How to Disassemble a Revolver

by Mark Morris ; Updated October 25, 2017

Learning to maintain a weapon is essential to safe usage.

revolver image by AGphotographer from

While the use of guns is a highly debated topic in our society, one thing is clear. Anyone who is going to use a gun should be familiar with how the weapon works. Disassembling a small weapon, such as a revolver is a project that most gun owners can complete successfully. It allows for thorough cleaning and the chance to see exactly how the weapon works. The parts and procedures will be very similar for any small revolver. One of the most common revolvers in use today is the .38 caliber. The quintessential .38 revolver is the .38 Special Smith and Wesson.

Engage the revolver's safety, located to the left of the trigger. Press the thumb release on the left of the weapon to tilt the cylinder out. Check for any live ammunition or spent shells. Discard any shells from the cylinder. Tilt the cylinder back into place.

Remove the sides of the pistol grip. Locate the screws in the stocks, or side plates, of the pistol grip, or handle. Use a screwdriver to remove these screws, turning counterclockwise. Lift the stocks from the grip. Repeat with the grip on the opposite side of the weapon.

Push forward on the thumb release, located on the left side of the weapon, just below the hammer, to unlatch the cylinder. Tip the cylinder out gently to the left to expose the yoke, or hinge which supports the cylinder.

Locate and remove the side plate screw directly under the cylinder, which retains the cylinder yoke. Pull forward on the cylinder ejector (a small round knob under the barrel) gently to release the yoke and pull the cylinder away from the gun.

Remove the side plates. Use a screwdriver to remove the remaining three screws in the side plate. Gently lift the plate from the gun, excessive pressure can bend the thin metal.

Locate the rebound slide, situated directly behind the trigger. Check the pin at the top of this slide, if there is a block over it, pry it out gently with a small, flat screwdriver. Pull the hammer out 1/4 inch toward the rear of the weapon. Slide the rebound slide out and pull the hammer completely free of the revolver.

Reassemble the weapon by reinserting the hammer, slipping the slide back into position and replacing the block on the rebound slide. Attach the side plate with the last three screws you removed, reinsert the cylinder, install the final screw. Finally, reinstall the stocks to the sides of the grip.


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About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.