The 14 Pros and Cons of Revolvers for Concealed Carry

But before you decide to use a revolver as your CCW, it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons of the gun.

The main pros of revolvers for concealed carry include ease of use, compactness, resilience, and enhanced safety. Revolvers are also easy to maintain since they don’t use magazines. On the other hand, revolvers tend to have limited capacity, fairly heavy trigger pulls, and a short sight radius.

Curious to learn more about the pros and cons of revolvers? Read on as we break down everything you need to know about using revolvers for concealed carry.

Pros of Revolvers for Concealed Carry


A handgun must be reliable if at all, it’s to help you out in emergencies. Luckily, you likely won’t have to deal with too many malfunctions when using a revolver.

Compared to semi-automatic pistols, revolvers have fewer moving parts, which translates to decreased chances of having an issue.

Even after years of continued usage, the chances of revolvers malfunctioning are usually minimal when looking at comparable maintenance.

Ease of Use  

One of the main draws of carrying a revolver use is how easy they are to use. Luckily, revolvers don’t have slides that need to be worked in order to get the weapon ready.

In most basic terms, you open the cylinder, load the rounds, close the cylinder, and squeeze the trigger.

Revolvers are also good with first-timers who’ve practiced enough but still lack a lot of experience. Understanding how to operate a revolver is a good way to expand a shooter’s knowledge base.


Whether for EDC or whenever the need arises, you can count on your revolver to serve you for years. The trick is to keep it clean, dry, and well-oiled. 

As a result, there’s no need to worry about whether your revolver will function after being idle for a couple of years.

As with all firearms, following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule will help prevent a lot of issues.

Therefore, to enhance the durability of your concealed carry revolver, be sure to clean and oil it up regularly, after use.

Well-Shaped and Sized

Compared to autos, some feel that revolvers have a more convenient shape for easy drawing.

They note that this is because a revolver’s cylinder provides a good amount of clearance from the hips, making it easy to get a solid grip and draw the weapon.

Another benefit of using revolvers for concealed carry is their small sizes. These guns are designed to be small and can fit different types of carrying types. 

Since the revolver’s grip isn’t loaded with heavy ammunition, the gun will more often than not anchor perfectly in position. This explains why revolvers carried in concealment rarely move around or show, thus making them great for EDC. 

They Can Be Modified to Fit

With a revolver, you won’t have to worry about concealing an excessively large handle. This is because the magazine doesn’t determine a revolver’s overall grip size (and shape).

Revolvers are modifiable, with most brands coming with easy-to-detach grips that can be changed to suit your carrying preferences.

Therefore, you can modify your handgun by choosing a grip that perfectly fits your palms and holster. Customizable grips make revolvers ideal CCW, especially for people with small or extra-large hands. 

Ease of Maintenance

Less “things” means there is less to maintain. Things of accessories like extra magazines.

Legally Accepted in Most States

Gun ownership and carrying concealed weapons are highly sensitive issues that can lead to legal consequences if not well addressed.

You’ll find that the legal requirements of owning and using a revolver as a CCW are usually pretty lenient compared to other firearms.

Extremely Safe

The last thing you want to do is to pull a trigger negligently. In case you’re using a double-action revolver, it’ll only fire when you pull the hard trigger all the way back. So there’s really no risk of accidental shooting with revolvers.

Easy to Clean

If you’re going to carry a concealed handgun, then it should be easy to clean and maintain for it to come in handy during emergencies. Fortunately, for revolver enthusiasts, cleaning a revolver is a walk in the park provided the right steps are observed.

Clean the cylinder, the bore, and wipe gently to remove carbon from the hammer. After you’re done cleaning the gun, you should oil your revolver every once in a while to ensure the main areas are well-lubricated to reduce the chances of malfunction.

Cons of Revolvers for Concealed Carry

Limited Capacity  

This is by far the greatest challenge when using a revolver for concealed carry. Although it’s possible for a gun owner to carry extra ammunition and reload proficiently, the revolver cylinder usually holds around 5-8 rounds of ammo.

The whole idea of concealed carry is to have the advantage over potential threats when you draw out your self-defense firearm. A reduced round count can reduce this advantage.

Therefore, if you opt to use a revolver for concealed carry, be prepared to work on your shooting accuracy since you’ll only have 5-8 shots to get it right.  

Long, Heavy Trigger Pull

Double-action revolvers usually come with a heavy trigger pull to enhance safety during concealed carry. This means that for you to take a shot, you’ll need to pull the trigger deliberately (and with increased effort) for your gun to fire.

The heavy trigger pull can prove disadvantageous (maybe an advantage in some cases) in emergency situations, more specifically, when you need to draw your concealed weapon to save your life.

Therefore, if you choose to use a revolver as your CCW, be sure to train on your shooting and accuracy since they have limited capacity.

They Can Break

We mentioned how reliable revolvers are since they rarely jam and are easy to clean and maintain. However, they are mechanical and things do happen.

When these handy devices malfunction, the problem is usually too big for a DIY repair. For instance, the cylinder can lock and refuse to rotate, leaving you defenseless in an emergency situation.

The trick with revolvers is to keep all parts well-oiled (but not excessively). So regular cleaning should be enough to keep your concealed carry revolver in tip-top shape.

Short Sight Radius

Snub-nosed revolvers have a reputation for having a significantly short sight radius. As a rule of thumb, overall accuracy often increases when the rear and front sights are far from each other instead of when they’re closer.

Therefore, for your concealed carry revolver to come to your rescue in emergencies, it’s best advised to practice your marksmanship on a regular basis.

The Handle and Cylinder Can Make IWB Carry Uncomfortable

The importance of comfort cannot be overstated when IWB carrying a concealed weapon. Unfortunately, due to their shapes, revolvers can sometimes prove a bit too much when concealed in the IWB position. 

You’ll need a good and comfortable enough holster that can distribute the pressure points that can be caused by a revolver’s curved handle or protruding cylinder.

The Best Concealed Carry Revolvers

Ruger LCR

The Ruger LCR is among the best revolvers for concealed carry. Besides its compact size, the revolver is light enough for EDC, making it a perfect self-defense firearm.  

This compact revolver is available in different subtypes and calibers. If you don’t fancy the original .38 Special, you can choose between the .22 WMR, .22LR, 9 millimeters, .327 Federal Magnum, and the .357 Magnum.

In terms of weight and size, moving around with the Ruger LCR should be a breeze. The revolver comes with an empty weight of 13.5 ounces (382 g) and an overall length of 6.5 inches (16.5 cm). The barrel measures 1.87 inches (4.7 cm) to allow for a snug fit when concealed.

When using this tiny handgun, be prepared for its lifeless ramp style that lacks color or any form of highlighting. But then again, you’ll probably use this revolver in close-range self-defense situations and not for aiming.

This tiny bad boy revolver is perfect for point-and-shoot situations, but if you want to have a good aim at targets, then it probably isn’t your cup of tea.

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38

This compact revolver is among the best for concealed carry. While it won’t do as much damage as its bulkier semi-auto counterparts, it’s just the perfect size for concealed EDC.

Smith & Wesson didn’t leave anything when designing this revolver as it features a one-piece aluminum frame for weight-reduction purposes.

Smith and Wesson’s M & P bodyguard is chambered in .38 special +P, making it capable of doing some damage if needed. But you’ll have to learn to use its pretty short barrel (1.9 inches), which greatly compromises long-distance accuracy.

However, for close range, you can count on this revolver to neutralize threats as you scamper for safety. This compact revolver comes with a hammerless design and measures 6.6 inches (16.8 cm) in total length.

Its total weight of 14.4 ounces (408.2 g) when empty allows for comfortable EDC on a holster or even a bag.

The addition of a Crimson Trace integrated laser allows you to increase your overall accuracy when shooting, while the ambidextrous cylinder release ensures you won’t struggle when looking to shoot.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 also comes with synthetic grips that make it easy to draw and control the firearm.

Colt King Cobra Carry DAO

King Cobra Carry DAO

Any handgun enthusiast will love the compact nature of this six-shot .357 revolver. With a bobbed hammer and a two-inch barrel, it’s hard to go wrong with this reincarnated version of Colt’s famous Double Action Revolver.  

As a Double Action Only (DAO) revolver, this release by Colt is not among the easiest CCW for first-timers to use. The trick is to practice often, trying to pull the trigger to enhance your muscle memory and reflexes. You’ll also love the stainless steel barrel (and frame) features that enhance the gun’s durability, making it ideal for EDC.

The Hogue Overmolded grips make this revolver ideal for drawing in emergencies. You don’t have to worry about the gun slipping as it’s designed to grip firmly into your hands. The revolver’s total weight of 26 ounces (737 g) when empty means it’s light enough for everyday carry.

Again, as is the case with most short-barrel revolvers, your long-distance aim won’t be accurate with this King Cobra Carry DAO revolver. Although not the lightest concealed carry revolver in the market, you can expect this release by Colt to fit in most holsters snuggly.

Smith & Wesson Model 686

Although not your typical concealed carry revolver, the Smith & Wesson Model 686 still makes the cut due to its relatively small size. This seven-shot .357 Magnum boasts a three-inch barrel that allows you to aim at distant objects (or threats).

With an overall length of 8.2 inches (20.8 cm), this bad boy revolver can still fit under most shirts and t-shirts provided you place it in a large and comfortable enough holster.

The main disadvantage of using this handy revolver for EDC is it is relatively heavyweight of 36.8 ounces (1.04 kg). Regardless of its empty weight, the revolver is still lighter than most loaded or unloaded semi-autos.

You’ll also love that this Smith & Wesson revolver comes in different barrel sizes, so you don’t have to settle for the three-inch barrel if it doesn’t float your boat. The presence of synthetic grips packed with finger grooves allows for comfortable handling.

You should try out this concealable revolver if you fancy slightly larger guns than their smaller counterparts. The elongated barrel will allow you to take aim and focus on your targets with greater accuracy.

Kimber K6S

The Kimber K6S is a beastly dwarf of a gun that can get you out of any threatening situation. Kimber intentionally designed this .357 Magnum revolver to be lightweight and compact to allow for a better carry.

Weighing a meager 23 ounces (652 g) when empty, this gun is your best bet for concealed EDC. The Kimber K6s measures 4.46 inches (11.33 cm) in height with an overall length of 6.62 inches (16.82 cm), making it easy to holster and walk around with it all day, every day.

One amazing feature about the Kimber K6s is its impressively slim six-shot cylinder, which allows you to carry IWB without protruding outside your garment’s fabrics. You’ll also love the stainless steel barrel and frame, which ensure the revolver looks good as new even after years of usage.

Other notable features of this compact revolver include rubber grips, textured cylinder release, and a match-grade trigger. All these features are designed to help make aiming, drawing, and shooting with the gun, a walk in the park.

Since this Kimber K6S is a DAO, you’ll need to be well prepared to pull the ten-pound trigger. This feature ensures the gun stays safe when concealed. The 2-inch barrel isn’t ideal for long-range shots, but don’t hesitate to point and shoot when dealing with close-range threats.  

Final Takeaway

Revolvers are handy firearms to have on standby. When looking to purchase a revolver for concealed carry, you’ll need to check on factors such as barrel length, cylinder radius, and overall weight. Choosing the right-sized revolver for concealed carry can make all the difference when you need to draw for self-defense.

Revolvers are great options for concealed carry, especially if you purchase a well-fitting and comfortable holster. Be sure to choose a revolver with a long enough barrel if you don’t aim too well with extremely short barrels.  

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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