The revolver should be dead. It should have been supplanted and replaced by the semi-automatic pistol in the early 20th century. The revolver most certainly shouldn’t have survived the era of the wonder-nine, high capacity magazines, polymer-frame, ergonomic grips, accessory rails, and laser sights. Yet, revolvers live on. Revolvers are simple to use, easy to maintain, and instantly deploy-able. As the first decade of the twenty-first century comes to a close, gun manufacturers have continued produce highly innovative revolvers. Here are three innovative revolvers that are kicking down the doors and opening the 21st century for a classic handgun design:
1. Ruger LCR. Move over Glock and move over Keltec, revolvers are no longer left out of the polymer world. The Ruger Lightweight Compact Revolver (LCR) has a monolithic metal frame (aluminum or blackened stainless steel depending on caliber) and fluted stainless steel cylinder. However, all other components are contained in advanced polymers. The heart of the innovative new handgun is a polymer fire control chamber that holds all the fire control components in one place with consistent dimensional relationships. The Ruger LCR comes chambered for the venerable .38 Special cartridge and the new Ruger LCR-357 comes in the powerful .357 Magnum caliber. For concealed carry permit holders, the LCR weighs in at a scant 13.5 ounces. The LCR is available with premium Hogue rubber grips and an integrated laser sight.
2. Taurus Judge. If you are looking for versatility, the Taurus Judge is chambered for .45 Colt or .410 shot-shells. Many urban shooters are intrigued by having one-two punch of .45 Colt power and the increased hitting potential of .410 shot shells. Rural shooters like having the .410 shot shell available for dispatching snakes, rats, and other vermin. While the original Taurus Judge was a rather large handgun, the Taurus Model 4510 packs the .45 Colt/.410 shot shell combination in a small frame revolver.
3. Ruger SP101 .327 Magnum. Snubbies can be handful. Snubbies have a short sight radius and lack recoil dampening weight. Thus, they can be a real challenge to shoot in magnum calibers. Concealed carry small frame revolvers usually have 5 shots rather than six. However, a new .32 caliber cartridge is bringing power to the people and an extra round to boot. The .327 Magnum cartridge puts near .357 Magnum stopping power in small package snubby revolvers. The Ruger SP101 has been a popular small-frame revolver choice for decades. But, in my shooting experience, the SP101 can really punish the shooters hand in a full-power .357 Magnum load. The new .327 Magnum cartridge provides plenty of power with much less felt recoil.
These three innovative revolvers are being followed by other revolvers that provide useful variations on the theme. For example, Taurus is offering polymer frame revolvers and Charter Arms is offering it’s Patriot series of revolvers in .327 Magnum. Thanks to the innovations of Ruger, Federal and Taurus, these are exciting times for revolver shooters.
Ruger Firearms Website
Taurus International Website
“.327 Federal Magnum,” Wikipedia.