Semi-automatic pistols are probably the most popular choice for personal defense, but nothing beats the reliability of the concealed carry revolvers.
It’s a time-tested design that has withstood a huge development in the industry over the years. If you’re looking for a dependable handgun, then take a look at our list of the best concealed carry revolvers for self-defense below.
Best Concealed Carry Revolvers Comparison Chart
|Colt King Cobra Carry||Features standard grips. No customization available from Colt||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Rock Island Armory Special||A reliable and solid firearm to learn on. Relatively poor finish, but very affordable.||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Ruger SP101 Spurless .357 Magnum||Perfect for concealed carry, a little heavier than expected. Hardly to find a softer shooting 2.25” barrel .357 magnum||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Smith & Wesson 686 Plus||Interchangeable grips & Low recoil. Stainless steel frame & barrel.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Kimber K6s Revolver||Functions properly without any surprises. I would add more comfortable grips.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
Best Concealed Carry Revolvers Reviews
#1: Colt King Cobra .357 Magnum Carry
You can’t have a revolver list without the good old Colt. The company is back in the double-action handgun game with the King Cobra .357 Magnum. A gun that makes you fall in love the moment you fire for the first time.
This 6-round revolver features a 2-inch barrel that allows for excellent concealed carry. Moreover, this double-action-only pistol has a bobbed hammer, which adds extra safety to your carry.
Colt’s King Cobra has a stainless steel barrel and a frame with a brushed finish, which protects the gun from everyday use. Furthermore, there’s a brass bead front side and it can be chambered with .357 Magnum or .38 Special.
The weight of the gun is only 25 ounces unloaded and features Hogue Overmolded grips that fit perfectly in your palm. What makes this one of the best concealed carry revolvers is the reliability, durability, and accuracy it offers.
#2: Rock Island Armory M206 38 Special Revolver
MSRP: Parkerized version $250-280, Nickel: $350
The M206 is an effective and affordable revolver that’s short on design features but shows an amazing performance when it comes to shooting.
Rock Island’s Armory M206 is simple to operate, highly reliable and offers a solid level of stopping power. Most revolvers might be out of your budget, but this specific model is budget-friendly and outperforms its competitors in the same price range.
This double-action gun chambers 6 rounds of .38 Specials and features a classic 2.15-inch barrel. Surprisingly, we have a smooth trigger, which isn’t common for entry-level revolvers. This makes the pistol really accurate, which adds for the reliability.
The manufacturers have added some nice features such as wood grips, cylinder release, an ejector-rod shroud and you can choose between matt nickel and Parkerized finishes.
Let us be clear, a starter revolver won’t win any beauty contests as it is stripped off aesthetics. It is a simple gun that sacrifices design for cost savings.
Our experience with handguns of this range isn’t great. The M206 isn’t anything special when you look at it first, but you get a different impression once it is in your hand.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the gun offered a smooth operation, without any hassles during our tests. The trigger required 10 lbs. of trigger pull to cycle in double-action mode and 6 lbs. of pressure in single-action.
When it comes to modern .38 Spl. revolvers an important question to ask is whether they can safely fire +P ammunition. When a .38 cartridge is loaded with SAMMI standard +P levels, the bullets are going to generate around 9% more pressure than a standard load. This could lead revolvers to wear out quickly and with weaker guns, it could cause a catastrophic misfire.
Rock Island representatives responded positively when asked whether we can shoot with this type of ammunition. However, when you check the markings and the owner’s manual, there’s no mention of +P ammunition.
In conclusion, we can say that the M206 has many contradictions. With retail prices in the range of $230-350, we can expect a mediocre trigger. Nonetheless, the finishing work is made by hand and the results are better than the price would imply.
If you are looking for a .38 Spl. revolver which is budget-friendly and provides the pleasure of shooting and comes with a warranty – then you might want to give Rock Island M206 a chance.
#3: Ruger SP101 Spurless .357 Magnum
Ruger is a top-tier manufacturer, known for its durable and nearly indestructible revolvers. This would be the kind of sidearm, you’d pick for your hunting adventures.
A straight competitor to this masterpiece is surely no other than Smith & Wesson. S&W makes up in terms of finishing touches, weight reduction, and smooth trigger. Enough with the comparisons, now let’s talk about the Ruger.
The SP101 is a great choice for any novice or gun owner looking for a durable fit for his collection. Given that you’re looking for such a gun, then the Ruger won’t let you down for anything.
When we look closely at the gun, we see that some areas require improvement, but overall we have a very robust gun. First, we take a look at the short rubber grip, perfect for concealed carry, but not that comfortable for .357 rounds.
Another area that requires attention is the trigger, that requires a 14 lb. pull to fire. However, this issue can easily be fixed with slight customization.
When you take the gun out for a firing session, the first thing you will notice is how heavy it is. The revolver is very solid, which allows for recoil absorption. That’s why the SP101 is beginner-friendly, easy-to-shoot pistol.
Given the fact that these handguns aren’t made for long-range combats, the sights are their weakness. They do the work, but you can add better ones if you please.
In conclusion, we would say that the SP101 can be recommended for both novice shooters and people with experience. If you’re looking to invest in a durable firearm that will last, then this model is the right choice for you.
#4: Smith & Wesson Performance Center 686 Plus
Looking for a stylish firearm that is reliable and performs neatly in any situation? Smith & Wesson 686 offers sleek designs and many appealing features.
This handgun has a stainless steel barrel and frame with satin finish against rust or corrosion. Some models are available with ported barrels to allow gases to escape, but they are more difficult to maintain.
It features interchangeable grips made of diamond-shaped synthetic material. If you don’t like the grip, it can be easily changed and customized the way you want.
Next, we take a look at the cylinder, whereas the 686 comes with a 6 or 7-round cylinder. The difference between the two is in the weight and thickness of the revolver.
When it comes to aiming, we have adjustable white outline sights. This enhances shooting significantly, making it easier to shoot. The front sight is a red ramp, which adds for better contrast to the rear sights.
There are three different types of barrels available – 2 1/2 inch, 3-inch, 4-inch. The shorter models are suitable for concealed carry, but they have more recoil. On the other hand, the longer barrel adds for improved accuracy.
Now, to the most important part – the trigger. In double-action, the trigger works flawlessly. Note that, the trigger pull is surprisingly light in single-action when the hammer is cocked
Overall, a very precise and comfortable gun for carrying. If you’re able to store and conceal the bigger models, then you can rely on greater power. Whichever you choose is up to your personal preferences, but you won’t regret it.
#5: Kimber K6s Revolver
Kimber is well-known for the manufacturing of stunning and functional 1911 handguns. In recent years, the company started to make a name for itself with revolvers. With the K6 models, we can see expert craftsmanship, making it a must-have for every collection.
For over a century, U.S citizens have relied on revolvers for self-defense because of their compact size and shooting power. Kimber K6s presents an old school, all-steel, six-shot pistol that stacks .357 Mag. ammo.
Just by the looks, you can feel how massive the gun is. This pistol weighs 23 ounces and doesn’t have an external hammer. The trigger guard is also nicely positioned to provide space to the trigger finger.
Unlike other models, the K6s features large white-dot sights, that can be used easily even in the dark. Furthermore, we take a close look at the trigger, which is crucial to determine whether a gun is good or not.
When you pull the trigger, the pull weight is identical throughout the whole travel distance. For guns with double-action-trigger pull, the smooth and consistency are of great importance.
All in all, the firing mechanism of the gun is reliable and offers superb performance. We were surprised to learn that the gun is comfortable as well.
When we tested the pistol it fits firmly in our palms. The gun had rubber grips which added for better control and comfort when firing. During the shooting test, the overall performance of the revolver proved to be a pleasant surprise.
When it comes to guns, the price and the name shouldn’t be your main criteria for choosing. Of course, some handguns will be over your budget, but expensive doesn’t mean of high quality.
It is important to know what each of the best concealed carry revolvers for self defense has to bring, what downside it has and where it is better than its competitors. No gun is perfect and each of them has certain flaws. In the end, out of all guns, pick the one that you can use because in self-defense situations that’s what matters the most.
A Bulgarian native law student, and a gun aficionado. I’ve graduated from a British International school and have successfully taken a number of Cambridge certificates such as PET, FCE, CAE, GSCE, IGCSE & IELTS. I found love in firearms early on in life when my father took me hunting for the first time. A few years later and an unknown number of rounds fired, I have the opportunity to combine my home defense & firearms expertise with the public.