Beating Back the Trigger Snatch Demon with Wheelguns

Ken Hackathorn’s Take: Sage Wisdom From The Grandfather Of The Gun Industry
By Ken Hackathorn for M4Carbine.Net

Smith & Wesson M586 Revolver
Smith & Wesson M586 Revolver is one of the best all time wheelguns available.
Ken Hackathorn
Ken Hackathorn

Strasburg, OH – -( Most of the shooting problems I see over the years with most handgun shooters is that they have trigger snatch problems.

This is most evident in right handed shooters with their shots striking low and left.

Left handers will see their rounds going low and right. If they shoot slowly and carefully it doesn’t seem to be as bad. There are a various ways to work on overcoming this trigger manipulation flaw, but one technique that I favor is to practice shooting a double action revolver.

I happen to love wheelguns, grew up with them and learned to shoot a handgun with a S&W K22. My first issue LE sidearm was a S&W MP M10, and I find that learning to stroke the double action trigger while keeping the sights aligned is good therapy. Practice shooting a wheelgun double action only, do the same drills you shoot with your autoloader. Try to shoot at the same speed /rate of fire and you will usually learn that sight alignment while reaching sear release is easy to achieve.

S&W M&P M10 Revolver
S&W M&P M10 Revolver

If you suffer from the sights on target…NOW…trigger jerk, using this technique with a DA trigger revolver will produce shots off target and dismal results on the range. Practice sight alignment as you press the long trigger pull to the rear with your favorite revolver from time to time, the results will be rewarding. I typically keep a S&W 4″ M66 in my range bag and shoot it 12 to 24 rounds on various speed drills.

If you can run a wheelgun with a 10 to 12 pound long trigger pull, your Glock, S&W M&P, 1911, or other favorite auto blaster will seem like a gift. I note that many of today’s ‘gunners‘ own only one revolver in the form of a 2″ J frame S&W. It is their pocket gun of choice. Watch the used gun rack at your favorite gun store. There are some really good older S&W service revolvers available from time to time.

The M10, M15, and M19 plus their stainless steel counterparts make great shooting revolvers. The M586/686 is one of the best all time wheelguns available. Colt revolvers have double action trigger pulls that suck, and typically go out of time quickly if subjected to fast DA shooting. Ruger GP100 revolvers are great, aside from the fact that they come with an extractor stroke that will not eject .38 special brass.

They are great wheelguns that will slick up to give nice DA triggers.

I have one of the newer GP100 ‘Match Champion’ 357mags. It uses L frame speed loaders and will eat heavy 357 ammo all day long.

Ruger GP100 Match Champion 6 Shot Revolver
Ruger GP100 Match Champion 6 Shot Revolver

I shoot mostly .38 special ammo in it. If you are looking to buy a new DA wheelgun, the GP100 is worth a look. Many of the new generation gunners look down their nose at revolvers. I know that few folks would choose one for self defense over any of the current auto loaders, but they are a joy to shoot. Most importantly they can help you keep the ‘trigger snatch demon‘ at bay.

The handgun you are handed in an emergency or have to pick up off the street may not always be your favorite. Better know how to run a wheelgun if that is all that is available.


-Ken Hackathorn

View Ken’s training schedule by clicking here.

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I have the Ruger GP100 Match Champion and just wanted to say that it is not perfect and there are better revolvers to be had but not for the same money. She is easy to run and easier to look at, more on target than my old ass. The gun feels good in the hand and recoil is not an issue. I have a grand old 6 inch python that is also a fine shooter but I find more enjoyment in the GP100. I have a few nice pistols in semi-auto but the real joy of shooting is in running… Read more »


One point Mr. Hachathorn did not mention is that it is important to purchase a used M586 as opposed to a 586 S&W. The “M” is for modified. The 586 can freeze when you are shooting hot magnum rounds and is very hard to clear with the spent casing jammed – the weapon is totally useless until cleared. A recall was issued to repair the defect around 1988. Repaired revolvers and newly manufactured ones were denoted with an “M”. I purchased mine in 1986, and have had a few problems with it, but I normally shoot 0.38’s. they are not… Read more »

TSgt B

And is it just me, or does this M586 look “bent”?

TSgt B

Aside from a properly customized Colt 1991-A1 Compact, my favorite handgun of all time is definitely a S&W K frame .357. I have several, all of which are at least 25 years old, and they have the finest, smoothest actions out of the box of any revolver. I run mostly .38 +P for defensive use, with a speedloader or 2 charged with full-house .357 defense/tactical loads. If you properly maintain them, don’t shoot too much full-house .357, and PRACTICE, you’ll be far from naked if you ever have to attend to serious social behavioral modification activities.


Living up to your rep, I see.
Ken –
Perfect. The best way to gain trigger control/sight alignment is to begin with a quality double action revolver, dry firing repetitions ad infinitum, until you can squeeze the trigger and the sights don’t move.
Once you master that, the rest is cake.


Ken, you wrote, “Ruger GP100 revolvers are great, aside from the fact that they come with an extractor stroke that will not eject .38 special brass.” I used to compete with the Oregon county possies. I shot 38 special that I reloaded (around 3 grain of powder) using my favorite gun, the GP100. The competition was a relaxed shoot requiring the competitor to reload at least once from each position using speed loaders. I never had a problem with the GP100 ejecting the spent brass. The only modification I did to the gun was to slightly round off the edges… Read more »


I think Ken may have erred and been referring to 357 Magnum cases which do not always reliably eject from the GP100 cylinder. The longer the case and hotter the load the bigger the problem. My GP100s are tuned for competition and hunting and have many thousands of rounds through them with both 38 Special and 357 Magnum. They haven’t changed their ejection habits in more than two decades of shooting. Regardless of chamber chamfering and polishing 357 Magnums still will not always eject, whereas 38 Specials will.


Revolvers will ‘digest’ any ammunition you feed them. Not so with semi-auto pistols.


Less likely for a wheel gun to jam or have loading problems. They can be fired just as fast as a semi-auto. They can be reloaded nearly as fast as a semi-auto with old fashioned speed loaders.


My S&W M-19 2.5″ bbl. .357 mag is very fine weapon that I will never depart with until I’m dead. Very accurate,very dependable.I conceal carry my Colt New Agent 45ACP. Texas just passed open carry and it’s possible that Smith and Wesson might be on my hip in certain situations.