Best Revolvers of 2021: Top 10 Compact, Semi-Automatic Killer Models With Impressive Accuracy, Range & Bullet Speed—Tested & Reviewed by Gunsmiths (Full Buyer’s Guide)
- Erik Himmel
When I was growing up, I had a particular attachment to the nature. My dad loved hunting and shooting. Therefore, toying with his revolver was one of my favorite pastimes.
During these hunting sessions, he used a small revolver. He apparently inherited it from my grandfather. He used to chant me marvelous stories about his adventures.
Besides the lengthy lectures and lessons about how to take care of a revolver, my dad also tasked me with disassembling and cleaning his rifle. And the more I did this under his strict supervision, the more I learned about this type of weapon,
Although I was not allowed to shoot the gun, I observed how to grip a revolver and load it correctly, I knew a lot about everything I need to make revolver reviews by the time I reached my teenage. It’s, therefore, not surprising that I got a revolver immediately I could afford them.
What You Will Get Here
- Best revolvers Comparison Chart (Updated 2021)
- Why You Should Trust Us
- How Did We Pick these Revolvers?
- Our Top 10 Best Revolvers
- Best Overall: Crosman Vigilante CO2 Caliber .177 Pellet & BB Revolver
- Best for Budget: Crosman SNR357
- Best Single Action Revolver: Umarex Colt Single Action Army 45 .177 Pellet Nickel Air Pistol
- Best for Beginners: Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 CO2 Revolver
- List of 5 other Revolvers We Reviewed
- A List of Other Products We Tested
- Know about Revolvers
- Things to Look for in Best Revolvers
- Some Other Types of Revolvers
- Some Tips on Becoming a Good Handgun Shooter
Best revolvers Comparison Chart (Updated 2021)
Crosman Vigilante CO2 Caliber .177Read Full Review
Crosman SNR357Read Full Review
Umarex Colt Single ActionRead Full Review
Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 CO2Read Full Review
Dan Wesson ASG 2.5" CO2Read Full Review
UmarexBrodax .177 Caliber SteelRead Full Review
Viridian Reactor 5 GreenRead Full Review
Colt Python 2.5" .357 CO2Read Full Review
Denix M1861 Navy Issue Brass RevolverRead Full Review
Umarex 2254048Read Full Review
Why You Should Trust Us
There are hundreds of review sites on the internet, you must need some reasons to put your trust in any particular one. That's why we clarify why we're trustworthy in this section. At first, we are an experienced team comprising passionate shooters and toxophilites. We've been using, testing, and reviewing different hunting tools and shooting essentials for quite a long time now. We've gathered hands-on experience during all these years. We came up with this platform to share our knowledge with the people from each corner of the world.
Moreover, we've no financial relationship with any of the manufacturers. That helps us give unbiased reviews considering only the performance and other important factors. Thus, we promote only deserving products to help our readers choose the best one for their needs.
Here at Ranger Expert, we try our best to arrange the products in the right order so you can make a wise buying decision even if you are a novice in this sector. So, you can rely on our authentic reviews and comprehensive buying guide when buying a revolver.
How Did We Pick these Revolvers?
We conducted extensive online research to find out the most eligible products to be tested by us. It took us almost a whole day to shortlist 20 revolvers among hundreds of models.
Then we moved to a safe place to avoid any casualty that may happen due to the use of revolvers. Though these are BB revolvers and supposed to be non-fatal, its always better to take precautions. We engaged our volunteer teams in the testing process and supervised them throughout the whole process. We collated our findings and the reports from our volunteers to pick the top 10 models.
We also consulted other experts in our locality to see if they had anything to suggest or change anything on the list. As expected, they agreed to most of our picks and also recommended a little change in the order of the models. We considered their suggestions and were finally able to make this top 10 list. Since we followed so many protocols to make these reviews and buyers guide, we're confident that you won't find a better review page on revolvers than our one.
Our Top 10 Best Revolvers
Following my shortlist of a wide array of revolvers, I list as below the top ten revolvers. All these models are under 500 dollars. I have classified them according to their types. Further, I have ranked them from the result of the analysis using the criteria outlined in the ‘Things to look for in the best revolvers’ section of this write-up.
The review of the top revolvers helps you find your specific product or any good revolvers that you require.
The Crosman Vigilante Co2 is a semi-automatic revolver ideal for hunting and personal defense purposes. It has a ten chamber bullet cylinder and features both single action and double action firing mechanism. The carbon dioxide canister powers this airgun.
The revolver has a six-inch long barrel and a full one-inch hammer section. It works well with the .177 caliber pellets. Besides, it also uses bullets. The cylinder is designed to take either a 6-round or 10-round magazine.
The revolver is powerful, providing a shooting velocity of 435 feet per second shots and is accurate within 65 yards. The robustness makes it a natural choice for plinking fun and target shooting.
The gun’s ergonomics are superb. The finger molded handgrip offers a perfect hold, while the long rifled barrel ensures consistent, accurate shots. The compact design makes it one of the best concealed carry revolvers. The mean design states that this revolver withstands extreme shootouts. The jet black large caliber barrel, as well as the sturdy hammer knob, only accentuate this feature.
Another benefit you get from this revolver is the dual operation. It can perform both the single action and double action firing, changing from one method to another quickly.
The product is long lasting and durable, offering many years of trouble-free service. But follow the manufacturer’s instruction and use only the recommended ammunition types and sizes.
Its greatest strengths are the shooting speed, accuracy, and multiple shooting mechanisms.
- Weights about 2 lbs
- Color: Black
- Rapid firing mechanism with semi-automatic functionalities
- Uses both bullets and pellets – 0.177 caliber
- Have tactical rails
- Shooting velocity of 435 feet per second
- Two cartridge configurations – 6-bullet and 10-bullets
The revolver is an ideal gun for new users. It’s powerful enough to kill small birds and rodents. It’s also easy to use and maintain. The construction is robust, hence offer more durability.
The manufacturers did a lot of research on handling and usage. As such, the Crosman Vigilant revolver is user-friendly, easy to learn and takes a streamlined profile. It’s small, and compact size allows you to conceal it completely.
Although this revolver is not very powerful, it’s still accurate on target and cheap to procure. If you want to start using a pistol, perhaps make Crosman Vigilant your first consideration. These traits propel this firearm to the top of the top 10 revolvers.
The black or grey short gun is a versatile and compact firearm meeting the best cheap revolver category. It costs you less than $ 50 to procure this handgun. This gun uses both the BB pellets and real live bullets.
One beneficial feature of this gun is the quick loading and firing mechanism. This feature offers better survival chances in a life and death situation. But you wouldn’t accidentally trigger a stampede in a store. The revolver has a sturdy hammer for additional safety.
The revolver offers a respectable velocity powered by a 12g carbon dioxide canister that propels pellets and metal BBs through its 3.5 inch-long barrel. It utilizes the .177 caliber steel round projectiles. The cylinder has a 6-chamber for loading the projectile cartridges.
The rugged, heavy-duty main frame construction incorporating black toughened metal handgrip gives this firearm the necessary weight to punch the required firepower. Further, the handgrip offers a secure hold of the revolver. The configuration is contoured to brace the fingers around it firmly.
Loading of cartridges is comfortable with the quick cylinder swing out design. The fixed front sight viewer and the adjustable rear viewer slot come as standards with this gun.
- Shipping dimension: 9.5 x 7.5 x 1.5 inches
- Weight 2 lbs
- Firing mechanism: Repeater
- Magazine capacity: 6 ball projectiles
- Bullet Velocity: 350 feet per second
- Speedloader mechanism
- Swing out cylinder
- Barrel length – 3.5 inch
This affordable revolver is a must-have firearm. Don’t let the low price fool you. The Crosman SNR357 handgun has some of the best features you can find in shotguns.
It allows you to reuse the cartridges once you have discharged the contents, saving you much money in the process. Despite the short snub nose barrel, you still get a more accurate shooting experience. In case you need additional targeting aid, you have the front and rear sights to firmly lock your targets.
You can practice shotgun shooting techniques with the repeater firing mechanism. Again, you enjoy the side loading feature that the cylinder provides. And if you need to fire at a moment's notice, you can harness the cartridge’s speed loading function.
Practicing with these sophisticated features enables you to graduate from the slow single action firearms to the fast automatics with quicker multiple firing and more efficient loading properties. With all these advanced features at a low price, this shotgun certainly qualifies as the best revolver for the money.
Colt Single Action Army pistol is probably the best revolver brand in the world. It’s not only famous for its military performance, but also is one of the most successful revolvers ever made.
Its iconic design – long, shiny stainless steel barrel, smooth cylinder, a prominent hammer as well as jutted back handgrip - all denotes a serious contender to any shooting spree. But these features also highlight the practical functionality of this revolver.
Its sturdy hammer provides additional safety to the user against the powerful blast from a 6.7 long steel barrel. The barrel harnesses the .177 caliber steel round projectiles, propelled by carbon dioxide.
The gun uses pellets - ejected from the 6 round cylinder. But what makes this particular air gun a favorite is its great velocity. It’s one of the most accurate revolvers, up to 60 yards and delivers a killer punch.
The fixed front sights provide better aiming for far away targets. The heavy-duty metallic construction also helps in this. Even though this is a replica of the most popular revolver, it still has some of the qualities found in the original variant.
- Single action mechanism
- Weight 2 lbs
- Bullet Velocity: 410 feet per second
- Caliber size: 0.177
- Fixed front sight
- Uses pellets
- Barrel length 6.7 inches
- Sideloading cylinder
If you desire more quite shots, light guns but still want to maintain greater accuracy, you can select the Colt Single Action Navy issue revolver. It’s probably the best small revolver for your everyday shooting adventure.
It’s a powerful gun, propelling projectiles at more than 400 fps. Its long barrel ensures that each trigger you pull makes a kill. Further, it’s safe to use with the reliable safety lock mechanism.
The slow cocking process after every shot is what you need to master your shooting techniques. Handling of the revolver is easy, thanks to the ergonomic streams. Perhaps this is why it’s the best revolver brand available in the market today.
The S & W 327 TRR6 steel revolver is an excellent revolver to prime your shooting adventure. I consider it the most popular revolver to commence your small firearm handling training. It’s small in size and uses carbon pressure to propel metal projectiles.
It’s all black steel frame makes it handy to hold. It comes with a 6no. BB metal encased cylinder. Further, the firing mechanism is automated. The revolver draws its power from pressurized carbon dioxide.
Its long barrel measuring 5.5 inches perfects its accuracy significantly. The barrel shots .177 caliber steel round projectiles. But this gun also uses pellets that fit into its 6 round cylinder.
The cylinder has a unique swing-out design. This mechanism allows for faster loading and unloading of the chamber. Apart from the speedier loading mechanism, this revolver also offers you and more accurate shooting prospects. It comes with free accessories that include a fixed fiber optic front sight and an adjustable fiber optic rear prism.
The rugged construction makes this gun a piece of versatile training equipment. Its entire structure is a robust all black steel construction. Its handgrip is contoured for more secure handling even under intense pressure.
The 12 g carbon dioxide canister discreetly held in the gun's handgrip compartment facilitates its powerful shooting capability. Further, the weapon provides additional custom features with the versatile tactical rails.
- Weight 2.65 lbs
- Firing mechanism: Repeater
- Magazine capacity: 6 ball projectiles
- Bullet Velocity: 400 feet per second
- Speedloader mechanism
- Caliber size: 0.177
- Swing out cylinder
- Jet black steel construction
This versatile revolver coming from the best revolver brand manufacturer sets the right tune for hunting training. It eliminates all the difficult function for you.
First, the speed loader automates its cartridge loading mechanism. Again, the Picatinny rails offer you a suitable opportunity to load your auxiliary aids such as a laser, binocular, tripod stand or a torch.
Then, the revolver is also heavy, just like the real gun, it made from heavy duty steel material. And with the heft comes the punch. The handgun is powerful, blowing the projectiles at a speed of over 400 fps.
Further, the robust construction together with the streamlined contours helps you take charge of your shooting lesson. These range from better target focus to proper hand grip. It’s no wonder that once you get accustomed to this machine, your shooting techniques inevitably shoot up.
Lastly, without sweating it out, you have the advantages of the professional shooter. Thus, you wouldn’t be far off the target if you consider this firearm as one of the top-rated revolvers.
The Dan Wesson ASG 2.5” carbon air revolver is one of the smallest CCW revolvers for concealed carry. This sun is suitable for training and hunting. Its six chamber bullet cylinder carries ammunitions that fire rapidly via the gun's multiple automatic firing mechanisms. The pistol uses a carbon dioxide propellant.
It's easy to transport having shipping dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches. The barrel is compatible with .177 caliber bullets. Pellets are the primary weapons that the gun uses and if you know the right ways to load a gun, these will load quickly in the 6 round cylinder.
When purchasing this revolver, you get a free gun (right side) holster, one 4.5mm steel BB, speed loading device and one magazine of 6 cartridges. Besides, the gun has additional features such as tactical rail and a reinforced plastic handgrip.
The handgrip enhances the handgun’s ergonomic design with additional engraving and finger countered configuration for a sturdier grip and accuracy.
Its construction dons two-tone construction scheme. It has a robust stainless steel shiny front section that offers a contrasting blend with the black rubber handgrip. Further, you advance your shooting experience using this product with the adjustable rear sight viewer.
Using this revolver is easy and fast. It facilitates a higher degree of accuracy helping it earn the 5th spot on the list of our first top 5 revolvers. You can carry it for long distances without developing body fatigue due it its small size. This nimble size also makes it camouflage better in your clothes.
- Shipping weight 2.3 lbs
- Firing mechanism: Repeater
- Magazine capacity: 6 ball projectiles
- Bullet Velocity: 318 feet per second
- Adjustable rear sight
- Lightweight plastic handgrip
- Chrome steel main frame
- 12g carbon dioxide cartridges
Despite the small size, Dan Wesson ASG revolver features robust construction and heavy weight that makes it mimic the real firearm. This firearm loads quickly via the speed loader. And aiming with this gun isn’t that difficult for even the most basic user. With the help of the front and rear sights, you shoot directly on the intended targets.
The gun’s accuracy is improved by the cartridges that align well with the barrel increasing the efficiency. The compact size is balanced by the plastic handgrip that holds its power keg – carbon dioxide canister.
Its little power pack makes it the best small revolver for training and newbies. Besides, it provides you with the rail harness to mount your add-ons. It thus offers you the most convenient starting point to owning a training weapon before buying the real arm.
List of 5 other Revolvers We Reviewed
If you desire a lightweight revolver to commence your shooting lessons, then look no further that UmarexBrodax air gun pistol. This small revolver, made from a heavy-duty polymer material, mimics the real thing.
You will discover many features available even though the gun's price is competitive. When you are a new user, you note that your hands are unsteady on the grip and your focus skewed. But this revolver is designed to help you overcome such deficiencies.
It also helps you grow your confidence in handling ammunition and firearms fast. It’s easy to operate and manipulate. Train with this gun and after a few short sessions, you will notice significant improvements in the way you lock onto your targets and also produce more accurate shots.
Let’s look in details the main features of this cheap revolver. It measures just 8.5 inches from the barrel to hammer. This gun uses .177 caliber steel round projectiles emanating from a 10 round cylinder.
It features a rugged black heavy-duty polymer construction material streamlined with unique trims and contours. The handgrip has molds and hex contours for perfect handling. Also, it has vented ports that quickly cool the gun even under intense firing sessions.
The target viewing slots come standard with this revolver, considerably improving targets location and shooting accuracy from the powerful carbon canister. You also have the Picatinny rails to brace whatever vanities you need to enhance your shooting experience further.
- Weighs 1.5 lbs
- Length from barrel tip to hammer – 8.5 inch
- Firing mechanism: Single and double action
- Cylinder with ten cartridge slots
- BB velocity: 375 feet per second
- Vented ports for faster cooling
- Uses pellets and BB
- Sideloading mechanism
- Metallic hammer and trigger devices
This particular firearm is a perfect training revolver, and it's not considered one of the top revolvers for no reason. The futuristic design elicits professional handling. You enjoy the benefits of front and rear sights to advance your targeting techniques.
Further, the metallic trigger and hammer knobs allow you to deliver precise shots. Loading a gun is never easy, but with this revolver, you can practice the advance sideloading technique that most single action revolvers utilize. You will also enjoy the weight advantage it gives you. Due to its lightweight, you can keep on training for a long time without getting fatigued.
You also get to practice with both the pellets and BBs projectiles, hence gain valuable experience before graduating to real bullets. The high compression carbon dioxide canisters help propel your projectile fast and far. The high velocity enables you to aspire to hit targets located far away.
Sports shooting has gone digital, and revolver guns are evolving to adapt to this technology. In comes the Viridian Reactor Laser sight handgun. It is your undisputed firing aid.
Laser tracer is an essential accessory to your revolver. Laser rays are accurate and fast, beaming far off targets well. Therefore, when you are in danger, these beams could be a lifesaver.
This lightweight laser gun comes with two sets of batteries, so you don’t worry about the missing charge. Further, it has a battery power indicator LED to inform you if the power is low and you need to replace the power pack.
The construction takes cognizance of the rugged working environment. It's constructed using a high tensile strength thermo molded polymer material. Further, handling it is easy due to the angular and ragged compact plastic construction.
It’s perfect for instantaneous self-defense against intruders and dangerous wild animals such as bear under ambush situation. Further, it works well to scare rodents as well as during search and rescue operations.
- Weight 0.78 oz
- Dimensions 4.7 x 5.8 x 1.9 inches
- Laser beam range – 2 miles night, 100 feet daytime
- Firing mechanism: Laser rays
- Black color
- Holster with magnetic sensors
- Power source – Lithium battery
- Power output – 5 mill watts, producing 532nm of laser waves
When an immediate and imminent threat confronts you, then you don’t have much time to think. Besides, your adrenaline is pumping. Knowing that you have split second to avert the danger or face potentially serious harm, your judgment must be precise and instantaneous.
It's under such conditions that Viridian Reactor 5 comes in handy. Just drawing it and pointing at the source of your threat is enough to turn the tables around. A revolver with a laser ray is significantly more accurate than the one without.
With the powerful green laser ray and a lightweight, it doesn’t inconvenience you in any way. You can carry it throughout without even noticing it. Yet, it’s activated immediately you pull it from the holster, handing you the surprise advantage you seek during such situations.
Maybe you are nostalgic about Denix M1861 Navy Issue brass revolver. Your sentiments are highly justified. This weapon was the most popular revolver during the American Civil War. A total of 130,000 were issued and used during this adversity.
You get the opportunity to feel the hand gun’s chilling blue and brass texture of the ancient ironmongery, and superb craftsmanship that shaped the history of the US. You also instantly marvel at the reliability and durability of this front-loading revolver.
The gun's lengthy 7.75” barrel spoke volumes about its accuracy. Its total length is 13.9 inches, making it one of the most extended regular firearms. Being the introductory revolver class, it ignited the cartridge using either paper or linen as explosive.
But the slow ignition doesn’t mean that the firearm isn't robust. Its rifled barrel bore accommodates .44 high caliber bullets. The use of fixed front slot further enhanced its accuracy with a better aim.
However, it’s its structure that makes this firearm very iconic. The original die-cast iron construction is still evident in this non-firing replica. The brass profiling around the hammer, the cylinder, and the wooden handgrip area are undoubtedly real.
Additionally, the current duplicate weighs just as heavy as its original ancestor. Therefore, it provides a real feel of actual civil war armor. It thus provides a tremendous decorative memorabilia item.
- Weight 2.55 lbs
- Barrel length – 7.75 inch
- Firing mechanism: Single action
- Removable cylinder
- Retractable barrel
- Front loading mechanism
- Heavy duty firearm with a barrel bore for 0.44 bullets
- Main body all steel construction with brass trimming along the trigger and hammer area
If you are searching for a fantastic piece of wall decoration with sentimental value, purchase the Demix M1861 Navy Issue Non-firing revolver. The classic look is enough to rekindle your love for the revolver. But then the real-life elements – from fire trigger, the robust hammer, the six chamber cylinders, and the die-cast iron metal frame – make you want to carry it with you.
In fact, you can do so and use it to show off to your friends. You can also display it as a perfect educational sample to teach the essential gun basics to your buddies without the risk of them firing a shot. The feel and the handling of this piece are just as real as the actual revolver.
But that’s not all; you can also use it to teach your kids or grand-kids a piece of history. Given its role during the American Civil war, it's still considered the best revolver in the world.
Colt Python 2.5” revolver is perfect if you want to begin your hunting adventure with a bang. It’s small and light, perfectly fitting your hands. Its black color is particularly helpful when you hunt or train under the high sun since it reduces the glare and reflection. Hence, you are likely to ambush your prey. Use a good quality gun cleaning kit to get a topnotch service from this gun.
You will find its design very attractive. The laid back handgrip is designed to ease pressure from your initially clumsy hands. Further, the ribbed and contoured textures make the gun a perfect fit for your fingers. With the wide hammer, you quickly access it to release the lock for a faster shot. The large handgrip also holds enough carbon dioxide needed to propel your projectiles faster and more accurately.
The revolver offers you the advantage of learning different techniques concurrently. You get to train simultaneously for the basic but reliable single trigger timing technique, and the more sophisticated double action procedure. You may also easily interchange these two processes as you deem fit.
Besides, the Colt Python allows you to practice loading of different cartridges – since it uses both pellets and metal BBs as firing projectiles. Incidentally, the two have different shooting distances and techniques. These differences enhance your shooting aptitude using different cartridges.
The heavy-duty black metallic construction allows you to get the feel of the real gun, hence prepares you for the superb handling of the heavier bullet revolvers with ease.
But these are not all that you gain from using this gun. You also simplify your aiming and target location and shooting with the use of the fixed front optics and the flexible rear focus lens.
Further, the side loading mechanism of the cylinder provides you with enough experience to master the blasts from the short barrel powered by the carbon canister.
- Weight 1.5 lbs
- Short steel barrel length of 2.5 inch
- Firing mechanism: Single and double action
- Cylinder with six cartridge slots
- High propulsion – Pellets Velocity: 350 feet per second and BB velocity: 375 feet per second
- Use caliber size: 0.177
- Focus lens – fixed front and flexible rear sight
- Dual ammo – uses pellets and BB
The Colt Python replicate is one of the best revolvers for the money. This air gun shots both pellets and BBs that load in the six chamber cylinder.
Despite using air pressure, the gun is still potent. What I like about it is the natural loud bang of a real gun. The actual sound notwithstanding, the grip and the weight feel like you are holding a genuine Colt Python since its constructed using metal all around.
Besides, it’s both accurate and fast. When you seek precision shots, you just set it to a single action shooting mechanism. But when you want to make a kill quickly, you have the luxury of the double action process. As such, it offers a practical training on both these two alternatives.
These features make this brand one of the top rated revolvers.
The Umarex 2254048 Nickel Colt Peacemaker carbon dioxide revolver is a great firearm to own. You will note that the original version of this duplicate was developed towards the end of the Civil War – giving it its brand name.
This variant is made from nickel while its handle is plastic. But still, it gives you the feel of the real Colt .45 without the headache of traveling far interior to fire it. You can use it in any enclosure including your basement.
Since these six shot guns fire pellets, you save the expense that you would have, otherwise, spent on real bullets. Besides, the nickel finish gives this gun a polished structure – shiny barrel, cartridge and firing lever. The glossy finish makes cleaning this product easy.
You also enjoy the excellent workmanship of this gun.
- Weight 2.4 lbs
- Firing mechanism: Single action
- Sideloading mechanism
- Nickel all body construction
- Heavy duty firearm using BB projectiles
- Plastic handgrip
- Silver color
- Powerful 370 feet per second velocity
You can derive the best of both worlds by purchasing this product. First, you cheaply buy a replica of the best revolver in the world. Colt Peacemaker by Umarex ensures you savor the feel and touch of its iconic ancestor. The names also give you psychological satisfaction having a peaceful adventure wherever you move around.
Second, you don’t have to spend a fortunate training yourself on how to handle this versatile firearm. It’s powered by carbon dioxide canister, and cartridge propels pellets and BBs. These are cheap and easily sourced. With this device, you perfect your shooting expertise using a gun shooting professionals cherishes from centuries back.
A List of Other Products We Tested
- 1Denix M1860 Army Issue Revolver
- 2Bear River Schofield No. 3 Revolver
- 3Umarex Glock 17 Gen4 GBB Airsoft
- 4Denix 1851 Engraved Navy Revolver
- 5Crimson Trace LG-660 Lasergrips
- 6Gamo Blowback CO2 Powered .177 Caliber
- 7Beeman Sportsman Series Small Frame Air Pistol
- 8Crosman 2240 Bolt Action CO2-Powered .22 Pistol
Know about Revolvers
A revolver is a kind of handheld gun. Its most distinct feature is the bullet or projectile chamber. Maybe it’s this construction that lends it its name. A revolver has an ammunition chamber that rotates as you fire. It’s also this property that distinguishes it from pistols and other shotguns that are also handguns.
Revolvers comprise of the barrel, the cylinder, the hammer, the trigger mechanism, the handgrip, the crane as well as the timing mechanism. Mr. Samuel Colt, an American, brought the first revolver in the 1830s, and since then these handguns have undergone significant transformation. From the gun powder to front loading paper and linen cartridges, to steel encased explosive cartridge firing mechanism, to J frame construction, this handgun has continued to become lighter, more reliable and versatile. You will also find tiny, hammerless and cool revolvers in today's market.
Therefore, when you are looking for the most popular revolver, your logical choice is any product from Colt or Smith & Wesson. You can consider these people as the fathers of the revolvers as you know them today. The firearms company these three inventors founded remain, harnessing their pioneers’ visions of manufacturing a better firearm.
Why Are Revolvers Being Used Today?
Revolvers are old but still harness the same ancient technology to date. But they still rank at per with their more sophisticated and versatile competitors. Many popular revolvers give you certain advantages. You should consider carrying a revolver for the following reasons:
Lightweight : The use of composite materials has made revolvers lighter in comparison with other guns. This feature allows you to carry it about conveniently.
Discreet : Another advantage you get from a revolver is its small size. The compact arm can fit even in your pocket. As such, you can discreetly arm yourself when plying dangerous environment without alarming passersby.
Safe : The loading and recoiling mechanism of a revolver necessitate that you must pull the trigger to the end before it releases a bullet. This setup provides you with the benefits of carrying a fully loaded munition without the danger of accidental firing.
Quick action : The fact that revolvers don’t need a safety cache makes them rapid action ammunition. In case you are ambushed, you only need to pull it out and fire.
Reliable : Revolvers have fewer moving parts than most other guns. As such, they are unlikely to jam when you pull the trigger in a life and death situation. Obviously, your life depends on such reliable defenses.
Easy to Use : Revolvers are easy to use – simply pull the trigger to fire. Their lightweight, robust construction and fewer parts make them preferable to people with hands motion difficulties. Further, they are still reliable in even in small and constricted quarters. Besides, you require minimal training to handle a revolver.
Accurate : The short stock and compact barrels make firing easy, even for the untrained shooter. You are unlikely to miss your target. Unlike other guns that require maximum marksmanship and sturdy hands, you still hit a bull’s eye with a revolver, even though you are an amateur.
Is There Any Difference Between Revolver & Pistol?
I will forgive you for calling any small arms a pistol. But then a revolver is also a compact handheld gun. So what’s the difference between the two?
The main variation is not about the size or the function between these two sets of guns. They differ in subtle yet apparent ways. However, when you check at the loading mechanism and the bullet slot of a revolver and a pistol, your doubt is immediately cleared.
A pistol has one or more compartments that hold the bullets. These could align with one another either vertically or horizontally. When you fire a pistol, the chamber containing the cartridge doesn’t move. It remains stationary throughout. In reloading your bullets, you must, therefore, feed in the rounds one after another in the provided space.
When you fire a revolver, the chamber revolves as you shoot each bullet. When you want to reload the gun, you can manipulate this section and retract it from the harness. You then load bullets in each of the voids in the circular chamber by flipping each hole after inserting the projectiles.
The mechanism makes the two guns vary in structure. A pistol has a long, slim, and streamlined barrel as there isn’t any need for the rotational bullet stock. Also, it has a square handgrip convenient for stacking cartridges. Unlike the pistol, a revolver has a thicker cylindrical chamber – holding bullets in a circle - just behind the barrel. Besides, its handgrip is mostly circular.
Structurally, therefore, the two guns are different. But it’s vital to note that these are merely variants of handguns. Consequently, a revolver is a pistol that incorporates a peculiarly circular bullet hold.
Things to Look for in Best Revolvers
You just don’t pick any revolver you come across. There are certain properties you need to examine before settling for your most suitable revolver. Basically, the size, hold and build are essential.
But you also need to examine and test it. Is the barrel ejector rod perfectly aligned? It the cylinder gaps tight? And does it rattle when you pull the trigger activating the hammer action? How each chamber is individually aligned with the barrel?
These are some of the issues that may affect the accuracy and firing mechanism of a revolver. But then there are other factors also. I elaborate on them as below:
1. Build Material
The first generation of revolvers used die-cast materials for their construction. Hence, they were heavy and bulky. However, composite materials such as aluminum, titanium, nickel, brass and stainless steel are gaining increasing prominence in the latest revolvers. These elements make the new guns, light yet sturdy.
- Front loading : This is the initial mechanism that supported the first generation revolvers. The process involved the loading the firing powder and bullets separately. This process requires the filling of each chamber of the cylindrical bullet hold with a weapon, ram it under a lever below the barrel to set the oversize bullet securely in place.
- Fixed cylinder designs : This is the loading mechanism initially used for cartridge revolvers. The bullet holding cylinder retracts out of the gun hold after the removal of the rotating pin. This process allowed for quick bullet loading. Once loaded, the chamber is then returned in position and secured with the revolver pin. These designs are still prevalent in most single action revolvers.
- Top break : This is a type of revolver that has the main gun frame featuring a bottom hinge located at the front of the cylinder. The back side of the cylinder is revealed by releasing the locking system and pulling the barrel downwards.
- Tip up : This is yet another revolver loading mechanism. The barrel is swiveled up about 900 to expose the cylindrical chamber in the loading process. The set hinges allow for the barrel swing. It also has a fastener to latch the barrel and the cylinder in place once loading or cleaning process is complete.
- Swing out cylinder : Some revolvers have cylinders that retract outwards and downwards from their lock barrel position but are held by crane – a single hatching rod. Thus the holding pivots enable the chambers to free swing. With the help of an extraction device, you can release all the bullets free in their chambers.
- Other designs : Apart from the above loading systems, one rare design facilitated loading by pushing the barrel and the cylinder up (900) and then in front to remove the spent cartridges from the cylinder.
3. Action Type
- Single Action : When you have to cock the hammer of your revolver every time you fire to prepare for the next shot, then you are most likely using a single action gun. After you pull the trigger for the first shot, you can only make the second shot after you use your thumb to release the hummer and align the next cylinder to the barrel.
- Double Action : In this trigger action mechanism, when you pull a trigger, you initiate two actions. First, the hammer springs to the cocked position hence align the next bullet chamber to the barrel. Next, the hammer automatically strikes the firing pin, releasing the next shot. Here, you don’t need to manipulate the hammer after each trigger pull.
- Double Action Only : Some revolvers feature a self-locking hammer mechanism. They don’t have any latch to recoil the hammer. Most have their ram, covered by the gun’s frame for better concealment and safety. This design, however, slightly compromises the revolver’s accuracy.
4. Individual features
A revolver comprises many parts. These are the frame, cylinder, and crane. Other major components include the barrel, trigger, hammer and timing devices. Many also have sighing devices for long-range shots as well as rails to fasten optional devices.
The small and compact construction of many revolvers makes them convenient for daily carrying. Most of these are small enough to fit your pocket. However, it’s advisable to fix them in a strongly harnessed pocket or have an inbuilt holster for proper handling.
6. Cleaning Ease
Servicing and cleaning a revolver is more relaxed than other handguns. They don’t have many moving parts; hence cleaning them is more straightforward. Besides, many variants have shorter barrels, enabling a faster cleaning process. If you don’t have adequate time to do rod filing, you could even keep firing the revolver to smoother the inside core of the barrel.
7. Safety Features
Many modern revolvers are made safe. They have safety mechanisms that prevent the accidental trigger release even when the gun contains a full load of live bullets. The hammerlock and transfer bar prevent any unintended firing. Shots are only released when the trigger is pulled way to the end.
8. Price to quality ratio
Price to quality is an important factor when selecting a cheap revolver. Price is important – you need a cheaply priced gun, but that offers you quality and reliable services. Some revolvers are specifically custom made.
As such, even though they may be of lower quality, they offer better value for money than a general purpose revolver that is of a higher quality.
Some Other Types of Revolvers
3D Printed Revolver
In 2014, a Japanese national surprised the world by using a 3D printed revolver – Zig Zag - to fire live ammunition. Although he didn't reveal the gun firing range, it discharged live .35 cartridges.
Three variants of automatic revolvers existed. These proved to be too expensive, mostly inaccurate and obsolete after the invention of the semi-automatic rifles.
The first automatic action considered a revolvers action of quickly disposing of the spent cartridges without manual intervention. This action facilitated faster firing since the user didn't have to take time extracting the empty shells before shooting again.
The second automatic is what you know about rifles. It referred to the quick recoiling of the hummer and pin so that you can fire the next cartridge even before the last escapes the barrel. Even though the firing was rapid, the shots were slightly inaccurate.
A third automatic function for the revolver was coined to safeguard against the high degree of missed shots brought about by the second action. It blended the reliability of the single action revolver with the speed of the double action one. It is intended to improve the accuracy of a single action without compromising the rate of double action. Improvised recoil was redesigned to cock the hammer and revolve the cylinder. However, it required a longer barrel and also proved too expensive and lengthy for convenience.
Revolving Long Guns
These once-popular weapons are somehow not very popular among shooters of all walks of life. However, these revolving guns are still familiar to many.
- Rifles : The quick firing speed of the revolver made gun manufacturers invent revolving rifles. Colt succeeded in developing rifles discharging from a revolving cylinder. However, these rifles worked well on the first six shoots then become slower than the single action guns. Some discharged the entire chamber in a single shot exposing the users to danger.
- Shotguns : Shotguns also incorporated revolvers in their cartridge hold. Some manufacturers succeeded in developing several variants of this type of gun with ten to twelve rounds of ammunition. They used .410, .45 and .44 barrel configuration. A blast shield plates fill the void between the cylinder and the barrel of these guns to camouflage the noise and protect you against the smoke.
- Larger weapons : Larger weapons refer to heavy duty revolver featuring a wheeled cartridge. They are thus, sometimes, referred to as wheel guns. These are common to mimic the western style revolver design and suitable for self defense, hunting and shooting sports. Safety was an issue, and alterations to improve the safety standards have since been made to make them secure against accidental shooting.
Some Tips on Becoming a Good Handgun Shooter
As an amateur shooter seeking to advance your skills, you need to learn much about guns and shooting skills. Obviously, practice makes perfect. But then you need to have certain parameters to bench your training. Improving your aptitude on the factors outlined below could make you advance quickly to a professional level:
- Steady your hands : Just like driving, shooting requires that you relax your hand muscles while having a firm grip on the trigger. A proper grip prevents shaking that makes your shots miss the target.
- Master your trigger action : Pulling a trigger could be tricky. It’s a series of steps that culminate in the release of the cartridge. As such the process has to be swift while smooth. Timing is everything. Ensure your target is locked on sight as you pull the shot.
- Use correct magnification : Occasionally, imperfect magnification blurs off the mark and makes it difficult to pinpoint. Set the magnification to lowest to have a crisp image before shooting.
- Minimize fatigue and disruptions : In most cases, there are a lot of shooting and external noises disrupting your concentration in the shooting practice. Further, your fingers and forehand get sore with the constant, steady holding of the weapon. You can reduce these by wearing goggles, earmuff and well as gloves.
- Firm positioning : Sometimes when you practice in a ragged and adulating field makes focusing hard. When you include tripod to rest your weapon, your lock on the target improves lead to better shots.
You have reviewed many details regarding revolver. Finally, you are ready to pick your most suitable arm. You understand that you may need two or more revolvers to fit different circumstances.
You will consider a budget firearm with proven reliability. Getting BBs and pellet guns is not a bad idea. Bullets are expensive. You don’t want to waste live bullets scaring away a herd of squirrels or rodents from your property. Perhaps also you need to harness the reputation of the most popular revolver manufacturer in this selection. Besides, technology is continuously evolving to improve your security.
As such, consider a pocket revolver that is easy to carry about and appropriate as an EDC-Every Day Carry revolver. So, concealment is ideal. Further, revolvers that trigger quickly and shot multiple shots are perfect when you are ambushed. For this reason, consider purchasing a handgun with a speed loader and double action. Handling the gun should also be easy, so look for an ergonomic design to reduce fatigue and enhance grip.
Taurus, Ruger, and Rossi are a few of the top manufacturers of serious revolvers, but no model from these brands could make it to our final list of replica and bb air pistols.
You also appreciate that besides hunting and shooting sport, these firearms could also be artistic collections and novelty items. Look around for your trusted replica to gift your relatives and decorate your home.
You will have much fun arming yourself and handling different categories of revolvers.