Do Revolvers Have Safety? | Transfer Bars and Hammer Blocks Explained

Revolvers, a staple in firearms history, have undergone significant evolutionary changes to incorporate safety features. But do revolvers have safety nowadays that is enough to make you secure? 

Originally lacking a safety switch, early revolvers relied on leaving an empty chamber as a preventive measure against accidental firing.

In my recent exploration of modern firearm designs, I found that contemporary versions and reproductions of revolvers come with enhanced safety features like transfer bars and hammer blocks. 

These smart integrations ensure the hammer only connects with the cartridge when the trigger is completely engaged. So, for someone like me who prioritizes safety, it's reassuring to know that risks of accidental firing from drops or mishandling are substantially reduced.

With responsible handgun handling practices and by following safety protocols, revolvers are widely recognized as safe firearms for various purposes including self-defense.

Key Takeaways:

  • Revolvers were developed before the safety switch, relying on leaving an empty chamber to prevent accidental firing.
  • Modern revolvers have built-in safety features such as transfer bars and hammer blocks to prevent accidental discharge by impact.
  • Responsible gun handling and safe technique eliminate risks of harm with revolvers.
  • Revolvers are known for their reliability due to their simple mechanics and are considered reliable pistols for self-defense and other purposes.

Why Do Revolvers Not Have Safety?

The absence of a safety switch in revolvers can be attributed to their reliance on other built-in safety features and the traditional practice of leaving an empty chamber to prevent accidental firing. Based on my experience and observations, unlike some modern pistols that feature manual safeties or external safety switches, revolvers do not typically have these mechanisms. 

During my deep dive into firearm safety, I learned that rather than using traditional methods, best new revolvers have adopted alternative safety protocols like hammer blocks and transfer bars. 

I found it interesting that these parts ensure the hammer doesn't impact the cartridge unless the trigger is completely engaged. It's reassuring for someone like me to know that the odds of an accidental discharge, say from an unexpected drop, are slim with these contemporary revolver designs.

I should also mention that while revolvers may lack a conventional safety switch, they are still considered safe firearms when handled responsibly. The presence of hammer blocks and transfer bars significantly reduces the risk of accidental discharge under normal circumstances. 

However, you should also know that older or heavily worn revolvers may have an increased potential for malfunctions and unintended firing.

Are Revolvers Safe Guns?

Considered reliable firearms, revolvers are equipped with safety features that prevent accidental discharge. I can confidently state that these safety features ensure the revolver won’t fire unless the trigger is intentionally pulled. Here are three key safety features found in modern revolvers:

1. Trigger Pull: Revolvers require a deliberate and intentional pull of the trigger to initiate firing. This ensures that accidental discharges due to unintended bumps or mishandling do not occur.

2. Grip Safety: Some revolvers have a grip safety feature where the gun can only be fired when held firmly in hand. If the grip is released or loosened, it prevents the trigger from being engaged.

3. Mechanical Safety: Many revolvers also incorporate mechanical safeties such as transfer bars or hammer blocks. These mechanisms physically block the hammer from striking the cartridge until the trigger is fully pressed.

From my own usage, research, and understanding, I've realized that even though these safety features significantly reduce accidental discharge risks, there's no substitute for responsible gun handling. 

It's a reminder to myself and others that to guarantee the highest level of safety, best practices in firearm handling should always be the norm.

Will a Revolver Go Off if Dropped?

From my own experience, I've gathered that simply trusting safety features isn't enough to ensure a dropped revolver won't fire. Even though the latest revolvers come equipped with advanced mechanisms like thumb safeties and drop safeties, there's always that lingering chance of an accidental discharge. 

It's a stark reminder to always handle firearms with utmost caution. 

Safety issues can arise particularly in double-action revolvers, which lack external safeties. Even with built-in safety mechanisms, the risk of negligent discharges remains if proper handling and precautions are not followed.

Having handled firearms and delved into their mechanisms firsthand, I can say that relying solely on safety features can be misleading. 

I've observed that despite the advanced thumb safeties and drop safeties in new-age revolvers, the threat of an accidental discharge isn't entirely erased. Every time I handle one, it serves as a potent reminder of the caution that's imperative with firearms.

However, it is important to note that no safety mechanism is foolproof. In certain circumstances, a dropped revolver can discharge despite these precautions. Factors such as wear and tear or irregular cleaning of your revolver may compromise the effectiveness of these safety features.

Negligent Discharges

The risk of unintentional firing incidents can be minimized through responsible gun handling practices and by following established firearm safety rules.

- Accidental discharges pose significant safety risks, both to the person holding the firearm and others in close proximity.

- Revolvers have evolved over time to incorporate various safety features that help prevent unintended firing.

- One such advancement in revolver safety is the inclusion of a transfer bar or hammer block mechanism. This feature ensures that the hammer cannot strike the cartridge unless the trigger is fully pressed.

From the time I've spent exploring firearm safety, I've come to appreciate how these modern safety measures have drastically decreased the chances of unintended discharges, especially when I compare them to the older revolvers I've come across. Yet, one thing stands out: no matter the advancements, responsible gun handling is the bedrock of safety. 

Some golden rules I always follow include treating every gun as loaded, ensuring my finger stays off the trigger until I'm set to shoot, and making a conscious effort never to aim at something I don't intend to hit. These practices have become second nature in my journey of responsible firearm handling.


Misfires in firearms can pose potential safety risks, especially in situations that require quick firing capabilities. When it comes to revolvers, they offer a certain level of safety due to their design and firing mechanism. 

Closeup of a revolver with one bullet

Unlike pistols, where the defective cartridge needs to be ejected first, with a revolver, all you need to do if a misfire occurs is rotate to the next chamber. This eliminates the need for immediate action to clear the malfunction.

In my encounters with modern firearms, I've observed that revolvers now come with several passive safeties against accidental firing. They've got trigger guards, which I find crucial, to deter unintended pulls. The safety lever bar also ensures the hammer only acts when the trigger's fully pressed. 

And not to forget the hammer block, which serves as an extra shield by restricting the hammer's movement. These features emphasize the commitment to firearm safety, which I've come to respect immensely.

By incorporating these passive safeties into their design, revolvers provide an added layer of protection against misfires and accidental discharges. However, you should remember that responsible gun handling and obedience to proper training are still essential in ensuring overall firearm safety.

Training and Use

Training and use of firearms require you to develop a thorough understanding of proper handling techniques, responsible ownership, and compliance to safety protocols. When it comes to revolvers, there are two main types: double action revolvers and single action revolvers. Proper training is essential for individuals using either type of revolver.

During my time with firearms, I've learned that with double-action revolvers, one trigger pulls both cocks and releases the hammer, negating manual cocking. In contrast, single-action revolvers need a manual hammer cock for each shot. It's intriguing how these mechanisms differ.

While some modern revolvers may have a safety catch as an additional precautionary measure, many older models lack this feature. In these cases, responsible gun handling becomes even more critical. You should also remember that safe firearm usage does not solely rely on having a safety mechanism in place.

Closeup of a revolver in person's hands

Do Hammerless Revolvers Have Safety?

Hammerless revolvers incorporate internal mechanisms that function as safety features, ensuring the prevention of accidental discharges. Unlike double-action and single-action revolvers, which have external hammers that require manual operation to fire a round, hammerless revolvers offer enhanced safety by eliminating the need for an external hammer. 

Instead, these revolvers utilize trigger safeties and other internal mechanisms to prevent accidental firing.

Hammerless revolvers caught my attention for their unique safety feature: the transfer bar system. This intricate mechanism ensures the firing pin only makes contact with the primer when the trigger is completely pressed. Thanks to this design, it greatly reduces mishaps from unintentional or incomplete trigger pulls.

Another common safety mechanism in hammerless revolvers is the firing pin block. This device prevents forward movement of the firing pin unless you engage it by pressing the trigger all the way back. This added layer of safety further reduces any chance of accidental discharges.

These internal safety features not only provide peace of mind for users but also contribute to safe firearm handling practices. They serve as a reminder to always keep fingers off triggers until ready to shoot a revolver and ensure firearms are stored securely and unloaded when not in use.

What are the “safety” features of a hammerless revolver?

When discussing the safety features of a hammerless revolver, it is important to consider the role of the trigger, hammer block, and transfer bar.

These components work together to prevent accidental discharge and ensure safe usage of the firearm.

A revolver

The trigger serves as an essential mechanism that must be fully pressed for the transfer bar or hammer block to drop, thus allowing the hammer to strike the cartridge.


The trigger of a hammerless revolver requires a long double-action pull, which involves both cocking the gun and releasing the hammer. This double-action trigger mechanism is characteristic of many modern double-action revolvers.

Having spent time handling various firearms, I've noticed that a heavy trigger pull weight acts as a built-in safety measure. It demands a conscious, forceful squeeze, adding an extra safety layer I've come to appreciate. 

While I've heard some argue that such triggers feel bulky or aren't as smooth as single-action ones or those in semi-automatics, for me, it's a comforting reassurance that the gun won't just go off unexpectedly.

However, it is important to note that relying solely on the heavy trigger pull is not considered a true safety measure in revolvers. Instead, modern double-action revolvers incorporate additional safety features such as hammer blocks or transfer bars to prevent accidental firing when dropped or jarred.

A revolver trigger detail

Hammer block or transfer bar

This discussion will focus on the subtopic of transfer bar issues in revolvers.

Transfer bars are a safety feature designed to prevent accidental discharge by ensuring that the hammer cannot strike the cartridge unless the trigger is fully pressed.

From my perspective, while acknowledging the merits of transfer bars, it's vital to delve into potential concerns or issues surrounding them. This helps evaluate how effective and dependable they are in averting accidental shots.

Transfer Bar Issues

In my experience with double-action revolvers, I've seen misfires happen when the transfer-bar system isn't managed properly. The transfer bar might shift if the revolver's balance shifts and my finger slips off the trigger mid-action. 

This can lead to the hammer dropping without setting off the cartridge in the chamber. It's a scenario that underscored the importance of careful handling.

It is important you handle and position the trigger finger properly to prevent such misfires. You must understand these potential issues to enhance safety when using a revolver.

What is the point of a hammerless revolver?

Double-action revolvers have been a popular choice for self-defense and other purposes due to their reliability and simplicity.

A revolver and the bullets on the red surface

However, the question of whether double-action revolvers have a safety mechanism is often debated.

Having explored the intricacies of modern revolvers, I've noted that while they might lack the old-school manual safety switch, they aren't without their safety nets. 

Features like transfer bars and hammer blocks are seamlessly integrated, providing assurance against unintentional discharges. It's an evolution in design I genuinely appreciate.

Do double-action revolvers have a safety?

From my observations of contemporary double-action revolvers, it's clear that many don't have an external safety feature. They bank more on the user's trigger discipline to avert unintentional shots. 

This design philosophy resonates with a belief I've often encountered: that firearm ownership intertwines with individual freedom and responsibility. It's a perspective that's made me ponder deeper about gun handling.

The absence of an external safety means that the trigger is the only mechanism preventing unintentional firing. It places the burden of safety on the user, emphasizing the importance of proper gun handling techniques and adherence to the rules of gun safety.

Even though modern revolvers miss the old-school safety switch, they compensate with internal safety mechanisms. I've been reassured by features like hammer blocks and transfer bars, which guard against unintentional shots if the firearm is dropped or jolted. 

These designs make sure the firing pin only connects when the trigger's fully engaged, all while preserving the simplicity and dependability that drew me to double-action revolvers in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do revolvers not have safety?

Revolvers do not have safety because early designs relied on leaving an empty chamber to prevent accidental firing. However, modern revolvers have built-in safety features such as transfer bars and hammer blocks to prevent accidental discharge.

Are revolvers safe guns?

Yes, revolvers are exceptionally safe guns due to their built-in safety features and the way revolvers work. Modern revolvers utilize transfer bars and hammer blocks to prevent accidental discharge, making them reliable and trusted weapons for self-defense and other purposes.

Will a revolver go off if dropped?

No, a dropped revolver is unlikely to discharge due to its built-in safety features, such as transfer bars and hammer blocks. However, old or heavily worn revolvers may have an increased risk of accidental discharge.

What are negligent discharges?

Negligent discharges refer to unintentional firing of a firearm due to careless or irresponsible handling. For example, mishandling a loaded revolver by touching the trigger without intending to shoot can lead to a negligent discharge, potentially causing harm or injury.

What is the point of a hammerless revolver?

The purpose of a hammerless revolver is to provide a concealed carry firearm with reduced risk of snagging on clothing. It eliminates the external hammer, making it smoother and more compact for easy and discreet carrying.


In conclusion, revolvers have evolved to include safety features such as transfer bars and hammer blocks, making them safe to own and use.

While old or worn revolvers may have a higher risk of accidental discharge, responsible gun handling and adherence to safety rules can mitigate this risk.

In my experience with firearms, I've found revolvers dependable for self-defense, largely owing to their straightforward mechanics without needing a spring-loaded magazine.

Trusting in the reliability of revolvers is like having an ace up your sleeve when it comes to personal protection.

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