The words 9mm revolver seem odd, right? The 9mm round, developed in 1902, was designed for and almost exclusively used in semi-auto handguns, SMGs, and PCCs. It’s a versatile round and it has found its way into revolvers a time or two. I own and enjoy a 9mm revolver, and it’s one of my favorite guns. Today we are going to dive deep into why a 9mm revolver makes a lot of sense and give you the top six currently produced.
Why a 9mm Revolver?
Let’s look at some of the big reasons why a 9mm revolver might be the gun for you. If you are already a revolver fan, you might see the light. If you’re an automatic handgun fan, you might finally add a revolver to your collection. Either way, let’s explore the why.
Ammo Selection and Price
At the time of this writing, 9mm is the most popular handgun ammunition on the market. Everyone makes it and you can pick from the bottom of the barrel cheap stuff to incredibly well done defensive ammo types. It outsells every revolver caliber out there, and you can choose for a wide variety of rounds for defensive use, plinking, or training.
Guess what? All that ammo is considerably cheaper than any other revolver caliber and easier to find.
More and Less
The 9mm offers shooters more velocity and foot-pounds of energy than a 38 Special round. It penetrates deeper, tends to expand more, and only has a bit more recoil than a 38 Special. When compared to a 357 Magnum, it’s less powerful, obviously. However, a 357 Magnum provides considerably more recoil, muzzle blast, and concussion. This multiplies significantly when you talk snub nose revolvers.
The 9mm sits happily in the middle between 38 Special and 357 Magnum. You get plenty of man-stopping power without excessive recoil and concussion. A 9mm revolver provides more with fewer disadvantages.
Moon clips are the bread and butter of a 9mm revolver. Since 9mm rounds do not have the pronounced rim you see on revolver rounds, they will not be properly engaged by the shell ejector. Moon clips hold 9mm rounds on a rim that engages the ejector for smooth ejection. They also act as speed loafers that make reloading a revolver nearly as fast as reloading an automatic.
Nothing’s perfect, and one of the upsides to a 9mm revolver is also a downside. Most require you to utilize moon clips to eject rounds properly. Without moon clips, you can shoot the revolver, but reloads will require a stick to push out empty casings. So, you are stuck with moon clips, which tend to be somewhat fragile, to keep your revolver running.
Also, steel-cased ammo is a no-go. Steel-cased ammo often expands and gets stuck in the revolver chambers. This requires you to unjam the stuck casing, and it’s never easy. Most ammo pops right out of a 9mm revolver, but not steel-cased.
Lastly, most 9mm rounds do not have the crimp a revolver round does. Sometimes the crimp fails, and the projectile unseats from the casing and falls out of the gun. This tends to happen with lighter guns and snappier loads. It’s an uncommon problem, but one that bears mentioning.
The Best 9mm Revolver?
The 9mm revolvers are niche guns at the moment, so finding a multitude of options can be hard. To save you some time, I’ve found some of the better, more versatile models for self-defense, home protection, and just good ole plinking.
The Ruger LCR is my number one pick for a 9mm revolver. This snub nose concealed carry gun delivers one of the best stock double-action triggers on the market.
Its polymer frame reduces weight while keeping the price relatively affordable. It’s a super smooth snub nose that is perfect for concealed carry. The small gun makes the most out of the 9mm round without being too tough to handle.
My second pick is the utterly captivating S&W 929. This full-sized 9mm revolver packs eight rounds of 9mm. It’s designed for competition but will work in a home defense role as well.
Its large size makes it a breeze to control and delivers outstanding accuracy. It’s painfully easy to shoot and insanely accurate. Although you can find a few smaller versions for concealed carry. The S&W 929 also carries a rather high price tag, but believe me, it’s worth it.
If a polymer revolver doesn’t get you going, then let’s step back to heavy metal. The SP101 is a classic fighting revolver, now chambered in 9mm. This all-metal 9mm revolver offers five shots with the option for both a double-action trigger pull or a manually cocked hammer for single action.
A 2.25-inch barrel offers more velocity and less concussion than a snub nose without pulling it out of concealed carry territory.
The Rock Island AL9 comes from the Czech Republic and offers shooters a full-sized 9mm revolver. It’s a bit big for concealed carry but well suited for home defense and target use.
It’s a refined revolver that can provide a good deal of control and accuracy. Proper sights also ensure you’re quick on target and capable of reaching well beyond snub nose range.
Taurus has an odd issue with quality control. Some guns are great, and others not so much. However, the new 692 seems to be one of their better guns.
This 9mm revolver can also chamber 357 Magnum with a quick change of the cylinder. The full-sized design means it’s nice and hefty and even packs seven rounds over the typical six.
If you want a 9mm revolver without the need for moon clips, then the Charter Arms Pitbull is for you. They have a unique system that allows for the ejection of 9mm rounds without the need for moon clips.
The Pitbull presents a mid-sized snub nose with a full-length grip, exposed hammer, and five shots of 9mm for social work.
The New Six Gun
A 9mm revolver is still a rather rare sight to see, but they seem to be getting more and more popular with revolver shooters. That seems odd to say because they are usually a grip happily stuck in the past.
What do you think of 9mm revolvers? Let us know below.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to join SOFREP now for just $0.50/week.