The Difference between Single Action and Double Action Revolvers

Single Action Revolvers

Single Action revolvers need to be manually cocked by the user before it’ll fire. This is done by drawing back the hammer until it engages the trigger. This helps rotate the cylinder and bring the next chamber into firing position. Once pressure is applied to the trigger, the revolver will fire.

Double Action Revolvers

Double Action revolvers are slightly different. It has to be cocked by pulling the trigger. Once this is done, the cylinder will rotate and will bring the chamber into the axis of the barrel. This is because the trigger elevates the hammer into firing position and the hammer is immediately released from the trigger.

Some of the double action revolvers today are dual action only. And some can be cocked just like a single action revolver.

One of the most famous characters in the Wild West, Billy the Kid, was using a double action revolver, particularly the Colt 1877 Thunderer.

Pros VS Cons

As you might already know, double action revolvers are loaded faster than single action revolvers. Reloading is done by swinging the cylinder out of the gun frame and hand loading the ammunition.

Reloading single action revolvers, on the other hand, is slower. This is because it takes more action before the firearm will be ready to engage. Still, the advantage of single action revolvers is their weight. Because they weigh less than a double action, they are easier to fire and accuracy is most usually high, as compared to a double action.