Buying a concealed carry revolver
Previous Post
Next Post

Thinking of getting a concealed carry revolver? Don’t pay attention to the plastic pistol posse; revolvers are a proven handgun system and are still fully capable of saving your bacon. If you go into it with your eyes wide open, that is.

Let’s start with the chambering and why it’s more important than you might think.

The dominant revolver chamberings for compact to medium frame revolvers are still the venerable .38 Special and .357 Magnum. Some will carry a big bore round like .44 Magnum, but those are larger, heavier guns that are generally harder to conceal.

You’ll find some wheel guns chambered for semi-auto loads like 9mm and .45 ACP, but they’re definitely the exceptions.

First, be sure to select a short-barrel load for your concealed carry revolver. Snubbies are notorious for yielding less terminal performance than a gun with a 4-inch or longer barrel. Therefore, be sure to select the appropriate ammunition for daily carry.

Speer’s 135-grain JHP .38 Special +P (the New York Load) was developed for precisely this purpose, as are a number of others.

You can also level up in power to .357 Magnum, but proceed with caution. Obviously, it’s a proven self-defense round and is quite manageable in a service revolver, such as a Smith & Wesson Model 19 or a Ruger GP100. But in a light, compact revolver such as a J-frame, Kimber K6S or Ruger LCR, it can be downright masochistic.

The recoil is so sharp that it defeats the purpose. The reason why 9mm has become the default handgun round is it has a near perfect blend of terminal performance, cost and shootability. Just about anyone can handle a 9mm, even in a subcompact pistol.

A .357 Magnum snubby just plain hurts to shoot. Sure, you get a more velocity and energy, but the increased pain of shooting it, balanced with the fact that there’s barely any difference in efficacy in real-world situations with modern ammunition and…what’s the point?

You make your own choice, but it’s a good idea to stick to .38 Special or 9mm for a small, lightweight concealed carry revolver. If you simply must have a compact maggie, get a compact medium-frame wheel gun like the Colt King Cobra or S&W Model 66 Combat Magnum.

Buying a concealed carry revolver
The Model 66 Combat Magnum, with 2.5-inch barrel. If you really want to carry a compact magnum, this is the type to get. Credit:

You’ll spend a bit more and they’re heavier (usually around 30 oz. unloaded) but the gun will be far more manageable and pleasant to shoot.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s also consider some features you should consider. The basics of what you need in a carry gun are sights you can see and a trigger you can use.

If you’re used to different kinds of guns – say modern polymer striker-fired pistols – the longer, heavier double-action trigger is going to take some getting used to. Gun owners tend to prefer lighter triggers as a general rule (which is one of the reasons plastic pistols are so popular) so you need to commit to practicing the double-action pull if you aren’t used to it.

As for sights, that will vary by model and manufacturer. Some come with a simple steel blade or ramp front sight. Here, for example, is an older S&W Model 19 with an adjustable rear sight:

Buying a concealed carry revolver
Tim Dobbelaere/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-Sa
Notice these are blued steel sights. While not tiny, they also aren’t the most visible, depending on lighting conditions. By contrast, here’s the Ruger SP101:

Buying a concealed carry revolver

Notice the front sight has a gold bead for extra visibility. As a result, the front sight on this revolver will be easier to see.

Obviously, the sights vary by model and manufacturer and so on. While you’re gun shopping, make sure you have a good look at the sights on the gun you’re interested in.

Can you easily pick them up in your eye and get a fast sight picture? Or does it take you an extra second? In a self-defense weapon, you want to get the sights on target as quickly as possible, so pay attention to them.

Keep in mind that lots of snubbies have a simple trench sight in the rear and a small blade in the front. These concealed carry guns are designed to be used in close quarters situations. That doesn’t mean sights don’t matter — they do — but short barrel revolvers like these aren’t often used for distances over a few yards.

Also, make sure you get a feel for the trigger pull in-person before buying. If you can rent the model you’re considering, shoot it before buying. If you can work with it, awesome. If the trigger is too heavy for you, stacks too much or is otherwise noticeably difficult to deal with and shoot accurately, you should move on to a different gun.

Buying a concealed carry revolver
Ruger LCR (Ryan Finn for TTAG)

Commit to putting in some trigger time after your purchase. If you aren’t used to the double-action press, there will be an adjustment period. Dry fire practice is your friend here, so make time for plenty between trips to the range, especially at first.

It’s also a good idea to practice reloading your carry gun. Get a speed loader either the mechanical kind, or a speed strip. If your revolver shoots semi-auto rounds, get extra moon clips. It’s a good idea to carry an extra speed loader or moon clip (or two) with you, just as many people carry a spare magazine.

Buying a concealed carry revolver
Logan Metesh for TTAG

Is a revolver the best gun for self-defense? In an on-paper sense, they lose on capacity to most semi-automatic pistols. However, if you can shoot one accurately, that’s pretty much all that matters.

Is an assailant or home defender going to somehow care if they’re shot with a GLOCK or a Ruger LCR? Not likely. In practiced hands, a revolver is every bit as deadly as any other pistol.

Revolvers make a great first gun, since they’re rather fool-proof. Additionally, learning the double-action trigger pull can hone your technique. Anyone can shoot a GLOCK or 1911 rather well; it takes skill to be equally adept at SIG P365 as a Smith & Wesson 642.

But bear in mind, too, that a snubby like a J-frame or LCR has long been referred to as a master’s weapon, as it’s harder to get highly proficient with one as it is with a full-size semi-auto.

You’re going to need to put in the range time. Start slow, smooth and up-close and build from there.

In the right hands, a concealed carry revolver is absolutely devastating. So if you’re going to commit to this handgun system, make sure you’re getting in the reps and choose a good carry load.

Anything you feel like I missed? Something you want to add? Just angry in general and want to vent? Sound off in the comments.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. One thing worth mentioning is that a semi auto can have the slide disengage if pressed against a person. This happened in the Michael Brown shooting as well as Zimmerman shooting Treyvon Martin. It’s a huge advantage a revolver has. They can also be fired effectively from a coat pocket or a purse.

    That said also consider putting some bright colored paint on your front sight or getting something aftermarket if it’s straight up steel like that Smith’s is. Makes life way better in terms of targeting.

      • I stole day glo orange nail polish from a daughter. One of my revolvers had white out on the sights. I prefer the bright orange. I also used white out on some of my rifles front sights.

        • For a couple of days I couldn’t post a comment under my name and avatar. Don’t know why. I’m putting it down to ‘shit happens’.

        • I would think the orange would work great. I’m guessing the white out isn’t as bright and glossy as the white nail polish though. If you’ve got a stainless blade with the U notch in the frame I’d think a bright red would work well.

  2. “Just angry in general and want to vent?” lol

    If people want to carry a revolver I totally support it. I just think the arguments for carrying them are the same as anti gun reasons for not carrying a gun at all.

    Example. “However, if you can shoot one accurately, that’s pretty much all that matters” Don’t need more than 6. I could make that argument for carrying black powder guns.

    I see people say the chances of needing more are so low it doesn’t matter too statistically. I mean yeah but the anti gun crowd says the same for the chances of needing a gun.

    Anyway good article. I love my revolvers. Fun guns to shoot. I will stick with my glock 19 though for defense.

    • Most people DON’T need more that 6 rounds. I’m not going to ignore that fact just because it happens to be an anti-gun talking point. Show me some examples of citizen DGU’s where having more than 6 rounds made the difference between life and death.
      And no you cant make that same argument for black powder guns because there are lots of times more than one round was needed, not to mention the lack of reliability and power in a similar sized gun.

      Whether or not I need more rounds is separate from whether I have the right to have them.

        • I used to scoff at your pro-revolver comments. With the insanity of kids in my life and the additional safety of a good DA trigger, I now almost entirely carry one.

      • Depends on what you are defending against. 1-2 people and you might get away with six, if its 5+ or 15+ you will need more bullets. Bobcat? bear? Much desire more than six.

        Copperhead or rattle snake? Where is my tactical nuke. . .?

        • Biatec – You really need to get with the times. Multi-shot weapons are where its at. I keep a puckle gun mounted to the footboard.

        • Hmm. Maybe I could use one of the in the corner of the bedroom. If my brown bess’s are not enough I can switch over to that. lol

        • I keep my Punt gun aimed at the front door. It is a little off putting when family comes over, I just tell them its modern art.

        • Not to pick on you choice in guns, but if you have issues with 5-15 people, WTF did you do to piss ’em off? And why were you there?

        • @daveinwyo

          About ten years ago Scott Wagar, 50, (probably ~60 now), chased off 15-20 teenagers that were toilet papering his house year after year. He sprayed them with fox piss.

          Suppose they had a thug or two in the group that decides to get violent and 15-20 punks follow their leader, or the group decides to escalate and invade the home rather than just TP it or cause property damage. Mobs can get violent for any number of reasons, some people may need to fight off 5+, especially if they are the dintdunuffin / slapaho tribe.

          AFAIK all charges were eventually dropped.


        “Maybe you’re familiar with the famous example of Lance Thomas, a watchmaker in California who survived four shootouts in his shop between 1989 and 1991. In the second of these fights, Lance was attacked by three armed men. They started the fight by shooting Lance four times with a .25 ACP pistol. Lance returned fire with a Ruger Security-Six .357 magnum. He hit the first suspect with five out of six shots, dropping him. But the other two guys stuck around and kept shooting. Lance emptied two more revolvers before the fight was over, with a second suspect dead and the third retreating outside to a waiting getaway car.

        In total, Lance connected with 11 of the 17 shots he fired in that fight. By most gunfight standards, that could be considered phenomenal accuracy. And yet, if he only had those first six shots, he would likely not have survived the encounter. Accuracy is often the deciding factor in these incidents, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that more than a handful of rounds will be necessary in addition to accurate shooting.”

        “In a shootout with an armed bank robber, Sergeant Timothy Gramins fired 33 rounds of .45 ACP over the course of 56 seconds. Even with no drugs or alcohol in his system, the suspect was able to keep firing at the officer after sustaining six hits to vital organs in addition to 8 non-vital hits. It wasn’t until Gramins fired a series of shots that struck the suspect’s head that he was taken out of the fight.

        This type of situation is not typical of armed encounters involving private citizens, but for our purposes the moral of the story isn’t about the tactics used or overall number of shots fired, but the amount of damage the suspect was able to absorb. Half a dozen rounds from what is normally considered a “big caliber” hit some pretty important stuff inside this bad guy, but he was able to keep throwing bullets back at the cop.

        If you read about enough shootings, you’ll run across numerous odd examples of people taking rounds to the chest and face from all kinds of big bore handguns (as well as rifles, buckshot, and shotgun slugs) that don’t result in immediate incapacitation. It’s not that caliber is inconsequential, but bullets do weird and unpredictable things. And handgun bullets in particular can’t be counted on to do what you want them to do the first time, regardless of what number is etched on the headstamp.”

        I understand the statistics. I have not had a flat or car accident in years (knock on wood) but I still wear my seat belt, and have a spare tire and can of fix a flat. I also carry 2 spare mags when carrying double stacks or 4 when carrying single stacks. I might never need them but there is nothing wrong with having them. I do not think there is anything wrong with carrying a revolver if that is your bag (or a derringer for that matter), but I would advise a revolver carrier to carry some speed loaders, speed strips, or extra rounds in a dump pouch or those similar pouches with cartridge loops.

        • Interesting example and I will accept that it has happened, but I’m still on the side that its so statistically unlikely its not worth preparing for. If you are worrying about odds like that, there are probably 1000 other things more likely to kill you that you should be prepared for.
          Why don’t you take the bus everyday instead of drive? Its much safer. Wear a helmet all the time just in case? The answer is because at a point we trade safety for convenience. I have determined for myself, the chance of needing a gun is large enough to be worth carrying one, but the chance of needing more than 5 rounds is so tiny its not even worth small extra effort of carrying a reload. Also worth considering is that we each benefit by feeling better when we feel prepared. Maybe you will never need the reload but you feel good having it and that alone may be enough to justify carrying it.

        • I’m not a big fan of the statistics on defensive gun uses in general either. Paul harrel goes over some of it with distance and other htings

          Don’t forget how often mass shooters need more than 6 to be stopped. I’m not saying you should carry a revolver. I don’t think it’s comparable though to public transport instead of driving. It wouldn’t be a huge inconvenience to carry a modern gun instead of a revolver. it would be a huge pain to switch to public transport.

          If you trained your whole life on revolvers don’t switch. It would be silly if you built up a ton of skill around your gun and decided to just switch. I’m not against it. I think it’s a mistake to tell new shooters that it is modern and just as good.

          It’s not modern or just as good. Yes a bullet from a revolver will kill but so would a ball from a flintlock or percussion colt navy that doesn’t mean they are just as good either. At the end of the day though I support people carrying what ever they want. It’s their right.

        • “In a shootout with an armed bank robber, Sergeant Timothy Gramins fired 33 rounds of .45 ACP over the course of 56 seconds. 

          I’m thinking his problem was not capacity – spray and spray- he got lucky with 8 hits.

          Seems to be SOP with a lot of departments nowadays. Like the Trader Vics incident in CA. Pump round out and hope the perp jumps into one or two.

        • Excellent information and comments from Crimson Pirate, JR, Biatec, and Specialist38.

          I want to add the fairly recent event where a mom hid with her children in a closet or something and opened fire on the home invader when he opened the door to their hiding place. She hit him in the head 5 out of 6 shots and then her revolver was empty. The man disengaged, left the house, got into his pickup truck, and drove something like 1/2 mile down the road before crashing.

          Many people therefore say, “See, six shots from a revolver was good enough and stopped the attack!” And I respond, “The mom was REALLY lucky that the home invader decided to vacate rather than bash her head in — which he was fully capable of doing.”

          I have to believe, in that scenario with the mom, that a modern semi-automatic handgun chambered in 9mm Luger with a 15 round magazine would have almost guaranteed that she could have physically incapacitated her attacker before running out of ammunition. Her experience proves that we cannot say the same about her revolver, which was chambered in .38 Special if I remember correctly.

        • Speed loaders or strips, or even just loose rounds in your pocket are a good idea. But aside from just the fact that I like revolvers, I carry one because I figure statistically the first 6 rounds are far more important than the next 6. Besides the reliability factor, the Double Taps I shoot out of my 3″ GP100 (which aren’t even +p) exceed 600ft/lbs of energy, which is significantly more punch than a typical 9mm or .45acp (even in +p+).

          Yes, there is a chance that even 6 magnum loads won’t get me out of trouble, but statistically you’d be better off worrying about your cholesterol, or maybe a stray meteorite. Maybe make sure your vaccines are all up to date…

        • Uncommon Sense. Its situational dependent. If the person is willing to go the extra effort and learn the use of an auto loader then they are better served with a higher cap auto loader as a house gun. But a lot of people I’ve known over the years, especially mothers with children to look after, aren’t real gun folk. They want to load a gun and not lay hands on it again until it’s needed.

          Those folks are better served with a service grade revolver like the k frame.

          I took advantage of our CA magazine amnesty that lasted a week and got 15 rounders for my g19. You better believe that replaced my model 10 as my go to service grade pistol. But my wife is still happiest with a revolver.

  3. I think it might be a pretty good idea to buy a revolver right now if you dont already have one. Here in california theres a good chance that semi autos will be legislated to be evil weapons of war and no longer available to purchase. If that happened imagine how the price of revolvers would sky rocket over night. Of course that’s just paranoia on my part. How could our representatives not respect the constitution ? Impossible !

    • On that rational, CA folks should be buying up semi autos, yeah? Then loosing them in a boating accident. Buying my first revolver is high on my gun wish list, below a long range percision bolt and above a lever action.
      CA Dems Politicians, for some reason, think the CA State Constitution superceeds the US Constitution.

    • Same reason I keep my ol trusty Harper’s Ferry .58 loaded and ready by the settee.

      …in case of redcoats. 🙂

      (JK, I love me my little 340 pd)

  4. I think for some people these pocket revolvers are the difference between carrying and not carrying. That alone makes them significant. After shooting thousands and of rounds through various JFrames, my advice is to stay away from JHP as they are notorious for not expanding out of these short barrels. I’ve posted his before, but BBore makes a great wadcutter for snubby 38 carry, there may be better options but everyone will have their own opinion.

    • Hmm. Going to need to go back thru my notes on what round works best in a snubby.
      Not sure that it matters though.

    • I’m in that camp. If I couldn’t pocket carry a small gun I probably would end up leaving a bigger gun at home a lot. Pocket carry is so easy and unobtrusive and takes no time in the morning.

    • Pg2,

      Great point that some people would not carry anything at all if they did not have the choice of a revolver.

      In my view the pros-and-cons of a concealed carry revolver are straight-forward:

      (1) easy to pocket carry (in a pocket holster)
      (2) super simple to operate and maintain
      (3) will cycle when barrel is pressed against attacker

      (1) limited ammunition capacity
      (2) long time to reload
      (3) long and heavy trigger pull

      Revolvers are a rock-solid choice for concealed carry personal self-defense and I support anyone who carries a revolver for that purpose. Having said that, I personally believe that the Pros-versus-Cons of semi-automatic pistols make them an even better choice for concealed carry personal self-defense. Choose what works best for you and your situation.

    • there have been pretty good advances in bullet tech for snubbies.

      I’m pretty fond of Buffalo Bore short barrel rounds.

      though, as stated elsewhere, put a 158 grain sliver in anything and its likely to wish it had made better life choices.

  5. “The reason why 9mm has become the default handgun round is it has a near perfect blend of terminal performance, cost and shoot-ability”

    Maybe if you have sissy hands.

    • I love my G19. . . pair it up with some good hollow points and I’ve yet to find an animal in Texas that it can’t knock down, except maybe a feral hog but I don’t have any of those yet.

      Statistics prove that once you are out of the mouse calibers, almost all DGUs end with one shot. With a mouse caliber, you need ~2 shots. There is also the wonderful matter of a 9MM being easily fired with one hand and usable by any family member. My mother isn’t going to be using a 500S&W or 454 Casull and there is not a single practical reason to use anything larger than a 9MM in my area. Macho factor is cute for the range and conversation pieces but in any situation where business must be conducted, it may be just enough to get someone killed rather than save them.

    • dang, where does that leave my little P238??

      Baby sissy hands, Girly Giggle hands, Man-card revoked hands?

      oh well, I still prefer to go with my 340pd.

  6. One thing I like about revolvers for defense is that they are “rounder” than most autos. This makes easier and more comfortable to carry for me. The snub barrels IWB are more comfortable to me than a square mini 9 slide poking my butt bone.

    I can also draw and present a revolver faster than an auto. Makes my first shot speed faster.

    So I often pocket carry an LCP and if I want a heavier caliber, a snub 38 is the next step. I end up with a pocketful of fiat when I try to pocket carry a 43.

    I do carry an LCR 357 and don’t find the recoil to be as punishing as an Airlite Smith. I carry a mid load like Golden Sabers often but also carry Hornady Critical Defense 125s. I am looking at Federal 135 hydrashocks but have not had more expererience with them.

    I have toyed with the idea of a 9mm LCR but carrying extra moons has been problematic. Speed loafers and strips are more robust.


    • “One thing I like about revolvers for defense is that they are “rounder” than most autos. This makes easier and more comfortable to carry for me. The snub barrels IWB are more comfortable to me than a square mini 9 slide poking my butt bone.“

      Interesting. For me, it’s the exact opposite. I find the G19 more comfortable than a snubby.

        • The auto vs. revolver argument has been beaten to death. There are pro’s & con’s to both. Period. The author had a significant omission. .44 Special. Very effective, time proven cartridge. (Visit Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas!) Cold reality is that clothing, situation and weather can alter what is carried. Close friend who has many years with local LE says that about 85% of the time Displaying a fire arm will stop a perp. Which brings us back to
          Rule #1: HAVE a gun!

  7. My 3″ GP100 weighs 36 ounces, which is light enough to carry and heavy enough to shoot the hot stuff.

  8. i like a revolver for the fact that in very close combat , if needed you can smack the assailant up side the head and not break the pistol. sometimes a good swat up side the head can clear up a problem faster than shooting the problem..

  9. I grew up with revolvers and they have been my preferred lead dispensing vehicle for some time (but admittedly there is a plastic-fantastic metric dispensing people popper in my safe as well).

    Nothing carries like a snub nose revolver – you can say, “yeah well it’s thicker than a Glock 26 and it’s just as long”, but that just means that both the snub and the G26 will fit in the same box; two dimensions aren’t a good measure of the amount of space each takes up.

    Yes, a revolver cylinder may be wider, but that’s only one part – the grip and barrel (and yoke and frame) are very slim, and not to mention rounded. Look at a Glock from the top, and what do you have? A giant non-ergonomically shaped rectangle! Revolvers have more organic lines that can snug up to your body easier and the power/weight ratio can be excellent.

    • Personally, I’d even be inclined for a 6 shot .32 caliber in a small frame carry piece. Taurus just added the 856 to our CA roster, so I might give them a shot and stick with .38 Special.

    • Yeah. Depends on how and where you position the piece.

      I carry both autos and wheel guns. Since i grew up carrying revolvers, they probably carry more comfortably due to familiarity.

  10. People who say you usually need no more than six when they are talking about revolvers seem to forget that most carry size revolvers hold 5 and not 6. I have semi-autos that hold 17, 13 and 8 but I usually carry a 357 revolver that holds 5 or a 38 Special revolver that holds 6. Even with the far lower capacity, I am still more comfortable with one of my revolvers.

    By the way, a 357 Magnum snubby gets your attention when you shoot it. That is one reason most used ones have been shot very little and still look new.

  11. People who aren’t used to wheel guns: Keep your digits aft of the front of the cylinder if you want to keep them. Super heated, high pressure gas is not nice stuff.

  12. “Revolvers make a great first gun, since they’re rather fool-proof…”

    I suppose, but no one should buy a revolver, load it, and think they’re good to go. I’ve shot enough revolvers to know that they can have manufacturing defects just like autos. The good news is that usually those errors come to light relatively quickly and involve timing or tolerances between the cylinder and frame\forcing cone but you still have to go shoot it to make sure everything works. A lot of people seem not to.

  13. Every thing you do to a gun to make it easy to shoot is exactly the opposite of what you do to make it easy to carry. So if you are serious about conceded carry you will have to compromise shoot-ability. Jeff Cooper said “a 22 in your pocket is better than a .45 back home.” I carry a scandium titanium S&W 360PD, 12OZ 357 Mag., with 125gr Corbon HP 357 Ammo. I am not a wimp! I carry it in my front pocket everyday. I did not buy t for plinking. If you are actually SERIOUS this is the ultimate concealed carry hand gun. It will shoot 2” groups @ 25yds. I tried everything thing else and nothing else comes close!!

    • You are not a wimp, but may be a masochist. 😜

      I have shot a 340 PD and it would have to be a 1 shot group at 25 yards for me.

      I will gladly shoot the Corbon in my LCR but the dynamic of high recoil in a 12 gun is fierce.

      I need those extra 5 oz. Have no problem with an Airweight Centennial with Buffalo bore 125 +P 38 spl (similar ballistics to 357 Golden Saber). But going full bore 357 in the Airlite would make me uneasy in a defensive situation.

      • Pussy 😀 😀 sorry had to say it. I used to have a ruger super blackhawk with the 4 5/8″ barrel and with standard factory loads (think they were 240grain from memory) i found it quite pleasant to shoot though most factory loads here in australia tend to be quite conservative.
        Thankfully i have never been i a situation where the only way out was shooting someone though one situation i was in it would have been ideal.

        • Oh…good loads for personal defense with the 44 mag are Winchester Silvertip, Federal 180 hollowpoints, or Corbon 44 special hollowpoints.

          I have carried a single action a few times and did not feel under armed. Concealment is mostly relegated to a should holster for me.

          • yeah it would have been good if i could have carried for self defense. back when I had it you could IF you jumped though all their hoops but i had not so was only able to use it for target shooting. As a landholder in queensland you could get one on a primary producers license if you had more than 10,000 acres and still can though it is much harder to get now even if you meet those criteria while self defense is right out the window (unless you are a cop). You can still get one but you do have to be a member of a club and shoot so many times a year (varies state to state) where before you did not need to be a member of a club to get a license.
            all that aside i do strongly believe that self defense IS the greatest reason to own a firearm and not just self defense against the common criminal but also as a defense against tyrants in particular the govt. That means that all weapons that are available to the govt MUST also be available to the public and that the govt no matter what level should have Absolutely No power to regulate firearms in any way shape or form unless it be the criminal misuse of such against another civilian as opposed to govt official.

      • Puh-leez….a 44 mag Blackhawk isn’t in the same hemisphere as a Smith Airlite 357 in terms of painful recoil.

        My Flat top Blackhawk weighs 39oz and it is pleasant to shoot with full-bore 240 grain hunting loads at around 1350 fps.

        I would have to gird my loins to shoot a full cylinder of Corbon 125 357 in an Airlite.

        If that makes me a pussy….. I own it….😜

        • lol yes i know the blackhawk is a much heavier gun which does make it far more manageable though the gun shop guys did try to tell me i would break my wrists with that thing. still bought it. first shot held on both hands. after that i fired one handed. find it funny looking back.
          funny thing is i prefer the heavier recoil of larger caliber handguns (within reason of course) to shooting a .22 pistol which while lesser recoil i find sharper. dunno maybe subconsciously i dont hold the .22 as firmly

  14. Someone tell me why this is a bad idea because I thought of it and I’ve never heard it before:
    If you carry a small .357 revolver but find .357 hard to manage out of it, carry 4 shots .38 or .38+P, then make the last shot .357.
    Since its the last shot you don’t need to worry about the recoil or follow up shots. Also as a bonus the extra big bang it lets you know when you are empty and need to reload.
    You could do the same thing with 4 .38’s and 1 .38+P.

    • I don’t see the upside. IMO the problem with a heavy caliber isn’t during the fight – adrenaline should cover up the downsides of firing a magnum snubby – but in practice. Shooting a 357 from (say) an LCR is physically painful to the point that people might not practice enough to acquire real competence.

    • Better off carrying a 38 special chambered gun.

      Gives you about 50 fps advantage over firing 38 specials in a 357. This is often the difference in 38 and 38+P.

      Also dont have to worry about lining up your 357 chamber.

      If your are insistent on the idea, I’d shoot the 357 first. Then your brain will know the next rounds are not quite as bad.

      • Are you saying .357 only gives a ~50fps advantage over .38 in a snubby? That would be incorrect. Check real tests – even in a snub nose .357 gives over a 300fps increase which is significant.
        Putting it first would defeat the point of what I’m saying. By making it last it doesn’t matter how much it recoils since there is no follow up shot after.
        I see a small advantage with no disadvantage.

    • Great advice!
      Little over a year ago I found myself in the middle of a car jacking / robbery by 3 bad guys. Threw my baton at the one waving the. He fired, hit baton and sprayed my hand with .40 caliber. Once he and his confederates saw my gun and heard discharge, they decided it was a really bad idea.
      While it was not a revolver, they all got my message!

  15. I’d suggest considering a 2″ Chiappa Rhino. Accurate, thinner profile due to shape of cylinder, and the low bore axis (shoots from bottom chamber) makes shooting 38 a breeze and 357 not too bad…though extended range time does pay a price on your hand if you keep shooting hot 357 rounds.

    My Rhino 200DS was bought used, and I added a hardwood grip though the rubber one it came with worked well…the olive wood just looks nice agains the black frame. Decent DA and light SA trigger. You do have to learn how to hold it differently. After having it a year I finally made the mistake of having my left thumb too close to the gap and got a little surprise. Conceals well and points naturally.

    Even used ones are pricey and mine is more of a range gun that one I carry regularly but I do rotate it out from time to time depending on my clothing, weather, and how I need to conceal.

  16. I carry a wheel gun for many reasons. Your discussion didn’t speak to a shrouded hammer vs. an exposed one. I chose hammerless for the “snagging “ that a hammer might bring. Yes, range time is vital to carrying a stubbier.

  17. Aside from the other revolver advantages mentioned, you can load and unload the same ammo into a revolver cylinder many times without compromising the ammo. To swap target and carry ammo for example. Whereas a round can only be racked into the chamber of a semi-auto a few times before the bullet will end up pressed back into the case, out of spec, and be all scarred up from too many collisions with the feed ramp.

    Ruger, if you are reading, I’m still waiting on a 3-inch LCRx with snag-free Novak style sights. I bought and sold the current model with adjustable sights because they snagged badly on multiple carry methods I tried. Go low-profile like Kimber and your own Wiley Clapp models and you will sell a shit ton of revolvers. Trust me on this.

    • I’d buy one of they put a longer ejection rod on the cylinder.

      3 inch barrel should have a full length ejection rod.

      Cheap bastide

      • I’d forgotten about that. They went to the trouble of designing a whole new frame and outer barrel shroud for the 3-inch, but couldn’t make a longer rod? Silly.

  18. In 99 .9% of cases when you are driven to use a firearm in self defence you will not have any time to use the sights anyway. At the range you have all the time in the world but not in real life. The defence of your or the families life you will be focused on one thing and that is to eliminate the threat not look at the sights.

  19. I consider a 5.25″ .357 concealable. Not going to put short barrel ammo in it. Once, when it looked like I might have to deal with five formidable looking and vicious acting dogs that had surrounded my dog, I thought “maybe six wasn’t enough after all”. I also thought that if they weren’t frightened away by the reports and damage to their cohorts, I was going to have a rough time using it as bludgeon. I do have a gun with 20rnd mags but am just not as good with it for the first six shots so I have stuck with the revolver. I do know what ‘this might not be enough’ feels like though.

  20. Dont go anywhere without my snubbie and a speedloader. Did a trigger job, Brownells has spring kits. And I keep a pistol caliber carbine in my vehicle.

  21. I’m sticking with my Judge loaded with 3″ .410 s. Not small, not light, tough CC, but in close quarter situations, I feel pretty confident.

  22. Rather than .357 or .38 Special, how about a Ruger LCR in .327 magnum? If you don’t like the muzzle blast and recoil, load it with .32 H&R magnum or even .32 S&W. Midway USA has JHP loads in both calibers.

    Greg Ellifritz ( has written about an old man named Henry who carries one or two .22 LR snubbies. Henry figures eight or sixteen shots to the face in three to five seconds will ruin any bad guy’s day.

    Personally, I prefer a .380 pocket auto over a revolver. The auto is thinner and easier to conceal than a revolver with its fat cylinder. A Kahr CW380 or P380 with a MagGuts kit in the extended magazine gives you 8+1.

  23. I think I got it covered with my S&W 649 with hot Buffalo Bore .38 +P in my left pocket and my Sig P225 on my hip.

    I practice weak hand and strong hand with both at least once per week and I’m good with both at self defense distances.

  24. First, I love revolvers. My summer carry is a p3at with extended mag so 10 shots. Using the arx ammo. 1200fps or so. Pretty good for a “mouse”. I have 100% confidence that I’m safe.
    Our summers are 90 some degrees so belt rigs, in the pants rigs and any kind of rig etc are out. Front pocket carry only. This setup is so light and unobtrusive I sometimes forget it’s in there. The extended mag keeps it straight in my pocket, no tipping. No sights or anything to snag and its basically DAO. Revolverish if you will. No safety except keep you finger off it. Requires a fair/strong trigger pull. Drop safe… this is important cause at some point you will fumble it. You will.

  25. The new multi-caliber 692 Taurus Tracker looks very promising. Your choice of 3 inch or 6.5 inch barrel, and comes with two cylinders. Once for .357 / 38 special, and another for 9 mm. Even includes 5 or 6 full moon clips for the 9’s. I am generally not a revolver kind of guy and yet this one has my interest for some reason even I can not fully explain other than it is a very sharp looking hand-cannon. Oh yeah, both cylinders hold SEVEN (7) rounds which I very much like as well.

    The first video below just talks and shows off what you get and the second video is at the range demonstrating .357’s which it seems heavy enough to do well, .38 specials, and of course the 9 mm’s both with and without the full moon clips. It seems the full moon clips aid in ejecting the empties – without the clip you have to pick out the spent cases one by one, so I’d probably just stock up on a bunch of the 7 round full moon clips if I were going to put a lot of 9mm through it.
    Taurus 692 Multi-Caliber Revolver (6:40)
    Taurus Tracker 692 Multi-Caliber range review (7:16)

    (I have no association with the above youtube channel.)

  26. I carried a Hammerless Taurus 85 as an off duty and later a S&W chief special. The lightweight/air weight revolvers are the best. Barely notice you have it, small so they don’t print and .38 is an excellent round. Call me old fashioned for liking wheel guns but they are reliable and proven. Good article!

Comments are closed.