Defensive Revolver Fundamentals Review: Your First Stop on Learning Wheelguns

Carrying a revolver for self-defense may seem like an anachronism in the modern world. A revolver tends to be harder for many people to shoot than a striker-fired pistol. For a similar size, a wheel gun tends to hold less ammunition. Yet, there are many people who choose to carry a revolver for self-defense.

I’m one of them.

Defensive Revolver Fundamentals is a book that is focused just on the skills and tactics to best employ a revolver for personal protection. Written by Grant Cunningham, an expert on revolvers, the book examines everything from mastering the double-action pull to realistic training.

I’m familiar with Cunningham’s work, so I was eager to read and review this book. Now that I have, let’s talk about it.

General Information

Defensive Revolver Fundamentals covers a wide range of topics. I found the reading easy for beginners to dive into while experienced shooters will also be drawn in. The chapters start with why we train and for what. From there, Cunningham moves into the operation of the revolver. Finally, the author takes you to the real meat of the book: using it for self-defense.

While many of the fundamentals of shooting a handgun are similar between revolvers and pistols, there are ways to optimize your techniques for the wheelgun. Cunningham takes the time to show you what works best for the revolver including how to best grip the gun, control the trigger and efficiently reload the cylinder.

Cunningham’s sections on the use of the gun in personal protection make up the majority of the book. He covers drawing the revolver from various positions, dealing with multiple threats, making the decision to shoot and how to keep your revolver training realistic.

Defensive Revolver Fundamentals sample

There is a lot of information to digest. Even though I found the book easy to read, I also found myself going back over certain pages and chapters to make sure I really digested the information presented. I also made liberal use of a highlighter to help me find the points I wanted to come back to in the future.

Defensive Revolver Fundamentals is a 238-page book published by Gun Digest Books. Pages in the book are of an inexpensive pulp material with black print that is crisper than I’ve seen on similar paper types.

All of the interior photos are black and white. However, they stand out in comparison to similar books as they are clear and well exposed. The photos in this book do an excellent job of illustrating the points made in the text.

photography in Defensive Revolver Fundamentals

I’ve found offerings from Gun Digest Books to be hit and miss. Some of the company’s books, like the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, Cartridges of the World and Deadly Force, to be excellent. Other of the company’s publications, like the Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15 and the Standard Catalog of Remington Firearms, are just plain awful.

I think the key to Gun Digest Books publications is the amount of effort the author puts into the work. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Cunningham, and find him to be thoughtful and thorough in everything he does. I expect that is one of the reasons why this book stands out in the Gun Digest Books catalog.

Who Is Grant Cunningham?

Cunningham is a true revolver aficionado. In an era that many shooters have never shot a wheel gun, Cunningham is a bit of bright light in a dark forest of plastic pistols.

Grant Cunningham at NRA Show

Cunningham is a much sought-after revolver smith, providing work on Ruger, Colt and Smith & Wesson guns. Kimber called on Cunningham as an advisor when the company decided to jump into the wheelgun market. The result is the popular K6 line of revolvers.

He is also a firearms instructor who provides defensive shooting courses that focus on realistic training for probable scenarios. He is not a weekend fantasy gun camp instructor, and I would not recommend showing up to one of his concealed carry classes in full battle rattle.

While I have not taken one of his classes, I have had an opportunity to observe one of his classes while I was researching information for another article. I observed Cunningham was a professional instructor who treated everyone with respect. He encouraged questions and was able to explain concepts behind techniques. Cunningham clearly understood both what he was teaching and why he was teaching it.

Based on what I observed of his teaching, I feel comfortable recommending his classes to everyone.

Final Thoughts

If you choose to carry a revolver for self-defense, I consider this book one of the top titles to pick up and study. This applies whether you carry a wheel gun as a backup or just occasionally. Even if you are squared away on dealing with self-defense situations, this book can help you improve your efficiency quite a bit with a revolver.

If you carry a wheel gun, I recommend buying Defensive Revolver Fundamentals. Also, I strongly suggest taking one of his classes if you have the opportunity. It is likely to be some of the best money you could spend on firearms training.

Last Update: July 30, 2021


All of my reviews on include disclosure of all potential biases. Don’t you wish that was standard practice online?

Although I know Cunningham, I purchased this book with my own money. A copy of the receipt is below. I was not reimbursed for the purchase nor received any kind of discount on the purchase.

Grant Cunningham Book Review

Neither Cunningham nor Gun Digest asked me to review the book. No monies were offered or exchanged for this review or any of my gun book reviews. This is not a sponsored article (i.e. paid advertisement.)

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