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Good Buys, or Goodbyes? We Test Experienced Wheelguns

Before law enforcement changed over to semi-automatic pistols, most officers carried a 357 Magnum revolver. Though some write off revolvers as the firearms equivalent of rotary phones, many of our staff consider the revolver to be a simple-to-operate self-defense firearm with built-in safeties and no magazine to lose. We also like the 357 Magnum cartridge. In addition to self-defense use, some team members have used the round to hunt medium-size game, so power isn't an issue.

Because a good revolver stands the test of time and usage well, but also depreciates enough to become affordable for more folks, we assembled three used revolvers from what was once the big three of U.S. revolver manufacturers—Colt, Smith & Wesson and Ruger. In general, we would rate the condition of these revolvers from 80 to 90 percent by NRA standards—we could tell they have been used, but we could not see where they had been abused. All samples were chambered in 357 Magnum, and all were designed for self-defense with barrel lengths that ranged from 2.15 inches to 4 inches and double-action/single-action trigger modes. Safeties are built into these three revolvers. The S&W uses a hammer stop, while the Ruger and Colt use hammer transfer bars.

From that starting point, this pack then diverged, with each offering characteristics that ranged from thumbs-down to thumbs-up for our shooters. Some incorporated an excellent grip that helped tame the felt recoil of the 357 Magnum; some were slim and more easily carried concealed, and some were equipped with large, easy-to-align sights.

With any used revolvers, we have a process of testing the chamber-barrel alignment with a range rod, and we found all were aligned. We also check the timing to see how the cylinder rotates in DA mode and SA mode to ensure the chamber is aligned with the bore of the barrel. They were. We also look at the gap between the front of the cylinder and the forcing cone or rear of the barrel. We use a feeler gauge and expect to have .006 clearance. Any less and there is a chance the cylinder may bind after shooting as fouling builds up. Any more and the user might experience splatter from burning gases escaping from the gap. We also look for forward and rearward play in the cylinder when locked in the frame. These revolvers were tight and stood as good examples of the revolver manufacturers' art and science.

We tested accuracy at 25 yards, which pushed the envelope of these revolvers' capabilities, depending on the user. We also found these revolvers had good accuracy. In close-range testing, some of these revolvers could get lead downrange fast and in good groups. Test ammunition consisted of Winchester PDX1 Defender 357 Magnum with a 125-grain bonded jacket hollowpoint, Aguila 357 Magnum with a 158-grain semi-jacketed hollowpoint, and SIG Sauer 38 Special +P, loaded with a 125-grain jacketed hollowpoint.

We had no issues with any of the revolvers. They all performed in DA and SA mode and loaded and ejected empties if we did our part and used gravity to our advantage. We did find that the S&W had the advantage as a concealed-carry revolver, but the Ruger and Colt were quite capable. Here's what we found out about these handguns after the brass cooled.

2016 Guns & Gear Top Picks

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, Rafael Urista, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests, with an eye toward selecting guns, accessories, and ammunition the magazine's testers have endorsed. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year's worth of tests and distill recommendations for readers, who often use them as shopping guides. These choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I've compiled during the year. After we roll high-rated test products into long-term testing, I keep tabs on how those guns do, and if the firearms and accessories continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.

Range Data

To test for function, feel, and accuracy, we tried a variety of standard 38 Special and 38 Special +P loads as well as a 357 Magnum set. What we found was that these old-style revolvers shot well. Across all ammo brands and types, we averaged about 1.5-inch 5-shot groups at 25 yards using a rest. Those older-style sights may not be as easy to use as more modern sights, but with some practice by the shooter, they sure can get the job done.

Depending on what you prefer, you will either like the more traditionally styled revolver or the modern update, but for most of our shooters, the Ruger Bisley came out on top, and you will see why shortly. Here's more on the Bisley match up.

Bisley Revolvers Revisited

In 1894 Colt debuted a target variation of its Single Action Army pistol (SAA) called the Bisley. This new revolver was named after the famous British shooting range in Surry, England. Colt manufactured more than 44,000 Bilsey revolvers in 18 different chamberings, with barrel lengths of 4.75, 5.5, and 7.5 inches, until 1915, when the company discontinued the line. A very small number had adjustable sights, but most had fixed sights like the SAA. The Bisley used the same frame, barrel, ejector-rod system, and cylinder, as well as the basic mechanism of the SAA, but the new gun also offered some distinct differences — namely the hammer, trigger, and grip, which were designed for the late-19th-century target shooter. Some internal parts like the mainspring, hand, racket, and others were also different.

The shape of the Bisley grip is swept under and appears more vertical than the traditional SAA, and that's for a reason: To accommodate a bent-arm single-hand hold, which for today's shooter looks and feels archaic. Obviously, one can shoot a Bisley like any modern pistol by keeping the wrist locked with a one-hand or two-hand grip, like with modern semi-automatic pistols such as the 1911, Glock, and the ilk. But the Bisley's grip doesn't lend itself to this modern hold.

Also, the Bisley's trigger is wider than the traditional SAA, the trigger guard is shaped differently, and the hammer spur was lowered to make it easier to cock without a shooter needing to loosen his grip.

The shape of the Bisley grip is swept under and appears more vertical than the traditional SAA, and that's for a reason: To accommodate a bent-arm single-hand hold, which for today's shooter looks and feels archaic. Obviously, one can shoot a Bisley like any modern pistol by keeping the wrist locked with a one-hand or two-hand grip, like with modern semi-automatic pistols such as the 1911, Glock, and the ilk. But the Bisley's grip doesn't lend itself to this modern hold.

Also, the Bisley's trigger is wider than the traditional SAA, the trigger guard is shaped differently, and the hammer spur was lowered to make it easier to cock without a shooter needing to loosen his grip.

Ruger refreshed the Bisley in 1984, introducing the Ruger Blackhawk Bisley with a similar unique grip, but not as tucked as the original Colt, and with target sights and an engraved unfluted cylinder. The Ruger Bisley grip design allows for less movement of the grip in hand when firing hot loads. Unlike a SAA grip style, which curls up in your hand when firing hot loads, the Bisley transfers the recoil into the palm of the hand, a more comfortable experience when shooting hot loads. A Bisley of one type or another has been in Ruger's catalog ever since.

We wanted to take a look at an old-school Bisley and a modern Bisley to compare them side by side, so we acquired an Uberti Cattleman Bisley, which is a spitting image of an original Colt, and the more modern variant in a Ruger Bisley Vaquero, built on the New Vaquero frame. Our first task was to use a revolver range rod and rod-head combo from Brownells in 38 Special/357 Magnum (080-617-038WB, $40) to check each chamber for alignment with the bore, and we found everything to be in spec. Some older replica revolvers might have had the throat of a chamber opened up to accept a range rod during factory inspection, which means that particular chamber will shave and spit lead and be less accurate than other chambers. The range rod won't pick up this issue.

Handgun Stats: Uberti Cattleman Bisley 346040

If holding to tradition is important to you, then the Uberti Cattleman Bisley has a place in your gun safe. This is a well-made, beautiful revolver that offers good performance at $200 less than the Ruger. The barrel, cylinder, and grip frame are all deeply blued with a rich case-hardened frame color. The smooth walnut grips had nice figuring and were well fitted to the metal.

The blue-blood Colt collectors winced at the Uberti because it was not truly a clone of a Colt, but it was a darned good replica. Small touches, such as the checkered hammer spur, help redeem it in their eyes, though the firing pin was obviously not the cone-shaped firing pin of an original. The Uberti made the same music when cocking as does a traditional SAA. It uses the same type of mechanism, with a half cock notch for loading and unloading. As a result, the Uberti needs to have the hammer rest on an empty chamber when carried.

What was modernized on the Uberti was the elongated cylinder base pin, which has two notches in lieu of one. The shooter can press the base pin screw and push in the cylinder base pin to the first notch to block the hammer from fully moving forward and firing a round. This is not a solution for carrying the Uberti fully loaded, we believe. Instead, we recommend using the "load one, skip one" method like a shooter does with a traditional SAA.

Handgun Stats: Ruger Bisley Vaquero, Model No. 5130 38 Special/357 Magnum, $835

The Ruger Bisley New Model Vaquero offers the unique Bisley look plus many modern refinements that make shooting these revolvers safer and more user friendly. Our Ruger Bisley featured a 5.5-inch barrel, simulated ivory grip, and a polished stainless-steel finish that resembled nickel plating, but with none of the wear and maintenance requirements that finish requires. If the glossy, bright finish has a drawback, it is sun glare when shooting under a clear sky. On the other hand, the stainless finish made it easy to clean the revolver after extended shooting sessions. Testers agreed they would darken the shooter-facing position of the front blade and the semi-circular cutout just to the rear of the groove on the top strap.

The grip is reminiscent of the original Bisley, but it felt more friendly to the modern shooter, in our view. It is not as swept under as it is on an original Colt, so in hand, the Ruger Bisley felt much like a modern semi-automatic pistol. Shot one- or two-handed, the Ruger felt comfortable. We found it delightfully addictive to shoot with mild 38 Special loads, and quite comfortable and easy to manage with hot 357 Magnum loads.

The grip panels were an off-white polymer that looked like ivory. The Ruger medallion was inset in each grip panel. The panels were not flush with the frame like on the Uberti, but the edges were smooth, so no chafing occurred during live-fire testing. In hand, the Ruger had a bit of heft to it — 45 ounces — compared to the 7.5-inch barrel Uberti that weighed 47.7 ounces. The Ruger was a natural pointer that we found comfortable to hold, grip, and cock, due to the Bisley's lowered hammer. Testers did not have to break their grips to cock the piece like with a traditional SAA.

We Test Two Light Snubbies in 45 ACP; One Cracks Up, Fails

Chambering 45 ACP in revolvers goes way back to the early 20th century and WWI. The U.S. military had plenty of 45 ACP ammo, but few of the then-new 1911 pistols, so the solution was to chamber Colt's and S&W's large-frame revolvers in the 45 ACP cartridge. Since then, numerous S&W revolvers, as well as revolvers from other manufacturers, have been chambered in 45 ACP. S&W used its large N-frame to build the Model 25, similar to a Model 29 except chambered in 45 ACP or 45 Colt, often called Long Colt to ensure it's not confused with Automatic Colt Pistol. In fact, the Model 625 is one of the more popular action-competition revolvers. The Governor is another Smith & Wesson revolver that shoots 45 ACP. But neither of these wheelguns are compact enough for easy carry.

Compact is a relative term when describing a S&W N-frame. The N-frame is used for the S&W Model 29 chambered in 44 Magnum and high capacity 8-shot 357 Magnum revolvers like the Model 327, 627, and others. The S&W Model 325PD and the S&W Performance Center Model 625-10 tested here both feature scandium-alloy N-frames, alloy barrel shrouds, steel barrels, and titanium cylinders to cut weight, making their heft suitable for conceal carry. As a result, we found toting these wheelguns in a holster on our hip was comfortable to do, and if they performed as shooters, we would assess them as good choices for defense. Availability is something of an issue, of course, because the S&W Model 325PD is no longer produced by S&W, and the S&W Performance Center Model 625-10 was a Lew Horton Special Edition revolver offered in 2003 and 2004. But we found two that were in LNIB (Like New In Box) condition, and we saw others for sale at various retailers and auction houses in case you're interested.

Moon clips are required to make these N-frames run fast. Clips for 45 ACP revolvers come in two-, three- and six-round clip configurations. We tested these N-frames with three- and six-round clips acquired from Numrich Gunparts Corp. (GunpartsCorp.com). Six-round moon clips (252510B) cost $1.40 each and three-round half-moon clips (252670B) cost $2.25 a pair. We also used a case-removal tool (958390B) that cost $10.65, which is a notched tube that fits over the fired case and is used to twist the empty case out of the clip.

We ran these revolvers using a mix of factory 230-grain ball ammo from Hornady and Winchester, reloads with 185-grain SWC bullets, and a load from a custom ammo reloader in 45 Auto Rim. The custom 45 Auto Rim ammo manufactured by American Custom Ammo (AmericanCustom.tripod.com, acrammo@sum.net, [850] 689-4553) was loaded with a Rainier 200-grain TMP/FN/FB bullet. The 45 Auto Rim cartridge was developed in 1920 as a substitute for 45 ACP and moon clips in M1917 revolvers. These cartridges have a thick rim and headspace on the rim.

Though both of these revolvers shared the same material in their frame construction, they were set up with different grips, barrel length, sights and lock up. Spoiler alert: The 625-10 was a real contender for conceal carry, but a defect caused it to be eliminated from consideration. Here's more about what we found with these 45 ACP snubnose revolvers.

High-Capacity 357 Magnum Carry Revolvers from S&W

Like so many other shooters, our evaluators like the 357 Magnum cartridge for defense as well as the flexibility of lower-recoil and lower-cost training using 38 Special ammunition. To see if we could find a bargain, we wanted to pit two expensive high-capacity snubnose revolvers in that chambering—the Models 327 and 627—and add into the mix a more traditional, affordable used six-shot snubnose, the Model 686 164231, which is no longer in current production but which is widely available from around $600 to $800.

The 6-shot Model 686 is the stainless-steel version of the Model 586, which debuted in 1981 and was one of the first L-frame or medium-sized revolvers offered by S&W. The L-frame guns are slimmer and lighter than the hefty N-frames. Both the Model 586 and the Model 686 were immensely popular with law enforcement, outdoorsmen, competition shooters, and home defenders. The 586 went out of production but was reintroduced a few years ago. The Model 686 is a pure S&W classic that is able to withstand continued use of 357 Magnum ammo. We have reviewed the 686 in various configurations in past issues, such as the 2.5- (No. 164192, Grade A January 2002), 4- (No. 164194, Grade A March 2007), 6- (No. 164224, Grade A- March 2011), and 8.4-inch (Grade A February 2001) barrels and the Plus variant (M686-6, Grade A January 2002), which has a 7-shot capacity, and all have been excellent revolvers. We have also reviewed the Model 327 in the past (Grade B February 2005). The snubnose revolver new to our team is the Performance Center Model 627.

Smith & Wesson introduced the first, the original, 357 Magnum revolver in 1935 known as the Registered Magnum. S&W chose to chamber the powerful 357 Magnum cartridge in a six-shot revolver built from the company's large, heavy-duty carbon-steel N-frame. Almost immediately, the Registered Magnum was adopted by the Kansas City Police Department, and other LE agencies soon followed. To say the revolver and cartridge combination was successful is an understatement. When introduced at the height of the Great Depression, the revolver cost $60 — nearly a king's ransom in those days. Yet Smith & Wesson had a hard time filling these special-order items because the big N-frame had a lot of desirable details, such as a pinned barrel, counterbored cylinder chambers, and checkering across the top strap of the frame and barrel.

Over the years, the revolver went through several name changes. In the late 1930s, the model name was changed to ".357 Magnum." Eventually, it would become known as the Model 27 when S&W started to use numeric model names in the mid-1950s.

General George S. Patton carried a 357 Magnum model and outfitted it with ivory grips and a Tyler T-grip to fill that gap between the rear of the trigger guard and front strap. He called it his "killing gun." From the 1940s through the 1960s, many FBI agents used a 3.5-inch-barrel model. J. Edgar Hoover is said to have owned one of the first Registered Magnums. Noted gun writer Skeeter Skelton was known to favor a 5-inch-barrel model. In 1994, the M27 was dropped by S&W, and wheelgun aficionados gasped with despair. Around 2009, the Model 27 was reintroduced.

In that gap when Model 27 production went dark, S&W brought out the Model 627 in 1996. Following a similar introduction as the Registered Magnum, the Model 627 is a semi-custom gun produced by S&W's Performance Center. S&W enhanced the Model 627, making it an 8-shot 357 Magnum. In 2008, another 8-shot N-frame debuted, the Model 327. These two models are direct descendants of the Registered Magnum, and these newer-generation guns offer added capacity and are constructed of different materials.

To find out how they were all put together, first we used Brownell's revolver range rod for 38/357 Service (080-617-038WB, $40) on the used 686 to check the alignment of the six chambers and the barrel. The rod slid down the barrel and into each chamber, so we were confident that the 686, though used, would still perform. We also checked the new 627 and 327, and all their chambers checked out. We used a Go/No Go 60/68 Cylinder Gauge (080-633-668WB, $36) from Brownells to check the headspace on the revolvers, which is the gap between the rear of the cylinder and recoil plate in frame. The used 686 was in spec. If the gap is too big, the revolver may misfire. The new revolvers were in spec, too. All revolvers exhibited a tight lock up of cylinder to frame. The full-size, old-style cylinder latch was loose on the 686, but a flat-blade screwdriver took care of that issue.

Are Used 357 Mags from Colt, S&W, and FN Worth the Money?

The 357 Magnum has an excellent reputation as a defensive round. On medium-sized game like whitetail deer at modest distances, it is effective as well. The round has been around since 1934; General George Patton carried an ivory-handled S&W 357 Mag during WWII. It is a versatile cartridge with many bullet types offered by a variety of manufacturers. Plus, 38 Special ammo in standard and +P loadings can be used in a 357 Magnum as a low-recoil alternative when training or plinking. We wanted to see if we could find a bargain in a full-size revolver with a 4-inch barrel that we could use for personal protection, and we came across two such contenders, a Smith & Wesson Model 19-4 that rated about 90 to 95 percent and a Colt Trooper MK III that rated 80 to 90 percent. Both featured 4-inch barrels, adjustable sights, and wood grips. We also came across an uncommon choice in this chambering, an FN Barracuda, available in the 1970s on a limited basis. It is unique due to the availability of an interchangeable cylinder, which could be switched between 9mm Luger and 357 Magnum. Here's more about these interesting and affordable choices, along with our recommendations.

IDPA Revolvers: Rugers Match Champion, S&Ws Pro 686 SSR

If you believe the revolver is obsolete, think again. The double-action revolver is now more relevant than ever. Haven't you noticed the trend toward hinged triggers working the action of semi-automatic pistols? Based on developing trigger control, a double-action revolver may now be a more appropriate training device than the typical single-action-only rimfire pistols so often used to introduce beginners to shooting a handgun. The vast majority of double-action revolvers can also be fired single action simply by thumbing back the hammer. This accommodates the arthritic or partially disabled. In addition, you can utilize the same revolver to develop trigger control for single action as well as double action only and double action/single action handguns. Revolvers employ fixed barrels, making them inherently more accurate than semi-automatic pistols wherein the barrel and slide (including the sights) move in and out of position with every shot.

You can leave a revolver loaded for the life of the ammunition and, unlike a magazine-fed pistol, its ability to cycle rounds will not be affected by magazine-spring fatigue. Nor will the outline or shape of the bullets interfere with chambering. You can safely load frangible rounds, such as rat shot or snake-shot, without malfunction and even load a mix of both high-velocity and low-velocity ammunition, again without malfunction.

But our motivation for testing the Ruger GP100 Match Champion and Smith & Wesson Pro Series 686 SSR 357 Magnum revolvers is more exciting than any of the arguments above. These guns were designed to compete in the Stock Service Revolver division of International Defensive Pistol Association or, IDPA. Both revolvers meet the physical requirements to be eligible for SSR competition — a maximum barrel length of 4.2 inches or less and a maximum unloaded weight of 43 ounces or less. Stock Service Revolvers may have the capability to chamber additional rounds, but in competition, no more than six rounds may be loaded at any time.

Whereas these guns are recognized as 357 Magnum revolvers, their versatility allows them to fire 38 Special ammunition as well. And IDPA rules allow for the shooter to choose either caliber for competition. For our tests, we chose two rounds of 38 Special and one variety of 357 Magnum. Our 38 Special rounds were Remington 125-grain +P semi-jacketed hollowpoints and Black Hills 148-grain hollow-based wadcutter rounds. The Remingtons are an intermediate-power defense load, and the lead wadcutters are a popular target load commonly used in competitions that demand accuracy, such as NRA Action Pistol, PPC, and Bullseye. Our choice of magnum rounds was Federal 130-grain Hydra-Shok Personal Defense Low Recoil hollowpoint ammunition. To assess accuracy, we fired a series of five-shot groups single action only from a sandbag rest. Test distance was 25 yards. To determine average velocity, we fired shots from all six chambers across an Oehler Research Model 35P printing chronograph.

Cowboy Revolvers: Cimarron Outduels Ruger, Heritage 357s

In Cowboy Action Shooting, the targets are usually not especially hard to hit, but the action is very quick, which means a smooth, slick, easy-to-handle revolver gives the shooter an edge. Many shooters will want to get into the game with an "original" — a real Colt, but those sixguns are very expensive and pretty scarce, and those guns are not without their own special problems. But there are plenty of more recent choices in single-action revolvers, and we've tested quite a few. In the February 2006 issue, we called the Heritage Manufacturing Big Bore Rough Rider 45 Colt RR45B5, $379, a Best Buy when tested against a Taurus Gaucho SA45B 45 Colt, $499, which was a Don't Buy model. In March 2005, we shot three more handguns chambered in 45 LC, the Ruger New Vaquero NV-455 No. 5101, $583; Beretta's Stampede JEA1501, $540; and a retest of Cabela's Millennium revolver, $280, with brass frame. We said the Millennium was a Best Buy, followed by the Stampede with a Buy It recommendation, and a Conditional Buy grade for the New Vaquero, which skipped two of the cylinders. In July 2003, we tested four more 45 Colt single actions, saying "Buy It" for the American Western Arms Peacekeeper, $835, and the Uberti Regulator, about $400. A Colt Single Action Army, about $1,700, got a Conditional Buy recommendation for its cost and troublesome operation. Our Pick of the test was a USFA Mfg. Co. Rodeo, about $500. More 45 Colts were tested in April 2001, with Cabela's Millennium Revolver, $200, earning a Best Buy nod over a 1907 Colt SAA, about $1,500; and Ruger's Bisley Vaquero, $450 (both Conditional Buys).

Many of these guns were interesting because they're chambered in the more traditional 45 Long Colt, originally released in the blackpowder cartridge era of 1873-1890. Today, however, low-recoil loads help you go faster in SASS, and if your revolvers shoot 357 Magnums, you can buy a lever gun in the same caliber and shoot the same low-powder loads without having to worry about inserting the wrong shell. Way back in May 2000, we did test three "cowboy concealable" revolvers chambered for 357 Magnum, the EMF Hartford Sheriff's Model ($365, Don't Buy); the Cimarron New Sheriff ($469, Don't Buy), and the Cimarron Thunderer ($489, Conditional Buy). It was far past time to update the smaller-bore single-action revolvers suitable for CAS, so we chose two reproduction Colts and Ruger's New Vaquero, all chambered in the most common CAS competition caliber, 357 Magnum. Our choices were the Ruger New Vaquero NV-34 No. 5107, $719; the Heritage Manufacturing Big Bore Rough Rider RR357CH4, $500; and Cimarron's Evil Roy No. ER4104, $770.

The Heritage and the Cimarron revolvers stayed true to the look of the Colt, with case-hardened frames and wood grips. The Ruger had a few modern innovations under the skin, as well as modern-looking black plastic grips and stainless screws. The overall sizes and weights were similar, with the major difference being the 5.5-inch barrel on the Cimarron Evil Roy, compared to the 4.6-inch-long barrel on the Ruger and the Heritage Rough Rider's 4.75-inch barrel.

We tested all three for function and accuracy, shooting bench groups at 10 yards using a sandbag rest and two modern loads and one cowboy-action load. Though we looked at these guns first for their viability as fun guns being shot at the Big Hat Range, we also wanted to see how they'd handle contemporary rounds if pressed into other duties, such as self protection, plinking, or small-game hunting. The modern selections were Winchester USA's WinClean 357 Magnum 125-grain load and the company's 38 Special +P 125-grain choice. The cowboy action load was Black Hills Ammunition 38 Special Cowboy Action choice, with a 158-grain cast lead bullet. Here's how our contestants fared:

Ruger or S&W Battery Mates: Which Would You Rather?

In this test we will evaluate two 6-inch heavy-barreled revolvers and two lightweight 2-inch-barreled revolvers, each paired by manufacturers. Both the $701 Ruger GP100 revolver KGP161 and the $829 686 Smith & Wesson 164224 feature stainless-steel construction, rubber grips, single- and double-action capability and weigh about 45 ounces. Both accept six rounds of 357 Magnum and/or 38 Special ammunition. Given their adjustable rear sights and generous sight radii, these guns were suitable for target competition as well as for self defense.

The little brothers were much lighter and slim enough to fit inside a pants pocket or purse. They were the $575 Ruger LCR LCR-BGXS with Hogue boot grip, and the $509 Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 103038, complete with built-in laser. Both of these guns were chambered for 38 Special, but similar models capable of firing the longer-cased 357 Magnum ammunition are available. Special features that make these revolvers similar were their lightweight alloy-and-polymer construction and fully enclosed "hammerless" firing mechanism, which made them snag-free and nearly impervious to being fouled by lint or other debris.

A Blueprint To Take Your Guns

A document produced jointly by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the Giffords gun-control group, and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence is raising...