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Compact Revolvers for Concealed Carry

In the world of concealed carry, lightweight, reliable weapons are the name of the game. A revolver might not be the first place you look when selecting a concealed carry weapon; their revolving chambers give an outwardly “bulky” appearance that subconsciously leads us to believe revolvers are too clunky to fit our needs.

Yet despite their heavy appearance, revolvers are in fact quite lightweight. They boast powerful, reliable shooting capabilities and offer incredible ease of use due to their no-frills mechanisms and simple design. Revolvers deliver a number of unique characteristics that can’t be found in other handguns and provide strong competition against pistols as the best concealed carry weapon for both new and veteran gun owners.

Differences Between Pistols and Revolvers

As experienced gun owners will say, the best concealed carry weapon is the one you are carrying the moment you need it. Every weapon carries a unique set of benefits and drawbacks, the key is identifying which benefits speak most to your individual needs and which drawbacks are deal-breakers for your unique situation.

Pistols typically win the popular vote among concealed carry gun owners, but revolvers aren’t too far behind. What revolvers lack in ammunition capacity, they make up for with increased accuracy, streamlined misfire resolution, and ammunition variety. The main differences between revolvers and pistols include:

  • Ammunition Storage: Pistols rely on removable magazines located in the grip of the weapon, whereas revolvers use a cylindrical magazine within a revolving barrel.
  • Ammunition Loading: Pistol magazines can be loaded quite quickly, but revolver rounds require a more manual process. Operators must first release the cylinder to open it, individually load each round, and then close the cylinder to complete the process. Speed Loaders make the process less manual and speed loading up by loading all 5 or 6 single bullets at once.
  • Ammunition Capacity: Pistols hold more ammunition than revolvers (up to 17 rounds is standard). Revolvers typically hold between only 5-7 rounds at a time.
  • Precision: A lot has to happen perfectly for a pistol to fire. Pistols use rifled barrels that engage upon firing and tilt down to accept the next round. This creates recoil as the gases push the slide back, which allows the extractor to grab the spent shell casing, and ejects it, while the next round is pushed into position by the follower. This recoil affects accuracy, whereas a revolver’s fixed barrel has a rotating cylinder that positions the next round into the firing position by means of mechanical action from the rotation. A pistol’s grip also needs to accommodate magazines, think single stack or double stack, which can add bulk and weight to the pistol. This often outweighs other important grip considerations like comfortability. An uncomfortable weapon is an inaccurate weapon. Revolvers don’t need to account for magazines. Their grips are designed entirely for ease of use and handler comfort, which translates to greater precision.
  • Reliability: Clearing malfunctions can be a matter of life or death. Pistols have more mechanical actions that must happen perfectly for the gun to fire. When the trigger is pressed to the rear, the striker engages the primer. That causes an explosion. The gases from that explosion push the bullet down the barrel. The gases push the slide back, the barrel tilts back, the extractor ejects the spent casing, and grabs the next round. If each of these things doesn’t happen, the pistol will malfunction. The probability of a malfunction is far greater in a pistol than in a revolver. Revolvers resolve misfires with a simple squeeze of the trigger. Pistols require manual ejection of the misfired cartridge. This process can take precious time away from situations that likely require immediate action. The revolver requires far less skill and practice – just keep squeezing the trigger!
  • Weight: Revolvers are known for being heavier than pistols, usually because of the large rotating cylinder revolvers use. A vast number of revolvers, however, are designed specifically for concealed carry and feature shorter barrels for decreased weight and better concealment.

Why Revolvers Make Excellent Concealed Carry Weapons

The best way to arm ourselves for success is by ensuring the weapons we’re carrying are comfortable, reliable, and familiar. Revolvers provide a number of unique characteristics that place them high on our list of best concealed carry weapons, including:

  1. Safety – Revolvers are great weapons for beginners because of their simple, safe operating mechanisms. Double-action revolvers provide additional safety benefits because of their hammer mechanics; the hammer drops when fired and therefore always starts in the down position, reducing accidental discharges.
  2. Ease of Use – Revolvers require only the basics: load, aim, and fire. They offer enough ammunition to provide adequate protection while limiting the need to pull back a slide, stumble through misfires, or mess with magazines.
  3. Comfort – Revolvers fit perfectly within concealed carry holsters and provide remarkable grip options for smooth drawing and improved accuracy.

Pew Pew Guru’s Concealed Carry Revolver Recommendations

Taurus 856 Concealed Hammer 6 Shot 38 Special

Taurus 856 2856029CH | Pew Pew Guru

Known for its light recoil and affordable price tag, this powerful, 6-shot revolver features a compact 2” barrel, perfect for home defense and concealed carry applications. The Taurus 856 38 Special also comes in matte stainless steel or blued finish.

Taurus TAU M856 38SP DA REV 6RD 2S | Pew Pew Guru
Taurus TAU M856 38SP DA REV 6RD 2B | Pew Pew Guru
Smith & Wesson 637 Airweight M637 | Pew Pew Guru

Ultra-light and featuring an exposed, spurred hammer, this revolver is a great fit for belt holsters. Looking for a concealed hammer to avoid snagging or catching on clothes? Try the Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight. The Smith & Wesson 442 adds a blued finish option and carbon steel barrel and cylinder.

Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight M642 | Pew Pew Guru
Smith & Wesson 442 No Internal Lock M442 | Pew Pew Guru
Smith & Wesson SW 103039 | Pew Pew Guru
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 Laser Grip 12056 | Pew Pew Guru

A lightweight, double-action-only revolver, the Bodyguard 38 delivers an exceptionally smooth trigger release, ambidextrous cylinder release, and pinned front sights. Wanting a concealed carry revolver with adjustable laser features? Try the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 12056 model with Crimson Trace.

Ruger LCR DAO 5452 | Pew Pew Guru
Ruger LCR LCRx 5430 | Pew Pew Guru

Featuring a stainless steel, fluted cylinder for reduced weight and easy handling, the Ruger LCR is an ideal concealed carry choice for those seeking a smooth trigger pull and reduced recoil. Prefer an external hammer for optional single-action use? Check out the Ruger LCRx model 5430.

Charter Arms CHT THE BOXER 38SP DA 2ALUM/SS | Pew Pew Guru

The Charter Arms Boxer 38 Special reduces recoil with extraordinarily comfortable rubber grips that eliminate contact between hand and frame and improve shooter control. A fiber optic front sight offers easy accuracy even from a distance and the revolver’s minimal size aligns perfectly with concealed carry applications.

From their lightweight, compact design to their outstanding ease of use, revolvers have rightfully earned their place as one of the best concealed carry weapons on the market. They’re a fantastic choice for both beginner firearm owners and experienced shooters and offer a limitless variety of features to suit every lifestyle. 

Are you struggling to decide which concealed carry revolver best fits your needs? PewPew Guru can help. Check out our online shop to discover our array of concealed carry weapons chosen specifically for reliability and exceptional handling. We also offer professionally-led concealed carry courses and concealed carry license renewals so you’re armed with the knowledge you need to keep you and your family safe. Connect with us here for more information.

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