By the Numbers: America’s Top 5 Revolvers

By Dave Dolbee published on in Consumer Information, Firearms

According to the ATF, 744,047  about 750,000 revolvers are manufactured each year. That’s a lot wheel guns. Most would put Ruger or Smith and Wesson on the list, but if neither of those two took the #1 spot, which gun did? Here are the top 5 revolvers by the numbers.

Ruger Blackhawk

Three Ruger Single Six revolvers

There are a wide variety of traditional and modern Ruger Single Six revolvers.

Classic lines, classic feel, modern features—The Ruger New Model Blackhawk is the most advanced single-action revolver ever made. While retaining the solid frame, feel, and comfortable grip of the classic single-actions, the New Model Blackhawk features Ruger’s patented transfer bar ignition system with loading gate interlock, an all-coil spring mechanism, adjustable sights, and frame-mounted firing pin. New Model Blackhawk revolvers have earned a reputation as the best value on the market due to their durability and affordability.

Specifications and Features
.357 Magnum
4.62″ Barrel
1:16″ twist, RH
Adjustable Rear Sight
Aluminum frame
Black Checkered Hard Rubber Grips
6 Rounds
Weight: 42 oz

Ruger LCR

Ruger LCR 9mm right

The Ruger LCR polymer-framed revolver is available in 9mm as well.

The Ruger LCR is a small-frame revolver featuring the lightest double-action trigger pull. The LCR features a monolithic frame made from aerospace grade 7000 series aluminum. This particular distributor-exclusive version features the same high strength, stainless steel cylinder, however it is highlighted with a copper finish. The cylinder has extensive fluting for weight reduction. The patented polymer fire control housing holds all of the fire control components. The pistol has a five-round capacity and is rated for +P loads. Compact and lightweight, the LCR is a great choice for concealed carry and personal defense.

Specifications and Features
Ruger LCR Double Action Revolver Distributor Exclusive Edition 5440
.38 Special +P (rated for +P loads)
Double Action
1.87″ stainless steel barrel
1:16″ right hand twist
5 rounds capacity
Front Sight Replaceable Pinned Ramp
U-Notch Integral Rear Sight
Monolithic aerospace-grade 7000 series aluminum frame
Friction Reducing Cam Fire Control System
Patented Polymer Fire Control Housing
High Strength Stainless Steel Cylinder with Fluting
Copper Cylinder Finish
Hogue Tamer Monogrip
Non-Exposed Hidden Hammer
Overall Length 6.5″
Overall Height 4.50″ Overall Weight 13.5 oz
Matte Black with Copper Cylinder

Smith & Wesson 629

Ruger Model 629

Smith and Wesson Model 629

Smith & Wesson’s large frame revolvers are a favorite choice among handgun hunters, competitive shooters and revolver enthusiasts. These revolvers are available from production, M&P, Classics, Champion Series and Performance Center in a variety of chamberings in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .45 ACP. Offered in several different barrel lengths, Smith & Wesson provides the user plenty of options for a variety of shooting applications.

Specifications and Features
Weight: 44.7 oz / 1,267.2g
Caliber: .44 Magnum, .44 S&W Special
Capacity: 6
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
N-Frame, .44 magnum revolver
A serious big game hunting handgun
Light, crisp single-action trigger pull
Smooth double-action pull
Stainless steel construction
Fully adjustable rear sight
Red-ramp front sight
Synthetic rubber grip

Taurus 85

Taurus Model 85 Revolver

Taurus Model 85 Revolver

The Taurus 85 Ultra-Lite Revolver is a great choice for conceal carry or home protection. This handgun is chambered in .38 Special and will accept +P loads. The barrel is 2″ long and the frame is made out of alloy. It has with a black rubber grip and comes in a stainless finish.

Specifications and Features
85 Ultra-Lite Revolver
.38 SPL +P
2″ Barrel
5 Rounds
Alloy Frame
Black Rubber Grip
Stainless Finish
Traditional Double/Single Action
Transfer Bar Safety
Fixed Sights
17 oz
1:16.5″ Twist Rate

Heritage Arms Rough Rider

Heritage Rough Rider

Heritage Rough Rider

Taking the number one spot in this top 5 list, and born of the traditions of the Old West, the Rough Rider maintains much of the look and feel of the legendary Single Action Army revolver, only in a scaled down version. Chambered in .22 LR or .22 Magnum, the Rough Rider is manufactured using state-of-the-art precision machinery that assures its accuracy and reliability. The cylinder lock-up is tight and the perfect timing of the action makes for a handgun that will put its shots where you want ’em.

The machined barrel is micro-threaded and inserted into the frame for the optimal barrel/cylinder gap to give you maximum ammunition performance. A hammer block, mounted in the recoil shield, provides extra protection and has a red dot indicator that lets you know when the gun is ready for action. A new, more authentic looking flat-sided hammer paired with new exotic cocobolo grips, makes the Rough Rider both functional and handsome. There are also other grip materials available—plus, finish options include the attractive and durable Smooth Silver Satin. When it comes to the Rough Rider, no shortcuts were taken!

Specifications and Features
Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider revolver combo
.22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum caliber cylinders
6.5″ barrel
9 round capacity
Cocobolo grips
Blue finish
Fixed sights
Hammer block safety with red dot indicator
Single action
Made in the USA

I have written articles before declaring my penchant for cheap guns. Admittedly, I have purchased both the Taurus 85 ultra-light and Heritage Rough Rider within the last six months. However, given the low prices and reliability, could you blame me?

Do you own any of the revolvers on this list? Which revolvers would you put into a personal top 5? Share your answers in the comment section.

Check out the other articles in this series:


Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business,, and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

View all articles by Dave Dolbee

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Comments (25)

  • Roger


    Got the S&W 629 .44, M25 .45 Colt, and Rossi M88 5-shot .38Spc. Have a couple of Italian black powder Army 1860 clones too. But my favorite revolver wil always be my 6″ Colt Python .357.


  • Skip


    If haven’t held and fired a Ruger SP101 in .38+P or .357, 2″ barrel, hold your judgement. Add a Hogue molded grip and man, what a match! Small, heavy, spot on.


  • Steven Newman


    I have an original Charter Arms 44 special 3″ bbl 5 shot revolver. I have carried it for several years now and have only pulled it out one time and did not have to shoot because the perps took off as soon as they saw my weapon. I feel that it is my perfect carry weapon.


  • Mike H.


    I’ve got a Ruger Vaquero in 44-40 and a couple of Heritage Rough Rider Combos. I like to play cowboy and fan them sometimes. I’ve got a Uberti in 45 long colt. The 1873 Uberti clone fans a lot better than the Vaquero.


  • Aardvark


    I had a Heritage Rough Rider with the convertible cylinder. I had trouble with the cylinder sometimes seizing half way between chambers and also found it to be less than accurate, even shooting from a rest. I sold it. The only revolver I have now is a Ruger SP101 which will likely be passed down to one of my kids. For a 2″ barrel, it is plenty accurate.


  • Matt


    I love my S&W 629 Classic for a backup bear gun. However, I am looking to replace it with a semi-auto 10mm. I know many people are moving that route, but truly, you can’t beat the reliability of a revolver. 17 rounds vs 6 can make a difference when you are being charged in bear country.


    • art


      Matt, i would not get rid of your 629, the 10mm is a good cartridge but it is only about the power of a 41 mag not the 44 mag power. sure get the 10 but don’t get rid of the 44. the 10 is a great round and it gives you a lot more fire power. strap one to each side and if the 44 does not stop it continue with the 10. just my thoughts on the subject. you cannot have to many guns if you need one.


  • Frank


    I have the Heritage in 22lr. I do have several Ruger Old Vaqueros in 45colt. Two have Bisley grips which I really like. While not a big seller, I recently purchased a Lipseys special Series 7 in 327 magnum with birds head grip. It is fun to shoot and the 327 is a great cartridge. The revolver is a lot of fun to shoot. I guess you can tell I have a love of single actions.


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