Pistols and revolvers each have their own advantages and disadvantages. This article discusses the pros and cons of each type of handgun:

Pistols

A springfield XD pistol
Generally speaking, a semiautomatic pistol is a handgun where the magazine slides into the grip of the gun, and some of the energy from firing the gun is used to eject the spent cartridge and load a fresh one. Compared to revolvers, pistols have the benefits of a larger magazine capacity (often as high as 15 rounds on larger pistols), easier trigger pull, faster rate of fire, and a more compact shape. On the down side, pistols are not as mechanically simple as revolvers, and rely upon the first round firing successfully in order for the second round to be cycled into the chamber. This means that revolvers may be better suited for self defense, at least for people who don’t take meticulous care of their guns. That said, the reliability of modern pistols is exceptionally high.

Revolvers

The Taurus Judge - a revolver
Revolvers have multiple chambers contained in a cylinder, each which holds a round. When the trigger is pulled, the cylinder rotates and a new chamber is lined up with the barrel. The gun then fires. This system has various advantages and disadvantages over a pistol. First, a revolver is very mechanically simple, and there is little that can go wrong with the firing process. This means a revolver may be a good choice for self defense, especially for those who don’t clean and care for their guns as often as they should. On the down side, revolvers tend to be bulkier than pistols, heavier than pistols, and tend to hold fewer rounds. Additionally, many of the safety features available on modern pistols are not available on revolvers.

No matter which type of gun you select, be sure to handle it safely, store your gun safely, and practice firing it often. The level of responsibility and skill that the use demonstrates matter more than the specific pros and cons of the gun itself.