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8 Best Revolvers for 2023: Self-Defense, Hunting, & Plinking

Who doesn't like wheelguns?! We look at some of our favorite revolvers for concealed carry, hunting, plinking, and home defense.

Do you know what type of firearm has enjoyed amazing staying power?


Check revolvers to be sure the cylinder fits well and is not loose. Also check to see I the cylinder lines up correctly with the barrel.
People can argue about the relevancy of revolvers all day, but there is absolutely no denying their cool factor.

You’d think after the 1911 came out, the revolver would have hit that dusty trail, only to be brought out for fun here and there.

Yet, there are still major revolver manufacturers making everything from plinkers to big bore blasters.

Revolvers are still popular and improving and seeing new growth, and we’ve isolated what we think are the best on the market and broken them down into separate and distinct categories.

So keep reading to see our favorites!

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best Plinker

    Heritage Rough Rider Revolvers

    The Rough Rider comes in under $150 and shoots the cheapest ammo available, making it the ultimate budget plinker.

  2. Best Tactical Revolver

    Smith & Wesson Model 327 TRR8

    Legendary S&W quality and accuracy have been combined with more modern features to help this revolver keep up with the times.

  3. Best for Concealed Carry

    Ruger LCR

    Lightweight, affordable, and relatively pleasant to shoot, the Ruger LCR takes the top spot for those who want something easy to conceal.

  4. Best Hunting Revolver

    Ruger Super Redhawk .454 Casull

    The Super Redhawk is an overbuilt tank that is ready to handle the hottest ammo and back you up when taking on the biggest game.

  5. Best Black Powder Revolver

    Uberti 1851 Navy Revolver

    Uberti is well known for their classic style reproduction guns, and their quality is ever-present in their black powder lineup of revolvers.

Best Revolvers for Defense, Hunting, & Plinking

1. Heritage Arms Rough Rider


  • Lots of sizes and shapes
  • Great plinker
  • Good price


  • Not built for CCW or competition

Plinking is the age-old art of just having fun with guns.

It’s informal, non-competitive, and can be a way to work on casual marksmanship skills.

Plinking can typically be done with any caliber, but the classic .22 LR rimfire round is often the most affordable and fun way to get it done.

Heritage Arms Barkeep
The Heritage Arms Barkeep features a 2-inch barrel, but if you are looking for something longer, Heritage definitely has you covered.

The Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider series of revolvers make for great plinkers. They are incredibly cheap and come in a multitude of sizes and shapes.

From the absurdly long 16-inch model all the way down to the 1-inch, no-sights Boot model.

There is something for everyone, even for those who want to mount a red dot. The Rough Rider series are great guns that are perfect for the casual plink session.

Best Plinker
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

They are plenty accurate and have that Colt Single Action Army design that’s to die for. Heck, sometimes they can be had for less than $100 if you catch the right sale, but they rarely drift above $200.

If your collection is missing a revolver and you have a tight budget, Heritage Manufacturing guns are for you.

2. Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8


  • Tactical style
  • Optics rail
  • Light compatibility
  • 8-round capacity


  • Might be too much gun for average user

Tactical revolver — I bet you didn’t expect to hear that one today.

Smith & Wesson Model 327 TRR8
Smith & Wesson Model 327 TRR8 (Photo: TFB)

A tactical revolver might seem silly, but in the modern age, why not?

Legend has it that the S&W Model 327 TRR8 was designed for police with shields because the lack of a slide ensured they could reliably shoot through the shield ports.

While no SWAT cop likely carried one, they are about as tactical as a revolver can get. This includes the presence of both an optic rail and a light rail.

Gone is the conventional 6-shot cylinder. Here, you get a whopping 8 rounds of .357 Magnum. (Photo: TFB)

You also get an 8-round capacity with .357 Magnum rounds. S&W cut the gun to use moon clips, which make reloads very fast and easy. The iron sights are massive and easy to see, and the rear sight is adjustable.

This gun was built from the ground up to be a modern fighting revolver. There was a reason it was the Punisher’s choice in Season 2 of Daredevil.

TV shows aside, if I had to pick a revolver for home defense or duty, it would be this model.

Best Tactical Revolver
at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Its combination of features makes it about as modern as a revolver can be. The TRR8 is a viable option if you live in a state with rigid gun control.

3. Chiappa Rhino


  • Low bore axis
  • Tame recoil


  • Price
  • Sight height over bore
  • Complex internals

The Chiappa Rhino takes revolvers and turns them on their head.

Chiappa rhino
Once you see the gun, you quickly realize why the name they picked is very appropriate.

Typical revolvers align the barrel with the top chamber of the cylinder. Chiappa designed the Rhino to align the barrel with the bottom cylinder.

With the bore more in line with the wrist, it sends recoil rearward instead of upward. This helps control the forces from heavier rounds like the .357 Magnum.

Chiappa rhino
It may not be best revolver on this list, but it is for sure the most unique.

That’s not where the space cowboy ends, though. Chiappa added a bottom rail to the gun for lights, and on models with six-inch barrels, there is an optics rail on top for adding a red dot or optic of choice.

An optically enhanced revolver with a light looks like it’d fit in the holster of a Marshal on a Moon colony.

The Rhino gets even weirder as the hammer at the top isn’t a hammer but a cocking device. You can cock the weapon into the single-action mode with it, but it rests forward. A red plunger is there to show you that it’s cocked.

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

It is an oddball gun for sure, but a fun one nonetheless. You can also check out our full review of the Rhino here!

4. Ruger LCR


  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Amazing trigger
  • Easy to conceal


  • 9mm version requires moon clips
  • Short grip

The Ruger LCR is the Glock of revolvers, and I mean that in more ways than one.

Obviously, the first comparison is the polymer frame and portions of the gun, but it runs deeper than that.

Ruger LCR 9mm
Having the option to go with 9mm over something like the more expensive .38 Special round is a draw for some shooters.

Ruger has made a simple, functional, and easy-to-use revolver. It is chambered in a multitude of calibers, including .38 Special, .357, 9mm, .22 WMR, .22 LR, and even .327 Federal Magnum.

Shooters can opt for a shrouded hammer or the LCRx model with an exposed hammer.

Ruger LCR
The LCR is small, light, and definitely shoots better than it looks.

The gun also comes in at an affordable price point and can be commonly found for less than $500. Their popularity makes it easy to find good holsters, which goes a long way when it comes to concealed carry.

Did I mention it has the best stock double-action trigger I’ve ever used? Holy crap is Ruger’s friction-reducing design effective! It’s a great trigger that makes shooting the little gun a heckuva lot easier.

Best for Concealed Carry
at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The small size and lightweight make it easy to tuck away and hide, and It’s comfortable regardless of the carry method. The LCR might not be fancy with a classic design, but it’s a workhorse of a revolver.

You can take a look at our full review of the 9mm Ruger LCR here!

5. Ruger Super Redhawk .454 Casull


  • Integrated scope ring mounts
  • Dual chambering for .454 Casull and .45 Colt
  • Extremely durable


  • Recoil can be harsh on pistol scopes

There are a lot of good hunting revolvers out there, but the Super Redhawk in .454 Casull finds the right blend of power, smart design, and modernization to make it one of the best.

Although it isn’t the newest, hottest round on the block, .454 Casull is still a force to be reckoned with. (Photo: Personal Defense World)

While people love .460 S&W and .500 S&W, they are kinda silly and not much better than .454 Casull for handgun hunting.

With the Super Redhawk, we get a variety of lengths, from the downright flashbang worthy 2.5 inches to the nice 9.5-inch option. To me, the five or 7.5-inch is just perfect balance-wise.

The Super Redhawk is a traditional DA/SA revolver with Ruger’s massive, beefy frame. Double action makes the gun easier to use with a single hand, and this is an important feature for things like unexpected bear defense.

Sneak some .45 Colt in this bad boy and watch your friends sit in awe thinking you have the hand strength of Hercules. (Photo: National Interest)

It’s a large, robust gun designed to absorb the recoil from big, heavy cartridges. It’s not absurdly large like an x-frame .500 S&W, but it’s no air weight.

Integrated scope bases make adding optics easy. In my experience, these guns are very accurate and, for magnum caliber guns, fairly easy to shoot and handle.

Best Hunting Revolver
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Another bonus of .454 Casull is the ability to chamber the lighter .45 Colt loads. It also holds six rounds versus the 5 of some larger calibers. When you put it all together, the Super Redhawk is an excellent hunting revolver.

6. Taurus 856 Executive Grade


  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Pelican Vault case


  • Limited capacity
  • Not speed loader compatible

Taurus is known for its very budget-friendly guns but also for some QC issues in the past.

As far as revolvers go, I’d say this one looks pretty darned good.

They have a few big moves and have retooled with experienced personnel, which seems to be showing with the 856 Executive Grade.

But still, I approached the gun with caution, thinking, sure, it’s pretty, but does it work?

It turns out it works pretty dang well. The 856 Executive grade isn’t Taurus’ cheapest revolver, but it’s a bargain when you examine the gun’s performance.

The Executive is just the right size to not feel like you are a carry a duty-sized revolver but also to avoid the shootability issues that plague snubnose revolvers.

It’s surprisingly easy to shoot with an excellent trigger.

While designed for concealed carry, it isn’t your typical snub nose. The 3-inch barrel makes the gun much easier to shoot, tames the muzzle blast, and adds a little extra velocity and sight radius.

Although the hammer is bobbed, the double-action trigger is so smooth that you’ll barely miss a single action option.

A nice set of Altamont wood grips fills the hand and makes it easy to get control of the gun.

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

It’s an impressive showing for Taurus, and I’m excited to see the Executive Series continue, especially since the gun costs less than $600.

What do you think of the Executive Revolver? Rate it below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (101)

Your Rating?

7. Uberti 1851 Navy


  • Black powder revolver
  • Lightweight and easy to shoot
  • Affordable


  • Can be tricky to learn
  • Not for beginners

You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to master the black powder revolver. I once heard someone say it was a bit like alchemy to really figure one out.

The 1851 Navy is just one of the excellent black powder replicas made by Uberti. (Photo: icollector)

Uberti is well known for their replicas and produces some of the finest cowboy guns out there. Stick with suggested load data from respected sources to keep things safe.

If you want an easy to get into black powder revolver, the Uberti 1851 Navy will be tough to beat. It’s a .36 caliber gun that’s light and easy to shoot. The 1851 Navy comes in a few different configurations and finishes, but they are all very affordable.

With the right projectiles and loading, these guns are surprisingly accurate at regular pistol distances. (Photo: GunMart)

In most cases, you don’t need an FFL to transfer them since they are technically not firearms. Order one online and have it shipped to your house.

Uberti’s 1851 Navy revolvers are good-looking guns that faithfully replicate the classic revolvers of the era. They are robust and a great way to experience history.

Best Black Powder Revolver
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Trust me, while it seems intimidating to get into, the thrill of firing a black powder and seeing the smoke and smelling the burning powder is well worth it. Plus, it’s living history in your hand!

8. Colt Python


  • Iconic look and feel
  • .357 Mag/.38 Spl chambering
  • Tons of fun to shoot


  • Pricey

You can’t deny the cool factor of the Colt Python. It’s always been a revolver that is just gorgeous and eye-catching.

Colt stopped production of the original Python in 2005, but the gun was revived in 2020. (Photo: Firearms News)

People were deeply saddened when they were discontinued, but Colt finally brought them back after being on ice for 15 years.

Colt specifically brought back the high-polish stainless steel models with the wood grips. The classic ventilated rib across the top is one of the easiest ways to identify the Python and one of the reasons it’s so dang cool.

Python head to head
If you are willing to shell out the extra money, there is something special about getting an original Python like the two shown above.

Shooters can pick between the 3-inch, 4.25-inch, and Rick Grimes popularized 6-inch barrel.

Adjustable sights and a buttery smooth trigger ensure the gun shoots as nicely as it looks. These great big guns eat .357 magnums like candy and won’t put pain in your hand round after round.

You can’t help but enjoy just holding this mix of steel and wood. It’s so utterly cool and classic, like a vintage muscle car. It’s uniquely American, and while it’s not a modern fighting gun, it doesn’t need to be.

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Just like the  ’67 Mustang won’t win a LeMans race, it’s still gonna be the coolest car out there.

Final Thoughts

The revolver doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

Heck, I am excited to see the new bullpup revolver from Zenk. When you have things like that on the horizon, it shows that these guns are far from dead.

Sometimes you buy a gun for form, sometimes for function. Either way, revolvers still cover both bases with ease, even in modern times.

Are there any revolvers you feel should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below! Just looking for the small stuff? We got you covered with our article on the 7 Best Concealed Carry Revolvers!

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13 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Bob Enns

    A subject filled with more BS than a political debate. Beginner? Get a fine, accurate .22 rimfire revolver, specifically a Smith & Wesson Model 17; a good earlier one (without the ridiculous "safety keyhole") if you can find one.. You'll keep it for your lifetime, they're that good. More advanced? either a good Smith & Wesson .357 magnum; shoot mostly milder .38 special or Colt Python for snob appeal. Semi-auto? SIG P220 or classic 1911; either in .45 app. Target shooting ? S&W model 41; again its .22 rimfire with awesome accuracy.

    April 17, 2023 9:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Stephen Patterson


    February 20, 2023 6:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    R B

    I’m late to the wheel gun game. My first handgun was a 9mm. I started wheel guns with a Taurus Judge. It’s more of a hand sized shotgun. I then added a Kimber K6S DA/SA with a 3 inch barrel. It’s a little too high end and I added a Ruger GP100 4 inch shortly thereafter. I won’t bore with anymore details. However, the list is eclectic

    February 19, 2023 11:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really, really like my Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt and especially with the moon clips for .45 ACP. Not sure why but the ACP’s are a tad more accurate than the Long Colt’s at 25 yards. But, it doesn’t matter, I’m extremely fond of the revolver. It fills my hand nicely. And, it’s so “purty”.

    February 19, 2023 10:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    As an owner of 2 Dan Wesson revolvers, and a Ruger Security Six, I don't understand why there are NO S&W or older Ruger models (still on sale NIB) on this list. The 686 S&W is a VERY solid gun. As are most of the Sturm Ruger revolvers. Stop selling fancy in a wheel gun. They are not fancy, just extremely reliable in go to situation. I carry a wheel gun ALL the time when I'm hunting big game as self preservation when you run into that wrong critter(Bear or Mountain Lion) at the wrong time

    February 19, 2023 8:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Papa Rulz

    I can’t say I’ve tried plinking with the Heritage as they (with maybe an exception or two) are illegal in my state due to their zinc-alloy frames.

    Maybe you could have put an asterisk in the “plinking” category and added the Ruger Wrangler in it as well.

    I’m not sold on the merits of the “Zamak” bans but since more than one state has banned these, the Wrangler deserves a mention.

    In the ideal world, Ruger would make a “Wranglerized” Bearcat, which could be the ultimate .22 LR plinker!

    February 19, 2023 8:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Art B

    I started out my firearms life with a revolver. For a period of time in my youth, I grew up on a ranch and consequently among doing things like riding a horse nearly daily, milking the milk cow in the morning and evening, cleaning stalls, etc. I even got to carry a .22 revolver (after having demonstrated I had listened to the "older" guys safety dictates). Later on, while on my way to deployment to Viet Nam, I purchased a used model 10 Smith & Wesson 5". Ended up trading that for a .30 M-1 Carbine. (error - had to leave it there).
    Since then, I have had a variety of revolvers and still have several. Carried a Colt Cobra for a long time. Liked it primarily for the 6 round capacity. Still have it.
    So - still kind of a revolver guy. Being a revolver guy, I still pay some attention to what is going on with them. One of the things I have noted is that the rather inconsistent quality reports on the Heritage Rough Rider. Does not seem to be much middle ground, either people love them or hate them. Accuracy seems to be the issue, generally.
    As far as the Taurus revolvers go, I did own a gun store for several (15 or so) years and never had to send one back for repair/adjustment. We also used them in our training program. Good guns. But that was then, some 25 years ago. Maybe I missed something (granted, the Very early Taurus did have some issues at times).
    The Smith & Wesson revolvers have always been a favorite of mine, largely due to good quality and a decent out of the box trigger - and the ability to make that trigger more smooth easily. Can't seem to get away from them! (but who wants to?)
    Most likely I will be packing a Ruger Redhawk .44 mag this hunting season if my shoulder does not heal up enough to use a rifle. (messed it up trying to do stuff I used to could do at a far younger age!)
    Heck, I even have a couple of Black Powder revolvers. One is a Ruger stainless Old Army and on the other end of the spectrum is an original Remington New Army.44. Both a kick in the butt to shoot!
    Yeah, I am kind of a revolver guy. What do I regularly carry? A Sig P365. Every now and then though a small revolver will find its way into my pocket or a larger one on my hip, especially when on horseback!
    Gotta love those revolvers - but beware, they are habit forming!

    Art B.

    February 19, 2023 7:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gary SE WI

    My very first store bought and only big caliber revolver was the new model Blackhawk 357 /38. But it also came with the 9mm cylinder. You could pick the cost of the range day by what caliber you wanted to have fun with.
    Wish I still had it.

    February 19, 2023 7:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You can't have serious 'best wheel gun' list without the S&W 686 someplace. Get real.

    February 19, 2023 7:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve L

    I'm a fan of Pietti' 1858 Remington Army with both 8 and 5.5" barrels. My favorite is the 5.5", easy to shoot and pretty danged accurate to 20 yards. It isn't as heavy as the 8" "original". The 2858 Remmy has a cylinder that rolls out without having g to completely dismantling the whole pistol AND they're interchangeable, I have 3 cylinders between the two. I did get a loading stand that gives me 18 rounds in less than 4 minutes. Squeeze off 6, roll out the chamber, roll in a fresh one and you're back off to tge races.

    February 19, 2023 6:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Steve L

      Ok, I found a couple typos. The model is tge 1858 Remington New Army. Chambered in .44.

      February 19, 2023 6:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    If I could only own one handgun it would be a single action Ruger Blackhawk or Vaquero in .45 Colt.

    February 19, 2023 6:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chuck Cochran

    My very first gun was a S&W Model 66 4"(the stainless version of the model 19), and I kick myself for ever letting it go. I would love to buy another, but they're just too pricey for my pension, especially in our current economy.
    I'd come closer to being able to afforf one of the new Rossis.
    Still own my old model 36, and carry it sometimes. When my wife and I married, her wedding present from me was a model 60. She still loves the gun.

    February 19, 2023 5:59 pm
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