Snub nose revolvers are all kinds of cool even now.
In a day and age where guns like the P365 rule, there are tons of revolvers still being produced aimed at the same market. These classic concealed carry guns offer an interesting mix of power with small sizes. They'd long been a favorite for those looking for a gun designed for deep concealment without the sacrifice of power but with the sacrifice of small capacity.
Snub nose revolvers aren't optimal for everyone, but if we look at the ratio or power recoil compared to relative size, then we get an interesting reason why the snub nose is still a valuable tool.
For those looking for low-recoiling handguns, these guns can be loaded with reduced recoil loads without worrying about compromising reliability. For those who don't mind the extra recoil, the snub nose often comes in the .357 Magnum and is the only pocket-sized gun I know of to offer magnum power. While these guns aren't for everyone, we've gathered the top five snub noses on the market.
These aren't your traditional snub nose revolvers, and heck, some people prefer to call them derringers. Admittedly the NAA series of micro revolvers aren't for everyone and not great at a multitude of roles. However, when you can't carry something more traditional, the NAA-22LR fits a specific niche for ultra-deep concealment.
While unusual, no one will deny that they aren't well-made and reliable little guns. These palm-sized pieces offer you five rounds of .22LR and fit basically anywhere. My favorite story is about a cop undercover in a Speedo who supposedly carried one in a red solo cup for a meeting with a bad guy. My personal favorite is the model with the folding grip that makes it a great pocket carry option.
Kimber expanding out of the automatic pistol world into the way of the revolver was unexpected, to say the least. Revolver guys and gals approached the K6S with caution and did so slowly. Like the first caveman discovering fire revolver shooters accepted the K6S. The K6S comes in various configurations, and the snub nose model doesn't hold back.
With a true two-inch barrel and real sights, plus a six-round capacity, the K6S stood apart from the rest of the pack. At 23 ounces, the K6S is fairly light and very capable. The gun proved reliable and easy to shoot, and Kimber released a variety of different models, including larger guns, DA/SA guns, and various finish options.
All of the new Colt Cobra models are outstanding guns, but the Night Cobra stands out to me as the best from a concealed carry perspective. The bobbed hammer makes it easy for deep concealment carry and a fast and smooth draw. The front sight is a big dot sight design that glows under low light conditions. It's very easy to see and fast to pick up.
The trigger is outstanding and extremely smooth, and you get six rounds of .38 Special giving you the most you can get in such a small gun. The Colt Night Cobra eats up recoil with its beefy frame and massive grip that's custom G10. From the ground up, it personifies the classic snub nose revolver.
If you want lightweight with max power, then S&W has you covered with the 340PD. This gun defines air weight and gives you a ton of bang and boom for your buck. At 11.8 ounces, this is the lightest .357 Magnum revolver on the market. Mixing .357 Magnum with 11.8 ounces of scandium, titanium, and stainless steel barrel inserts isn't an option for everyone.
This mini Magnum features a short 1.87-inch barrel topped with a high visibility front sight for sure shots at defensive ranges. It's DAO only with a hidden hammer for smooth draws, non-pokey type carry. The trigger is fairly smooth, and thankfully S&W ditched the internal lock with this series.
Finally, we get to my all-time favorite snub nose revolver, the Ruger LCR. The Ruger LCR takes the cake because it's an affordable, widely available option that comes in every caliber and model you could ever want, from the typical suspect likes .38 Special and .357 Magnum to 9mm and .327 Federal Magnum. It's got all you need to be successful.
The use of polymer drove the price down, and Ruger introduced a masterclass of a DAO trigger with this gun. Depending on the caliber and size, the guns can be one of the most affordable snub nose revolvers on the market. These guys have proven to be ultra-reliable, easy to shoot, and well suited for most skill levels.
The world of snub nose revolvers is always growing, and that's a good thing. Even if you don't ever plan to carry one, you can't deny their cool factor. They've been around for a few centuries now in one form or another, and until we get laser beams instead of bullets, I imagine they'll keep coming.
What's your favorite? Share below!
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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