Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Top 10 Concealed Carry Revolvers

My S&W Model 60, in its home away from gun-safe.
The requirements for this list are simple. The gun must be a revolver action handgun; it must be small enough, light-weight enough, and thin enough to reasonably conceal without a parka; it must be chambered in a round worthy of personal protection; it must not be junk, and actually be a gun that I like. While I have not personally fired all of these on the list, I can say that I know or have known people who swore by each of these guns, and I have handled each of them at some point or other (with one exception).

In no particular order:

For Big Bore Fans:
Prefer your bullets to move slow and make huge holes? You'll love the Charter Arms Bulldog. Five shots of .44 special in a double action, concealable package with a variety of options from blued or stainless, with or without hammer, and more. I prefer the stainless DAO model for rugged concealment. Wonder why I didn't pick the Judge or Governor instead? See below.*

For the Techno-Minded:
S&W M&P340 CT. "We's using code words."
Yes, there can be such a thing as a high-tech revolver, and this is it. The Smith & Wesson M&P340 CT. Five shots of .357mag, ultra-light scandium alloy frame, Crimson Trace laser grips. 'Nuff said.

For the K.I.S.S. Crowd:
Simple is as simple does, and that usually means it works. Keep it simple with either of these basic carry pieces. The Smith & Wesson Model 60 (also see my Favorite Firearms article here) and the Ruger SP101, both being low maintenance stainless steel, five-shot, two-inch barrel .357mag stand-outs with three-finger grips and comfortable handling, tie for the lead of this category.

For Old-School Cowboy Types: 
When it comes to old school, nothing says, "I'm yer huckleberry" like a single action revolver. If you're practiced enough, you can be effective with one. Just look at the "wild west." I don't think they had Glocks and Sigs in Tombstone, do you? If this is your thing, have a look at the Heritage Mfg. .32H&R Magnum. Birds head grip and 3.5" barrel for easier concealability. (See what Jason has to say about his Heritage 22 convertible here.)

The Cimarron Lightning 3.5" Bird's Head .38spl.
Winner of the prettiest gun in this list.
Another tie, in this category I love Cimarron Firearms' attractive birds-head gripped, short barreled single actions in the Lightning line, and specifically the small framed .38special with 3.5" barrel. These are fine weapons, and small enough to conceal. The tie is due only to the Lightning's higher price, and lack of the modern safety system of the Heritage Rough Rider, which, if you're going to cowboy-action events you don't want probably, but for everyday carry it seems a good thing to have with a hammer-fired single action.

For the Budget Minded:
For years now, Taurus has given us many good handguns to choose from, at attractive price points. They continue the tradition with the venerable Model 85.  .38special, +P rated, no frills, blued, five-shot snubby.

The very light, partially plastic, Ruger LCR in .22WMR.
For the Recoil Sensitive:
Smaller is better sometimes. If you have a physical disability, or if you're simply recoil shy, there are still some good options out there that will serve a damn sight better than calling 911. Consider the Ruger LCR in .22mag! As we know from Dave's article "22's and Monster Stew," a .22 WMR will decapitate squirrels and dispatch coyotes. It'll also serve better than a .22LR for defending yourself against two legged critters.

For Pockets Full of Fun:
The NAA PUG. Ain't it cute?
Nothing is tinier than the North American Arms Revolver. The PUG D model particularly catches my attention with its one inch barrel and five rounds of .22WMR. If you like Derringers, but want more than two shots, this could be your puppy, or, Pug, as it were.

From the Craziest Thing I've Seen Lately File:
Is it a revolver or a wild animal? I'm not sure, but it's kind of funky cool. The Chiappa Firearms Rhino with it's 2" low slung barrel, flat sided cylinder (figure that one out), and odd grip requirements intrigue me. But, only in .357mag. If I wanted to shoot .40S&W with moon clips I'd get something with a slide, right? This is the one I haven't touched before. But it's so weird that I think I like it.

Seriously, what is that? Innovation, my boy. Innovation.

*I don't like the Judge or Governor. They're ugly, and they drove up the price of .45Colt ammo for no good reason, making it expensive to shoot my 1873 Cattleman.

Don't agree with my list? Have better ideas? Comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts and discuss it!


  1. Let me see....
    Ruger LCR .357...
    Techno minded? Polymer frame. Check.
    K.I.S.S.? It's a DA revolver, fer cryin' out loud. Check.
    Budget minded? Compare it to the others. Check.
    Pocket full of fun? Ooooh, yeah. It's fun! Check.
    Reliable (Not on your list)? R-U-G-E-R. Check.
    Recoil sensitive? Hogue grips and .38 special. Check.
    The LCR .357 really should be at the top of your list.

    1. I had an LCR 357 and sold it. Didn't like the trigger, and neither myself nor any of my friends could stand to shoot more than a round or two of .357 through it. Even .38 was no fun. Maybe I'm just a recoil wimp...

    2. I have the LCR 357 and find it to be very easy to shoot and very accurate at 45 ft. I have found no discomfort shooting 158gr. and have shot quite a few rounds during shooting sessions. Its not reflective in the dark. Recoil is a joke. I see that there are those who complain about the recoil. Maybe they'd be better of with a sling shot.

  2. But where are its lasers, retinal scanners, and whirly-gigs? And polymer is hardly scandium. ;-)

    Seriously, though, that is a great one. It probably would make a list of best overall, but for the categories I chose to include, I just didn't feel it quite made the top. It's all subjective. But, if there was an 11th category for most reliable, I would put Ruger in general as the winner.

  3. Smith& Wesson 357 Night Gard 8 Shot

  4. man u r just like me and I like the ruger charter and naa models thanks a lot all for guns i'm planning to get that little pug just to drop it in my pocket and go

  5. Why not add the taurus 941 snubby - 8 reliable 22 mag - nice revolver , and light

  6. I carried the Chiappa Rhino 200DS for 2 years - I the pistol was comfortable to shoot and 6 rounds of 357 is not a bad option for a carry pistol. That all ended last week when the barrel cracked and I requested information on why repairs were needed after 300-350 rounds and how to ship the handgun in for repairs. The response was basically that the warranty expires at one year, $50 per hour for labor, plus parts, plus shipping and if I lost confidence in their product - the customer service rep didn't seem to mind if I never purchased another Chiappa product again... Good concept, but poor quality and customer service (standing behind product) will ensure I stick with any other brand.

  7. Some great recommendations. I would definitely recommend NAA Pug. Also, for anyone who is just starting out with concealed carry revolvers. I would recommend taking a look at your lifestyle first and find appropriate gun after. We wrote about this recently here: Maybe someone will find it useful. I would also love any feedback possible.
    - Robert M

  8. BEST CARRY REVOLVER FOR ME 6'2" 250. eaa 2"windicator,work horse 7k rounds, clean an go. prices coming back down. got mine $149, now $299 an up.yepper mine is old


Keep it clean and courteous people. Lively is good, mean spirited is bad. Thanks for participating!


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