Snub nose revolvers can fit in your pocket, but they also have enough power to keep you safe. That’s a rare combination, and it’s a good reason for anyone to keep one in their collection. As with any defensive tool, finding the best snub nose revolver is vital for staying safe. The best ones focus on reliability, power, and simplicity. It’s hard to find the right blend, so we built this list of solid choices to make your search a little easier.
10. Rossi R35
|Caliber||38 Special + P|
The Rossi 35 offers a great value. The gun’s performance is fairly good but not the best, but they are far better than most other guns at this price point. The gun uses a design from Rossi, but it is manufactured by Taurus to the same standard as other Taurus guns. The Rossi 35 does offer better ergonomics than many other small revolvers due to a contoured grip, so it is one of the best budget revolvers out there. Choose it if you want to get a good value, but look at other options if you’re willing to pay a little more.
9. Taurus 85
|Caliber||38 Special +P|
The Taurus 85 is fairly affordable, reliable, and packs more power than many other guns of its size. A transfer bar keeps it safe to carry, but it also has a security system that prevents the entire gun from functioning with the turn of a key. That makes it a good choice for people who are worried about children accidentally getting close to it while it is in storage. The gun is rated for high-pressure loads, which boosts its power, so it does have something to offer besides safety. Novices should consider it for its mixture of price and safety, while more experienced shooters can appreciate the increased power.
8. NAA Sidewinder
|Manufacturer||North American Arms|
The Sidewinder is the revolver for shooters that want to keep their gun as small and light as possible. Some people find the ergonomics awkward due to its tiny dimensions, but most people can get used to it with a little bit of practice. It’s also a fairly good choice for those who want to reload quickly. Unlike most revolvers of similar size, the Sidewinder has a cylinder that swings out from the frame. Consider this gun if you want to minimize your weapon’s size, but consider something with a more conventional size and shape if that isn’t your priority.
7. Ruger SP101
The SP101 is a contender for the best snub nose revolver for people who want easy maintenance. The gun is made of stainless steel and polymer, which resists most damage easily. Assembling and disassembling the gun is possible without any special tools, which is an asset for casual shooters who need to do maintenance. It’s also comfortable, with a cushioned grip that lacks exposed metal in the backstrap, and it can take custom grips for improved ergonomics. That makes this gun a top choice for new or intermediate shooters who value simplicity and comfort.
6. Colt Cobra
The Cobra is a tiny double-action revolver. It is a very comfortable gun, both due to a grooved rubber grip and an unusually large trigger guard. That grip is positioned to mitigate recoil, and it ensures that most shooters can deal with it in spite of the gun’s light weight. Those features make the gun easy to draw and fire under poor conditions, which is an asset for a defensive gun. The trigger pull is slightly longer than normal, but most people will get used to it with a little bit of practice. This is a good choice for new or experienced shooters who want comfort without sacrificing any effectiveness.
5. S&W M&P Bodyguard 38 Crimson Trace
|Manufacturer||Smith and Wesson|
|Caliber||.38 S&W SPECIAL +P|
The Bodyguard Crimson Trace was designed specifically for personal defense. It features an integrated laser with ambidextrous controls for easy aiming under pressure, and users can adjust that laser without disassembling the gun. The cylinder release is also ambidextrous. The upper frame consists of a single piece, which helps to keep the gun light and durable. The design is hammerless, so it’s easy to store and draw the gun without any unfortunate snagging. These features make it a good option for concealed carry, especially for left-handed shooters.
4. Ruger LCR
|Caliber||327 Fed Mag|
The LCR is a balanced revolver that can work well in most situations. It uses a unique friction reduction system to make sure that the trigger pulls smoothly, and an unusual fire control housing to cut down on recoil. The grip is grooved and textured to ensure a good grip, but it’s easy to replace with an even better grip if one is available because it attaches to the gun with a simple peg. Try this model if you want a light, general-purpose weapon that is suitable for both new and experienced shooters.
3. Chiappa Rhino
The Rhino is the best snub nose revolver for competition shooters. Unlike most revolvers, the Rhino aligns the barrel and the bottom firing chamber. That gives it an unusual appearance, but it also minimizes recoil and muzzle flip for improved accuracy. It’s also a beautiful weapon with a finish that resembles a rhino’s skin, so it’s great for those who value aesthetics. The price of the gun does mean that most novices will want to look for alternatives, but it can certainly be worth the price to a consummate shooter.
2. Charter Arms Bulldog
The Bulldog is the best snub nose revolver in terms of sheer value. It doesn’t have many special features, but that simplicity makes it unusually rugged. The grip is thoroughly textured and includes finger grooves, so even a nervous shooter can keep their hands in the right place. It’s a little bit on the heavy side, and it has enough power that recoil can be a problem for small shooters, but most people can handle it. Consider this if you need something cheap for occasional use, but consider splurging if you expect to use your gun more often. Also, if interested in revolvers you can check our best 44 Magnum revolvers list.
1. Taurus Judge Public Defender
The Public Defender is the best snub nose revolver for most users because of its power and versatility. It can use either pistol ammunition or shotgun shells, which makes it useful in a variety of situations. The gun’s recoil is tolerable even when using the shells because it has a grip that helps to absorb shocks. It’s also unusually safe to store because it includes the Taurus Security System, which allows the owner to lock down the pistol with a key. This is a great choice for shooters of every skill level, but it’s best for those that value safety.
Making The Right Choice
Choosing the best snub nose revolver is a necessity for staying safe. Wise shooters will always learn as much as they can about each option before they make their choice. If you can add something to our reviews, or if you have experience with a gun that we didn’t list, be sure to share it in the comment section to help others choose the right weapon.