On the heels of our list of six great concealed carry pistols people might consider for their Christmas wish list, Breitbart News thought the time is right to point out five revolvers that are great for concealed carry as well.
Full disclosure — I am a sucker for revolvers. I love the fact that they are ultra-dependable, and I like the nostalgic aspect of carrying a wheel gun for self-defense. Moreover, although many 21st century revolvers offer multiple caliber options, I like the tried and true .38 Special round and the forever formidable .357 Magnum.
For anyone not familiar with revolvers, it is important to note that the ones chambered in .357 Magnum will also shoot .38 Special — so by buying a .357 revolver, you actually get two guns (or a gun that shoots two rounds). The .38 Special has far less recoil and is a particularly popular with female concealed carriers or anyone who wants to carry a gun that combines stopping power with reduced recoil.
Taurus Model 85 (.38 Special) — The Taurus Model 85 is a no-frills snub nose revolver chambered in .38 Special +P. This means it will shoot regular .38 Special or higher pressure/velocity self-defense loads with hollow point bullets. And it will do it well. The 85 is a classic revolver which means it is double action/single action — i.e., you can pull the hammer back and release it with a long pull on the trigger or you can cock the hammer with your thumb then fire a round via a very short pull on the trigger.
The revolver is light — weighing in at 22.2 ounces — and it holds five rounds of ammunition. It is super easy to use, extremely concealable, and comfortable to carry on one’s person, in a purse, or in a backpack. The 85 also comes with a built-in internal lock that can be activated with a key. Once activated, the gun is inoperable — it cannot fire. This is an option some people like when the gun is going to be stored for long periods of time or when small children are nearby.
Approximate price for a Model 85 — $375.
Smith & Wesson Model 637 (.38 Special) — The Smith & Wesson Model 637 is chambered in .38 Special +P, just like the Taurus Model 85. The 637 also operates on the same double action/single action platform as the Model 85, and it holds five rounds of ammunition like the Taurus. The real differences between the two guns come down to weight and differences in trigger feel. The Model 637 weights 14.03 ounces — roughly 8 ounces lighter than the Model 85 — and its trigger feels different. The feel is mush smoother — therefore better — in the minds of some, but not different enough to bicker about in the minds of others. It’s super lightweight — “airweight” according to Smith & Wesson — which makes it a gun that lends itself to concealment and everyday carry; whether on one’s person, in a purse, or in a backpack.
Approximate price for a Model 637 — $480.
Charter Arms Undercover Lite Standard (.38 Special) — The Charter Arms Undercover Light Standard is a five-shot revolver that is considerably different from the Taurus Model 85 or the Smith & Wesson Model 637. Those differences lie in the mechanism Charter arms uses to lock the firearm’s cylinder into place and in the length of the grip. The cylinder lockup differences do not impact the way you use the gun in the slightest, they are simply apparent when you first look at the gun. On the other hand, the length of the grip does provide some key differences in that it allows you to get one more finger on the grip, thereby making recoil easier to control. The longer grip also means someone who tries to wrestle the gun out of your hand better pack a lunch; it’s not going to be easy. The drawback of the longer grip is that it makes the Lite Standard’s handle slightly longer than the handle on Taurus Model 85 or the Smith & Wesson Model 637, which means the handle can cause a bulge under certain shirts during concealed carry. This is not a problem once you ascertain which shirts to carry it under. On the other hand, the Lite Standard weighs in at 12 ounces–approximately 10 ounces lighter than the Taurus and 2 ounces lighter than the Smith & Wesson–which mean the comfort of carrying is nearly unmatched.
The drawback of the longer grip is that it makes the Lite Standard’s handle slightly longer than the handle on Taurus Model 85 or the Smith & Wesson Model 637, which means the handle can cause a bulge under certain shirts during concealed carry. This is not a problem once you ascertain which shirts to carry it under. On the other hand, the Lite Standard weighs in at 12 ounces — approximately 10 ounces lighter than the Taurus and 2 ounces lighter than the Smith & Wesson — which means the comfort of carrying is nearly unmatched.
Approximate price for a Lite Standard — $370.
Ruger LCR (.357 Magnum) — The Ruger LCR is a double action revolver with a concealed hammer, hidden within the frame of the gun and covered by “fire control housing” to prevent snagging when pulling the gun from your pocket or from beneath a shirt under duress. The frame of the LCR is made of polymer to reduce weight, while the components under stress are made from steel. The LCR weighs in at 17.1 ounces. It holds five rounds of .357 Magnum ammunition or five rounds of .38 Special and/or .38 Special +P. The LCR is a great gun for those looking for a self-defense weapon that is comfortable and easy to carry at all times. It is ultra-reliable (after all, it’s a Ruger), and it is durable. The hidden hammer makes this gun especially apropos for being carried in a purse or backpack, as concerns over getting hair ties, bracelets, etc., tangled around the hammer are gone.
Approximate price for a Ruger LCR — $520 to $550.
Ruger SP101 (.357 Magnum) — The Ruger SP101 is a workhorse. It is heavier than other revolvers in this list — weighs in at 26 ounces — and the barrel is longer, making the gun roughly an inch longer than a snubby like the Smith & Wesson Model 637. However, that being said, the extra weight and size of the SP101 translate into less-felt recoil which, in turn, translates to better control. And if you use .38 Special and/or .38 Special +P instead of .357 Magnum, the recoil is reduced even further. The SP101 is not a purse gun like some of the other firearms on this list. It is better suited for an inside the waistband holster or an outside the waistband holster. It is spot-on for an open carry revolver.
Approximate price for a Ruger SP101 — $560 to $580.
There are myriad accessories available for all five of these revolvers. From holsters by Fobus, Alien Gear, and Clinger to aftermarket grips with built-in lasers by Crimson Trace. In fact, many of the revolvers in this list are available in models that come equipped with Crimson Trace laser grips.
As with all firearm purchases, be sure you know the laws of your state and, upon acquiring a gun, take the time to familiarize yourself with it. Familiarization contributes to safety and confidence, and both will be needed if you have to pull the gun and use it in the blink of an eye to defend your life and/or liberty.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.