his very favorite gun) is a revolver, and Wash uses a few of them over the course of the series. On the other hand, Mal's pistol is a semi-automatic, and sees a lot more use.
    • It's worth noting however that the real-world prop for Mal's pistol is based on the five shot Taurus 38 revolver.
  • The scene in Knight Rider where Michael Knight is shot with a revolver has the shooter miming reloading the gun in the same way as the Preacher (Comic Book) example. I believe there actually is some obscure revolver that loads like this, but it's doubtful the creators of the scene knew that.
  • Averted on The Wire, Cutty is fresh out of jail and ready to get back into the drug game. When they send him on a hit and give him an automatic pistol, he complains that revolvers never jammed on him and that automatics can kill bystanders. Slim Charles promptly tells him that automatic pistols are now used because of the need for 15 bullets rather than six.

Cutty: "Man, the game done changed."
Slim Charles: "Nah, the game the same. It just got more fierce."

  • A major arc in the second season of Supernatural involved the brothers hunting down The Colt, a magic demon-slaying revolver made by Samuel Colt himself, one of the most powerful weapons in the series.
  • Subverted in an episode of Bones when during a shootout between Booth (wielding a S&W Model 500) and the episode's Evil Clown (wielding a Sawed-Off Shotgun), the clown criticizes Booth's 5-shot capacity and taunts him by pointing out he only has One Buwwet Weft. Double Subverted when the clown takes cover behind a steel door and Booth merely blasts right through it.
    • There's also Bones herself, who at one point carried a very very large revolver, and actually used it near the end.
      • That's the same episode, Bones had gone with the "bigger is better" idea after being attacked in a previous episode. Unfortunately, she can barely lift the gun, let alone fire it, so Booth has to take the piece.
  • Stargate Atlantis gives us the Particle Magnum, and its distinctive look.
  • Jack Harkness of Torchwood prefers an antique Webley revolver, despite everyone else's penchant for modern handguns. Somewhat justified in that he probably got it when they were the best personal guns around, although that doesn't explain why he hasn't updated since.
  • In the mini series Tin Man, Cain uses a completely normal looking old fashioned revolver. How he can fire off much more than ten rounds in one fight scene without ever having to reload at any moment in the show is truly amazing.
  • Gene Hunt of Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes prefers a revolver to the standard police-issue semi-automatic handguns. Then again, he is a Cowboy Cop...
  • At one point, assassins in Taken use revolvers with sniping scopes attached.
  • A couple times in Deadliest Warrior. In the Jesse James Vs. Al Capone episode, the Colt Revolver is tested against the Tommy Gun, and the Colt gets the edge for better accuracy and the Quick Draw. In the Back For Blood special, the IRA's Webley revolver is matched up against the Spetsnaz' Makarov pistol and the Makarov gets the edge due to it's higer rate of fire and faster reload.
  • Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes from AMC's The Walking Dead carries a large stainless steel revolver, despite the fact that most other modern American law enforcement officers have switched to semi-autos like the Glock. But then again, he is Rick Grimes, a seriously Badass Normal.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode 'Revelations', an unsub plays Russian Roulette with a kidnapped and tortured Reid using a revolver. SA Reid later gets the revolver away from him and shoots him with it. Some time later, it becomes apparent that Reid has started using a revolver as his service weapon.
  • Played with on Blue Bloods. Frank Reagan still uses a .38 Special revolver despite his father Henry telling him he'd have more firepower with a department-issue Glock semiautomatic. Frank's reasoning is simple:

Frank: I like carrying your gun, Pop.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Clue: Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with the Revolver!
    • Causing great confusion because while the cards (and the game rules) clearly said 'revolver', in most sets the actual playing piece was very clearly a semiautomatic pistol. Some had a pepper-box revolver.
  • Subverted in Feng Shui. Revolvers only have a limited amount of ammo, and reloading takes five shots compared to the one shot that you spend to reload a semiautomatic pistol unless you buy up the Lightning Reload gun schtick, meaning that you're going to be a while reloading and are probably going to be best off behind cover while doing so unless you opt for the New York Reload. Still, magnum revolvers do more damage on average than your regular semiautomatics, but when you've got weapons like the AMT Automag V and the Desert Eagle, which outdamage just about any other pistol out there and have the faster reload time, the only reason to even use a revolver is cool factor.
  • Present in Scion through the signature character of Eric Donner. This child of Thor wields a gigantic revolver with a firing pin made from a piece of Mjolnir.
  • In the Age of Sorrows, revolvers are the most advanced gun-type weapon available. (And they can shoot firebolts or holy bullets!)
  • The most powerful handgun in GURPS: High-Tech is the Ruger Super Redhawk, a revolver.
  • Hong Kong Action Theatre is better about revolvers than Feng Shui is, thanks to all pistols being considered either Small Caliber, Mid-Caliber, Large Caliber, or Hand Cannons. Your standard .38 snub is a Mid-Caliber pistol (making it equivalent to a 9mm); a .44 Special is a Large Caliber pistol (making it about equal to a .45) and a .357 or .44 Magnum is a Hand Cannon (which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin). Under the reloading rules, you only run out of bullets on a gun if you roll a 1, 2, or 3 on D20, meaning as long as your dice luck holds out, you can blast off as many times as you want, though once you do run out of bullets, reloading takes a full turn.
  • Pathfinder's rules for advanced guns make the revolver a nasty weapon indeed - sure, it only does 1d8 damage, but it chews through armor of all kinds when fired within 100 feet, and can be fired six times before it needs reloading, leaving the wielder's other hand free - a hand which will probably be holding a revolver.
  • Shadowrun has all sorts of very powerful handguns, even the smallest of which can kill when backed by the kind of skill that most 'Runners possess. The standard issue revolver (Ruger Super Warhawk) does very slightly more damage than the standard issue Hand Cannon (Ares Predator). In theory, this is balanced by the smaller ammo capacity.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay gives revolvers "Reliable" quality, otherwise seen almost exclusively on lasers, more rugged shotgun designs, weapons too primitive to jam and guns of exceptional quality.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Gearbox, the people who made Borderlands certainly seem to think so. When on your first playthrough as Mordecai, the guy who uses lots of pistols, the first guns you get are low-powered automatics. Later, you will find that the revolvers in this game are like combinations of pistols and sniper rifles. On top of that, every revolver pistol, especially Mashers, is a Hand Cannon. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, with revolver shotguns, revolver sniper rifles, revolver rocket launchers, which are all in seven shot, six shot, three shot, two shot, side-gate, cylinder swapping, break-open with speed loaders... almost every gun with under 8 rounds per reload uses revolver technology.
  • The Anaconda Black in the FPS Combat Arms. While it has a low-rate of fire and low ammo capacity, it can take down any enemy in one to two shots, making some players label it as a Game Breaker.
  • From the Metal Gear Solid series, Revolver Ocelot. It's right there in his Code Name. In the prequel, he starts off with a semiautomatic and is pretty good with it, killing one man with a richochet shot. However, Snake notes his technique is more suited to using a revolver, and he soon switches to the Single Action Army. Interestingly, when he first switches to the revolver, it's shown he has to do some adjusting, for example, he doesn't realize the gun's only got six shots the first time he takes on Snake with it.[3] In any case, he rather enjoys reloading.
    • "This way of reloading is a revolution!"
    • "There's nothing like the feeling of slamming a long silver bullet into a well-greased chamber."
    • "I've never felt a tension like this before!"
      • To go with the katana thing, when Ocelot blasts the Russian mook in the Tanker chapter of 2, the camera angles and Ocelot's pose as he holsters his revolver are extremely similar to the 'sheathe your katana after a Clean Cut' shots used in every anime with swords ever. Right down to holstering it across-hip instead of same-hip.
  • Half Life One and Two: Gordon Freeman gets two handguns in each game. His starter gun is a 9mm handgun, and later he will find a Magnum Revolver (.357 Colt Python). On a whole, it's downplayed for balance purposes. The revolver is incredibly powerful and accurate, essentially a Sniper Pistol; humanoid enemies will always go down in one shot until very late in the game. On the downside, it has ridiculously low ammo (36 and 24 bullets total in the first and second games, compared to 168 for the 9mm gun), very scarce supplies of ammo for it, and a very low fire rate thanks to high recoil. Finally, the reload speed is sluggish. Thus the revolver excels at picking off targets at medium range, but in close quarters with multiple foes it's a better idea to use the lighter handgun to snap off several quick headshots. The fact that ammo is so restricted that you'll have an overbearing urge to save it for emergencies make this gun too awesome to use.
  • The revolver is the most powerful and rare handgun in Grand Theft Auto. It also has the slowest rate of fire.
  • Dan Smith in Killer7 has a revolver as a weapon, and it's the best in the game even before he replaces it with the even awesomer demon gun (which is also a revolver, natch). Coyote also uses a revolver.
  • Several Resident Evil games, mostly by virtue of the fact that they are nearly always the coveted Magnum, a much higher caliber than the default pistol.
    • Remake offers you a .44 magnum; it's inexplicably found in a headstone, making it difficult to acquire. It's extremely useful against Hunters and generally decapitates zombies, but has little ammo and, since you're probably not using it as a primary weapon, is a space-wasted.
      • Strangely, it has about 1/6 the power of the .365 "self-defense gun". It doesn't really matter, though, seeing as the .365 only has one bullet in the entire game, so most people don't pick it up after their first run-through.
      • Equally as strange, Barry's .45 magnum (obtained if you let Barry die) is so powerful it can "kill" the Tyrant's first form in one hit. It holds six bullets but, like the .365, has no ammo lying around the building. It shouldn't matter, though, because why are you using it on crows in the first place?
    • Resident Evil 2 has the Colt Single Action Army, which isn't any more powerful than the normal handgun, and only holds six rounds. But it can fire those six rounds faster than anything short of the submachine gun, meaning it can take down individual zombies very quickly, but is useless for anything bigger.
    • Resident Evil 4 gives you a choice of a few Magnums, but the potentially most powerful one you can get during the game is, of course, the revolver. Coolness is balanced out by the shortage of ammo for it, however; when you get the first one-either by buying it or getting it for free at a certain point of the game-the ammo is amazingly hard to come by, making it not very usable.
    • Resident Evil 5 has two revolvers, both with barrel lengths approaching the size of the revolver in this article's picture. Both do the more damage than any other weapons per hit in the game.
    • Barry "My gun is my partner and my bullets are my backup" Burton wields a Colt Anaconda. The longest model of that gun is 13 inches(!) which judging by the fact that it is bigger than his head in most cutscenes is probably the model he owns.
  • Although traditional revolvers are long obsolete in Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3 introduces the M-358 Talon, a heavy pistol firing shotgun slugs. Designed with raw power rather than efficiency in mind, the Talon incorporates multiple heat sinks that rotate revolver-style after each shot to keep the gun cool.
  • Nero from Devil May Cry 4 uses a six-shooter revolver for his gunslinging, as opposed to Dante's Guns Akimbo style. Said weapon, Blue Rose, features a truly insane two-barrel over / under configuration the logistics of which are best ignored. It's actually the Hand Cannon from Resident Evil 4, except with a second barrel.
  • In Battlefield 2142 the strongest handgun is the revolver, balanced out by the fact it has less ammunition and truly awesome muzzle climb.
    • Not to mention it had easily the best reload animation in the game, along with a loud boom that was just a terrifying to hear if you were on the PAC as hearing the Shuko Light Machinegun was to an EU player.
    • The EU revolver also looks to have ammo of a pretty impressive calibre when compared to the PAC pistol. And this revolver has eight shots compared to the typical six.
    • Bad Company 2 has the MP-412 revolver that kills in 3 bullets, 4 at maximum range, than the other pistols that kill in 4 at the closest range at best. It has quite the kick and a small magazine of 6, however.
  • Following the wargames theme, the last pistol you unlock in online play in Call of Duty: World at War is a revolver.
  • Its sequel, Black Ops, has the Python... which is the only pistol that can have a scope.
  • Wild ARMs 5. Boy howdy. Not only does Rebecca use a fairly normal revolver ARM based on a cap-and-ball Colt, but...Dean's ARMs, despite shooting like a semi-auto complete with flying brass, are shaped so as to overlap this trope with Gatling Good, and Avril's sword ARM has a revolveresque wheel of power cartridges.
    • Subverted in Wild ARMs 3, where Virginia's revolvers are...quite weak in comparison. To mock gunplay tropes further, try guessing what's weaker than Virginia's revolvers? Why, it's Gallows' Sawed-Off Shotgun of course! To be fair, Virginia is an item-oriented fighter with speed as her forte, and Gallows is a full on nuking black mage.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, The Giant Revolver does more damage than the M95 Machine Gun for the same amount of upgrades. This is balanced by the fact that it only has 6 ammo, nearly half that of the machine gun. There is also the Revolver Stake weapon on the Alt Eisen. While not a typical revolver by a long shot, it definitely uses the imagery of one for coolness value
  • The .44 Magnum in the original Marathon was a revolver... that was loaded with a magazine in the handle.
  • Undying had a revolver whose hammer could be "fanned" for rapid fire, silver bullets optional.
    • Ditto XIII, although this was kind of a waste given the fact that revolver bullets were rare, and the primary reason to use the weapon was the ability to score headshots from a long ways off.
    • Ditto Outlaws (1997 video game).
  • Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus: Vincent Valentine's main weapon, appearing first in the FFVII: Advent Children movie and later in said game, is the Cerberus, a massive three-barreled, three-cylinder double-action revolver (the barrels are arranged in a triangular setup with two side by side with one sitting on top) that fires all three barrels simultaneously when the trigger is pulled; the kind of nightmarish internal mechanisms and ridiculous trigger pull this would require is studiously ignored. In addition, it is powerful enough to take down helicopters. Though it takes a little longer to do so if you're actually playing the game. Word of God has also retconned the original game to state that the Cerberus should be considered his default weapon.
  • Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII uses a gunblade with a revolver handle.
    • Not really an example of this trope, though: the Shear Edge, which is the next step up Squall's weapon progression, is clearly an automatic, and the Lion Heart, his best weapon, actually uses a custom assault rifle handle.
      • Also, the various varieties of clear and apparent parallels between different kinds of gun is kind of nonsensical because apparently the gun part doesn't shoot bullets. Whatever the "gun" part does would work just as well if the weapon was designed around not being completely awkward to use.
      • It's not meant to shoot bullets. 'Firing' the Gunblade just activates a small charge that vibrates the blade for extra cutting power (read: more damage).
  • Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64 gives you the Cougar Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the game, which will kill almost anything in one shot, and shoots through walls. Of course, it has an awful rate of fire, and limited bullets, but just about anything it hits is going down.
    • It also sounds like a cannon when fired!
    • In its Spiritual Sequel Perfect Dark, the game comes with the DY 357, a revolver similar to the Cougar Magnum. There's also the DY357-LX, a hideously blinged-out gold-plated version with a tigerskin grip that acts as a replacement for the previous game's Golden Gun.
  • The Spy in Team Fortress 2 has a revolver as his primary weapon, replacing the tranquilizer pistol from the original games. It's the third most accurate weapon in the game, after the Sniper's rifle and the Soldier's rocket launcher, and is rather powerful. The lack of health on the part of the Spy class makes it less useful in firefights than you'd think, though.
  • Fallout 2 has a .44 Magnum Revolver that is available at The Den. This revolver can fire faster than the pistols you can find at the beginning of the game, and has more damage than the Desert Eagle as well. You can use it until up to New Reno, where there's the .233 Pistol, which has more damage. However, with the Fast Shot trait, you can shoot faster for one AP less. This means that you can fire the revolver three times with 9 AP. You can also upgrade the revolver to use a Speed Loader, which makes it reload for 1 AP. Cue The Chosen One shooting a revolver three times, then reloading it. All in one turn, if you maxed Agility to gain 10 AP. Now, if you get the perk Bonus Rate of Fire, you can fire it for 2 AP, which means that you can UNLOAD your chamber into a enemy (if you maxed Agility and took two levels of Action Boy/Girl to get 12 AP), then reload it and shoot it five times in the next turn. This makes the gun so powerful you can use it until you find a Gauss Pistol near the end of the game, which has the same rate of fire as the Magnum while doing massive damage and carrying twelve rounds for two turns of uninterrupted death. Revolvers really are Just Better.
    • It should be noted that the ".223 Pistol" is based on Deckard's gun, which, coincidentally, was a revolver.
      • The real world prop for Deckard's gun is a revolver, but the look and design come from a .223 Steyr-Mannlicher's exposed bolt action. Hence why the video game refers to That Gun as a rifle round-firing Hand Cannon.
  • Fallout 3 goes to town with this trope. In the stock game, the only semiauto pistols are the completely useless chinese pistol and the 10mm automatic, which is useful early on but soon discarded for something - almost anything - else. The .32 revolver is so weak it's not even worth talking about, but the scoped .44 Magnum is a far more powerful weapon, and the Blackhawk (special scoped magnum) is one of the most powerful small guns you can use and the best handgun in the entire game. It also makes a very cool noise. It's incredibly visceral getting headshots on Enclave soldiers in power armor. Then there's the official expansion, which adds a revolver that's even better than the Blackhawk, and another that somehow uses .44 ammo but fires pellets like a shotgun.
    • And then there are countless weapon mods, which add Vash the Stampede's gun, the original .223 pistol from Fallout 2, many real-world revolvers and even rarities like the Mateba Model 6.
      • Plus, there's the Mysterious Stranger's .44 Magnum. You can't get it yourself without cheating, but when he uses it, or if you use the console to give it to yourself, it will kill anything in the game(that can be killed at all) in a single hit. Also, in New Vegas, it will play the Mysterious Stranger's theme song whenever you draw it, which is just badass.
    • In New Vegas, once again, the most powerful pistol is the Ranger Sequoia, a massive revolver. However, the semi-auto pistols remain useful throughout the game, with the 10mm pistol getting a hefty power boost.
  • The Monster Hunter series has a hammer which is basically the cylinder and hammer attached to a long handle so that it can be swung at dragons and giant enemy crabs.
  • Despite using firearms, Fable 2 actually doesn't use revolvers. Instead, we get flintlock pistols (which, despite the historical version, can actually have the highest rate of fire in the game), clockwork pistols (which are basically semi-automatics), and turret pistols (which are semi-automatic Gatling pistols). The most powerful version? The turret pistol, of course!
    • That's wrong. The turret pistol is pretty much a revolver. The Master Turret pistol has six shots and your character reloads them one at a time. Their rifle varient seems to be more like a Winchester Repeater, complete with a small magazine for fast firing. The clockwork guns, however, are exactly like a semi-automatic pistol and rifle, while the flintlocks operate more like bolt-action rifles.
    • Flintlocks are actually capable of killing faster if you can get the timing down, though.
  • You get to see one of these in the multiplayer side of Conker's Bad Fur Day. One shot, one kill. And laser-sighted, too.
  • In the Uncharted series, one shot kills, no matter if you hit a head or an ankle.
    • Crushing difficulty does downgrade the revolver: one shot to the chest or head still kills, but any other body part will require two shots. The Desert-5, however, remains the most powerful gun.
  • For the Gunslinger/ Gunsmith in Arcanum, the Fine Revolver is the best all around weapon until mid-game. Best rate of fire, best damage per shot, best damage per action point. After that you'll need to rely on the Handcannon (sawed off shotgun), then the Elephant Gun (heavy rifle) before you reach your endgame uberweapon: Droch's Warbringer, a fast-firing and extremely heavy revolver.
  • The Boltok pistol from Gears of War is great for decapitating enemies in two or so shots, which makes up for many of its shortcomings.
  • The aforementioned .44 Magnum appears in both iterations of the Rainbow Six: Vegas series.
  • In Sam and Max, Sam's weapon of choice is a very large revolver, while Max prefers a Luger.
  • Lara gets one in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
  • A steampunk mod for Unreal Tournament featured a revolver with a cylinder consisting of four ordinary revolver cylinders.
  • Colt Anaconda from Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines is the coolest, if not the best firearm in the entire game. Not only does this piece pack the punch of a shotgun (at long range!) but it's also deadly accurate like a sniper rifle and fast. The only drawback is its six-shot cylinder. Oh, and its firing sound is just plain Badass.
    • You can also switch to alternate fire and "fan" a room pretty easily, as long as you don't mind stopping to reload every two seconds.
  • In Persona 3, you know you're screwed if friggin Grim Reaper himself is dual wielding Colt Buntlines! The sound of chains ringing through the hallways are always a good cue for you to run, no matter what level you are.
    • Takaya, leader of Strega, also carries one. He kills Shinjiro with it, and Junpei only survives a round through the chest when Chidori burns her life out with her Healing Hands.
  • In Killzone 2, the Helghast are given the semi-automatic StA18 pistol, a fairly powerful gun with a magazine that slots in under the barrel forward of the trigger assembly. What do the ISA give the good guys as their sidearm in response? The M4 Revolver. A good solid magnum revolver based on the Mateba, with excellent accuracy (to the point that you get a Play Station 3 trophy for scoring three headshots in a row with it) and stopping power.
    • However, the best handgun is a single shot shotgun pistol that looks like a handheld grenade launcher.
  • Russian anime-inspired game Oniblade/X-Blades has protagonist Ayumi using a pair of...things. Each one is a double-barrelled, double-drummed revolver with each emerging on the side of a long blade. Essentially, a pistol grip with a sword in the middle and two guns melded on the side. And she has two of them, one for each hand. And just for extra cool factor, her "gun-blades" can be imbued with fire, lightning or even LIGHT, casing them to both hit and shoot significantly harder. Skills are available to make her shoot significantly faster or cause her bullets to ricochet off enemies, and her light and dark modes can further double her rate of fire AND her speed of melee attacks. The English variant X-Blades also adds gun-blade upgrades into wider blades and bigger guns. Who cares about realism or practicality?
  • The Suffering has revolvers as the second and third (if you count getting a second gun for dual wielding them) weapons. They are not that powerful though, compared to your .45 Thompson.
  • The first two Serious Sam games had him using revolvers with .45 Schofield ammo. Infinite .45 ammo, in fact; the guns were also accurate out to ridiculous ranges, and extremely useful for plinking at distant enemies who weren't aware of Sam or weak ones who were.
  • In Case 3 of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the victim bleeds to death after being shot through the shoulder with a 45-calibre revolver.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2, this is somewhat averted - the weakest pistol in the game is a crappy .38 revolver, and you can purchase or find a .357 Colt, which does a respectable amount of damage, but is slow to fire in a game that really likes suppressive fire, and you can find a semi-automatic pistol that does far more damage than the Colt. In addition, the expansion pack adds in Tex, a Japanese cowboy film fanatic, who uses blinged-out movie prop revolvers. He's good with them, but again, the AP costs.
    • In 1.13, this is played straight. The best handgun you can get is the .357 Satan, which has a low AP cost and takes the heavily damaging AET round. You can also purchase a Raging Bull or a Freedom Arms revolver, both of which fire the .454 Casull round.
  • Very true to its Space Western roots, Borderlands lives this as a creed. Revolvers tend to have a much higher damage than their automatic counterparts (called Repeater Pistols) but also accuracy second only to sniper rifles (if even that) making them well suited to cause critical hit, only furthering their incredible damage. Revolvers are also more prone to come equiped with a blade for melee attacks than any other gun. Some guns that holds less than 12 rounds - from sniper rifles to shotguns to a few of the rocket launchers - use a revolver-style mechanism.
  • In Modern Warfare 2, General Shepherd's weapon of choice is a revolver (a .44 Magnum, to be specific). He uses it to kill Roach & Ghost, and nearly kills Soap with it before Price tackles Shepherd at the last split-second before/as he fires.
    • Which may be a reference to the Saints Row series and its revolver, the .44 Shepherd. Also an example of this trope.
  • Subverted in The Godfather: The Game. Aldo's first gun is a .38 snubnose that is appropriately weak; even after getting the level 3 upgrade with its gold plating and ivory grips, it's still not good for much more than Boom! Headshot!. Meanwhile, the Magnum series may be the strongest handgun, able to match the shotgun for power and initially have better cylinder capacity, but once you get the level 3 upgrades for both you find that the level 3 shotgun, with its 10 rounds per "clip" and 100 round total capacity compared to the 8-80 of the level 3 Magnum, is preferable in a sustained engagement.
  • Skelter Helter, the first boss in No More Heroes 2: Desperate struggle, has a revolver that revolves revolvers. 36 bullets, right? Nope, he never runs out.
  • In Starcraft 2, James Raynor carries a revolver. He has it loaded with one bullet, the loaded chamber rotated away from the barrel, presumably as a safety precaution. It is not intended to be used for combat though, instead Raynor intends to use it on his arch enemy, Dominion Emperor Arcturus Mengsk.
    • However, he ends up using it on his old friend Tychus
  • Revolvers are the only handguns in Alan Wake. Considering there isn't a gunsmith in Bright Falls, however, it makes sense to own a gun that's relatively easy to maintain.
  • Survival Crisis Z has the revolver as the starting weapon of the Doctor class, and a purchasable weapon for everyone else. Interestingly, the main benefits of this weapon aren't it's power (which is only slightly above average), but rather it's plentiful ammo and it's decent firing rate (which can be boosted to machinegun levels with a certain skill).
  • In Star Wars Galaxies, the DE-10 blaster pistol looked like a silver-plated revolver. Rule of Cool is in effect here, since blasters really wouldn't functionally need a rotating chamber.
  • The only sidearm available to the player in Metro 2033 is, curiously enough, a revolver chambered in .44 Magnum (rather out of place in Moscow). Next to the Bastard SMG, it's one of the most ubiquitous guns around. It is more accurate and does more damage per shot than most weapons firing the 5.45 round—justified, since those cartridges are survivor-made 'dirty' rounds and are inferior to proper 5.45 rounds.
    • The semi-automatic shotgun is also a revolver.
  • The first gun found in Bioshock is a six-shot revolver that is somehow loaded by replacing the entire cylinder like a magazine. It's the most basic gun in the game, and deals relatively low damage. Until you upgrade it that is. When fully upgraded, it gains a damage-increasing "ammunition accelerator" and has it's clip size quadrupled by the addition of an extra ammunition attachment. This effectively turns the revolver into a belt-fed, Gauss-revolver.
  • A matter of taste in 7.62 High Calibre: there are a few revolvers in the game. They are always more powerful than comparable handguns (one of the most powerful revolvers is the Garza, which fires 12.7mm rounds, making it almost an order of magnitude more powerful than most handguns), and due to somewhat high manufacturing standards, they tend to be more accurate. However, they suffer from poor balance, low magazine size, lengthy reloading times (no speedloaders) and, most importantly, they shoot very slowly compared to handguns. You can fire three 9mm bullets for every .357 shot from the Colt Python.
  • E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy has 4 different pistols to choose from, the first two (and the weakest) are semi-automatics, the later two are revolvers and to say they are significantly more powerful is an understatement. The strongest of the nbuch, the 444 Bear Killer, can bring down anything from random thugs to power armor wearing cybernetic super soldiers to military grade attack helicopters in less than 4 shots.
  • The HE .44 Magnum from the Resistance series. Not only do the bullets pack a punch, but you can explode them remotely after hitting your target. This allows the player to kill several enemies with one shot.
  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution, the revolver's a heavy hitter from the start, and can be upgraded to fire explosive rounds.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Harry Eastwood of Exterminatus Now uses a .44 revolver, but had it modified to hold seven bullets rather than the usual six.
  • In Suicide for Hire Hunter carries a semiautomatic, but he also has a .44 "Idiot Magnum" for liquifying the heads of particularly moronic clients.
  • Code Name: Hunter has revolvers as common sidearms for agents who prefer guns such as Ruby. Probably because magic wreaks havoc with technology.
    • Though in an early comic magic managed to make a revolver jam, despite its owner's insistence that they never do.
  • In Wapsi Square, Monica's grandpa used to carry a revolver back in the day. Notably, it is the same model that Indiana Jones carried in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Considering that Monica's grandpa was an Adventure Archaeologist who did a bit of Nazi killing in WWII, this was probably a deliberate Shout-Out.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Like Katanas Are Just Better, Survival of the Fittest subverts this. While some characters are given revolvers and do use them, there are far more automatics than revolvers, and the revolvers aren't shown to be that much better than the automatics except for the ones that really do have more stopping power. Even then, though, the smaller magazine capacity is a disadvantage in gunfights. David Jackson trades his highly powerful Smith and Wesson .357 revolver for a slightly weaker Walther P99 for precisely that reason.
  • Chapter 3 of Dead Ends gives the hero Eddie DOC HOLLIDAY'S revolvers!


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Vigilante in Justice League dual-wields revolvers. The one time we see him reload, the chambers are filled with red, and he doesn't put anything in them, suggesting he has Laser Revolvers
  • The revolver is pretty much seen in various classic cartoons (Looney Tunes, Disney, MGM, etc.).


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Ed McGivern set several records on standard Smith & Wesson revolvers. His most famous is to fire five shots into a playing card-sized group in two-fifths of a second. He also shot marbles midair, fired targets that live helpers hung onto, shot targets from vehicles moving at over thirty miles per hour, fired without having a line of vision, shot from the hip and basically got crowds to see him because of his skill. And, to top it off he set several records dual wielding, commonly considered to be one of the least effective tactics in a gunfight. He basically chose the revolver out of preference, but it shows what they can do.
  • Somewhat Truth in Television, because among gun enthusiasts revolvers are known for better reliability, greater accuracy, easier maintenance, and greater stopping power compared to automatics. Particularly with single-action revolvers. Because of basic mechanical designs, the maximum firing speed for a single action revolver is also faster than a conventional semiautomatic, although few people can bring down the gun's hammer fast enough to even match normal semiautomatic firing rates. Of course, these benefits are offset by the small number of bullets, greater recoil, difficulty reloading, and difficulty with faster rates of fire (particularly single action). Double Action is criticized for having two different strengths of trigger pull (depending on whether it's cocked) in one weapon, which for some users creates an ergonomic problem.
  • The revolver in the picture is chambered for .600 Nitro Express. Elephant gun bullets.
  • The Nerf Maverick... What? Hey, it's their best seller! Cheap, has a rail to slap on NERF accessories... problem is, like all nerf guns, it jams if you look at it weird and the cocking mechanism reduces your rate of fire.
  • Averted for United States law enforcement. Ever since some highly publicized deaths of officers killed while they were reloading, almost all now use automatics. The 1986 FBI Miami shootout led to the FBI switching from revolvers to automatics. Most state and local police have done so as well.
  • From Mother Russia comes the MTs-255 - a revolver shotgun.
    • Sort of the case with the Sou'African Striker, where its magazine revolves.
    • From Taurus, we have The Judge, a revolver shotgun in Hand Cannon form. Sadly, it's Awesome but Impractical, as the .410 shotshell it uses is horrible at even medium range, and it's also very inaccurate with .45 Colt rounds. Not to mention it's freakin' expensive.
  • There are hunting models available: just add a scope. Given that pistol rounds are less powerful than their rifle cousins, revolver hunting tends to be much more close-ranged and larger-caliber.
  • Colt's business motto sums it up nicely: "God made men, Colt made them equal"
  • Apparently, George S. Patton believed that Revolvers Are Just Better, for he has been described as carrying a pair of ivory-handled (not pearl, ivory. Patton hated it when people referred to his guns as pearl handled) revolvers. One being a Colt Single Action Army "Peacemaker" (that he used to kill two high-ranking subordinates of Pancho Villa) the other being a Smith & Wesson Model 27 (the original .357 Magnum) that he called his "killing gun".
  • Subverted in long guns. Although the revolver mechanism was fine for handguns, it posed a problem for long guns: without special sealing details, the cylinder produces a gas discharge close to the face (Ouch!) when the weapon is fired from the shoulder, as all long guns are traditionally fired.
    • The Colt Model 1855 Revolving Rifle was a weapon that was shelved almost as soon as it was adopted. What made it a disastrous failure of a weapon was that there was a chance that discharging a round would ignite the gunpowder in all six chambers, blowing off the left hand of anyone who held it like a normal rifle. Soldiers would get around this problem either by holding the loading lever near the trigger (so that it would be out of the way of any accidental discharge) or by having only one loaded chamber at a time. The latter solution rendered the advantage of having a revolving rifle moot.
  • The M32 Multiple Grenade Launcher.
  • True in aircraft weapons where the most popular form of gun armament since WW 2 has been revolver cannons. First invented as a Nazi wonder weapon these cannon use a cylinder with multiple chambers, like those of a revolver handgun, to speed up the loading-firing-ejection cycle. Although unable to achieve the crazy rates of fire of a Gatling gun, cyclic rates of between 1000 and 2000 rounds per minute are not uncommon. Moreover, because the revolver cylinder has a lower inertial mass than the Gatling gun's revolving barrels, the initial rate of fire is often much higher which can prove an advantage in air to air combat.
    • Revolver cannons do have more issues with overheating and barrel wear, though.
  • The Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver, a very clever recoil-operated handgun that (with its six shot capacity, complex mechanism, and high barrel) unfortunately mixed together most of the problems and limitations of each type of gun. What it did do well was to dramatically reduce the recoil the shooter felt. This made it beloved of target shooters who owned it, until the fraternity caught on and introduced a handicap rule. For obvious reasons, it was also one of the first revolvers for which a speed-loader was invented. Originally chambered in .455 British. An eight-shot version in .38 calibre was made, which featured in The Maltese Falcon.
  • The Puckle Gun, a large tripod-mounted revolver cannon, that would fire spherical bullets at Christian enemies and cubical ones at Muslim Turks, "which were considered to be more damaging and would, according to its patent, convince the Turks of the "benefits of Christian civilization".
  • Revolvers are used by several real-life counterterrorism teams, notably the GSG-9 and the GIGN.
  • The earliest revolvers were designed after certain army officers (Paterson, Walker) asked a gun designer named Colt to give them a repeating pistol that could be fired from the saddle, and was capable of taking out horses as well as men. Colt delivered with the Colt Paterson and the Walker Colt, both of which were capable of taking out horses. Also, firing these two hundred year old guns today still provides a fairly decent spread on a target from up to 60 feet away. Revolvers were built to fire accurately, reliably, and powerfully (Horses!)
    • "Reliably" might be an issue, especially with the Walker. These were fairly well-known in the day for burst cylinders (they featured overlength chambers for the front-loaded black powder charge, and apparently, "fill the whole thing up" was not the recommended operation). In addition, they were well-known for jamming if the loading lever wasn't secured to the barrel (often done with a piece of rawhide). The Colt Dragoon later solved the issues with the walker.
  • The Victoria Police Force, of Victoria, Australia, currently issues Smith and Wesson Model 10 revolvers, in .38 Special, and, as of April 2010, is only now slowly being phased it out by the Smith and Wesson M&P auto-loader, in .40 S&W.
    • The Model 10 was known as the Military and Police revolver, so it's almost appropriate that it be replaced by the Military and Police semi-automatic.
  • An old email edition of The Darwin Awards tells the tale of a man who went to prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter. Apparently, he and his brother decided to try playing Russian Roulette, so the man put a semi-automatic to his brother's head and pulled the trigger. Possibly fictitious, given the nature of The Darwin Awards in the early days, but still instructive to certain people.
  1. revolver and needle gun cartridge do not mix, but closely related pinfire cartridge was used
  2. Mechanical does have a better chance of working if its more advanced, just it isn't perfect.
  3. Compare the quote on top of this page, showing off his growth over the years