Even with all of the innovation in recent years in the concealed carry space with semi-autos getting smaller and holding more ammo, there will always be a place for revolvers in the industry. I personally carry a small snub-nose revolver whenever I have to travel by plane. I check it in my luggage, but when I land that’s the gun I tend to carry.
This list is based on my experience and personal preferences for what makes a good concealed carry revolver. My name is Josh Gillem and I’ve been writing about guns, reviewing them, and shooting them for over two decades. If you’ve spent any amount of time reading gun content, chances are good that you’ve read some of mine, too.
What do I consider to be the best concealed carry revolvers? Here they are in no specific order:
Colt’s revolvers have always been unicorns. Known for their buttery smooth operation and nearly flawless operation, they’ve earned themselves an iconic place in history. I remember the first time I got my hands on one at an NRA Show when I interviewed one of the VPs and was in awe at how well it felt in hand.
The trigger was one of the best double-action triggers I’ve felt to date and the oversize trigger guard was a breath of fresh air. On other revolvers, my finger tends to hit the trigger guard in a violent fashion, and after a long range session, I’ve even cut that part of my finger open after repeated hits.
The Colt Cobra comes in 38 Special, and its capacity sits right at 6. When other, similar-sized guns only hold 5, this is obviously a step in the right direction. MSRP is all over the place for this one, with the base at $699, and running up to $1,299.
If you have sausages for fingers like I do, you may find the price tag doable.
The Kimber K6 is likely the most expensive one on this list with a base MSRP over the $1,000 mark. That said, it also has some great options. It starts off with a 6-shot capacity in 357 magnum. If you’ve been following me for any period of time you know how I feel about carrying more ammo than you think you’d need.
In a revolver, you’re already starting off with less so it’s important to maximize it as much as possible.
One of the best things about the Kimber K6 is the trigger. If I had to rank the guns on this list by their trigger I’d put the Kimber at #2 right after the Colt. Another great feature is the cylinder release mechanism which is intuitive for my big ol’ hands.
As a bonus, there are also a few different models that you can choose from if you’re thinking about going this route, ranging from 2″ to 4″ barrels, as well as a newer 38 Special lightweight model that I, admittedly, have not had the chance to shoot yet. Its MSRP is under $700, it’s chambered in .38 Spl, and it is a DAO.
The Ruger LCR is one of the most popular revolvers out there. It’s a small, J-Frame-sized gun usually found in .38 Special. That said, there are also models in .22lr, 327 mag, 9mm, and 357 magnum. These are lightweight guns meant to do one thing, shoot five rounds, and do it well.
The 38 Special model is lightweight at 13.5 ounces, though they’re a little pricy when compared to the Cobra that comes standard with an extra round of 38 in the cylinder, with an MSRP at $739.
Either way the LCR is a great gun, and you can find more info about our Ruger LCR Holsters, when you push that link.
The most popular revolver on this list has to be the S&W J-Frame. And, there are nearly countless models available in multiple different calibers and options. You can choose the 357 Magnum Model 60 with a hammer, or choose a Model 640 without a hammer — or any other option you can think about.
They’re also available in .22lr, .22 mag, or .38 special and have a lot of aftermarket support. So, if you need a holster and go to one of our product pages, you’d choose the J-Frame option from the sizing dropdown for any of the guns on this list.
MSRP is all over the place from the mid-500s all the way up to 1,200, depending upon the model you choose.
Charter Arms Off-Duty
I debated on excluding this one from the list. I obviously did include it, but only because I figured I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t. After all, I don’t own the other guns on this list because I’d go broke. But I do own this one because it’s cheap. They retail for about $400, but I picked mine up about 10 years ago for about $250.
I specifically use this one as my travel gun. It’s cheap, reliable, and disappears on my body. And if some TSA agent decides he deserves it more than I do, well, at least I’d only be out about $250.
These tend to be one trick ponies, chambered in .38 special with a 2″ barrel. I will say this about Charter Arms, their guns work well and they are available in many models chambered in different caliber options including 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 Auto.
If I had to do it all over again I’d probably choose one in a semi-auto caliber so I didn’t have to worry about stacking 38 Special ammo during an ammunition crisis.
One thing is for certain, the concealed carry revolver is a popular sidearm that’s not likely going anywhere any time soon. If you need a holster for yours, chances are great that we’ve got you covered.