9mm is one of the most popular calibers in the world.
Given this fame, multiple platforms have been chambered in the round - including the 9mm revolver. Though it is often dismissed as an unwieldy platform for concealed carry, read on to discover why you may not want to overlook the 9mm revolver when weighing your options.
"Prepare for War"
The 9mm Parabellum was introduced in 1902 by German firearms manufacturer, Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for use in its Luger pistol.
The term “parabellum” comes from the Latin phrase “si vis pacem para bellum,” which translates to “if you want peace, prepare for war.” It is also sometimes referred to as the 9mm Luger as a nod to its original manufacturer. However, both the parabellum and luger rounds are the same.
Advantages of 9mm Revolvers
While various weapon systems - from revolvers to carbines - have been modified to chamber the caliber, the most common use for 9mm is in handguns. The 9mm round provides an easy-to-manage amount of power, which can be delivered from highly concealable pistols. This puts it in the top-ranking concealed weapons calibers, along with the .22 and .380.
On top of being one of the most iconic pistols ever, the revolver has several (often overlooked) advantages as a carry option.
First, many people prefer revolvers for self defense and sport over a semi-automatic pistol due to the comparatively low potential for malfunction.
Secondly, despite their cylindrical shape, revolvers chambered for 9mm rounds are more compact than their .357 & .44 full-size counterparts. Depending on how you choose to carry (inside the waistband, on a belt, in a purse, etc.) some of the modern 5-cylinder models can be surprisingly easy to conceal.
And, the rounded shape of models without a hammer spur make for a smooth, swift draw.
Third, 9mm revolvers are a smart backup firearm for those who prefer to carry a semi-auto as their go-to CCW. This is because 1) you only have to purchase ammo in one size and 2) revolvers are known for shooting reliably even after sitting in something like an ankle holster, where it can collect dirt and grime.
As an added bonus, you'll find that using a 9mm platform will be cheaper than a .347 Magnum or .40 S&W due to the abundance of 9mm ammo compared to other rounds.
Five Of the Best 9mm Revolver Models
Regardless of the model, your level of comfort with the grip style, trigger pull, and amount of recoil in a 9mm revolver will help you determine the best fit for you. Below are some of the top-selling models on the market.
Ruger’s impressive track record of reliability means the LCR has to be included on any top-ranking 9mm revolver list.
Ease of operation and a crisp trigger pull commend this model as a solid platform for a new shooter. The small barrel and weight make it a very attractive concealed carry option.
You have the freedom to choose between the internal hammer on the LCR, or the single-action-capable version with an external hammer - the LCRx. This design detail is entirely a matter of preference. (On a practical note, the one without the hammer spur is more ergonomic for pocket carry.)
Ruger tops the list again with the SP-101. This relatively lightweight 9mm revolver comes in three different barrel lengths. It’s a fairly simple, no-frills option that is not ideal for competition but more than adequate to keep in a tool or glove box for self-defense. To top it off, the soft rubber grip helps you manage recoil like a boss.
Smith And Wesson Performance Center Pro 986
The 7-shot ammo capacity of the S&W Model 986 puts it on par with some single-stack semi-autos.
Though a little pricier, this 2.5in barrel 9mm revolver comes with some features that other pieces do not, such as a titanium cylinder with a double/single-action configuration and a stainless steel frame and barrel. All that sturdy steel ups the weight to 31oz (unloaded), but it soaks up recoil nicely with a trigger often described as “buttery smooth.”
Taurus 905 Series
Whether you prefer your protection piece in black oxide finish or matte stainless, the Taurus 905 Series is purposed for concealed carry. It sports a five-round capacity and rubber grips. A transfer bar mechanism helps prevent misfires from drops, so you can carry all ~24 loaded ounces with peace of mind.
Charter Arms Pitbull
In addition to winning for cool-name-factor, this sub-$500 single/double-action revolver comes in both a black nitride and a California-compliant stainless model. It has a 2.2-inch barrel length, a five-shot capacity, and weighs in at 23 ounces fully-loaded. Charter Arms says the dual coil spring assembly within the extractor makes rimless loading and unloading easier without the use of moon clips.