What is a good sidearm that can help you in a tough situation? People are usually divided into two groups: pistol lovers and revolver fans.

Best 38 Revolver - Editor's Choice

We don’t say that there is only one option, but we’d like to tell you about the .38 revolvers that were popular among cops and detectives many years ago and still are considered to be a reliable weapon. These revolvers can be a good alternative to 9mm pistols. They are powerful, compact, and easy to use. With such a firearm, you will always feel more confident.

What are the most important aspects and parameters you should into consideration when choosing a revolver? How to find the one that will suit you perfectly? These questions are so popular and so complicated to answer on your own that we decided to make a list of 11 top models on the market. This article allows you to save a lot of time and buy exactly what you want as fast as possible!

TOP-11 38 Revolver

ImageProductBrand
Ruger LCR Double-Action RevolverRugerBUY
Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Double-Action RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Double-Action RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
Smith & Wesson 637 38 Special RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
Charter Arms Undercover Lite Double-Action RevolverCharter ArmsBUY
Smith & Wesson 642LS LadySmith Double-Action RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
Taurus 856 Ultra-Lite Double-Action RevolverTaurusBUY
Smith & Wesson 642 CT Airweight Double-Action RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 686Smith & WessonBUY
Smith & Wesson 686 Plus Deluxe Centerfire RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Double-Action RevolverSmith & WessonBUY
BONUS: Hornady XTP Pistol BulletsHornadyBUY

#1 Ruger LCR Double-Action Revolver

Ruger LCR Double-Action Revolver

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The first model we want to present is a rather balanced double-action revolver for self-defense that has an average price. This gun is compact and lightweight because its components are made of high-quality materials that don’t increase the weight: an aerospace-grade, 7000 series aluminum frame, a polymer grip, stainless steel cylinder, and stainless steel barrel. The concealed hammer allows you to quickly draw the revolver out of a holster, and reworked trigger and spring mechanisms make the trigger pull smooth and simple. The front sight is pinned to the frame, while the rear sight is actually a groove on the top of this frame, which means you can adjust aiming as you wish. The model will satisfy you for many years.

What I liked:
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Smooth operation
  • Pinned front sight
  • Fixed rear sight
What I didn’t like:
  • Price
  • Durability

#2 Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Double-Action Revolver

Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Double-Action Revolver

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This manufacturer also offers a good double-action revolver. The gun is made of stainless steel and alloy, which makes it solid and also protected from corrosion, rust, and humidity. The overall weight is not big, thanks to the plastic grip that ensures nice fire control. The revolver features a 5-shot cylinder for +P .38 ammo. It’s super convenient to draw out the weapon because of the internal hammer. The fixed notch rear sight altogether with a ramp front sight also helps you to use the gun with the best efficiency.

What I liked:
  • Easy to use
  • Internal hammer, snag-free design
  • Corrosive-proof
  • Fixed notch rear sight
  • Rated for +P ammo
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#3 Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Double-Action Revolver

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Double-Action Revolver

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If you don’t want to pay more for medium-level parameters, you can buy this model. Here you will find almost everything we have seen in the previous model but for a cheaper price. The revolver has a barrel shroud integrated into an aluminum cylinder frame, a plastic grip frame, and a plastic trigger guard, which makes it durable but yet light enough. The cylinder itself is made of PVD-coated stainless steel and it’s chambered for .38 Special +P ammunition. It’s ambidextrous, so you can easily use the gun with any hand. The rear sight is fixed, and the front sight is pinned. This allows you to quickly shoot targets whenever you need it.

What I liked:
  • Reasonable price
  • Lightweight, fast-draw design
  • Rated for +P ammo
  • Fixed rear and front sights
  • Ambidextrous
What I didn’t like:
  • Durability

#4 Smith & Wesson 637 38 Special Revolver

Smith & Wesson&Reg; 637 Airweight&Reg; .38 Special Revolver

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This revolver stands out from the previous competitors because it can be used in both single- and double-action modes. If you want to aim more precisely you can cock the revolver on your own. On the other side, the double-action mode allows you to use the gun faster without any snags when you are struggling with a difficult self-defense situation. Anyway, you won’t miss any of 5 +P .38 Special rounds, thanks to the fixed rear sight and a low-profile front sight that allow you to quickly line up. The comfortable plastic grip helps to hold the gun comfortably, and the stainless-steel construction ensures good durability.

What I liked:
  • Two firing modes
  • Fixed rear sight
  • Durability
  • Corrosive-proof
  • Rated for +P
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#5 Charter Arms Undercover Lite Double-Action Revolver

Charter Arms Undercover Lite Double-Action Revolver

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The next one is also a good model that can be either used as a standard double-action revolver or a Western-like firearm with manual cocking. The construction is made of solid elements: an aircraft-grade aluminum frame, a stainless-steel cylinder, and a stainless steel barrel. This means the gun will never let you down and will last for a long time. The rubberized grips ensure a nice hold and reduce recoil. You can buy the revolver if you need a concealed weapon.

What I liked:
  • Two firing modes
  • Durability
  • Rubber grip
  • Easy to use
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#6 Smith & Wesson 642LS LadySmith Double-Action Revolver

Smith & Wesson 642LS LadySmith Double-Action Revolver

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If you like special editions and special models, you will like this revolver that was made for women. Based on the Smith & Wesson J-Frame, the gun offers the same characteristics: a stainless steel and alloy construction with corrosion resistance, a 5-shot cylinder for P+ .38 Special ammunition, a fixed rear sight, and a ramp front sight. This revolver is easy to draw out, thanks to the internal hammer, so it will never snag on clothing, pockets, or whatever. This gun is lightweight, compact, easy to use, and beautiful, which makes it a nice solution for self-defense for any woman.

What I liked:
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Durability
  • Rated for +P ammo
  • Fixed rear sight
  • Easy to use
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#7 Taurus 856 Ultra-Lite Double-Action Revolver

Taurus 856 Ultra-Lite Double-Action Revolver

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Regarding this model, it’s even complicated to point out some downsides because it’s really good. The double-mode revolver with an alloy frame, steel barrel, and a steel 6-shot cylinder offers various useful features, such as a comfortable grip, thanks to rubbers, two fixed sights, precise aiming with manual cocking, fast drawing, and a transfer bar safety that prevents accidental discharging. Plus, the gun looks pretty because it has a nice matte finish. Enjoy using such a high-quality, efficient firearm for a very low price. If you don’t want to buy something special, of course.

What I liked:
  • Price
  • Two firing modes
  • Durability
  • 6-shot cylinder
  • Rubberized grip
  • Transfer bar safety
What I didn’t like:
  • None

#8 Smith & Wesson 642 CT Airweight Double-Action Revolver

Smith & Wesson 642 CT Airweight Double-Action Revolver

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When you look at this model, it doesn’t seem unique or interesting because it has well-known characteristics, such as a stainless steel and alloy construction that provides you with good durability and corrosion resistance, a snag-free design, and a 5-shot cylinder rated for P+ .38 Special ammunition. But if you take a closer look, you will see that the synthetic grip has an integrated laser sight that helps you aim more precisely, which is very important in combat. The laser grip requires no activation, so it’s enough to just hold the revolver. Such an easy way to solve a problematic situation can suit many of us.

What I liked:
  • Durability
  • Snag-free design
  • Laser sight
  • Easy to use
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#9 Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 686

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 686

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The most expensive and the most curious model on the list is the multi-action revolver designed by Smith & Wesson. This revolver is not cheap but it’s totally worth this money. A stainless-steel barrel, adjustable rear sight, red ramp front sight, custom wooden grip, 7-shot cylinder, and moon clip cylinder cut make this gun rather powerful. No matter how you use the revolver, you will get the best results. In addition to this, you will have a lifetime warranty, which is a pleasant bonus that can save a lot of time and money

What I liked:
  • Two firing modes
  • Durability
  • Custom design 7-shot cylinder
  • Cylinder cut for moon clips
  • Fixed sights
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#10 Smith & Wesson 686 Plus Deluxe Centerfire Revolver

Smith & Wesson 686 Plus Deluxe Centerfire Revolver

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We also want to show you an interesting combination of magnums and standard compact revolvers. This model is based on the medium L-frame, this gun can use both .357 Magnum and .38 Special +P ammunition. The cylinder’s capacity is 7 rounds, which allows you to have more attempts if necessary. To help you aim, there are a red ramp front sight and adjustable rear sight. The wood grip makes the revolver look amazing, which is also a good advantage.

What I liked:
  • 7-shot cylinder
  • Chambered for .357 Magnum ammo
  • Nice design
  • Adjustable rear sight
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

#11 Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Double-Action Revolver

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Double-Action Revolver

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The last revolver we have chosen to review is also designed by Smith & Wesson, and it also has a laser sight. Unlike the previous model with a laser sight, this one allows you to remove the module and use a standard double-action revolver without additional sights. The cylinder frame is made of aluminum, the barrel rod shroud is integrated into the frame, and the stainless-steel barrel is inside of the barrel shroud. The construction is solid and easy to use. Thanks to the modern snag-free design with an integrated hammer, anyone can shoot with this gun.

What I liked:
  • Durability
  • Snag-free design
  • Laser sight
  • Easy to use
What I didn’t like:
  • Price

BONUS: Hornady XTP Pistol Bullets

BONUS: Hornady XTP Pistol Bullets

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What ammunition do you buy? This is essential because it’s one of the biggest aspects and parts of shooting to choose the right rounds. If you don’t know where to begin or you just trust us, try these bullets. You should what ammunition you can buy!

FAQ

Does a 38 revolver kick?
Yes, but it kicks much lesser, compared to full-sized revolvers.
What is the range of a 38 revolver?
The most effective range is from 1 to 50ft. The reason is that a bullet drops 5ft every 100 yards, which makes these revolvers ineffective at long distances.
Is a 38 revolver good for self-defense?
Absolutely! They are ideal for concealed carry, easy to use, and powerful enough to protect you.
Will a 38 special stop an attacker?
It’s better to be accurate, but it will stop anyone with a breeze. Especially at short distances.
Is a .38 more powerful than a 9mm?
9mm have a little more energy at the muzzle, but it doesn’t mean that 9mm pistols are better.
Can a 38 shoot 9mm?
No, they have different dimensions.
Is a 38 special good for a woman?
Due to low recoil, 38 models are really popular among ladies.
What is the difference between 38 and 38 special?
38 is a caliber, meanwhile, 38 special is a cartridge for 38 bullets.

Conclusion

Which one did you like the most? We believe that there are a few models that you have to take a look at once again.

The best inexpensive models:

The best high-budget models:

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