Ruger SP101 357 Mag, 2.25" w/Compact LasergripsRuger SP101 357 Mag, 2.25″ w/Compact Lasergrips

 Tred Law writes [via Ammoland.com]

I love revolvers as they are a tried and true design, simple to use and easy to maintain, with just enough capacity and caliber to get the job done. I am asked all the time by my students, What’s the best Revolver for concealed carry?” So I came up with my top five picks on the Best Concealed Carry Revolvers for reliable self defense. Here’s my top five revolver short list . . .

Ruger SP101 357 Mag, 2.25″ Revolver:

The Ruger SP101 revolvers fitted with the Crimson Trace LG-111 Defender Series Lasergrips are designed to put the shooter on target quickly and accurately. The Ruger SP101 model KSP-321CT has a spurless hammer for snag free carry and draw, features 2.25 inch barrel and fixed sights. These 5-shot stainless steel revolvers are chambered for .357 Magnum and can also fire .38 Special ammunition, including .38+P cartridges.

The Crimson Trace LG-111 Defender Series Lasergrips are constructed of hard durable polymer. The red beam laser is activated by a pressure switch located on the front of the grip, making it instinctively usable for right- or left-handed shooters. The laser is adjustable for windage and elevation using an Allen wrench (provided).

You Can Never Be Too Prepared. The SP101 revolver boasts the strength to handle the powerful .357 Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum cartridges in a controllable, small-framed double-action revolver. Among the most powerful small-frame revolvers on the market, they are engineered for solid performance. Featuring a recoil-reducing grip, the SP101 is comfortable to shoot and perfect for personal defense or field use.

Strong and reliable shot after shot, all SP101 revolvers boast solid steel sidewalls (no side-plates), making them rugged, reliable, and dependable. Available in .327 Federal Magnum, .38 Special and .357 Magnum (which also accepts the less expensive .38 Special cartridges), you can count on the SP101 when you need it.

Smith & Wesson 642 PowerPort Revolver
Smith & Wesson 642 PowerPort Revolver

Smith & Wesson 642 PowerPort Revolver:

The S&W 642 PowerPort gun is an aluminum framed revolver with a steel cylinder. Smith and Wesson calls this an Airweight revolver. It comes in at 15 ounces unloaded. It is a 5 shot revolver and rated for .38 Special +P ammunition. The standard 642 comes with a 1 7/8 inch barrel and the Pro comes in at 2 1/8 inch barrel. The “Power Port” name comes from a port in the barrel just in beyond the front site. Another distinguishing characteristic over the regular 642 is the front site is not an integral front blade like many revolvers, but a white dot insert similar to what you would find on a semiauto pistol such as a GLOCK.

As a frame of reference, I am a large caliber bigot. I make no apologies for it. Before this gun, I only thought there were 4 common calibers worth buying a handgun in: .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum. I still think that way, but with one caviot. A .38 Special in +P can be had in ballistics close to a slow .357 Magnum. Make that two caviots, I don’t know who said it, but a [insert small caliber here] in the pocket is better than a [insert large caliber here] in the dresser. I think there are limits to the second caviot, but for 40 years the majority of police in this country carried .38 Specials and like I mentioned above, there are +P’s that push the .38 Special over 1000 f/s.

Ruger LCR-LG 38 Spl+P The Best Concealed Carry Revolver
Ruger LCR-LG 38 Spl+P Revolver with Crimson Trace Lasergrips

Ruger LCR-LG 38 Spl+P Revolver with Crimson Trace Lasergrips

When Ruger designed the groundbreaking polymer-framed LCR revolver, it did so with the intention of Crimson Trace Lasergrips compatibility and availability right out of the gates. The LG-411 greatly enhances the defensive capability of the lightweight LCR with a seamless fit and quality engineering. It will hold zero continuously without fail. Ruger’s commitment to endorsing Crimson Trace laser sights is further validation that after the weapon itself, a laser is the best firearms investment you can make.

S&W M&P 340 Revolver
S&W M&P 340 Revolver

S&W M&P 340 Revolver:

This lightweight, five-shot, double-action-only revolver is perfect for concealment and comes with an internal hammer that’ll keep it from catching on the draw. It’s chambered in .38 Special +P and the heavier .357 Mag., providing shooters with some options when planning their personal defense.

Taurus Judge Public Defender a good carry choice
Taurus Judge Public Defender Polymer Revolver

Taurus Judge Public Defender Polymer Revolver:

Check out the revolutionary new Public Defender Polymer. This scaled-down model of everyone’s favorite combo gun, the Taurus Judge, still gives you the ability to fire your choice of ammunition —now in a size that fits in most pockets— also in a lighter, polymer body frame with new updates for improved handling and accuracy. Truly amazing! Just like its big brother, this little gun delivers amazing versatility and devastating firepower for self-protection. .45/.410 (2.5″ chamber)

Short and sweet huh? These are my top five Go-to-Guns if your looking for ultra reliable, easily concealable revolvers with enough stopping power for that peace of mind. Others will always disagree so let me know in the comments below what your favorite self-defense revolver is and why you think it is the best?

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95 Responses to Tred Law’s Five Best Concealed Carry Revolvers

  1. The Judge really? Well this list loses credibility. Who wants to port a short barreled revolver, isn’t the muzzle flash enough already. TTAG bring more original stuff, pu pu please?

      • I should have stopped at the “only 4 calibers line” Then he finished with a caveat about stopping power.

        • Oh no, if you had stopped you wouldn’t have gotten to the part where he excluded the 9mm, but made room for the 38 special, because ballistics!

    • Call me a snob, but credibility is also lost when somebody spells “caveat” as “caviot”.

      • I’m not judging it’s capability with 45 colt, but it’s way too big, and it’s a Taurus. If I was making a top five revolvers list Taurus wouldn’t touch it.

        • The Public Defender is what was posted on the list, which is actually very reasonably sized. I carry my own every day comfortably, really, even in hot weather clothing.

        • Also, I can’t really argue the Taurus stigma. Never had a problem with mine and I’m over 1,500 rounds now.

        • Taurus bashing is a sign of a gun snob. I once believed that crap until I got a used one. I then bought a new one and have been pleased with both. My S&W gets shot less since I got my new Taurus. They were only bought a month apart.

        • Taurus hands down makes some amazing revolvers. I own a 605 and I absolutely have a blast shooting that gun. Have had a lot of positive experience with their other revolvers as well.

        • Like Ken, I was doubtful about Taurus, too. Then I found an older (circa 1987, according to the serial number), used-but-new-looking stainless M85 for $200. I figured I’d take a chance, and it’s a honey of a revolver. Smoothest DA trigger I own, and very crisp in SA. The thing is easily twice as accurate as it should be, given the snubby barrel, and dead solid reliable. Maybe it’s a fluke, I don’t know, but I love that little gun.

      • I’m not a gun snob at all, I even own a Judge, I’ve also owned a Polymer Protector which trigger would become locked backwards until it was forced , a Model 66 that would only fire in single action, a Taurus 85 whose cylinder locked up randomly, my Judge’s cylinder lock broke on the my first cylinder, a Taurus 450 that wouldn’t lock back into single action. True Taurus would fix them, but with this form of personal experience I can never carry one with faith. I have never had a problem with my Taurus Pt22 and Taurus Pt92, and PT111 New Millenium, so Taurus can make a good auto, just a crap revolver.

        • If you had so many problems with Taurus revolvers, then why did you keep buying them? Just curious…

        • Well the Judge cause it’s fun. The Model 66 and 85 because I got them both for 400 bucks, the Polymer Protector was cheap and I thought cool a polymer revolver and it’s 225 so why not, the 450 because 45 colt in a snub nose! (and was cheap) I bought them because after the 66 and 85 both got fixed by Taurus I figured to hell with it, they’re cheap and fun to shoot since at the time I couldn’t afford Smiths or Rugers and if they broke they’d be fixed. I have lots of guns just for fun and that’s where I place Taurus, I would never trust my life to one.

  2. I’m not as down on the article as some folks I guess–but I have a _caveat_ for the author: Beware the “phonetic” spelling…

  3. If one wanted an ideal CCW revolver, I think one would be hard pressed to improve upon the S&W 396 or 696.

    Sadly, S&W is no longer producing these, since the gun buying public has a “magnum fetish” going on, aided and abetted by the fools and knaves in the gun press.

    • Love the .44 Special for shooting and reloading. I’ve looked hard at the Charter Arms Bulldog, but can’t seem to pull the trigger with all of the reported quality issues.

    • A lot to be said for those .44 special guns. What do you think of that new model 69? Say if S&W were to offer a 2.5″ barrel?

    • It is unlikely that you will regret it once you get there.

      Unsolicited advice: buy the cheaper .38. It’ll shoot +P, and it’s lighter. Who wants to shoot .357 out of a polymer pistol whose whole point is lightweight concealability and ease of carry?

      One caviot.

      • I will probably be getting the .38 +p LCRx. I just like the idea of the exposed hammer. I know it’s not the best option for clearing your concealment garment, but I do plan to enjoy shooting it as often as I can. If it was only ever going to be carried and not fired it would probably not be the x model.

        • Never carry a gun you don’t plan to fire! In fact, that should be the gun you put the most rounds through. I carry the 38 everyday and have put many rounds through it. It’s far from being a wrist buster. I’ve also got the 357 for my wife (to hold 38), but I take that when I’m hiking/camping and load it with 357 Buffalo Bore. Now that’s a wrist buster!

      • Buy the .357 version because it’s just about the right weight to actually shoot .38 specials well. The .38 version is very light, and in my opinion, uncomfortable to practice with and you need to practice. Don’t bother shooting the .357 mags, it’s just crazy loud and it hurts.

        • Truth. The first time i shot 357 out of my LCR everyone at the range came over to see what kind of crazy giant gun i was shooting. They were surprised to see the tiny revolver. It Does hurt, and its loud, and it shoots a huge ball of fire. .357 in an LCR is probably great for CCW, but terrible for fun at the range.

    • Got the LCR 38+P but no crimson trace – wife thought it was cute and said it was “hers” until she shot it. I had loaded a bunch of 38+P to get her and my daughter comfortable to move up to the 357 mag loads, in a Ruger GP100 6″. Worked fine. That is their favorite as neither likes slide semi autos. But when I shot the +P loads, it hurt my hand worse than my Super Blackhawk in 44 mag before I switch to a Hogue grip. I ended up making light 38 loads to make it manageable. Glad I made a good choice on a carry if CA ever allows me to.

  4. 642 and 340 are fantastic for pocket carry, Rugers a bit bulkier, not as easy to conceal. He has to be kidding about the Judge.

    • Yep…great gun but not my first choice for CCing. I keep an SP101 in an old Daytimer folio in my overnight bag and it is my bedside table gun when traveling.

  5. What, no S&W Model 460XVR? It’s easily carried in bellows pockets and the caliber starts with a “4.”

  6. The Rugers? Ok. I like the SP101 and always have. The LCR isn’t my thing, but I trust Ruger.. and the lock placement is great. You know, if it’s gotta be there.

    The Smiths? Hate the locks, and have seen one fail in person. And one is enough for me, considering the Smith without a lock doesn’t do that. Ever. Because it cannot. But otherwise, good choices if one chooses to carry a revolver. Especially if they remove the lock internals.

    The Judge? The lock on it is actually a decent placement. Not only is it easy to find, but you have a tactile indication that it is locked or unlocked. (Maybe, dunno how the QC is on this.) I understand the versatility points that Judge fans make, but if I have time to swap loads out, it’s not that big of an emergency. I’d prefer a single load that’ll do the job at 3, 5, 7, 15, 25 yards. The Judge PD has a stubby rifled barrel that makes center mass shots with buckshot a wild guess at 7 yards or more. (Or less, pattern your ammo folks.) With slugs, they don’t get the muzzle energy that a 45 colt does from the same tube. And if I’m down to a 45 colt, I don’t need a cylinder that long. For an amusement, the judge would work. I’d love to see a collaboration between DemolitionRanch or Taufledermaus and ShootingTheBull410 doing random crap magdumps, scientifically, into gel. Take the PD against the Raging Judge to see if Jelly Beans and Silly Putty benefit from the additional barrel length.

    But for a carry revolver? Nah. Make a decision and go with a dedicated gun for it.

  7. Why not include the NAA revolvers in 22 Magnum? The title of the article is “Best Concealed Carry Revolvers”,not, “Most powerful carry revolvers”.
    “Concealable” is the optimum word here!
    There are not many guns more concealable than the NAA line.
    I carry one 24/7, and as back up when I “step out”

    • OK, I own a NAA .22 WMR that I’ve had for, oh, about 20 years and it’s a fine little gun. But the fact is, I’ve also got a Kel-Tec P32 that’s every bit as easy to pocket carry, and simply blows the NAA out of the water in terms of firepower.

      Every now and then I drop the little NAA into my pocket, but there are virtually no situations I encounter where it’s the only thing I could possibly carry.

      • Sure the Kel-Tec fits in “your” pocket as easily as the NA, but it doesn’t conceal well in my wife’s mini-skirt and tight shirt. She can almost conceal her NA Black Widow in her bikini.

        The .22Mag isn’t a .45ACP, but I dare anyone to prove it wont stop someone by standing in front of it and seeing for yourself. Sure you only have 5 rounds, same as other revolvers.

        The NAA Black Widow is my back-up, which is on my wife’s hip. Most of the videos I’ve seen where the guy walking with his wife/girlfriend gets sucker punched and goes down…. what they are armed with doesn’t make any difference when you are out cold and with 3-4 thugs stomping on your head. Most of the videos the thugs ignore the woman while beating the crap out of the guy. Much to their surprise my wife can get a small group @21′ with her .22Mag which will more than get their attention and encourage them to stop their thug behavior.

  8. I clicked on the red lettered “Concealed carry” above, which opened a Brownells page. The gal with the jeans and white jacket has a mean enough look on her face, that she doesn’t even need the pistol she’s carrying. If I saw that coming at me, I would split the scene now!

  9. Taurus QC is spotty as is the newer S&W. I’ll keep my ancient model 19 & 66 if I want a pistol SP101 size. America has fallen out of love with revolvers, when they should be looking towards simplification. Model 10, 64, Colts protected you for 100+ years until the wonder nines.

  10. Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull, I carry this all the time in Florida. I usually carry it with 45 Long Colt.

  11. Question: is anyone acutally achieving what Tred Law states “and like I mentioned above, there are +P’s that push the .38 Special over 1000 f/s.” from a snubby? I would think a 2″-ish barrel would really lower muzzle velocity.

    And I agree with the poster above who says SP101 is a little heavy. I have one in .357 with the 3 inch barrel, it’s a good gun but a very heavy way to carry 5 rounds.

    • .38 Special is pretty weak out of a 2″ barrel – getting 250 foot pounds isn’t terribly easy. Getting 300 plus FPE through a 2″ barrel is achievable with Underwood +P. That’s about the upper limit. Snubby .38 revolvers have less power than 9mm / 9mm +P, .40, etc. The .357 snubbis can mange 400 FPE or so, but have a lot of recoil and muzzle blast.

      I’d much rather have the firepower of a 9mm or .40 from a 3.5-4.0″ barrel in a Glock pistol with extra mags. But a nice revolver is still a good option. YMMV.

      • While snubbies can be remarkably capable when it comes to accuracy, they were originally designed as belly guns. Press them into the ribs of your attacker and fire. In that respect they have one big advantage over any auto in that they won’t push the slide out of battery when pressed into the ribs. Sounds like an easy fix – pull the gun back a half an inch and try again – but when you’re getting your head beat into the concrete it’s not necessarily going to cross your mind. Personally I prefer a slightly larger revolver, but there are unique advantages to every design. Obviously revolvers suck at laying down a prolonged volley of suppressive fire, but they shine in other areas.

  12. Month ago I bought a S&W M&P 340 without the internal lock. I carry with Gold Dot 38 Special +P 135 grain short barrel. Nice big night site for the old guy. It’s so light when I’m doing my treadmills at the gym it rest in my gym shorts pocket. So light it doesn’t pull the gym shorts down. Extremely accurate. S&W got this one right. I don’t shoot 357 magnums out of it. Not necessary. Recoil is snappy with the + P but quite controllable. Highly recommend this weapon. Been to the range several times with no problems. All ammo fired has been the above mentioned Gold Dot ammo.

  13. A revolver has one advantage over an automatic. The contact shot. All other attributes that contribute to accuracy, i.e, trigger pull and recoil, go in favor of the automatic. Add to that capacity even in a pocket pistol the automatic is preferred. There is a reason the the world’s militaries went to the automatic over 100 years ago.

    • Other advantages of the revolver:

      – no need to practice your “tap, rack and bang” drills, because
      – a revolver never stovepipes.
      – You don’t need to worry about dropping magazines on their feed lips.
      – And you can use whatever bullets you want in a revolver, including wadcutters.

      I could go on. The gun by my bedside is a revolver, in .45 Colt, and I like big, fat bullets with “ashtray” hollow points on them.

      • The gun by my bedside is a Sig 226 Tac Ops with 20 + 1 rounds of 9mm +P 124 grain HST. I could probably still do contact shots given the rail light. The .45 revolver is a beast. Plus your dogs sound much more ill-tempered than mine.

      • Practice makes perfect for a rare event.
        Modern automatics are very reliable and generally don’t stovepipe.
        Who cares about what happens to dropped magazine in a DGU
        And finally, the best self defense round is a modern JHP. Even a 1911 can shoot those.

        If the revolver was better the military would still be using them.

      • I’ve had grit under the extractor or out-of-spec case rims completely lock up my revolver. When revolvers fail, there’s usually no quick “tap, rack & bang” solution.

        Note, I’m not dissing revolvers. My LCR is my most frequent carry. But revolvers aren’t magic. They do fail. Their internals are harder to access, clean and lubricate, too.

        • I had my GP100 once lock up hard because a primer backed out and jammed the cylinder against the frame. I had to whack it hard to open it.

        • My 6″ GP100 locked up once but I opened the crane and closed it and it was fine. I was guessing that the firing pin hung up, but I really have no idea. It may have fired if I had pulled on the trigger a little harder, but at the range there’s no need for speed. Anyway, both the trigger and thumbing the hammer were met with unusually stiff resistance.

    • I’ve stated numerous times that if I was active duty military or police I would want the latest and the greatest. But I’m not. I have the luxory of buying and using what suits me best for my current lifestyle.

      Revolver. When I need an auto I have a couple. But I really don’t “need” them.

    • Revolvers (in general, not just snubbies) have a lot of advantages over semi-autos. And semi-autos have a lot of advantages over revolvers.

      Contact shots – +1 for the revolver.

      Accuracy in general – a big +1 for revolvers. In my experience you can’t come close with semi-autos.

      Trigger pull? If you’re comparing DA pull vs. Glock style long half-cock pull, advantage autos. If you’re comparing SA pull vs. Glock style long half-cock pull, huge advantage to revolvers. If an accurate shot is necessary you have the option with (exposed hammer spur) revolvers to take the extra quarter second to make the shot extra accurate, which you simply can’t do with autos. And I haven’t come across any DA/SA autos that hold a candle to DA revolvers.

      Recoil? The only reason revolvers recoil more is because they shoot more powerful rounds.

      Capacity? Clear advantage to the semi-auto. Yes, militaries have long favored the auto, but how often are civilians beset with dozens of attackers? Generally speaking, criminal thugs take off running at the sound of gunfire. Trained professional soldiers do not. Yes there is a chance that 6 rounds of .357 magnum won’t take care of business, but then there’s also a chance that you’ll win the lottery AND get struck by lightning on the same day. But I’m not too worried about it.

      • >> Recoil? The only reason revolvers recoil more is because they shoot more powerful rounds.

        That is not entirely true. In pure physical terms it is, but felt recoil is a whole different thing, and revolvers are one of the worst in that department because they have no movable bolt (much less a locked one) and no recoil spring. So all that blowback from the case is transferred directly and instantaneously into your palm with a single impulse. Even in a straight blowback semi-auto, you at least have the bolt and the spring between you and the case, and locked breech semi-autos increase that advantage even further (which is why many pocket mouseguns are locked breech these days).

        • If we’re getting into ‘felt’ recoil we’re opening up a whole lot of factors. Yes, the reciprocation of the slide absorbs some of the recoil. However, autos rarely come equipped with cushy rubber grips. Revolvers have a higher bore axis so the recoil is felt more by the muzzle rotating upward vs. straight back into the web of your thumb like an auto. Letting the revolver rotate vs. fighting the recoil on an auto to keep the sights on target can make a .357 more pleasant to shoot than a 9mm.

      • The humpbacks (internal hammer) have an additional plus. I can have the weapon in a jacket pocket with my hand on the weapon. That weapon could also be fired through the jacket or a purse without having to remove it. As I posted above perfect pocket weapon for chores around the house or to go to the gym with. I’m pretty confident with my skills. You know you can reload revolvers (sarcasm). The snub nose is at its best up close and personal.

        • In fairness you could fire one shot from an auto like that as long as it’s not condition 3, but you’re probably going to get a nasty slide bite.

      • Also, I dispute the assertion that wheelguns are inherently more accurate than semi autos, when we are talking about 2-3″ barrels and 4″-5″ sight radius. You are not taking 25yd shots here, at self defense distances you won’t be able to tell the difference.

        I can tell you that I can put 8 shots in the vital area of a man-sized target at 7 yards A LOT faster from a semi-auto than I can hit 5 times with a snubby revolver.

        • Personally I carry a 3″ Wiley Clapp GP100 which isn’t quite a snubby IMHO. I don’t personally feel the need for something smaller. However, I can see little or no difference in accuracy between my 3″ GP100 and my 6″ GP100. Sight radius is grossly overrated. Side to side the only difference is that a longer radius leaves more daylight between the front post and the sides of the back notch which can easily be adjusted for with a wider back notch. Theoretically there should be more of an advantage vertically to longer sight radius since an MOA wobble up or down will be a bit more noticeable. I can’t say whether the increase in accuracy I’ve experienced is inherent or intuitive, but I can shoot much more accurately at much farther distances with my revolvers than any of the autos I’ve owned. I have complete confidence that if I keep my cool (no small if) and need to make a 50 yard shot (standing, unsupported) I will hit a man sized target in the vitals on the first shot. Granted, most defensive gun uses are at much closer range, but to put it into perspective, 50 yards is about the distance from one front door to the other directly across the street in a typical residential neighborhood. If my neighbor starts shooting at me I’m prepared.

          Like I said, there are advantages to both, and at close range you can certainly put more rounds into a target more quickly with an auto (providing it doesn’t jam). The caveat (not caviot) is that the Double Taps I use will hit that guy at close range with 600 lb/ft. of energy or close to twice the energy of a short barreled 9mm. I personally believe that if you’re going to limit yourself on capacity you should put the rounds you do have to good use.

  14. So have all of these gun gurus ever shot these little revolvers with the powerful rounds in them? Good luck with that.

    • Accuracy is an end-to-end process.

      Here is a little exercise for revolver guys to try.

      Target is at seven yards. Take a Glock 17 and rapidly fire 5 rounds into the target. Measure the time and dispersion. Then take you CCW 357 and repeat the process in the same time empty the revolver into the target. You won’t be able to measure the dispersion because the last three round will be off the target. Jerry Miculek excluded.

      • You’re making two wrong assumptions. First you’re comparing a full size semi-auto to a pocket snubbie. Second you’re assuming that the 9mm round out of the full size semi-auto has the same wounding effect as a .357 magnum round out of that snubby, which it doesn’t. If the contest was to put the most bullets on the target as fast as possible we’d all be shooting full size .22LR target pistols.

    • Sometimes I carry a S&W 442 snubbie with federal +P hst. I have shot a couple boxes of the +P and it is not a pleasant experience at all. It is very concealable though and works best for those times I have to pocket carry. I want to try out a Chiappa Rhino snubby in .357 mag, the ridiculously high price has been a barrier til now.

    • I have the KLCR .357 magnum and it’s not pleasant shooting .357 magnum out of it at all, but I can take it if my life depends on it. That said, I generally keep it loaded with .38 +P.

  15. I’ll stick with my 3″ S&W 66. They are hard to find, and pricey, but worth it.

    I got mine for $500 on Gun Broker (auction ended on a holiday, I was the only bidder).

  16. 1) Ruger SP101: Fail. It sucks and does nothing well.
    2) Any S&W J-Frame: Suck. Crappy triggers, stupid lock on most models and too light for 38 Special +P. 357 Magnum in a light frame? Who is this idiot?
    3) Ruger LCR: Better trigger, but recoil still sucks.
    4) Judge: Never go full retard. Never.

    Who recommends compensators on defensive firearms? Try shooting from retention sometime! Better yet, get some training!

      • Traded a Taurus for another 3″66 on Sunday. I got the Taurus 85 as part of a package deal & had passed word around for a year trying to trade or sell it cheap among friends. Guy called me Saturday night and begged me to trade him for a snubbie. Told me he had a S&W .357 to trade even,, knocking on my door at 0700. He was happy, I was rather overjoyed. You rarely run across a great deal, his idea & he knew what was going on. I think it had been fired maybe 20 rounds. It was the last wheelgun issued by the FBI & still one of the best. If anyone wants to dump their trooper LMK Trade you a Glock. 40 cal. Even buy you lunch.

    • >> .357 Magnum in a light frame? Who is this idiot?

      That would be me. As in, I’ve tried it once. In a S&W 340PD, no less (the one that weighs 11 oz …). Never again.

      If you ever get one, do it once, just for giggles.

      • I tried this *once* also. One round of the nastiest .357 that Hornady makes. Split the web of my hand between the thumb and index finger 1.25 inches long and well over 0.25 inches deep. Soft hands, ya. Blood EVERYWHERE! However the group included an EMT who patched me up good. Finished the day with another 100 rounds out of my EDC, an old Combat Commander in .45.

  17. The grips make all the difference in the world. The Hogue-style rubbery Crimson Trace grips do a phenomenal job soaking up all the sting on a 642 shooting +P. Night and day versus wooden grips.

  18. If you are going for a DAO handgun I prefer the SCCY 9mm DAO pistol over any revolver. Mine is totally reliable, super accurate,,has much better sights, twice the cartridge capacity, ana better DAO trigger than any of the revolvers mentioned in your article

    • The trash! Think of the environment! The children! Throw those nasty and toxic old Colts into my recycle bin. I’ll see to it they get properly disposed of. 🙂

  19. The Judge is just a silly gimmick. Might as well shorten up that clunky cylinder and make it a .45 Colt revolver and be done with it. I’d never carry .410 buckshot for self-defense out of a short barreled revolver.

    And I say this as an owner of a Circuit Judge Carbine, which at least has the advantage of a long enough barrel and a counterspin choke to make the .410 usable. Even then, I use mine mostly as a .45 colt carbine, and I kind of regret not getting a lever action because the Circuit Judge isn’t strong enough for hotter Blackhawk loads.

  20. Also, I dispute the assertion that wheelguns are inherently more accurate than semi autos, when we are talking about 2-3″ barrels and 4″-5″ sight radius. You are not taking 25yd shots here, at self defense distances you won’t be able to tell the difference.

    I can tell you that I can put 8 shots in the vital area of a man-sized target at 7 yards A LOT faster from a semi-auto than I can hit 5 times with a snubby revolver.

  21. I’ve carried both revolvers and semi-autos in the past. I front pocket carried a Ruger LCP for a long time, in a Recluse holster, as my then employer forbid guns at work. I carried anyway, and no one ever knew. Now that I no longer work there, I carry revolvers, and my beside gun is a Taurus Polymer Judge. My carry gun is a snub nose 38 from Charter Arms, but one of these days I’ll get around to replacing it with a Ruger LCR. My wife carries a new Taurus Curve, and she thinks it’s just cool! e? Call me old school – but I like revolvers. I pull the trigger and it goes bang. If it would ever not go bang, which has never happened to me in decades of carrying, I’d just pull the trigger again. I even tried an NAA micro-revolver one time, but it was simply much smaller than what I could carry, and I would have only carried it as a backup to my CCW anyway.

  22. None of these are “bad” choices would go with any of them if a new purchase. I carry a Kimber Custom in .45 but: that is not always the best choice. I be over 6′ and 200 so size is not the major concern. I have/had a gently used Taurus Model 85 in stainless I purchased from a friend who was ill and could no longer use his hands. The lock-work and trigger had been very lightly worked on by a quality gunsmith. The fit and finish are excellent with tight lockup and a smooth trigger. My mom shot it and now I can’t seem to get her too part with it until she finds something she likes better! The only other change is a pair of rubber grips eliminating the sharp edges of the original wood items. I know Taurus has a spotty record on quality but i would put this one up any of those mentioned above. FYI I am not a fan of +p ammo why carry what you’re not going to practice with and if a 158gn wad cutter can’t fix the problem you’re in the wrong knitting class.

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