Revolvers lag behind semiautos in sales figures, but far exceed them in versatility. This widely varied selection of revolver models can handle most anything from harvesting the largest North American game to defending one’s home to competitive shooting to fun plinking, and can slip into a pocket for personal protection. Here are 10 of the best models currently in production.
Smith & Wesson Model 642
Weighing 15 ounces empty, with a concealed hammer that won’t snag in the pocket, this 5-shot double-action .38 Special snubby has earned an impressive reputation as a pocket pistol. The aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel cylinder and barrel are largely immune to the heat and moisture that can rust other guns in humid climates.
Freedom Arms Model 83 Premier Grade Adjustable Sights
Designed for hunting, this single-action revolver is built like a Swiss watch and is bank-vault tough. Highly accurate, with provisions for easily mounting a scope, it is chambered for an array of cartridges that can handle any big-game hunting chores in North America.
This 6-shot double-action revolver is chambered for .357 Magnum. It’s available in 4- and 6-inch barrel models with adjustable sights that include interchangeable front sights and a fixed-sight 3-inch model. Rugged and highly accurate, my GP100 has digested almost 30,000 rounds in heavy-duty competition use before requiring a tune-up.
Ruger SP101 .22LR
This double-action revolver is built on the compact SP101 frame with a 4.2-inch barrel. It’s equipped with an adjustable rear sight with a fiber optic front sight and holds 8 rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammunition. It’s an ideal kit gun, and it’s also great practice for those wishing to learn double-action shooting techniques.
This trim SA revolver mimics the classic feel of the original Colt Peacemaker, but with a modern design and affordable price. Chambered for .357 or .45 Long Colt, it is available with a classic or Bisley grip frame and has become a favorite with Cowboy Action competitors. It is available in blue or stainless steel.
Ruger Super Blackhawk
This sturdy single-action handgun, chambered in .44 Magnum, has become a modern classic. Its 6-round capacity, modern lock work, heavy-duty construction, adjustable sights, affordable price, and excellent accuracy make it a top choice for today’s handgun hunters.
Smith & Wesson Model 500
This double-action 5-shot stainless steel revolver is chambered for the .500 S&W cartridge and is the most powerful revolver in the world. It is available in barrel lengths from 4 to 12 inches. In the longer barrel lengths, it’s suitable for harvesting any North American game animal, and the 4-inch models make excellent personal-protection guns in big-bear country.
Smith & Wesson Model 627
Revolvers are inherently more reliable than semiautos when left loaded and stored for extended periods, which is precisely the condition home-defense handguns find themselves in. The 627 is chambered for 8 rounds of .357 and makes an excellent home-defense handgun. Recent USPSA rule changes have also opened the door for its use in competition.
Smith & Wesson Pro Series Model 640
This gun takes snub-nosed revolvers to a new level. The 5-shot, stainless steel, 2 ¼-inch barrel gun is chambered for .357 Magnum, cut for moon clips for faster reloading, and is equipped with tritium night sights. The sights offer excellent accuracy, and in testing, we were able to achieve 15-yard groups that could be covered with a playing card.
Smith & Wesson Model 629
This double-action stainless steel revolver features adjustable sights and is available in barrel lengths from 4 to 6 ½ inches. Chambered for .44 Magnum, it also shoots the softer .44 Special. It has earned an excellent reputation as a big-game hunting handgun, but it is also suitable for personal defense and, with the right loads, for competition.