Best 9mm Revolvers of 2020 – Complete Buying Guide

Best 9mm Revolver

9mm revolvers are excellent handguns to add to your collection of firearms. Revolvers have long since outgrown its nostalgic value, but prove to be just as reliable and practical as it was back in the day.

Other than that, 9mm ammo is widely abundant and cheap, it can even be compatible with other guns in a consumer’s arsenal, so they do not have to lug around different types of ammo daily.

Choosing the best 9mm revolver should not be difficult despite the many choice consumers are riddled with. After discussing each individual revolver, the best 9mm revolver will be revealed.

Factors to consider

By having a basic understanding of how revolvers work and considering the factors that will be mentioned below, consumers can easily sort through what would be the best 9mm revolver for them.

Purpose

Normally, consumers are encouraged to reflect on their purpose for buying a 9mm revolver to aid in picking out the right one that encompasses different functions to fulfil their needs. Typically, there are two reasons why one would buy a gun, either for self-defense or competitive shooting.

For consumers that intend to use the revolver for self-defense, it would be wiser to purchase ones that are concealed carry revolvers. Concealed carry revolvers are used primarily for defensive purposes and are usually fitted with a shorter barrel and are light as they should be compact and easy to carry around with no need for additional parts to function, i.e. moon clips.

For competitive shooting, consumers would be encouraged to buy revolvers with specific specs that live up to match grade standards, for example a revolver with an extractor star to speed up loading and unloading process during a competition.

Reliabilty

Reliability of a gun can sometimes be overlooked by consumers.

Depending on the two most common situations that consumers would want to buy a revolver for: self-defense and competitive shooting, it is paramount that the gun does not surprise its user and operates smoothly in an adrenaline-filled situation.

Consider that consumers take care of their revolvers and maintain them regularly, a high-quality revolver should be able to last a very long time.

It is also paramount to choose a gun manufacturing company that is reputable and consistent with their quality, and for the individual product to be able to work smoothly without the bullets jamming easily, in the case of revolvers, in the cylinder.

A revolver made from materials that are lower in quality differ greatly from a high quality one; choosing a low-quality revolver can prove fatal in especially dangerous situations.

Accuracy

Accuracy and precision are important factors in choosing the right revolver whether for self-defense or competitive shooting. Accuracy is the ability to shoot directly at a desired spot whilst precision is the ability to shoot at the desired spot multiple with no inconsistencies.

Some may argue that a gun’s accuracy and precision are solely dependent on the user’s ability, but this is not the case. A revolver may include optics or features like a target crown that can help user’s locate targets easier and improve accuracy and precision; competitive shooters often adopt revolvers that have these built in features to get much needed accuracy and precision for competitions.

Although a revolver may not need to be highly accurate or precise for self-defense purposes, its accuracy should still be good enough for user’s who are not used to using guns to be able to hit or knock down a potential perpetrator.

Most revolvers have decent enough accuracy for close range shooting, so it should not really be a problem when it comes to self-defense.

Precision is much needed in competitive use as shooters may need to repeatedly shoot certain targets.

Recoil

Consumers need to take into account the felt recoil of a revolver before purchasing. There are many factors that could affect a revolver’s felt recoil, some examples are barrel length, weight, material of its grip and more.

Experienced shooters may be able to handle recoil much better than first time gun users or smaller framed users as they have gotten better used to a gun’s felt recoil.

On the other hand, though experienced shooters or competitive shooters are better equipped to handle revolvers with higher felt recoil, they may spend a large amount of time at the shooting range shooting consecutive rounds, and a revolver with a sharp recoil may prove troublesome.

If the recoil impulse is significant, this can also affect the precision of a revolver as it may impact the user’s hand too much to the point of the barrel straying away from the target.

Best 9mm Revolvers

Listed below are the top 9 9mm revolvers in the market right now, including a special mention of a high quality imported 9mm revolver.

1. Ruger LCR 9mm

Ruger LCR 9mm

Starting off with an infamous concealed carry revolver, Ruger LCR 9mm. Ruger is a gun manufacturing company well known for producing high quality guns for a moderately affordable price; a bang for your buck.

The LCR in Ruger LCR 9mm stands for lightweight, compact revolver, and true to its name, this revolver has a 1.87 inch barrel length, an overall length of 6.2 inches and weighs 17.2 ounces.

This revolver is extremely durable as it is made of aerospace grade aluminium and can withstand friction and harsh impacts. Not only that, the Ruger LCR 9mm has a concealed hammer so the spur will not snag on clothes when the revolver is drawn; operating solely in double action mode to ensure quick firing when needed.

Customers often commend the Ruger LCR 9mm for having one of the best double action triggers on the market, the trigger is smooth and light resulting in it breaking cleanly without any issues of stacking. Another addition to its many wonderful features is its reliability; it is easy to use, and rounds do not eject with difficulty.

Due to the revolver not having a pronounced rim, the rounds have nothing to grip onto when ejecting rounds, and moon clips are required for quick reloads. If users prefer not to use moon clips, it can be troublesome to unload cases, but this should not be a problem when it comes to self-defense as users don’t normally use up all 5 rounds of the cartridge in one go.

Now, because of the Ruger LCR 9mm’s small size, controllability is limited and results in the revolver being snappy, which is not ideal for users who want to shoot round after round.

Other than that, this revolver has a short sight radius and short barrel, which does not allow for long range accuracy, but the easily visible white front sight insert and smooth trigger balances it out; it can easily shoot up to 25 yards.

It is important to note that because of its small size, this revolver may be too small for users with large hands, even after accounting its excellent grip into the equation.

As it’s intended purpose was a concealed carry revolver, Ruger’s prioritization for ease of use, concealability and reliability over match grade accuracy and lower felt recoil makes sense.

2. Ruger SP101

Ruger SP101

Next, Ruger SP101 is also a candidate for the best 9mm revolver. It is much bigger than the Ruger LCR and has been called a tank of a gun in numerous occasions; its barrel length is 2.25 inches, overall length 7.2 inches and weighted at 25 ounces.

As Ruger is a reputable company, it is not strange for this revolver to be made of high-quality materials that can handle impact, making it just as durable as the Ruger LCR.

The Ruger SP101 is a double action revolver that has an exposed hammer, unlike the Ruger LCR; users who prefer single-action revolvers can choose to as well. Despite its hefty size, this revolver is easy to use and manage, and the reason why is precisely because of its length and weight.

The newest version of the Ruger SP101 has an added inch of barrel length, which greatly helps in reducing muzzle rise and resulting in reduced felt recoil; the weight of this revolver also helps to absorb much of the recoil. It’s comfortable and soft rubber grips are also added elements to reduce felt recoil and comfortability.

To aid in accuracy and precision, this revolver includes a configuration of an adjustable target rear sight with a high visibility fiber optic front sight. The square top edge of the front sight can be used for accurate long-distance precision shots.

Experienced shooters have said that the Ruger SP101 is able to perform well in long distance shooting and can be shot from 25 yards to 30 yards.

Reliability wise, the Ruger SP101 has no difficulty firing round after round with no chance of bullet jamming.

Although the Ruger SP101’s trigger is said to be rough and heavy for a double action revolver, its ability for easy modification makes it a worthwhile product; heaviness of the trigger can be fixed by replacing its springs whilst grit of the trigger can be smoothened out.

This 9mm revolver is best for experienced shooters as its not a pocket gun and is considered to be big for a revolver; its ability to shoot well is prioritized over its concealability.         

3. Charter Arms Pitbull

Charter Arms Pitbull

The Charter Arms Pitbull makes it into the top 9 list as well. This revolver is well known for being police officers’ backup or off duty gun of choice; it is small, with a barrel length of 2.2 inches, overall length of 6.74 inches and weight of 22 ounces, but durable and reliable.

It is a double action revolver that requires little maintenance and is able to function well in harsh conditions where sand or dirt may get in. The ejector rod in the revolver is protected from damage and deformation by an underlug fitted in the barrel machine.

This revolver also offers a Black nitride+™ finish that encompasses both the external and the internal of the gun, this finish helps enhances the Charter Arms Pitbull’s durability, ensuring that it will not flake or chip.

The Black nitride+™ finish also improves overall operation of the revolver, not a ton of maintenance is needed due to the flawless matte finish.

The Charter Arms Pitbull has an exposed hammer much like other revolvers’, but it features a safety bar mechanism where all 5 rounds can be loaded in the cylinder without fear of accidental fire.

Other than that, reloading is not a difficult task as unique spring-loaded extractors are a feature of this small revolver; it has a rimless cartridge that works much like a rimmed cartridge, bullets are inserted and ejected in the same manner so moon clips are not completely necessary.

This revolver is extremely reliable as it can fire up to hundreds of rounds without cases of hammer freeze. Not many users have complaint about the accuracy or precision of the Charter Arms Pitbull even though it is a relatively small revolver.

However, the Charter Arms Pitbull’s recoil packs a punch, but its rubber grips help to reduce felt recoil. Its trigger is not exactly comfortable, it is serrated and has a bit of stacking, but does not interrupt the function of this revolver too much to the point of being thrown off the top 9 list.

If policemen are confident in the abilities of this revolver for them to carry it around as protection, there is little that ordinary consumers need to worry about.

The Charter Arms Pitbull is a reliable revolver commonly used as a concealed carry than a competitive shooting revolver.

4. Smith & Wesson Performance Centre Pro 986

Smith & Wesson 986

A fan favorite is the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 986, produced by Smith & Wesson. This company is known for producing high quality guns and are one of the most well-known gun companies in the world.

This revolver has a 2.5 inch barrel, an overall length of 7.5 inches and is weighted at 31.7 ounces. Its cylinder is unfluted and made of titanium, which gives the revolver good strength without additional weight to it. The S&W 986 is a double action revolver that has an exposed hammer for single action use as well. 

The trigger pull is lighter in single action shooting than in double action shooting, but overall pull of the trigger is up to standards as it uses a bossed mainspring to make the pull smooth and reduce stacking.

The polymer-based grip can help in a firmer hold even when profuse sweating happens; it can also withstand harsh weathers such as rain, all the while maintaining its quality.

Accurate shooting is easy with this revolver as its orange insert front sight and adjustable rear sight makes it easy to see target.

The S&W 986 proves to be reliable as there is no bullet migration within the cylinder, thus allowing shots to be fired when it is needed without worry of jamming.

As it is a revolver designed for rimless cartridges, moon clips are needed. Even then, users are not a 100% satisfied with the reloading speed of the revolver.

It is also a pretty hefty revolver, so consumers who are concerned with self-defense may want to take note of this.

Due to its size and weight, much of the S&W 986’s recoil impulse is absorbed and makes the felt recoil manageable instead of plainly unpleasant.

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 986 is generally used for competitive shooting as the barrel length and size is much more suited for competitions instead of concealability.

5. Taurus 905

Taurus 905

Up next is the Taurus 905. It is a double action revolver with a barrel length of 2 inches, overall length of 6.5 inches and weighing at 22.2 ounces.

This revolver has an exposed traditional spurred hammer and allows single action shooting with no trigger hassle as it breaks cleanly and has no over-travel; the double action trigger is heavier than the single action trigger but is very smooth with no problem of stacking.

The Taurus 905 is praised for match grade accuracy as its features includes fixed sights which greatly helps in presenting a good picture of targets; It’s accurate enough to hit 8-inch targets from 15 yards away.

The Taurus 905 also has an easy to use and unobtrusive transfer bar safety mechanism that helps in preventing accidental firing.

Its rimless cartridge requires the use of moon clips, or as Taurus like to call, stellar clips. Users are able to load and fire the revolver easily without the use of stellar clips but will need stellar clips to use the ejector star; reloading with the stellar clips takes time but is not difficult or troublesome.

In addition to that, the Taurus 905 is said to have a sharp recoil, and the rubber grips do not provide much help in dampening felt recoil on the web of users’ hands so this may impede the revolver’s ability for precision.

This is unavoidable as the Taurus 905 does not allow for much absorption of recoil as it is small and light.

Because of this, consumers with bigger hands may want to steer clear of this revolver as it can be a tad bit too small for a firm holding even though the rubber grips provide a generally good grip.

As a company, Taurus has had many hiccups with product quality of their pistols and is regarded as a bad choice in the gun community, but their revolvers do not receive as much criticism due to the fine quality of it.

Because of its compactness and lightness, the Taurus 905 is well received as a concealed carry more so than as a competitive shooting revolver.

6. Ruger Custom Shop GP100

Ruger Custom Shop GP100

Another Ruger product has made it into the top 9 9mm revolver list, a fairly new addition to the Ruger’s range of revolvers, the Ruger Custom Shop Super GP100.

This revolver can hold 8 rounds, has a barrel length of 6 inches, overall length of 11 inches and weighs 45.6 ounces. As the measurements shows, the Ruger Custom Shop Super GP100 is not a concealable revolver, and instead is made to compete.

This revolver is highly spec-ed out, it features a cylinder made of stainless steel and finished with PVD coating for easy extraction and durability; the cylinder is also fluted so no unnecessary weight is added.

It is a double action revolver that can be paired with moon clips for exceptionally fast speed reloading during intense competitions; the extractor star aids in unloading as it presses out the moon clip.

Not only that, the Ruger Custom Shop Super GP100 has a triple locking cylinder that is locked into the front, rear and bottom of the frame to improve alignment for higher accuracy and precision. Its target crown is set at 11 degrees to help improve accuracy as well.

Due to the heaviness of this revolver and its barrel length of 6 inches, recoil impulse is greatly reduced, and users can fire continuous rounds without having to take breaks in between. It has a transfer bar mechanism that helps prevent misfiring as well.

The Ruger Custom Shop Super GP100 has a smooth trigger that does not stack, but like the rest of the gun, is fairly heavy.

This revolver is best suited for experienced shooters that are looking for a competition ready revolver and can handle the sheer weight and size of this beast.

7. Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 929

Smith & Wesson 929

Moving on to another Smith & Wesson mention, the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 929. Unlike the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 986, the 929 is made in an N frame, whereas the 986 is made in an L frame.

N frames are usually bigger and have more rounds than the L frames. It all comes down to consumer preference when choosing a revolver, so if an N frame suits the user more, they may gravitate towards the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 929 instead of the 986.

This revolver has a barrel length of 6.5 inches, overall length of 12.3 inches, weighs 44.3 ounces and holds a total of 8 rounds. It can operate in both single action and double action as its hammer is exposed. Its cylinder is made of titanium, which adds in strength and reduces weight.

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 929 features sights such as a partridge front sight and an adjustable rear sight for higher levels of accuracy as it provides a clear picture of the target.

Recoil impulse is greatly reduced due to the size of the revolver and the length of the barrel thus precise shots are possible. There is a muzzle mounted compensator that helps eliminate much of muzzle flip; it is detachable as well, so users who prefer the absence of the compensator can remove it.

By utilizing moon clips, users can have fast and fumble free reloading that is needed for competitions.

One of the most interesting facts about this revolver is that Jerry Miculek, a man famous for breaking world records in professional and competitive shooting uses this specific model as well; the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 929 even bears his signature.

Although the S&W 929 has many good specs as a competition based revolver, it seems that many customers have had to send the revolver back to the company for exchanging of parts.

The chrome plating on the trigger and hammer are said to chip off easily and the cylinder is hard to pop open and needs a good deal of strength.

The centrepin is heavily marred and marked up and the hook and trigger surfaces are said to be unbearably rough, many consumers have had to manually smoothen out surfaces for a more enjoyable experience. Because of the bad reviews customers have had about this revolver, it’s reliability is questioned.

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro 929 is suited for competitive shooting and not a concealed carry.

8. Chiappa Rhino 50DS

Chiappa Rhino 50Ds

The Chiappa Rhino 50DS makes it into the list as well. It is an innovative 9mm revolver that has a distinct look much different than other revolvers. It offers barrel lengths of 2, 4, 5 and 6 inches in different models.

Chiappa Rhino 50DS has a barrel length of 5 inches, overall length of 9.5 inches and is weighted at 29.9 ounces. At first glance, this revolver looks like a beast, its barrel resembling the horn of a rhino.

It is a double action revolver that can be shot in single action mode due to its exposed ‘hammer’. In actuality, the hammer is concealed, but it can be shot in single action mode due to the cocking lever that takes its place; users have reported that it takes a little getting used to, but does not concern them much.

The most interesting feature of the Chiappa Rhino range is that its barrel is positioned lower in its frame and bullets eject from the bottom chamber; due to its positioning, the barrel is directly in line with the user’s wrist and forearm.

This function greatly reduces recoil and muzzle flip, user testimonies say that the felt recoil is almost equivalent to a rubber band snap.

Another plus is that this revolver’s accuracy is almost unparallel to any other 9mm revolver as the barrel’s positioning, fiber optics front sight and adjustable rear sight contributes to its superb accuracy and precision; users have said that it can shoot up to 30 yards with stunning precision. This in turn allows the revolver to perform well in follow up shots and rapid-fire shooting.

Users have reported that the single action mode on this revolver is excellent, the trigger pull is short and smooth, it has also been compared to be as light as a feather; the single action mode plus incredible accuracy is useful for bullseye shooting.

However, double action shooting seems to be a problem for a lot of users, it is long, inconsistent and heavy, pressure needed to drop the hammer measures up to 288 ounces. Not only that, the trigger has to reset in double action mode else it will not fire; in this case, the barrel is rotated but the firing pin has not reset yet.

The edges of the trigger and cylinder release lever is said to be sharp as well, slowly taking a toll on users who fire round after round.

Even though its distinct structure is commended, it can be a downfall for the revolver as well as it makes it more complex to clean than standard revolvers. The Chiappa Rhino’s internal parts are relatively delicate and tiny, the parts are mobile which causes more difficulty in cleaning and maintaining; this could result in the revolver having a short lived life as maintenance is needed for the gun to last a long time.

Reloading is also a common problem with this revolver, it is neither fast or easy despite utilizing moon clips and tools.

All in all, the Chiappa Rhino 50DS is a revolver that is best used by experienced consumers as extra care is needed for it in exchange for its impressive abilities suited for competitive use. 

9. Manurhin MR73

Manurhin MR73

Lastly, the Manurhin MR73. This revolver has often been called the best revolver ever made, and for good reason too. It is initially chambered in .357 magnum or .38 special but can be changed to a 9mm parabellum with the use of the supplied replacement cylinder.

Manurhin offers different barrel lengths from 2.25 inches all the way up to 10 inches for the MR73, allowing insane modifications for user’s personal preferences. The overall length can vary from 7.7, 9.2 and 80.9 inches, and its weight is between 31 to 36.3 ounces.

The Manurhin MR73 is remarkably tough, it can fire up to 170,000 rounds with no signs of slowing down and when factory tested with pressures up to 90,000psi, the cylinder does not deform as it is made of ordnance certified, alloyed steel.

In fact, the entire revolver is made of the same alloyed steel material and goes through cold hammering; it does not require case hardening, proving the revolver to be durable and tough.

Accuracy is not an issue for the Manurhin MR73 as the adjustable roller bearing trigger, cold hammer forged barrel and high build quality serves as an aid to not only the revolver’s toughness, but also its accuracy; even so, Manurhin offers optics and bipods for unique versions of this revolver for match grade accuracy.

This revolver can work as a double action or a single action revolver, and although the trigger pull is said to be short, it employs several roller bearings to smooth the heavy spring required. The hammer pull is not reduced as well, so consumers can safely say that the short trigger pull does not affect its ability to shoot at all.

Other than that, users can adjust the trigger pull to their own preference as well as the use of rollers and adjustable main and trigger return springs in the revolver allows modification.

The recoil is not sharp at all, even though the MR73 is considered light for a magnum revolver, precision is not compromised in the case of this revolver.

The only few downsides of this revolver are that it is difficult to come across one and needs to be imported from France as Manurhin is a French manufacturer. Not only that, it can be expensive for a revolver due to its rarity and high demand.

The Manurhin is suitable for both self-defence and competitive shooting as consumers are able to modify the revolver with different parts for a variation in length and size.

Final Verdict 

After careful consideration and weighing out all advantages and disadvantages of the top 9 list of 9mm revolvers, the most recommended 9mm revolver is the Ruger LCR 9mm.

It is perfect for concealed carry as it is small and light. Despite its disadvantages, it is an excellent revolver for its intended purpose, and the good outweighs the bad by a huge margin.

This hammer-less revolver is quick to draw and easy to fire, which dramatically boosts its position to number 1. Even so, this revolver can be brought to the range for a fun experience as it is easy to shoot and reloads can be quick and efficient with the use of moon clips.

The Ruger LCR 9mm’s trigger is also one of the best in the market, first time users do not have a problem with it; it is even said to be better than the Taurus 905’s trigger.

Overall, this revolver is a good introduction to the world of 9mm revolvers and can be a fun addition to a competitive shooters’ collection.

An honorary mention for the Manurhin MR73 as a runner-up to the Ruger LCR 9mm, its capabilities encompasses the needs for both self-defense users and competitive shooters’ preferences, its only detrimental point being its inaccessibility.

If consumers should come across the Manurhin MR73, it is definitely well worth the investment.

Frequently Asked Questions 

In this section are answers to the most frequently asked questions about 9mm revolvers.

Q: Are 9mm revolvers any good?

In short, yes. 9mm revolvers are generally reliable, fun and cheap to shoot as the ammo is not expensive and can be found in practically any gun store. 

Q: Are there any 9mm revolvers?

Yes, although 9mm revolvers have been around for a long time, dating back to the 1800’s, they are still popular in the modern day amongst the variety of handguns offered in the market as revolvers are known for being reliable handguns. 

Q: Can you shoot a 9mm revolver without moon clips?

Yes, users can shoot a 9mm revolver without moon clips. Moon clips only help to reload a revolver quickly, while some revolvers require moon clips to be reloaded, most revolvers do not.

To reload revolvers that do not require moon clips, users can use different tools like tweezers, or even fingernails to flick the cases out.

To shoot a 9mm revolver, moon clips are not needed, to reload a 9mm revolver. However, moon clips can be utilized, but sometimes are not essential.

Q: Does the Ruger LCR 9mm need moon clips?

The answer is no, the Ruger LCR does not need moon clips, but for a better experience, moon clips are recommended.

As the Ruger LCR has a rimless cartridge, unloading without moon clips may be difficult and troublesome, time and strength is needed to pry the case out.

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