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Most successful 9mm revolvers for concealed carry

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Well the title may be the 9mm revolver, but there are quite a few revolvers out there chambered in a variety of auto cartridges. We wrote about this previousy in an article titled: Return of The Revolver!I chose the 9mm revolver as the title due to my inspiration for this article. Ruger recently released their 9mm LCR revolver. This has brought some interest to the idea of revolvers in auto cartridges and started some debate on the subject.

Most people who think that the idea is foolish point out the flaws in the system. Most say the idea doesn’t make sense since you can get an automatic with more capacity in the same caliber.

This argument is a bit weak since it’s essentially an extension of auto versus revolvers and dismisses the advantages of revolvers. We explored this topic in more depth, take a look here: Semi Automatic vs. Revolver

Others point to the fact that automatic cartridges are commonly smaller and weaker compared to rounds like the .357 Magnum. This is true, but .357 from most small guns is rather unpleasant to shoot and due to the short barrel you lose a lot of the .357 advantage with that small barrel.

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If we focus on small, compact revolvers we can see some definite advantages of the automatic cartridge in a snub nose.

If people begin arguing larger frame revolvers and magnum rounds then there is a disadvantage of the automatic cartridge.

I do have to mention the Smith and Wesson 610 in the 10 mm automatic, a cartridge that can stand next to the 357 magnum, and exceed it with some hotter loads.

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The idea of chambering a revolver in an auto cartridge is nothing new.

One of the earliest and most successful was made by two handgun pioneers, Colt and Smith and Wesson model 1917s. These revolvers were built around the 45 ACP cartridge which had recently been adopted by the US Army and their Colt M1911 pistol.

This 1911 pistol was popular and successful, but firearm’s manufacturer’s couldn't make 1911s fast enough to fulfill the needs of a growing army. Companies like Colt and Smith and Wesson had the machinery and their personnel had the experience of making revolvers, so a demand went out for 45 ACP revolvers.

The M917 was born with minor differences between the Colt and S&W.

Both revolvers did require the use of half moon or full moon clips to hold the cartridges and reliably eject them. The benefit was these clips that it made them de facto speed loaders.

These revolvers served in World War one all the way to Vietnam in limited use with some reserve units and were the preference of some tunnel rats. The revolver is very popular and very much a ‘cult’ gun.

Since then not many revolvers chambered in auto calibers have been made, you can probably count them all on two hands. There are some definite advantages though.

I’m not going too deep into the revolver versus automatic debate, so we will accept the pros and cons of carrying a revolver vs an auto.

We are purely focusing on the advantages of an automatic cartridge.

First off is size. Revolvers are already very easy to conceal and carry weapons, often being thinner overall except for the cylinder which is the widest point of the weapon. Even so the round nature of the cylinder is easy to conceal. An automatic cartridge is much shorter than a revolver cartridge since it has to fit in the grip of a pistol. This shorter round allows the cylinder to be shorter and decreased the overall length of the weapon.

Next is the price of ammunition. I can find 9mm brass case for around 12 dollars a box and steel case for around 10. For some standard 38 special it’s $23 per box of 50.

So for half the price I can get the same amount of ammo.

This will mean people will be able to afford to practice more and in general, enjoy shooting their weapon more.

Also when it comes to ammo there is often a greater availability for automatic handguns, and therefore more demand for auto rounds. The 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 acp are some of the most popular rounds in the United States and they are often much easier to find, and available to buy in bulk.

Not only is ammo easier to find, but you have a wide variety of different loads to choose from, for both plinking and self-defense. There is a wide variety of different defensive handgun ammo out there and the majority of most modern loads are made for automatics. Any new and revolutionary ammo is going to come out first for automatics and is going to be easier to find in calibers like 9mm.

It’s nice to see a company like Ruger release one of their popular revolvers in an automatic cartridge and it’s not the first time they’ve done so.

They have a Blackhawk model that is convertible from 45 Colt to 45 ACP, and the SP101 was produced in 9mm for a limited time.

With the popularity of the Ruger LCR the idea could catch on if it succeeds. I would love to see more options out there for revolvers in automatic cartridges.

One of the biggest reasons I own only a couple of revolvers and rarely shoot because ammo is both expensive and hard to find. I am heavily eyeing this new LCR and this has renewed my interest in the idea, and I’m considering a S&W 310 Nightguard so I can shoot 10mm and 40 S&W.

The idea is nothing new, what I believe will make it more successful is a popular company and a popular weapon to really show people why it’s a solid idea.

Ruger has done just that, the LCR series is one of their most popular revolvers, and with the rise of concealed carry I think this weapon will do well.

We are adding more and more pistols to our holster list take a look here: 9mm Holsters!


About The Author

Travis Pike is a veteran Infantry Marine and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. He lives deep in the woods of North Florida, where he can shoot at his leisure. He has been hunting since he was 8 and has always enjoyed the outdoors. He splits time between writing and working with the Florida Forest Service. He is a vocal gun rights activist. When he’s not writing, shooting, or working he is often found sipping craft beer on his porch.