When I wrote my article on the Best Home Defense Pistols, many readers expressed their displeasure with the lack of revolvers. However, that list was intended to be a list of semi-auto pistols, not all handguns.
To right this wrong, here is a list of the best revolvers for personal defense, whether that be in a home defense or concealed carry application.
Why Choose a Revolver Over a Semi-Automatic?
In a market dominated by semi-auto pistols, revolvers remain a popular personal defense option for a number of reasons. They are accurate, reliable, and incredibly simple to use.
Revolvers are also very intuitive firearms, allowing new shooters to quickly learn and operate them properly with minimal instruction.
The trigger pull on a double-action revolver is something you must experience to understand. Though typically heavier than most semi-auto pistols, on a quality example, it is smooth and you can feel the mechanism working as it rotates the cylinder.
The added pull weight is good for self-defense because it will help prevent a negligent discharge (although it is still important to practice proper trigger discipline).
On double-action revolvers with an exposed hammer, you can swap between double-action and single-action trigger pulls. For most home defense encounters, you will only want to use the standard double-action press, but in rare circumstances where you have to make a longer shot, you may want to cock the gun for single-action fire.
Accuracy & Reliability
For personal defense, accuracy and reliability are top priorities. Due to the fixed barrel, revolvers are incredibly accurate. Revolvers are also known for legendary reliability, and are not susceptible to many of the common malfunctions that semi-auto pistols experience, such as failures to feed and eject.
Revolvers are also dead simple to operate. That’s not to say that semi-auto pistols are hard to use, but most new shooters who have never picked up a gun before could quickly figure out how a standard double-action revolver operates.
Choosing a proper caliber for your defensive revolver is important. Too weak and it may be ineffective at stopping a threat, too powerful and you may not be able to properly control the revolver and make accurate shots.
I recommend a .38 Special/.357 Magnum revolver because of the ammunition versatility. You can shoot both .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammo in a revolver chambered for the longer and more powerful .357 Magnum cartridge, but you cannot fire .357 Magnum ammo in a revolver chambered for .38 Special.
This allows you to plink at the range with the cheaper .38 Special, and then load .357 magnum hollow points for defense, or even use defensive .38 Spl ammo in a heavier-frame gun to minimize recoil.
Perhaps you shoot a lot of 9mm Luger pistols already, then a revolver chambered in the same caliber may be a deciding factor.
Further, there are some revolvers chambered in .327 Federal Magnum that allow you to fit an extra round (due to the smaller cartridge diameter) in a similar size gun and provide similar ballistics to a .357 Magnum.
Home Defense Revolvers
Revolvers are great choices for home defense due to their simplicity and reliability.
By no means is this recommended, but you can leave a revolver in a bedside safe for decades, pull it out, and fire without cleaning it, and it will function just fine.
S&W 686 Plus
One of the most popular revolvers for home defense is the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus. The L-Frame size provides a lot of mass to help soak up recoil, making this an incredibly soft shooting and accurate revolver.
The model with a 4.125-inch barrel weighs 39 ounces. This is a good size for home defense, offering good balance and ballistics.
The S&W 686 Plus can be purchased with rubber grips that further help to absorb felt recoil, or wooden grips that mimic classic revolvers.
The double-action revolver boasts an adjustable rear sight with a red ramp front sight — a common setup for defensive revolvers. The adjustable rear allows you to sight-in your handgun to your preferred load and adjust between .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition.
The 686 Plus holds seven rounds of .38 Special or .357 Magnum ammo, but Smith & Wesson also makes a standard 686 that holds six rounds.
Additionally, the 686 comes in stainless steel, but Smith & Wesson also makes some versions of the 586 that is the same revolver with a blued finish.
For an all-around revolver that can do it all, many shooters turn to the Ruger GP100. The GP100 is similar in size to a S&W L-Frame, but has a thinner grip due to the tang-style housing.
However, due to the casting process (as opposed to the forged steel on the S&W), it is a tad thicker in other areas. This is why I’ve selected the 6-inch version of the GP100. I feel it has better balance, and you get the ballistic advantages of a longer barrel.
The Ruger GP100 can be found with a green fiber-optic front sight that makes for a fast and easy sight picture acquisition.
The Ruger comes in either a stainless or blued finish, and can feature standard rubber or wood grips.
Additionally, due to the tang-style grip design, the grips fully wrap around and do not have an exposed backstrap, transferring less recoil into the shooter’s hand.
Colt King Cobra
I can hear it now, “Why not the Python?” I think the Colt Python is an incredible revolver that would be great for personal defense — if you can swing the increased price tag.
However, I believe the Colt King Cobra offers similar performance on a more versatile platform. It also serves well for home defense and concealed carry. You get the same six rounds of .38 Special/.357 Magnum ammo in a slimmer package.
I prefer the 3-inch model because it is easier to carry, but still provides solid ballistics when loaded with .357 magnum ammunition. The Colt King Cobra could serve well in home defense and concealed carry roles.
This stainless steel revolver utilizes a brass bead front sight with a built-in gutter rear, giving you a good, no-nonsense sight picture. Colt really delivered when they brought back this classic wheel gun.
Taurus Tracker 627
For the value-oriented, the Taurus Tracker provides a lot of bang for your buck. An adjustable rear sight, ported barrel, and shock-absorbing Ribber rubber grips come standard on the Tracker.
Available in a matte blued or stainless finish, with either a 4 or 6.5-inch barrel, there is a version of the Tracker for you. Both models hold seven rounds of .357 Magnum or .38 Special ammunition.
At 35 ounces for the 4-inch version and 40 ounces for the 6.5-inch version, the Taurus 627 has very little recoil and is easy to make quick hits with.
Concealed Carry Revolvers
Smaller revolvers make great options for concealed carry, because they can easily fit in a pocket or can be tucked away using an inside-the-waistband holster.
They also tend to be more reliable with a wide range of ammunition compared to most micro semi-autos.
Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers have been serving as backup and concealed carry guns for decades, and for good reason.
One of my favorite J-Frames is the S&W 638. Often referred to as the ”humpback,” the 638 features a shrouded hammer. This allows you to select between double-action and single-action, but the hammer cannot snag on clothing during the draw stroke.
Chambered in .38 Special +P, the 638 packs five rounds into an incredibly compact package. The Model 638 is incredibly lightweight, with an aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel barrel and cylinder.
For those with a good stockpile of 9mm Luger ammunition, the Taurus 905 chambered in 9mm would make an exceptional concealed carry revolver.
This steel-frame revolver holds five rounds of 9mm Luger and weighs 21 ounces. The additional weight, for a revolver this size, helps dampen felt recoil.
Because of the rimless design of the 9mm cartridge, the 905 loads using moon clips. Moon clips also make ejecting and reloading fast and easy.
Further, the Taurus 905 features a two-inch barrel that is great for concealment, and is available in a blued or stainless version.
Charter Arms Undercover Lite
The Charter Arms Undercover is a great budget revolver that delivers excellent performance.
This 5-shot .38 Special revolver is incredibly lightweight, coming in at only 12 ounces. This is made possible by the 7075 aluminum frame and two-inch barrel.
Additionally, the revolver features rubber, hand-filling grips that allow you to get a solid purchase on the firearm to aid in control. The fixed, minimal sights reduce the chance of snagging while providing a good sight picture for close defensive encounters.
The Undercover Lite is available in different color variations such as red and blue, allowing you to pick the one that suits your style.
Ruger’s LCRx is one of the most recent introductions to the concealed carry revolver market. Coming in several different versions and chambered in .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .327 Federal Magnum — both with and without an exposed hammer — the LCRx chambered in .327 Fed Mag is the most noteworthy.
With a six-round capacity, the LCRx in .327 Fed. Mag. manages to squeeze an extra round in the same size revolver, and provides similar ballistics to the .357 Magnum.
The LCRx is constructed with a steel monolithic upper frame connected to a polymer grip frame with interchangeable grip inserts. This maintains solid durability while keeping the revolver light enough for carry.
The Ruger LCRx comes standard with a Hogue Tamer Monogrip, a rubber grip that helps absorb recoil and provides a good grip even with wet hands.
Additionally, the ramped front and integral U-notch rear sight setup provides a quick sight picture and will not snag on the draw.
Conclusion: Best Revolvers
It’s clear that there are a number of benefits to choosing a revolver for self-defense, and there are many great wheel guns to choose from. Whether it’s for home defense, concealed carry or both, a good revolver will serve you well.
No matter the personal defense revolver you choose, if you select one of the options on this list, you are sure to be well protected.
This list is one where you can’t really go wrong with any of the choices. My personal EDC lately has been a Taurus 327, which is a version of the 856 (38 Special) and 905 (9mm) that holds 6 rounds of 327 Federal Mag ammo. With hot 100-grain ammo the recoil is sharp, yet manageable and not quite so wrist-stinging as a J-frame .357 Mag.
But it has the advantage of being able to fire less powerful .32 rounds as well – .32 H&R Magnum, .32 Long, .32 Short and .32 ACP all work perfectly in it, the same as a .38 Special does in a .357.
And don’t sneeze at the .327 round – it gives an actual 1300 FPS with a 100-grain XTP out of the 2-inch tube. In a 6-inch GP100 the same loads are cooking at 1600+.
Use 4″ revolver by bed or in car. Old Colt Lawman MK III. Great action, accurate, handles recoil well, etc. When carrying, prefer smaller revolvers, usually S&W Chief Special
38 spl with 3″ barrel.
What does this community think about the European American Armory (EAA) Windicator .357/.38 Spcl revolver. I purchased this weapon based on a recommendation in a special forces operators website. I’ve only shot it a handful of times, but the recoil is fairly light with the rubber grips, there’s a smooth trigger pull and I’ve had good success producing good torso shot-clusters at 25 feet, with shot timing for defensive shooting.
i carry a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Spc. and sometime a Taurus 640 clone which can be a bear with 357 mag loads. usually carry it with .38 +P loads
What about the Ruger SP101? It comes out in 357, 9mm, and I think 327.
A .44 magnum in Taurus is a good choice with.44 special ammo.
I have 2 .357 revolvers & use .38 super in cause.357 ammo is scarce, .38 special is my favorite caliber but for self defense .38 super has better ballistics.
Can’t find fault with any of these choices. The only thing I would mention is the need to practice with the type of round you carry for home/self defense. Yes it’s okay to practice with .38spl and then carry .357, but you should also practice with some .357 as well.
I love carrying snubbies for concealment, but carry or have at hand a 4 inch whenever possible. I bought a S&W model 37 (airweight) in 1981 and have carried that over the years more than any of my firearms. Later, I added a more modern Air-Lite Ti (38 Spl +p) with it’s enclosed hammer. Once I got a model 60 with it’s incredible accuracy and slightly bigger profile, I finally found the one; I added a 642 for an enclosed hammer making it smooth coming out of the pocket or even firing from inside a jacket pocket with no worries. When I don’t care so much about printing I will on occasion carry a model 19 with a 2 1/2 inch barrel that has an after market finish and trigger job. I feel very well armed with either 38 Spl or 357 magnum with a preference for Buffalo Bores FBI load in 38 Spl +p and Remington 125 gr SWCHP in 357 magnum.
I am a Class 3 FFL, and Yes l am a Gun Owner! 2 Amend.Supporter Too! Patriot! I have an Armscore-Model 206 in 38+p SPC. 6shot,2″ barrel! then a Charter Arms 2″-38spc.5shot then a So.101-3″/5shot-.357mag. and Rossi-971 stainless also.6shot/.357 one”barrel.they all cover gamut of Concealed and for the Home Defense. I have Larger Cal.Too.
I am a FFL holder and enthusiast. I am constantly being barraged by persons who are first time gun owners who want to know what is the best defense gun. I usually steer them towards a revolver due to its simplicity and dependability. I agree with a previous comment. The best defense gun is one you will carry. Does you no good to have it out of reach.
Bedside: 5″ 627 S&W Performance Center 8 shot 357 Mag. Carry: My trusty S&W 640. It’s an older 38 Special only version but it shoots good and recoils less than some newer alloy versions today. I put a set of green laser Crimson Trace grips on it to assist as needed. Love it!
Another fair choice to consider might be a Chiappa Rhino. It can be had in the standard .357, but is also easily had in 9mm and .40, giving a bit easier find for ammo, and the low bore axis makes for amazing recoil management. Some say they’re ugly, though I like the “industrial chic”, but .357 is much easier on the wrists then my GP100.
And you can press the barrel into your attacker and fire. I understand this increases the wound channel 20 to 40%.
I like my Smith & Wesson Model 547 9mm Revolver that was bought back in the 1980′ It has been one of the best revolver that I have wish they where still make you don’t use any moon clips
This is a well written article and I enjoy hearing other opinions. I’m glad the author brought up the .327 mag as an alternative caliber. I would like to know if there is any real life experiences using the 327 mag on a criminal, Does this round have more capability than a 9mm round. My personal choice on my nightstand is a Colt 1911a1. But a carry concealed a Sig 365. My other observation is why the Ruger SP101 was not included on your list.
Excellent article. It covers the basics and doesn’t miss too much. My personal preference for concealed carry and personal defense will always be a compact revolver, especially since I have small hands. L frame revolvers don’t work for me, and the Ruger SP101 is hands down the most comfortable revolver I’ve ever handled and shot.
At my age (70+), arthritis is becoming an issue and racking a slide is now an issue. My choices are now: nightstand: SP101, 357 magnum, 3 inch barrel; concealed carry: S&W 642, Ruger LCR 38 +P; deep concealed carry: NAA Sidewinder 22 magnum.
True confession: I do alternate the above with a Ruger LCP sometimes.
Early on (50s) I learned to shoot pistols with a .22 Sears and Roebuck J C Higgins. My Dad eventually bought a couple 1911s through the NRA for about $35 each. Before going to the range, he told me the “kick” was going to be considerably more than the JC. I thought about it the night before and decided to shoot it as though it was a cap gun and let the kick surprise me. Next day my shots were tightly grouped, Dad was proud and I was happy. Fast forward 60 years and my carry is a 357 LCR. Still put recoil out of mind and shoot tight groups. I won’t lie, I still reload 38 special +Ps for the last 1/2 of the time at the range. Bottom line, if you are going to worry about the “kick”, drop down a caliber or two.
I carry these in a pocket holster. .327, in 2″. The best all around carry. Excellent penetration of car door glass and heavy winter clothing. It has a very low print factor, the lowest for a practical cc revolver. My little .38 special Cobra. A first generation, it can not handle +P, but it was carried in Vietnam. (special love). A P11 which although it does not print much, wears holes in my jeans from the mag. It is a double stack 10 round which can take a 15 rd S&W mag (not in a pocket). A 7 round .380, which does not print much, but is low power. AMT Backup .45, only 5 rounds. My current carry is a .357, 2″ Taurus, 7 round. That is the largest that will fully fit in my front pocket. From a power standpoint, the P11 and the .357, but don’t underestimate the .45. At close range that heavy bullet is a man stopper.
Though it seems to be the best blend between the 642 and the 637, the S&W 638 has one big weakness. When pocket carried, loose change can wedge in the hammer shroud, blocking hammer travel. I’ve seen it happen twice, fortunately not in life or death circumstances. If you doubt, just drop a dime in and see for yourself.
A 6 round Ruger GP 100 Match Champion in .357 mag with a 4: barrel is one of my home defense guns. That’s a firearm that the bad guys do not want to see aimed at them. Too heavy for EDC IMHO, but fantastic for home defense. Can we all say, “Boom!!!”
I am disappointed he did not list the range of cartridges that can be fired in a .327 magnum. I bought a female friend a Ruger LCRx. She regularly burns a couple hundred rounds of cheap .32 cartridges, and it doesn’t hurt her wrist. She keeps it loaded with one of the heavier loads. Ideal for many.
I have two:
A Smith and Wesson Model 629 44 Magnum and a Ruger GP100 4.2” 357 Magnum.
The Ruger is easier to handle and fun to shoot. The 44 Magnum is there to impress your friends.
As I stated in the original best pistols for self defense blog. My go to wheel gun for self and home defense is the Taurus Judge public defender 3″. It’s small enough for me to stick in my pocket and packs the punch of .45 Colt or 4-10 shotshell. Living on large farm this comes in handy if I happen to run up on fox or groundhog or even a coyote, that added to the stopping power of .45 Colt makes this a no brained. It sleeps on the night stand and has special place in my pocket so I’m always prepared.
SIEMPRE : 357 MAGNUM
DISPARAR CON 38 SPECIAL
UN FUERTE ABRAZO
I carry a S&W Model 60 J-frame 5 shot 38/357 Mag with 3” barrel & fiber optic front sight. Speed loading is easier to align with jacketed round nose 38 Special, and a Model 63 .22LR is a great practice tool. Admittedly, 357 do bark & bite in that J-frame, but 38 Special + P are quite adequate & much more manageable.
I carry the S&W Model 60 J-frame 5 shot, 3” barrel. Mine has the fiber optic front sight, which I like, a lot.
38 Special + P is plenty in that small J-frame. Try round jacketed nose 38 Special in your speed loaders. It really helps align with the cylinder and doesn’t hit the Hogue grips. The Model 63 .22LR is a great match for your practice sessions.
What do Charter Arms Southpaws cost these days?Are they available in 44Spec or 45 Colt?
Been shooting and carrying for slightly over 66 years. My favorite concealed handgun in the olden days was a 2” S&W round butt .38 Chiefs Special. Now it’s a S&W 9mm Shield.
The Shield has about the best grip out there in a single stack. I love mine too. ~Dave
I am sure that all of these revolvers are excellent choices for right handed shooters. I am left handed, and operating a revolver designed for right handlers is awkward for me, at best. I chose the Charter Arms Southpaw because it is designed for left handed shooters. It works really well for me.
I’ve been thinking of purchasing a CC wheel gun for a couple years now, but haven’t “pulled the trigger” yet. Ha! I have a 4″ barrel .357 that I really like but it is not practical to carry every day in the south, so I carry a Semi auto. My wife carries a Ruger .38 LCR in SS with laser grips and she loves it. With +P loads the LCR is snappy for sure, and not something you really care to shoot 200 rounds through at the range, unless intermittently shooting a Semi. For that reason she also has a S&W 9mm Shield. The only other down side (in my mind) to carrying a revolver is the 5-6 round capacity, and the time afforded to reload, God forbid you were in a real gunfight, but that could be said if you encounter a FTF, FTE, or other possible issue with a Semi Auto. As always- Pro’s and Con’s !!
Two unrelated comments. One, add 44 Special to your list; not many options, only 5 shots, but certainly useful. Second, light weight snubbies are no fun to shoot; I’d recommend all steal from any of the makers you note. Leave the rubber grips at home for carry as they will tend to grab clothing (e.g. hold your cover garments up) more easily than hard, smooth materials.
A number of reasons why a .357 – or any magnum is not a good choice for home defense.
1 – Overpenetration. Thru and thru reduces ‘knock-down power’.
2 – Too loud. hearing damage. Used indoors for defense, you are not likely to have time to apply
hearing protection when seconds count.
3 – Second shot control – due to recoil. Again, seconds count.
4 – A .38+P will do the job nicely. This is where ammo choice becomes priority one. Not caliber –
type! Your photos show guns loaded with wad-cutters. Semi-jacketed hollow points are far more
effective at close range, (likely 6 – 15 ft.), because of mushrooming. Superior one-shot-stop!
5 – Weight. Magnums are heavier than .38’s. Not important for experienced shooters, but can make a difference in ‘daintier’ hands.
I have used my old 1985 Colt King cobra .357 with hornady critical defense loads for home self defense since i bought it. I have 3 speed loaders pre-loaded giving me 24 rounds. Accuracy is unsurpassed. I can make a critical hit at 100 yards and have done so hunting deer with it. Stopping power is unbeatable with 9/10 hits in police use resulted in mortal wounds even with extremity hits. Compared this to .9mm hits where victims have survived multiple GSW in center mass. I also never have to worry about a jam or magazine spring failure. I just practice my speed loader once a week. All that being said I still love shooting my staccato XC at the range and in competition.
The best revolver for personal defense is the revolver in your hand.
In the concealed class, a Ruger SP101, 2 1/4″ barrel. It is all stainless steel, which makes it a little heavier to help control the absolute brutal recoil of the .357 in such a small revolver. Other than cleaning the barrel and cylinder, it is pretty much maintenance free, and the cylinder locks up at both ends. Like many of the fine choices above, it is HIGHLY recommended to put a Hogue rubber grip on it to help tame the “sharp” recoil, as the OEM grip is short and difficult to control. It should be noted in such small powerful revolvers, the “felt” recoil is much different, than say even the more powerful, and larger frame 44 magnum, in that the 44 tends to raise the whole arm during recoil, and the smaller powerful revolver tends to be felt in the upward “twisting” of the wrist, which can be painful. It all comes down to learning how to deal with it.
Taurus 856 is in my nightstand but my S and W 686 is not far away. No mention in the article abut long term storage with a revolver versus semiauto?
The 686 Plus was my first handgun. It is everything the author has written about it. The only draw back to shooting double action is if you have small hands like I do. Single action is not too bad. If you can try before you buy do that. Someone suggested the GP100 would be easier for me than the 686 when I was at the range, but when I tried it I found the trigger guard was larger than the 686, interfering with my grip. I have no regrets owning my 686 and always encourage new shooters to consider the wheel gun.
Those are probably all great choices for right handed shooters. I chose a Charter Arms Southpaw as my revolver because if is specifically designed for left handed shooters. It is easy for me to operate, and I have never found a revolver designed for right handed people to be easy for a left hander to use. As far as I know, the Southpaw is the only revolver on the market that was designed specifically for left handed shooters.
Good write up
Great article, but you left out one of the best concealed carry revolvers… Ruger’s SP101. Either the .357 5-shot or the .327 6-shot. The 3” barrel provides a great balance between accuracy/weight/concealability. It features all the reliability features of the GP100 in a smaller package. It is my concealed carry gun of choice.
Great article, I love wheel guns, they are elegant and trustworthy. I think the S&W 629 is one of the most beautiful handguns ever made. I have a stainless S&W 38 snubby in the bathroom, a 629 by the bed and a Ruger 22 mag in the kitchen. So I guess I’m covered when cooking, sleeping or pooping, ha. I did have a retired sheriff deputy tell me he carried a wheel gun cause, in his words, a revolver will never lie to you.
GP100 4″ or S&W “Mountain Gun” or Charter Arms with semi-bobbed hammer.For a snubby I’d go with 44Special or 45 Colt-less muzzleblast and”bigger hole[in the target]. Firing a 357Mag in a snubby=excessive muzzleblast-and muzzleflash
Not listed here is the Taurus 692 revolver. I have one and love it. It sits in a belt holster from Craft Holsters, holds 7 rounds of .38/.357 or swap out the cylinder and you now had 7 rounds of 9mm. I find the pistol is slim for a revolver holding 7 rounds. it is much slimmer than my 6 shot model 66. With the 3″ barrel, you don’t give up accuracy but still get concealability. My one complaint of the revolver, and with all of the Taurus revolvers, is the horrendous trigger pull. All of mine have had the trigger worked on to smooth the action and slightly lighten the trigger pull. Otherwise the 692 is an excellent EDC pistol for self defense
I bought a Colt Python 4″ barrel back in 1974. Can’t beat this firearm for accuracy and smooth trigger pull. Great for sell defense in the home. To big to use as a carry weapon. I bought my wife a Smith featherweight 38spl+p revolver for home self defense. Very light weight and easy to use. I know some may disagree but I conceal carry a Sig 338 380cal with hollow nose self defense rounds. Very easy to conceal in my pocket and light weight. Not the most powerful handgun but with the hollow nose rounds I feel will be effective.
I love my S&W 38 bodyguard light weight and shooting
No Kimber K6s?
Own a Tracker, but in .44 mag. Also own a S&W 638. Agree that the TRACKER would be a good “house gun”, and the .44 mag version with .44 spl +P loads, is a viable alternate to the .357 mag. However, as a “senior shooter”, in my 70’s, the 638 is too light for me. Like to use the 110 gr./.38 Critical Defense load, but still have trouble with recoil due to arthritis. Changing the grips helps, but found a S&W 36, (also with a change of grips), is far more controllable. Racking the slide on even a 9mm, is becoming an issue, but cocking the hammer or opening the cylinder of a revolver is still doable. All in all, a 3″ S&W model 60 using the 110 gr./.38 load, has enough weight and ease of use that it is now my first choice for self defense. Yes, I also added a set of the LG305 Red Laser grips, but am considering swapping out for a set of Green Laser grips. For senior shooters, revolvers are often the best choice, but do need to consider getting grips that properly fit your hand.
My carry is a S&W 360 PD, Lightweight scandium alloy frame. But rated for .357 Magnums. The ability to have a couple rounds of CCI snake shot and (3) .38 Special loads makes it the perfect gun for hiking and Mt. biking. I carry a speed loader with .357 rounds as well. My only modification is to have it Mag-Na-Ported which tames the recoil due to the lightweight.
Revolvers work well for that first shot. Not as well in a gunfight due to limited ammo capacity. I do like the Ruger LCR in 327 magnum. Very easy to carry in a pocket holster, has a nice trigger, and packs a punch. I bought it for my wife, but I carry it more than she does. I’m older and have been using speed loaders over 30 years, but still can’t match the speed of high capacity semi-autos after those first six shots. As has been stated by others here, the best gun is the one that you will carry, not the one you leave at home. Training and practice with the gun you carry will serve you well.