Mom shoots intruder: Is a 6 shot revolver enough?

The clip below is about a mom that hid in the attic with her 9 year or twins as an ex convict broke into their home.

In the dramatic audio we hear the husband instruct his wife to shoot as he taught her. The woman shoots the intruder as he enters the attic, hitting him 5 times in the face and neck with her 38 special revolver. The intruder escapes, goes back to his vehicle and crashes near by due to blood loss. He is captured by the authorities and expected to survive.

One of the most common discussions among firearms enthusiasts regarding self-defense is how many rounds do you need and what caliber should it be.

This story is in fact a great piece to analyze and explain what happens in real life.

Was the 38 revolver enough?


Enough to dissuade the intruder? Yes it was. It saved the woman’s life because five of those six shots made the bad buy change his mind. But it did not stop him. The man was still able to exit the house and drive. Had he been armed or more determined to cause harm he might have been able to do so.

We often hear that six rounds is more than enough because the average gunfight is 2-3 rounds….

Well, no. Those statistics often include everything from homicides to suicides and certainly are a poor representation of what actually happens during violent confrontations, even more so when it involves multiple attackers.

You see, this woman was effectively out of ammunition in this situation. She shot all 6 rounds in her revolver.  If there had been another attack with the will to fight, she would have been unarmed. In fact she didn’t have enough ammo left to effectively stop the one intruder she did shoot 5 times already. Sometimes things work out, but sometimes they don’t and we can’t plan on being lucky.

Was 38 enough? 5 shots in the face and neck is more than what most shooters can hope for in a gunfight. Clearly none of them were direct hits in critical parts of the anatomy but it is safe to say that a more powerful round (or maybe better 38 ammo) would have performed better. 357 magnum rates considerably better than 38 regarding one shot stops. The recoil is also more powerful and not everyone is comfortable with it.

A revolver is an excellent choice for shooters than won’t be training much and may get confused with the somewhat more intricate manual of arms of auto pistols. 38 special will work within its limitations (and it certainly did in this case) but 357 magnum is preferable if at all possible. Keep in mind that a person that isn’t comfortable with the blast and recoil of a magnum may hardly notice any of it under stress during a confrontation, even if back at the range it was more of a problem.

My advice still remains the same. For anyone that will put into it the necessary training to be proficient with a firearm, take a defensive shooting class and practice with certain frequency then a Glock in 9mm (or bigger) loaded with good ammo is certainly the way to go. For the person that wont go beyond the basic firearms safety handling, then a revolver is more simple to use, less prone to confusion when handled under stress and it is still far better than being unarmed.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”


Mom shoots intruder: Is a 6 shot revolver enough? — 3 Comments

  1. Hi ferfal, Big fan here. I purchased a sp101 357 for my wife, for your abov stated reasons. With that said my choice of ammo is 38+p . Not too snappy, yet hard hitting. In her case I find the benefit of point pull trigger, in a high stress situation to out weigh more high capacity options. Thank for your efforts.

    • Thanks. Yes, its a good choice. For people that do lots of tactical shooting you clearly want an auto but for keeping it simple home defense you cant go wrong with a revolver.

  2. 2 Revolvers. New York Reload. Darned near as simple and reliable ( raid 1 layout 🙂 ) as can be.

    The old school way of training for proficiency at fast, tactical revolver reloads, strikes me as of the past. The whole speedloader drill simply requires so much training to get reliably good at, that you may as well train to run an auto, if you’re starting from scratch.

    But having two revolvers, say one 6-8 shot 3 incher carried when you can, in addition to a J Frame sized snub that is carried ALLWAYS ( shelf higher up than shower head or watertight box in the shower…. 🙂 ), does still have a good bit recommending it.

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