Skip to Content

Can Revolvers Be Semi-Automatic? What You Need To Know

If you are looking for a new gun or an upgrade on your old one, you will surely come across revolvers. Revolvers are larger and heavier guns that are highly effective, and thus, make them a very popular option for people with experience using guns. However, you may be wondering – can revolvers be semi-automatic?

Revolvers are not semi-automatic weapons like semi-automatic handguns. Revolvers have a revolving chamber, and unlike semi-automatic guns, revolvers need to be chambered and fired individually every time. Revolvers can be turned into semi-automatic guns by applying an auto-sear device.

Revolvers are not originally designed to be semi-automatic guns, but there are devices available that allow you to make a revolver into a semi-automatic gun. To learn more about revolvers and how they can be semi-automatic guns, continue reading below.

Can A Revolver Be a Semi-Automatic Gun?

A standard revolver is a manual gun rather than a semi-automatic gun, which means it is designed with a single barrel. The revolver gun gets its name from the revolving cylinder, which contains firing chambers that you can load the cartridges into.

Then, when you want to shoot a revolver, it will need to be cocked, and you can pull the trigger – which needs to be done every time you wish to shoot.

In comparison, a semi-automatic gun is designed to automatically reload its chamber, which allows for continuous firing after you have pulled the trigger.

Generally, you can fit more ammunition into a semi-automatic gun than a revolver. There are some distinct differences between revolvers and semi-automatic guns that are summed up in the following table.

Tend to be heavier, which many people prefer.Semi-automatics are lighter guns that can make handling harder.
You need to manually reload revolvers to shoot.Semi-automatics can fire multiple rounds without needing to be reloaded.
Revolvers have fewer moving parts and, as such, tend to be easier to use.Semi-automatics have more variable parts and can have more issues breaking.
Have smaller chambers with less ammunition being inside.Semi-automatics generally allow for more ammunition for consistent firing.
Revolvers take much longer to reload due to the manual mechanism.Semi-automatics are helpful for fast and repetitive shooting since they don’t need to be regularly reloaded.

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.

There are many distinct differences between revolvers and semi-automatics, with neither gun being superior to the other. However, there are a lot of components that attract people to revolvers, especially when they realize that you can enjoy the benefits of revolvers with a semi-automatic mechanism.

Here’s a good video showing the differences between revolvers and semi-automatics:

Can I Make a Revolver A Semi-Automatic?

Even though revolvers are not originally designed to be a semi-automatic gun, it is actually possible and relatively easy to make them into one. A small plastic or metal device called an auto sear that you can apply to the back of your revolver, which allows it to become a semi-automatic or automatic gun.

By using an auto-sear to your revolver, you will be able to fire multiple times from the trigger.

However, even though auto sears are possible to purchase, they are strictly regulated and require a special license in most states and at the federal level.

If you do wish to make your revolver a semi-automatic, it is absolutely possible and usually relatively cheap to do so. Just make sure to check out the laws and regulations for your individual state to ensure you are permitted to use an auto-sear first.

Is A Double Action Revolver Considered a Semi-Automatic?

When looking at revolvers, there are two main types: single-action and double-action. Single-action and double-action revolvers are both still types of revolver guns, but there is a difference between the two types:

Single action revolvers

Single-action revolvers are easily defined in their name – a single action. In order to use a single-action revolver, you only need to drop the hammer, which in turn, fires the round – requiring only one action to shoot.

Double-action revolvers

In comparison, a double-action revolver performs a dual function when the trigger is pulled. The trigger in a double-action revolver simultaneously cocks the hammer and releases it in a single shot.

Is a double-action revolver considered semi-automatic?

In short, no, a double-action revolver is not regarded as semi-automatic. This is because a double-action revolver still requires you to pull the trigger to load every individual shot rather than allowing you to automatically or semi-automatically shoot numerous times.

In comparison, a semi-automatic is a semi-automatic as it does not require you to load the gun continuously, but they do require you to pull the trigger for every individual shot still.

However, it is possible to turn a double-action revolver into a semi-automatic one like with a single-action revolver.

Similarly, as before, a plastic or metal device called an auto-sear can be applied to the back of your double-action revolver to turn it into a semi-automatic, and then allows you to have a double-action, semi-automatic revolver.

Should I Use an Auto-sear On My Revolver?

Whether or not you turn your revolver into a semi-automatic gun with an auto-sear largely depends on the state you live in.

Many countries and states have banned the use of auto-sears as well as semi-automatic and automatic guns, meaning putting an auto-sear on your revolver will not be possible. However, if you wish to do this, it is recommended to check with your individual state or country’s laws, as they vary from place to place.

Suppose you are permitted to place an auto-sear on your revolver. In that case, this is a fantastic and inexpensive way to turn your revolver into a semi-automatic while still enjoying the pros associated with owning a revolver over an actual semi-automatic gun.

Whether or not you want to turn your revolver into a semi-automatic gun is a personal choice, as long as it is one made in line with the law.

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.


Generally, a revolver is not a semi-automatic gun; however, as mentioned previously, it is possible to make a revolver into a semi-automatic gun.

Whichever you choose to do, ensure that you always follow the correct licensing requirements and laws for your country and then you are free to use your revolver or semi-automatic revolver for your personal use.