7 Best 38 Special Revolvers in 2020

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Looking for the best Special .38 revolver? If so, you ‘re in the correct place. This particular caliber of the family of revolvers has long been popular with gun owners and enthusiasts. But you should get one, that meets your certain personal demands.  To help you select the best .38 Special revolver for your own needs, we’ve assembled a list of the seven best revolvers that are currently trending on the market.

Before we get to the selection, we ‘re going to speak about how the .38 Special Revolver fits with other concealed carry handguns and how you should choose one depending on your own specific use.

How does a .38 speical revolver cpmpare to different concealed carry guns?

The .38 revolver is not there for the Hollywood police you see on TV and in film. These revolvers are very much a favorite of consumers who carry concealed. But what makes them stand out from the handfuls of handguns used for a task like this? The revolvers have a limited capacity for one (typically six to eight rounds inside the weapon itself).

How does accuracy-wise fare? It can be effective at near ranges. In specific it can reliably strike targets from 25 to 50 yards. The pace of an average .38 Special Round normally flies between 900 and 1000 FPS. But in general, for situations including close-range firing, it’s pretty dang reliable.

How to Choose a .38 special revolver 

There are several qualities and attributes that you can aim for in a .38 Special Revolver. You should be able to differentiate a great weapon from one where in terms of durability and consistency may be deemed sub standard. Here are a few items to aim for when picking a revolver:

Whats your price range?
If you’re one of those shoppers on a budget right now, you’ll need to select a revolver that’s the strongest you can buy in terms of price – performance ratio. In general you never have to lose consistency only to save a few bucks. To do so will only trigger dissatisfaction.

How Many Rounds Do I Need?

Revolvers are not necessarily made alike. One factor for that is the capacity. Some are capable of holding six bullets, although others have a full ability of eight or even ten. The amount of rounds depends on one’s personal tastes. If you think that more rounds are all you need, then there are some revolvers that will stand out as your pick.

The intended Aim

Many owners of revolvers require a handgun for concealed carry purposes. Of course, anytime you are swept up in a life and death scenario, it never helps to bring anything for the sake of having it. Alternatively you should use a revolver for both casual and competitive target shooting purposes.

Best .38 Special Revolvers: Review 

The following is a selection of seven .38 Special revolvers that are the finest on the market currently. Your goal is to find one that fits your specific requirements and ends. Be sure to remember each one’s features and attributes, so you can find one that fits your perfect revolver profile. Now, let’s peek at the list’s first .38 Special revolver – our overall best choice:

Best .38 Special revolver overall: Ruger SP101

What the Buyers said

The revolver pleased the bulk of potential customers. They used this mainly for recreational and professional target shooting purposes. They also managed to get some fine, clear shots from different distances. They were successful at 40 to 50 yards for smaller targets, although they tended to reach bigger targets at longer distances. One consumer said he wasn’t dissatisfied with the revolver for that surprisingly low price.

Why it is ranking as the Best .38 Special Revolver overall

Ruger is well known for producing some very good revolvers. Indeed with this design they are living up to their name. This weapon puts on quite a bit of shooting strength, allowing it a little easier to move compatible bullets. If you’re looking for tighter shooting groups, this revolver will be what you’ll need on hand.

Who should use this .38 special revolver

If you are an a target or competitive shooter, this weapon might be the perfect option. This can fire precise shots from up to 100 yards from just about any distance. And if you need anything that will give you a decent amount of range, the revolver worth investing in should be this one.


If you want one that’s reliable , dependable, and cheap, the Ruger SP101 could be the revolver you ‘re searching for. It might be your best buddy on the shooting range too. If you have invested into this bad boy, you certainly won’t want to play with some other gun.

How to find the right .38 revolver? Tips for beginners

The revolver is manufactured by Smith & Wesson. The caliber 0.38 was developed in 1902. It was used for a long time as a service weapon in the US Army and police.

The .38 cartridge is a centerfire cartridge widely used in the USA for civil as well as military/police applications.

This ammunition can also be fired from .357 Magnum revolvers, as their dimensions are similar except for the length of the case. Due to the relatively low power of the .38, Smith & Wesson developed the above mentioned cartridge in caliber .357 Magnum.

They all have one drum, but what is the difference between the revolvers of various manufacturers, designs and calibers? And how do you find the right handgun for the sport discipline you are aiming for? An overview of our colleagues at VISIER will help you to find exactly the right revolver for your purpose.

As weapons for self-defense, self-loading pistols have – apart from pocket models – largely overtaken revolvers. In former times revolvers were also known as revolving pistols. In shooting sports, however, the short guns are still very popular.

The background: Revolvers still convince by the combination of (mostly) high self-precision, useful match sight ex works and a trigger system that allows good hit patterns. They are usually available for a reasonable price.

In addition, there is no need to worry that the match ammunition, which is specially adapted to the gun, will suddenly start to hook in a highly bred competition pistol. As long as the cartridges only fit in the chambers, malfunctions of any kind are extremely rare in revolvers.

How does a .38 Special revolver actually work?

Revolvers have a drum with several cartridge bearings or chambers. Each of them is designed for one load or cartridge. When shooting, the drum has to be turned a little so that a new chamber with a fresh cartridge is placed exactly behind the barrel. The drum is turned before each shot when cocking the hammer – either with the thumb (single-action) or with the trigger finger over the cocking trigger (double-action).

Many western-style revolvers (such as the Doc Holliday from Pedersoli) have a pure single-action trigger system. However, most modern revolvers can be used in both single and double action. Only a few specialty revolvers have a pure single action trigger: These are usually ultra-compact defense revolvers or highly sophisticated tuning models for particularly dynamic shooting disciplines. After all, the latter require a very fast firing sequence. Ambitious sport shooters simply cannot afford the loss of time due to the cocking before each shot over the hammer.

Modern revolvers are usually supplied with ammunition by a laterally swiveling drum. A so-called ejector rod in the middle of the cylinder allows all cartridges or cases to be ejected from the drum simultaneously. The situation is different with single-action revolvers in the style of the Colt M 1873, known as the Peacemaker: Here there is a lateral flap in the frame, over which one cartridge at a time is pushed into the drum.

Accordingly, when loading or unloading, the cylinder must be turned by hand. Revolvers from current production, where barrel and drum are bent for loading, are very rare. This is because most revolvers, except for the grip plates, are still made almost entirely of steel.

What should be considered when shooting with .38 special revolvers?

As long as a large-caliber revolver reaches a muzzle energy of 200 joules, it can be used by hunters as a catching firearm for all game. However, this value is relatively low for a handgun – a revolver in .357 Magnum achieves about 500 to over 800 joules, depending on the type of ammunition and barrel length. Here you can find out which short rifles can be used as catching firearms.

However, if you want to use a revolver for sport shooting, you must first study the rules and regulations of the appropriate sports associations in detail. Depending on the association and discipline, there are sometimes very specific requirements for the various categories that a gun must meet. Different 25-meter competitions are offered by practically all major associations. But sports such as “PPC 1500” shooting are held under the aegis of the German Military and Police Shooting Association (BDMP).

The NRA organizes western shooting as well as competitions in dynamic shooting according to the regulations of the International Practical Shooting Confederation – in short: IPSC. The largest umbrella organization, the NRA, is very strict in its choice of caliber: competitions for utility revolvers are only available in .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum. Sporting revolvers in .22, .32 and .38 are also permitted at the NRA.

However, they start parallel to pure-bred competition pistols, which usually offer slight advantages in competition. In addition to caliber, most other restrictions relate to weight, dimensions and barrel length of the approved models as well as the minimum value for trigger resistance.

Which calibers are recommended for beginners of Revolvers?

The most common calibers for revolvers other than Western shooting are .38 Special and .357 Magnum as well as .22 Long Rifle and .44 Magnum. Beginners and novices should focus on these calibers when choosing their gun. A major advantage: The .357 and .44 Magnums can also be used to shoot the calibers .38 Special and .44 Special, which are less recoil-prone. Apart from their performance, these only differ from the powerful Magnum cartridges by their shorter cases.

.22 caliber revolvers have the disadvantage that they usually start in the same valuation classes as small caliber pistols. And with a good KK match pistol, most ambitious sport shooters achieve a few more rings than with a revolver. Other calibers are not really recommended for a beginner’s gun – unless the shooter aims to participate in the dynamic disciplines of IPSC shooting.

What should be important in terms of equipment for a .38 Special Revolver ?

Since a bluing, which is oiled from time to time, can last for decades as a surface protection for a sporting weapon, the decision regarding material or corrosion protection is rather cosmetic. Models made of stainless steel are definitely easier to clean, but shooters can’t avoid cleaning them either.

As long as a rigid sight is not explicitly prescribed, revolvers without an adjustable rear sight make no sense as sporting weapons. Moreover, sports disciplines for fixed rear sights and front sights are rather rare. Often, associations even offer more choice for revolver competitions, in which alternatively weapons with illuminated dot sights or scopes may be used.

In terms of barrel length, most shooters opt for revolvers with tubes between 4 inches (102 mm) and 6.5 inches (165 mm). Shorter barrels cost performance, while the shorter barrel length makes aiming more difficult. In addition, long barrels that are as thick as possible dampen the recoil as well as the high impact of the muzzle better. Revolvers with barrels longer than 6.5 inches do not shoot better or worse than the current 4 to 6 inch models. However, many shooters find them to be less well-balanced when shooting.

The grip offers particularly many possibilities for individual optimization. Traditionally, most medium and large revolvers are “six-shooters”. A high drum capacity is of no use in the majority of disciplines anyway, as often only 5 cartridges may be loaded at a time. The frame size should not be unnecessarily ambitious as long as the gun is only fired but not guided. In case of doubt, it may be one size larger than the other way round.

For a revolver with a 22-gun, a barrel diameter of 37 mm is fully sufficient. For models in .357 Magnum, a medium frame with drum widths of about 39 to 40 mm for the firing range has proven to be practical: e.g. Smith & Wesson Model 586 and Model 686, Trooper as well as Python from Colt or the GP 100 series from Ruger. For a “six-shot” in .44 or .45, a drum of about 45 mm diameter is needed. These have the N-frame models from Smith & Wesson or Ruger’s Redhawk and Super Redhawk.

Which is better suited for beginners – single or double action?

Away from cowboy action shooting, most sport shooters prefer DA revolvers (double action) with a laterally swinging drum. But that doesn’t have to be the case: many sport shooters also shoot in sporting disciplines with fast time or interval series only with a preloaded rifle. Loading and unloading SA revolvers (single action) in western style takes longer, but many disciplines offer time for reloading.

The largest selection of single-action revolvers with adjustable sights is available from Ruger. And then there are the weapons from Freedom Arms: Very expensive, but also very finely crafted and precise shooting hunting and sport models, which externally resemble the Colt M 1873.

Our conclusion for beginners in the field of .38 Special revolvers

Finally, beginners are offered a colorful variety of revolvers from various manufacturers in different calibers and designs. However, most of the models have some aspects in common: functionality, durability and a decent inherent precision.

In any case, beginners in the revolver cosmos should make sure to choose a model suitable for their purpose. After all, the right choice of weapon has a direct effect on the fun of shooting a revolver, the possibility of participating in the disciplines aimed at and the results achieved.

By the way, it does not always have to be a new short gun – in good condition, used quality revolvers are a good and inexpensive introduction to the subject. After all

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