There’s no doubt you’ve heard about the 9mm revolver, even if you’re a complete beginner when it comes to guns.
Since these types of guns are so widely available, there’s a drawback to this advantage: it can be difficult to know which 9mm is the best for you.
What’s the point of a 9mm?
A 9mm revolver has many benefits. These include how they’re light and easy to carry, while also being comfortable to shoot.
This makes them a pleasure to use for seasoned shooters and beginners alike. With that in mind, let’s look at the best 9mm revolver for 2021, along with four alternatives that have many great features to offer.
Best 9mm Revolver – Reviews & Buying Guide for 2021
Best overall: Smith & Wesson Model 986
Smith & Wesson have developed a Performance Center range of revolvers that are assembled with the best components, while making use of traditional expert skills of gunsmiths.
The result? Guns such as Model 986 that are unique and perform exceptionally well. Let’s explore this gun’s pros and cons.
- This gun has a strong L-frame, which ensures that it’s big enough to offer seven rounds, therefore having a greater capacity than what you’d find in some other 9mm pistols on the market.
- It’s perfect for concealed carry as a result of how it’s both light in weight and has an unfluted cylinder that’s made of titanium. With low weight and high strength, you get the best of both worlds.
- The frame mass protects the gun against bullet jump, which is a common concern for shooters who operate lightweight revolvers.
- It has a recessed precision crown barrel design to enhance the gun’s accuracy.
- The gun comes with moon clips to accommodate the cartridges and using these is both easy and smooth.
- The lower part of the grip is a bit larger than the rest of it, which can make it tricky to use the additional grip strength of your pinkie in order to maximize control of the gun. It might therefore take some getting used to.
Runner Up: Smith & Wesson Model 929
This eight-round capacity revolver has many benefits that set it apart from other 9mm revolvers on the market. It’s another model from the Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center range. Here’s what you should know about it.
- This S&W 9mm revolver’s double-action trigger pull is light and smooth.
- The gun’s grip is black synthetic material and has finger grooves on it for added comfort when using it. This also makes the gun more ergonomic, reducing hand fatigue.
- It has a tapered underlug to reduce recoil, as well as a compensator that decreases muzzle flip.
- If you’re using this gun in a competition and you’re not allowed to use a compensator, no worries – you can simply remove it and replace it with a false muzzle.
- The gun’s titanium-constructed cylinder gives it greater strength while decreasing its weight, so it’ll be easier to carry and conceal.
- This Smith & Wesson 9mm revolver is quite a bit heavier than the previous Smith & Wesson we featured in our 9mm revolver reviews – 13 oz heavier.
- While it’s easy to load the moon clips that come included with your purchase of the gun, it’s a little difficult to unload them.
Alternative 1: SCCY CPX-1TTPKRD 9mm
Now for something that looks a bit different. This Sccy 9mm revolver is designed in bright pink! It’s the perfect gift for someone in your life who loves guns that break free of classic designs and have trendy appearances.
Don’t be fooled by how it looks, though. This Sccy gun has some great features and should be taken seriously.
- This precision-made gun has been designed for concealed carry, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a pocket pistol. It has an unloaded weight of 17.5 ounces, which makes it the best 9mm revolver for concealed carry.
- It has been designed with an aircraft-grade heat-treated aluminum alloy.
- Its Zytel polymer frame has ergonomic finger grooves for better grip. Zytel is a high-quality nylon compound, so it increases to the gun’s durability.
- This revolver has a recoil cushion located on the back strap so that shooting it will feel much more comfortable.
- It has a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 red dot sight that dims automatically depending on the lighting conditions. This makes it ideal for home security purposes.
- The red dot feature is perfect for beginners as it helps to increase your accuracy and make you feel comfortable with using a 9mm revolver.
- It’s got a double action-only design. This means that it enables you to have a second strike. Perfect for self-defense, if the hard primer won’t ignite this gun lets you pull the trigger for a second time to strike the primer again, preventing you from having to remove the unfired cartridge first. This feature makes this gun the best 9mm revolver for home security.
- The trigger’s reset is a drawback of this gun. It only happens at the end of a trigger’s return, meaning that if you don’t return the trigger to its fully extended position after your shot the gun won’t fire again. This can sometimes feel like a malfunction in the gun’s design.
Best .375 Mag Revolver: Smith & Wesson Model 640
Forming part of Smith & Wesson’s Pro Series, the Model 640 revolver has a gorgeous stainless steel appearance that serves some useful purposes. Let’s check out what those are and what else this 9mm Smith & Wesson revolver has to offer.
- This gun’s barrel, cylinder, and frame are all made out of strong stainless steel.
- Not just beautiful and strong, the steel construction also helps the gun to tolerate recoil much better.
- The front and rear sights on the revolver are dovetailed as well as drift adjustable.
- The cylinder is designed for use with moon clips, which make reloading the gun much faster and easier.
- This revolver has a removable full grip that’s great for large hands.
- It offers decent customization, such as in the form of fancy grips and laser sights.
- One of the drawbacks of this revolver concerns its concealment. Since it has a grip that’s longer than the handle’s length, this can make it more difficult to hide.
- The trigger is a little heavy, which can especially be difficult to get used to for beginners.
Runner Up: Smith & Wesson Model 60
This gun was the first Smith & Wesson revolver made out of stainless steel, and it first hit the market in 1965. It’s perfect for you if you want a small, compact, classic revolver that offers greater control and resists recoil. Let’s view this gun in greater detail.
- This gun comes with two locks for increased security: a cable lock and internal lock. In case you don’t know, a cable lock makes use of a cable that goes through the gun and prevents it from being fired because it essentially blocks the use of ammo or the gun’s barrel. On the other hand, an internal lock makes use of a special key that fits into a tiny hole above the cylinder release latch. This makes it safe from children or inexperienced people who might be curious to hold or shoot the gun.
- It has a pinned ramp with night sight, for greater convenience.
- It’s built to be comfortable, thanks to its ergonomic grip. It offers a four-finger grip that will feel like it’s the perfect fit, so it’s great if you want a classically designed gun that feels smooth and is also easy to get used to if you’ve never fired it before.
- Its crucial components are made of stainless steel to offer greater stability and durability. These include the frame, cylinder, and barrel.
- Part of the reason why this gun is so popular is because it’s built to be comfortable. This can be seen with how its controls, such as trigger and cylinder release, are gentle on your skin and won’t cause you to experience abrasions or blisters as long as you use them correctly.
- Its grip is made of plastic, but this might not necessarily be an instant drawback since it feels strong and is ergonomic, therefore fitting in with the rest of the gun’s emphasis on comfort.
- If you like customizing your guns, you might not like that the only real customization options you have with this revolver is to attach smaller grips and sights.
9mm Revolver FAQ
If you want to know more about 9mm revolvers, you should read the following questions as they’ll help to increase your understanding of these types of guns and if they’re a good choice for you to purchase. Let’s start with an important thing to know about ammo!
Can you shoot 38 in a 9mm?
Here’s an interesting fact about gun calibers: the .357 and 9mm ammos are the same caliber. They are given different names as a result of where their cartridges were developed or as a result of marketing efforts. FYI, the .38 and .389 auto are also the same.
So, when it comes to using a .38 caliber in a 9mm casing, you might think that it’s okay. But there are some things to know.
Generally, it’s said to be a good idea to use a bullet that’s 0.001 inches wider than the barrel of your gun. This is important to ensure that it seals properly. You could use .38 bullets in a 9mm casing but this could be problematic if the sizes don’t match up. Even a .38 Special is not recommended as this type of bullet is heavy. You will find it weighs around 200 grams while a 9mm is around 145grams. The difference in weight could lead to too much pressure inside the gun.
If you know a lot about different gun calibers and cases, you might feel comfortable trying out different calibers in your revolver, but generally speaking it’s never safe to go ahead and try different bullets in different casings without having a strong knowledge and understanding of them. If the pressure inside the gun is not at an acceptable level, this can cause it to explode, which can have disastrous effects: it can injure you or bystanders, and cause your gun to get completely damaged.
Is 9mm same as .357?
You might think that 9mm and .357 calibers are the same because they’re in the .38 category, but these bullets are different in many ways: they have different sizes and they are designed to fit into different gun chambers.
The 9mm has been made for semi-automatic pistols, while the .375 is a .38 special cartridge which delivers much more velocity and power than a 9mm.
There are other important differences between the two revolver calibers that are well worth knowing about. Let’s look at different aspects of both to see how they compare.
- Their casing: A .357 casing is half an inch or so longer than a 9mm casing – this enables the magazine to hold a greater amount of powder.
- Their recoil: 9mms are popular for their lack of recoil, such as when it comes to comparing them against .40 caliber pistols. They also fare well when pitted against the .357, which is said to be heavier.
- Their muzzle energy: The .375 has some heavy energy that can generate between 10 and 14.5 feet-lb of energy – this is quite different from most 9mms that remain under 5 ft-lb.
- Their accuracy. Both 9mm and .357 perform well when it comes to ensuring accurate shots. However, if you’re a beginner and you’re attempting multiple shots with a .357, you will experience higher recoil, which will obstruct your accuracy.
- Their self-defense worthiness. A .357 isn’t necessarily the best choice of bullet to use if you’re in a self-defense situation. This is because it has a lot of recoil and makes a lot of noise. By comparison, the 9mm is one of the quietest calibers, and this is as a result of it having low amounts of powder.
Can a revolver fire if dropped?
Maybe you’ve heard that you have to be extra careful with your revolver because of how it can fire if accidentally dropped. This is known as “dropfire,” and it happens when the firearm strikes a hard surface, such as a concrete ground.
When this happens to a handgun, the impact causes the spring-loaded striker to become loose from its safety. It moves forward, hitting the bullet in the chamber, and firing a round.
Dropfiring is a worrying occurrence that has made the news a few times. For example, in 2019, gun manufacturer Sig Sauer landed in hot water when a gun owner reported that the company’s pistols were faulty because they’d fire when their triggers weren’t pulled. However, this was said to be extremely rare (although possible). Sig Sauer replied to the gun owner, stating that improper gun handling is the culprit for unintended discharge.
While being super-careful around your firearms is always a good thing, you’ll be pleased to know that your revolver probably won’t accidentally fire if you drop it. Generally, if you maintain the quality of your gun, it was made within the last decade or two, and it isn’t used so frequently that it has an increased risk of suffering wear and tear which can cause damage to the gun’s safety mechanisms, then there is an almost zero chance that your gun could fire if you accidentally drop it.
On the topic of safety mechanisms, most guns on the market today will have a hammer block or a transfer bar to increase their safety and prevent them from firing if accidentally dropped. What is a hammer block and how does it vary from a transfer bar? Let’s look at both in greater detail.
- A hammer block, which is commonly seen in Smith & Wesson guns, is a block, latch, or other type of mechanism that’s built into the gun’s action. It’s put into a specific position so that the hammer can’t make contact with the cartridge primer or firing pin when you don’t want it to.
- A transfer bar, which is what you’ll find on Ruger guns, is a bar that is connected to the gun’s trigger. When you pull the trigger, the bar lifts upwards so the falling hammer can make contact with it and this activates the firing pin. This bar prevents the gun going off accidentally.
Is a revolver or a pistol better?
Before we compare a revolver and pistol to see which one is better, let’s define both.
- A revolver has a revolving cylinder that holds bullets. It can hold six bullets in it.
- A pistol, on the other hand, doesn’t keep ammo in a revolving cylinder. Instead, it has a magazine into which bullets are loaded. The magazine gets inserted into the handgrip of the gun.
Now, let’s take a look at both of their pros and cons.
- Revolvers are simple yet reliable, which also makes them easy to learn how to use as they don’t require a lot of training.
- They are versatile. Revolvers can be used with a wide range of ammo. This is not always the case with firearms, but revolvers can work with any ammunition that can fit inside their cylinder. As long as the cylinder can lock, then you can go ahead and fire the bullets. That said, as we mentioned earlier in this article, it’s always worth having deep knowledge about your gun and the ammo you wish to use before putting any type of ammo into your revolver.
- These types of guns can be slow to reload.
- Their cartridges can be a bit too heavy.
- Since the rounds are inside a magazine instead of needing to be reloaded one cartridge at a time, this makes a pistol very easy to reload. It also makes reloading your gun faster!
- These types of guns usually have up to three times the ammo quantity that you’ll get with a revolver which is the same weight and size.
- Pistols can require the shooter to use quite a bit of effort to rack the slide. This can make using them a little difficult for beginners.
- Since pistols have more moving parts than revolvers, this can make them more prone to failure and other mechanical problems.
- So, which type of gun should you choose? While both types of guns have their pros and cons, it’s worth noting that revolvers are always praised for their reliability. They resist jamming more than what you’ll experience with a pistol. Even though this isn’t a regular occurence with pistols, it does happen, while revolvers are known for never getting jammed.
If you want to purchase a 9mm revolver, you’re in good company.
This type of revolver is a versatile and solid choice, but which one should you buy? In this guide, we’ve featured five of the best revolvers on the market to help you find one that suits your needs.
We’ve also answered important questions about 9mm revolvers, like how they compare to pistols and if revolvers can accidentally be fired if you drop them on a hard surface.