December 2018

New Snubnose Revolvers Under $400: S&W, Taurus Compete

We pit three 38 Special revolvers to find the top snubby in this group. Tested: Smith & Wesson’s Model 637-2, the 6-shot Taurus 856, and S&W’s lightweight M&P Bodyguard 38.

New Snubnose Revolvers Under $400: S&W, Taurus Compete

We felt the S&W Model 637-2 (left) offered the best grip, +P ammo capability, light weight, and excellent accuracy. The new Taurus 856 (center) offers six shots, good sights, and good accuracy, but despite its steel frame, it was not compatible with +P ammo. The S&W M&P Bodyguard 38 (right) offers light weight, excellent sights, and +P capability, but it comes with a smallish grip.

Snubnose revolvers are viable options when deciding what type of self-defense firearm to purchase. They are easy to use and easy to conceal. Plus, the 38 Special cartridge is an excellent self-defense round, and 38 Special +P loads are almost as powerful as a 357 Magnum rounds. We procured three snubnose revolvers under $400 — the Smith & Wesson Model 637-2, Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38, and the Taurus Model 856 — to see which one would come out as top dog.

In our opinion, all three of these snubnose revolvers are good choices for concealed carry and home defense. All have attributes that make them well suited for conceal carry, such as light weight, small grips, and smooth, snag-free outside edges. Sights are a big consideration, and we like them large and easy to use, and if we have the ability to modify the sight, that is a plus in our book. The triggers also need to be smooth because these revolvers will mostly likely be fired in double-action (DA) mode. Plus, we think the ability to fire 38 Special and 38 Special +P ammo through the revolver enhances its versatility.

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