It seems at times like mighty revolvers have lost their thunder to polymer and steel semi-autos, but they possess a capability and quality that endures.
Sure, revolvers don’t pack the capacity or technology of their semi-automatic competition, but they still stir something in the soul. Whether you want to carry a revolver, keep it in a drawer for home defense, or target shoot, there are a variety of fantastic revolvers from a variety of manufacturers that can fit your needs.
Here’s a list of what we think are some of the hottest revolvers available today.
When Kimber launched the K6S in 2016, they claimed to have ‘evolved the revolver’. Although that might be a bit of stretch, they certainly breathed some fresh life into the concealable wheel gun market.
The K6S has the smallest cylinder on the market capable of holding 6 rounds of .357 Magnum/.38 Special. It measures only 1.39-inches in diameter. The barrel is 2-inches long and the gun weighs 1.43-pounds empty. The internal hammer, shape, and contour of the gun make it snag-free. Models come with fixed and adjustable sights.
We had the pleasure of shooting the K6S at SHOT Show in 2018 and the trigger is phenomenal. With .357 Magnum loads, it’s snappy. But with .38 Specials, it’s very controllable.
The Ruger GP100 may be one of the smoothest shooting revolvers on this list. It was the first revolver I ever fired. I was shooting .38 Specials, but I remember thinking to myself, ‘what a smooth shooting gun.’
The Ruger GP100 has been around since 1985. It’s a rugged, proven design known for its dependability and accuracy. The exposed hammer can be worked in either double or single action. A patented transfer-bar mechanism aids in preventing accidental discharges and the triple-locking cylinder provides positive alignment.
Available in a variety of calibers, the GP100 can hold six or seven rounds depending on the caliber. The robust stainless steel construction adds a little heft. A 3-inch barreled GP100 weighs 2.3-pounds empty. Sights are fixed or adjustable.
It is equally suited for outdoor carry, home and self-defense, and target shooting.
Smith & Wesson Model 66 Combat Magnum
In my mind, the S&W K-frame with wood finger-groove grips is one of the sexiest looking wheel guns available.
First launched in 1970, the K-Frame Model 66, chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special, gained a lot of respect from shooting enthusiasts and law enforcement agencies; however, in the early 2000s, S&W stopped making the 66. Customer demand ultimately caused it to be reintroduced in 2014.
With the newer model, S&W was able to reduce costs and possibly make it more accurate by utilizing new machining and assembly methods.
Today’s Model 66 Combat Magnums come in two barrel lengths. They have an exposed hammer and can be fired in single or double action. They hold six rounds with a fairly robust design. A Model 66 with a 2.75-inch barrel weighs 2.10-pounds empty.
Introduced in 1955, the Python was deemed by Colt as a ‘premium revolver’. It competed directly with Smith & Wesson’s Model 29. Both wheel guns were chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special.
While S&W eventually got Dirty Harry behind their gun, Colt had well-respected firearms writers behind it claiming that the Python was ‘the finest production revolver ever made.’ Not for the faint of heart, Pythons were intended to be big, solid and accurate handguns. They had an excellent reputation with both shooters and law enforcement.
Despite this, Colt discontinued the Python in 2005, perhaps due to a lack of interest at the time in revolvers amid the polymer pistol revolution. In January of 2020, however, Colt re-introduced the Python to much fanfare at SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
According to Colt, the new Python is built out of stronger stainless steel compared to the originals and is available in a 4.25- or 6 inch-barrel model with wood grips.
We were able to shoot the new Python and it shoots and feels really good. The hammer is exposed and it can be fired in signal or double action. It holds six rounds and has adjustable sights. The 4.25-inch model weighs 2.63-pounds.
Last but certainly not least, the Taurus Judge is named after the Miami judges that carry it as their preferred self-defense weapon. Capable of holding five rounds of either .45 Long Colt or .410 shotshell, it is a very potent self/home defense weapon.
It has a five-round capacity and with exposed hammer, can fire in either single or double action. Sights are not adjustable but feature a high vis fiber optic front sight. There’s also a key-operated Taurus Security System. Shallow rifling of the barrel means the Judge is not a short barrel shotgun under the NFA. However, it is illegal in California due to that states more stringent gun laws.
A judge with a 3-inch barrel weighs 1.81-pounds empty.