Not Always Automatic: Carry Revolvers in Demand

Capitalize on the resurgence of revolvers in the concealed-carry market.

Not Always Automatic: Carry Revolvers in Demand

Kimber K6

Back in the 1970s, only a few states recognized the right of citizens to carry concealed firearms for self-defense. But through a major effort that began in Florida and slowly but steadily spread, concealed carry is now legal in some form in every state in the nation.

The boom in production of compact handguns to meet carriers’ needs has gone hand-in-hand with the growth of concealed carry, and as its popularity continues to grow, so does the demand for carry handguns.

Nowadays, compact semi-automatic pistols inhabit the holsters of many who take their self-defense seriously. But don’t think that compact revolvers are relics of the past. They’ve seen a surge in popularity in recent years and are the handgun of choice for many serious concealed-carry practitioners.

In fact, revolvers still hold some advantages over semi-autos. While they don’t have the ammo capacity of most compact semi-auto pistols, revolvers are considered by many to be more reliable since they aren’t magazine fed, reducing the number of moving parts and opportunity for misfeeds. Loading them is so simple a caveman could do it, and with a speed loader, reloading can be nearly as fast as switching mags in a semi-auto pistol.

Here’s a look at a handful of carry revolvers that can help you cater to the wheelgun crowd.

Kimber K6s

Better known for its outstanding rifles and quality semi-automatic pistols, Kimber entered the revolver market a few years back with the K6s. Since then, the company has expanded the lineup to include several different offerings.

In 2019, Kimberadded three new models to the K6s lineup. The two Stainless Core Control revolvers feature Kimber’s Control Core Grip with a unique design that gives shooters better recoil control when firing .357 Mag. cartridges. The grip envelops the backstrap area of the frame with low durometer rubber constructed in a semi-waffle pattern designed to reduce shock from recoil and increase contact area for a better grip. Available with a 2- or 3-inch barrel, the MSRP is $899.

The other new model, the K6s Royal, features a hand-applied high-polish finish with rich black DLC coating, coupled with ivory G10 laminate grips. To complement the classic look, Kimber put a traditional brass bead front sight on the revolver’s 2-inch barrel. MSRP is $1,699.

All the revolvers in the K6s line feature the smallest cylinder capable of holding six rounds of .357 Mag. ammo, making them easily concealable and good options for a primary concealed-carry firearm, a backup gun or home protection. The frames, barrels and cylinders are all machined from stainless steel for strength and moisture resistance. All also feature a smooth, match-grade trigger for improved accuracy.

Colt King Cobra

Long out of the single-/double-action revolver arena until the 2017 introduction of the Cobra series of .38 Specials, Colt signaled an intention to play hardball with the King Cobra, a .357 Magnum that evokes memories of other revered Colt reptiles. 

Sporting a heavy-duty frame and brushed stainless steel construction, the King Cobra secures a new place in the legendary heritage that makes Colt double-action revolvers such collectible firearms. And the same 28 ounces that put the King Cobra at the top of practical carry weight also make it a pleasant shooter in most hands.

The King Cobra features a 3-inch barrel machined from stainless steel bar stock, while the King Cobra Carry — a 26-ounce hammerless version of the revolver — sports a 2-inch barrel. Another version, the King Cobra Target, has a 4¼-inch barrel. Both the King Cobra and King Cobra Carry feature a rubber over-molded Hogue grip, while the target model boasts Colt’s custom wood medallion grip.

For sights, the King Cobra has a 0.125-­inch-wide black front sight and a .140-inch rear sight milled into the frame. The Cobra Carry features a brass bead front sight and a U-notch cut rear sight. 

MSRP for the King Cobra and King Cobra Carry is $899; King Cobra Target is $999.

Ruger LCR/LCRx

Sturm Ruger has a legendary history of revolver production, so the company’s entry into the compact revolver market some time back was noteworthy. The Ruger LCR and LCRx have ranked among the top-selling carry revolvers ever since.

Ruger’s game with the LCR and LCRx is light weight, period. The LCR’s frame is made from aerospace-grade, 7000-series aluminum in .22 LR, .22 Magnum and .38 Special models, and from 400-series stainless steel in the .357 Mag., 9mm Luger and .327 Federal Mag. versions. The high-strength stainless steel cylinder is extensively fluted for weight reduction and features a PVD finish for durability.

The LCR is a concealed-hammer model with a 1.87-inch barrel, while the LCRx has an exposed hammer and barrel lengths include 1.87 and 3 inches. All feature a Hogue Tamer grip for reducing perceived recoil and a replaceable, pinned-ramp front sight with white bar.

For both the LCR and LCRx, the .22 LR model’s cylinder holds eight cartridges, while capacity for the .22 Mag. and .327 Federal Mag. is six. The rest of the models have five-round cylinders.

Both the LCR/LCRx are very light revolvers, making them a delight to carry. Weights range from 13.5 to 17.2 ounces, and MSRP ranges from $579 to $669, depending on caliber selected.

Smith & Wesson 340 PD

Smith & Wesson has long been a famous name in revolvers, and a look at the S&W 340 PDreveals that the company is still at the top of its game. A J-frame revolver chambered for .357 Magnum, the 340 PD lands on the lighter side of our concealed carry revolver list, weighing in at a scant and easily concealable 11.8 ounces.

The gun’s ultralight weight comes from its matte black scandium alloy frame. Coupled with a grayish titanium alloy five-round cylinder, weight is held to a very minimum. Overall length is 6.3 inches, making the 340 PD quite easy to conceal, and the snag-free, enclosed hammer makes it easy to draw and reholster.

The 1.9-inch barrel is made of stainless steel and boasts a fixed rear sight and high-visibility green fiberoptic front sight for easy target acquisition. A black synthetic grip with finger grooves allows a good grip on the gun — which you’ll appreciate shooting .357 Mag. shells — and complements the black frame well.

Note that a warning inscribed on the 340 PD’s barrel cautions against shooting bullets under 125 grains. MSRP for the ultralight revolver is $1,019.

Charter Arms Mag Pug

The Charter Arms .357 Mag Pug revolver is billed by the manufacturer as “a home protection revolver second to none,” and they just might be right. Luckily for those in the market for a concealed-carry revolver, the Mag Pug lineup includes several models small enough to easily conceal for self-defense purposes.

The folks in Sheldon, Conn., have been making revolvers for more than half a century, so they know what they’re doing. Deep black rubber grips come standard on the Mag Pug for sure purchase and handling. The DA/SA revolvers have an average single-action trigger break in the 4- to 5-pound range, which is quite nice for precise shooting.

Frames are made of stainless steel, and all have a five-round capacity in .357 Mag. Available finishes range from matte black to highly polished chrome, with several finishes between those extremes. Weights range from 21 to 23 ounces. Concealed carriers who prefer a concealed hammer to avoid snagging on holsters or clothing during the draw will find a Mag Pug model for them, too.

Mag Pug models are available with barrel lengths of 2.2, 3, and 4.2 inches. While the 4.2-inch model is a little too large for carry applications, it would make a great home defense revolver.

MSRP for the concealed-hammer carry model with the 2.2-inch barrel is $410.


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