best concealed carry revolver on the ground act the range

Best Concealed Carry Revolvers – The Top 4 Defensive Revolvers

If you have an affinity for wheelguns, you may have wondered what the best concealed carry revolver is. On the surface it seems like it should be easy to pick a revolver for personal defense. And for some people, it probably is. “Does it shoot” might be their only criteria, because they’re not so much looking for a gun as they’re looking for a talisman. If someone breaks down the door at 1am, it allows them to yell “don’t come in here, I have a gun and I called the police” and not be lying. But for people serious about concealed carry, revolvers present an interesting utility curve. It requires some thoughtful analysis of your use case for a revolver. 

I’ll use myself as an example: I live in South Florida, and I have a dog. When it’s 90 degrees with eleventy billion percent humidity, I never want to go outside, much less wear clothes and walk the dog. But even in the SoFla heat and humidity, I can comfortably conceal a small, scandium j-frame revolver for a 2.5 mile walk with the dog, all while wearing board shorts and a tank top. I’ve tried that with other small guns with no success.

So, let’s take a look at the best concealed carry revolvers, taking into account that each revolver has a specific use-case.

Best Concealed Carry Revolvers

a man holding a taurus 856 toro
Image Courtesy: Taurus

Our choices for the best concealed carry revolvers include:

  • Smith & Wesson Model 442
  • Ruger LCR
  • Taurus 856 T.O.R.O.
  • Taurus 856 UltraLight

This topic of best concealed carry revolvers isn’t as simple as a basic “Top Four Revolvers for Concealed Carry” listicle. So, think of the four models listed above as good options, but to really know what’s best for you, we need to look at how you intend to use the revolver. So, we’ll look at each revolver and some common use cases for each.

Smith & Wesson Model 442

the smith & wesson model 442 no lock concealed carry revovler
Image Courtesy: Smith & Wesson
CaliberCapacityAction TypeUnloaded WeightBarrel LengthLengthWidthHeightFront SightRear SightOptics Ready
.38 Special5 roundsDouble Action Only14.6 oz.1.88"6.31"1.3"4.3"MilledGrooveNo

If you’re looking to carry a pocket gun the Smith & Wesson Model 442 is one of the first options to look at.

Let’s say that you’re reading this and you carry a Glock 19 or a Glock 43 depending on the circumstances. You’ve been researching on the Internet (always a good call) and have decided that you want to get a small revolver for concealed carry because the 43 doesn’t work great in a pocket. By doing that, we’ve defined the use case as “pocket carry” which allows us to set several other standards.

A pocket carry gun will need to be hammerless and have a short barrel. It should also be light, so an aluminum frame at a minimum is a must. That’s why, from Smith & Wesson, your best choice is the Model 442-no lock. It’s an Airweight, double action only j-frame rated for .38 Special +P. The lack of an internal lock is a bonus, and the gun can be reasonably shootable when paired with standard pressure 148 grain wadcutters, like the Federal Gold Medal Match 148gr. Wadcutters. Its cylinder has a 5-round capacity and unloaded the revolver is a lightweight 14.6 ounces.

Ruger LCR .327 Fed Mag

CaliberCapacityAction TypeUnloaded WeightBarrel LengthLengthWidthHeightFront SightRear SightOptics Ready
.327 Federal Magnum6 roundsDouble Action Only17 oz.1.87 inches6.5"1.28"4.5"Replaceable, Pinned RampU-Notch IntegralNo

Another option for pocket carry would be the Ruger LCR in .327 Federal Magnum. This gives you an extra round of capacity (6 rounds), and the ability to shoot .32 H&R Magnum through the gun. The .32 Magnum and .327 Federal are criminally underrated revolver cartridges, and having an extra round on board is always a good thing.

This case is the best example of the “why” behind a revolver. It fulfills the rule of “have a gun” and does it in a way that’s easier to carry than anything else.

Taurus 856 T.O.R.O.

the taurus 856 toro optics ready concealed carry revolver
Image Courtesy: Taurus
CaliberCapacityAction TypeUnloaded WeightBarrel LengthLengthWidthHeightFront SightRear SightOptics Ready
.38 Special +P6 roundsDouble Action, Single Action23.5 oz.3"7.5"1.4"4.8"RemovableFixedYes

The next best concealed carry revolver on our list is the Taurus 856 T.O.R.O. It is the first ever optics-ready, small frame defensive revolver. The 856 T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optics Ready Option) is capable of mounting any pistol red dot optic that fits the Shield RMSc footprint straight out of the box.

The 856 T.O.R.O. features a 3-inch barrel and has a capacity of 6-rounds of +P ammo. It is bigger than a j-frame but smaller than a k-frame revolver from Smith & Wesson, which makes it a great choice to carry everyday. It’s good to train with, and also easy to shoot well as a home defense gun. The 3-inch barrel but small frame size makes a delightful balance between ease of shooting and ease of carry.

Taurus 856 UL

the taurus 856 ultra-lite concealed carry revolver
Image Courtesy: Taurus
CaliberCapacityAction TypeUnloaded WeightBarrel LengthLengthWidthHeightFront SightRear SightOptics Ready
.38 Special +P6 roundsDouble Action, Single Action16 oz.2 inches6.55"1.41"4.8"Serrated RampFixedNo

The Taurus 856 UL (Ultra-Lite) is a 2-inch defensive revolver that uses an aluminum frame for an ultra-lite defensive gun, while still retaining six shots of .38 Special ammo. While most revolvers of similar size only offer a 5-round capacity, the 856 UL has a 6-round capacity and is rated for +P ammo.

One of the most desirable things about the 856 UL is its price. The MSRP of the 856 UL is $376.05, making it an affordable and reliable choice for just about any shooter.

Choosing the Best Revolver for Concealed Carry

mckenzie shooting a ruger lcr concealed carry revolver

Ultimately, the best reason to choose a revolver for concealed carry is as simple as “you want one.” If you like revolvers and are going to practice with one, get it, train with it, and carry it. Simple as that.

The Smith & Wesson 442, the Ruger LCR in .327 Fed Mag, the Taurus 856 T.O.R.O., and the Taurus 856 UL are all examples of revolvers that fit specific niches and fit our qualifications for the best revolvers for concealed carry. There are other options available as well. The guns on this list were recommended because they have excellent track records for reliability, durability, and build quality. Whichever Be sure you load up with the best ammo for concealed carry revolvers and use quality revolver speedloaders.

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