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Top 9 Best Revolvers for Women in 2022

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These days, semi-automatic pistols have surpassed revolvers as the most popular type of handgun by a long shot. But you shouldn’t overlook the humble revolver when trying to choose a handgun for yourself because they certainly have some advantages.

For example, the reliability of revolvers is unmatched. It’s very rare for revolvers to malfunction, even when feeding cheap ammo.

That’s not to say the semi-auto pistols are bad or that they don’t have advantages of their own, because they aren’t, and they do. Just don’t skip over revolvers altogether. 

Our favorite revolver for women is the Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight. This lightweight revolver is easy to operate, conceals well, and has plenty of aftermarket support for holsters, so it’s great for concealed carry and recreation shooting, and for new and experienced shooters alike.

Top 9 Best Revolvers for Women in 2022

Here are a few more of our favorite revolvers for women to get you started:

Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight: Best Overall

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Our overall favorite revolver for women is the Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight. This compact revolver is an all-round great performer with a powerful caliber and ergonomic design.

The Model 642 is a double-action-only J-frame revolver. It’s small and lightweight, with a 1.875-inch barrel, an overall length of 6.3 inches, and a weight of 14.5 ounces. That makes it great for concealment, whether you’re looking for something for EDC or something to keep in your car. 

This revolver holds 5 rounds of .38 Special +P. For those not familiar, +P indicates a higher pressure round, which means more energy and a flatter trajectory. 

If you aren’t used to high-pressure rounds, don’t worry: you can still use regular .38 Special too. If you’re new to revolvers, you’ll probably want to start with regular .38 anyway. 

The basic version comes with black synthetic grips that are nicely textured and have finger grooves to help you manage recoil, which you’ll probably especially appreciate while using +P ammunition. However, it’s also available with pink synthetic grips for those who want something a bit more feminine, as well as with wooden grips. However, we recommend sticking with synthetic for a better grip. 

Pros

  • Rated for continuous .38 Special +P use
  • Small and lightweight
  • Comfortable, textured, and ergonomic grips

Cons 

  • Expect significant recoil, especially when using +P ammo
  • Short barrel means lower accuracy

The Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight is a great all-round revolver, and we recommend it for anyone, but especially for women. It’s easy to conceal and is capable of shooting powerful +P ammo for greater stopping power. 

Ruger LCR-22: Best .22LR

Ruger LCR 22 Long Rifle 1.87in Matte Black Revolver

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The Ruger LCR in general, is a great revolver platform, but the Ruger LCR-22 is our favorite .22LR revolver for women. .22LR isn’t ideal for self-defense, but it’s a delightful recreation round thanks to its light recoil, and it’s certainly better than nothing if you find that you can’t reliably use more powerful rounds like .38 Special and .357 Magnum. 

The great thing about .22LR, though, is that it’s a tiny round, meaning you get a much higher capacity, even with small revolvers like the LCR. With this pistol, you get 8 rounds, well more than you’d get with most comparably sized revolvers in .38 Special or .357 Magnum.

Like all Rugers, this revolver is built for reliability, safety, and durability. The frame is built from aerospace-grade, 7000-series aluminum and has a PVD finish. The cylinder is made from high-strength stainless steel and is fluted to reduce weight.

The Hogue Tamer Monogrip is well-textured and ergonomic for a secure grip and less perceived recoil. However, the grip peg also allows you to easily switch out the grip if you want to.

If you like the LCR but want to use a more powerful round, don’t worry. It also comes in .38 Special +P, .357 Magnum, 9mm Luger, and .327 Federal Magnum models.

Pros

  • .22LR is fun and easy to shoot
  • Safe, reliable, and durable
  • Fluted cylinder to reduce weight
  • Hogue Tamer monogrip

Cons 

  • The cylinder can be tricky to manipulate
  • .22LR is not as effective for self-defense as some other rounds

While not the best for self-defense, the Ruger LCR-22 is a very fun revolver to shoot. It is also incredibly well made, and it’s certainly better than nothing in a self-defense situation. 

Ruger GP100: Best Mid-Size

Ruger GP100 357 Magnum 4.2in Stainless Revolver

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The smaller the revolver, the harder it recoils. On the other hand, larger revolvers are harder to conceal and can be harder for smaller hands to grip securely. To help balance the two, a mid-size revolver is a great option, and our favorite mid-size revolver is the Ruger GP100.

This revolver comes in a variety of different barrel lengths across a few different finish styles and even a .22LR version, but the one we like best for a mid-sized carry weapon is the 1771 model.

This particular model has a 4.2-inch barrel and cushioned rubber grips with a hardwood insert for a secure, comfortable grip with a classic finish. Of course, you can customize the grips for whatever your needs are.

Like most (but not all) GP100s, it shoots .357 Magnum, but unlike other GP100s with this barrel length, the 1771 model has a 7-round capacity rather than 6 rounds. 

Like the LCR, it’s a Ruger, so it’s safe, durable, and reliable. The cylinder, for example, triple locks into place at the front, rear, and bottom. This ensures better alignment and fewer malfunctions. There’s also a transfer bar safety to prevent accidental discharge.

Pros

  • Mid-size helps balance recoil and a firm grip
  • Cushioned grips for ergonomics but wood inserts for aesthetics
  • 7-round capacity
  • Safe, reliable design

Cons 

  • The cylinder can be tricky to manipulate
  • A bit heavy

If you’re looking for a mid-sized revolver for women, it’s hard to top the Ruger GP100, particularly in the 1771 model. It has a durable, safe, and reliable design that makes it easier to manage recoil without adding too much to its size.

Heritage Rough Rider .22LR/.22 Mag 6.5” Revolver: Best Full-Sized

HERITAGE MANUFACTURING ROUGH RIDER REVOLVER

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Now, if you want to go hard in the opposite direction from most of these guns and go with a full-sized gun, we suggest the Heritage Rough Rider. Again, this is a revolver that’s available in a bunch (and we do mean a bunch) of configurations, so we’re specifically talking about the .22LR/.22 Mag 6.5” Revolver here. 

One amazing aspect about this revolver is the interchangeable cylinders which allow it to shoot both .22LR and .22 WMR depending on which cylinder you have inserted. The .22LR cylinder is great for recreational shooting, while.22 WMR is a more effective option for self-defense. It still doesn’t have the stopping power of .357 Magnum or .38 Special, but it’s much more effective than .22LR.

It’s a single-action only revolver with a thumb safety and a 6.5-inch barrel. The version that we’ve linked to above has a black satin finish on metal surfaces and wood laminate grips, but there are actually several versions for whatever your aesthetic tastes are. I’m also very partial to the pearl grip version, for example. 

Pros

  • Full size
  • Interchangeable cylinders allow you to shoot either .22LR or .22 Mag
  • Lower recoil than minis with stronger calibers
  • A bunch of different versions for different tastes
  • Tons of aftermarket grip options

Cons 

  • Grips are not very ergonomic

If you want a full-sized revolver, or just want to minimize recoil, instead of a mini, the Heritage Rough Rider is a great choice. The option to use .22 Mag gives a handy step up from .22LR without having to commit to the recoil of stronger rounds.

Charter Arms Chic Lady: Best Designed Specifically for Women

Charter Arms Chic Lady

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Revolvers built specifically for women are often just an excuse for companies to charge more for the same revolver. The Charter Arms Chic Lady, however, comes in at about the same price as the base model, the Undercover Lite.

It’s still mostly just a recolor, with pink and purple anodized frame options and a hi-polish cylinder and barrel, but it can be overlooked since the Undercover Lite is a great revolver. 

My personal favorite is the Model 53842 Lavender Lady since it has a pretty purple finish and Crimson Trace laser sight grips for greater accuracy. The synthetic grips are comfortable and ergonomic. 

It holds five rounds, which is pretty typical for small pocket revolvers like this one. It shoots .38 Special, so it has good stopping power. 

I also like the enclosed hammer versions of this double-action revolver, since there’s less of a risk of snagging on clothing. It also helps avoid obvious printing.

Finally, the Chic Lady may be designed for women, but it’s anything but delicate. It’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum and steel under that anodized coating, so it’s very durable. At the same time, it’s still lightweight, weighing just 12 ounces.

Pros

  • Durable but attractive and lightweight
  • Available in different versions
  • Lavender Lady comes with Crimson Trace laser sight grips
  • Enclosed hammer versions available

Cons 

  • Heavy recoil due to petite size
  • Short barrel means lower accuracy

Getting a revolver specifically designed for women doesn’t have to mean spending more for a lower-quality revolver, thanks to the Charter Arms Chic Lady. I particularly like the Lavender Lady version, but all of the versions have their own plus points. 

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Kimber K6S

Kimber K6S 357 Magnum 3in Stainless Revolver

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For shooters looking for a more high-end revolver, you can’t go wrong with Kimber. Like some of the other revolvers we’ve discussed here, the Kimber K6S comes in quite a few versions, but I particularly like the Kimber K6S (DASA) (3”).

The 3-inch barrel makes this gun a bit bigger than most of the other revolvers on this list, though with a height of 4.46 inches, an overall length of 7.62 inches, and a weight of 25.1 ounces, it’s still not quite as big as the Ruger GP100. 

The longer barrel also gives you a wider sight radius (5.1 inches) for greater accuracy. The factory sights are white 3-dot sights. 

It’s a DA/SA revolver, giving you the option to manually cock for single action or just use a longer trigger pull for double action. The double action factory trigger setting is approximately 9.5-11.5 pounds, while the single action factory trigger setting is approximately 3.25-4.25 pounds.

This Kimber K6S has a stainless steel finish and a gorgeous wooden grip for a classic look. While the grips do feature diamond checkering, the grips aren’t as ergonomic or effective as a synthetic grip.

The revolver shoots .357 Magnum and has a 6-round capacity, giving you an extra round compared to most of the revolvers here.

Pros

  • 6 round capacity
  • DA/SA
  • Longer sight radius and effective 3-dot sights
  • A bit larger than most of these revolvers to help manage recoil while still remaining small enough for concealability

Cons 

  • The wooden grip isn’t as effective as a synthetic
  • On the costlier side

The Kimber K6S may be costlier than some other revolvers, but for your money, you get a lot of great features, not to mention the guarantee of quality that comes with buying a Kimber firearm. This revolver is also a bit larger than most pocket revolvers, making it easier to manage the recoil of powerful .357 Magnum rounds while also providing you with the capacity for an extra round.

Taurus 856

Taurus 856 38 Special +P 2in Matte Black Revolver

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Taurus is a company known for their revolvers, though perhaps primarily for bigger, beefier revolvers like the Taurus Judge. The Taurus 856, however, proves that Taurus can nail a pocket revolver too.

Like a lot of the other revolvers here, the Taurus 856 comes in different versions, but there are a few standout features that made me choose this particular model.

For one, it has a concealed hammer, which prevents the revolver from snagging on your clothing or your holster when you draw it, while also helping reduce printing. The 2-inch barrel helps keep the gun small and concealable. 

The frame and barrel are made from carbon steel, while the cylinder is made from alloy steel. All three have a matte black finish that helps avoid catching glare, keeping your gun from being noticed.

The grips are matte black as well but are synthetic and textured for a secure, comfortable, and ergonomic grip. 

This double-action-only revolver holds 6 rounds, like the Kimber K6S but in a smaller frame. It shoots .38 Special and is rated for +P ammo, so you get plenty of stopping power.

Pros

  • Concealed hammer
  • Matte black finish
  • 6-round capacity
  • Rated for .38 Special +P
  • Ergonomic, textured synthetic grips

Cons 

  • Heavy recoil, especially with +P ammo
  • Short barrel means lower accuracy

For a minimalist but heavy-duty pocket revolver, the Taurus 856 is a great choice. It’s durably made and has comfortable grips. The matte black finish and concealed hammer help it to fly under the radar easily. Plus, you get 6 rounds of .38 Special +P ammo.

Colt King Cobra 

Colt King Cobra 

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The Colt King Cobra is a relatively new revolver, introduced in 2019, from a very old and prolific revolver maker. The Colt King Cobra is a heavy-duty yet still relatively small revolver that balances heavy hits with concealability.

The King Cobra shoots .357 Magnum for a powerful punch and can hold 6 rounds. It’s a double-action/single-action revolver that’s incredibly durable, thanks to a stainless steel frame. This does add some extra weight, but the revolver still weighs in at just 28 ounces, so it’s hardly extreme and that extra weight does help manage recoil.

The Hogue Overmolded grips further add to the revolver’s durability, while also providing a comfortable, ergonomic hold.

The 3-inch barrel is a bit longer than that on most pocket revolvers. That provides some extra accuracy while also lengthening the sight distance. At the same time, it’s not so long as to dramatically impact how easy it is to conceal the revolver. 

The King Cobra is great for a carry or home defense weapon, but if you’re specifically looking for something for target shooting, there’s a King Cobra Target specifically designed for that, with a 4-inch barrel. 

Pros

  • Durable, yet still relatively lightweight
  • Slightly longer barrel than most pocket revolvers
  • Longer sight distance
  • Double action/single action
  • Comfortable, ergonomic over-molded grips
  • Also available in a Target version

Cons 

  • A bit heavy for the size
  • Expect a good bit of recoil

Colt is a prolific revolver manufacturer, and the Colt King Cobra fits that legacy. It’s a rugged, heavy-duty revolver that delivers a powerful punch thanks to .357 Magnum. The 3-inch barrel provides a couple of key benefits without adding too much size and weight to the King Cobra’s frame.

Smith & Wesson Model 442 

Smith & Wesson Model 442 Revolver

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Our next revolver, the Smith & Wesson Model 442  is almost identical to our overall top pick, the Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight. In fact, the only difference between the two is the finish.

The Smith & Wesson Model 442 has a matte black finish. Although this matte black finish doesn’t have the same classic appeal as the matte silver of the Model 642 Airweight, it does help make the revolver more discreet, so it’s great for concealed carry. Ultimately, which finish is better just depends on your preference.

Otherwise, the two revolvers are identical. Like the Model 642, the Model 442 is a double-action-only J-frame revolver. It has a 5-round capacity and shoots .38 Special, including +P ammo.

It weighs just 14.7 ounces, has an overall length of 6.3 inches, and has a barrel that measures 1.875 inches, which makes the revolver small and lightweight enough for concealment, complementing the matte black finish.

Finally, it comes with nicely ergonomic black synthetic grips that are also easy to swap out if you want something different. However, if you’re choosing the Model 442 because the matte black finish helps with discretion, you’ll probably still want to stick with matte black grips.

Pros

  • Holds 5 rounds of .38 Special +P
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comfortable, textured, ergonomic grips
  • The matte finish helps with concealment

Cons 

  • Expect significant recoil, especially when using overpressurized ammo
  • Short barrel means lower accuracy

The Smith & Wesson Model 442 Airweight has all the same benefits as the Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight, but with a more discreet matte black finish that makes it even better for concealed carry.

Rock Island Armory M206

Rock Island Armory M206 38 Special 2in Parkerized Revolver

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Finally, we’re wrapping up our recommendations with the Rock Island Armory M206. This is a simple, affordable revolver that gets the job done without a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. 

At 25.44 ounces this is a small, lightweight double-action/single-action revolver. The trigger has a pull weight of between 1.81 kg and 2.95 kg.

It holds 6 rounds of .38 Special. The cylinder moves very smoothly, making both opening and reloading easy. 

The Rock Island Armory M206 has a 2.15-inch barrel. This helps keep the revolver compact and easy to conceal, but it does reduce the revolver’s accuracy and sight distance. Of course, that’s a problem with any snub-nose and is hardly unique to the M206.

The short barrel doesn’t give you a lot of distance between sights, but the fixed ramp front sight and the fixed wide square notch rear sight are very easy to use.

The checkered wooden grip has a certain classic appeal to it, but it’s not for all tastes and it’s not exactly what I would call ergonomic.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Black parkerized finish
  • Single-action/double-action trigger
  • Small and lightweight

Cons 

  • The grips are far from ergonomic
  • Short barrel means lower accuracy

Rock Island Armory may be best known for their 1911s, but the M206 shows that they know their revolver game as well. A lot of the appeal of a revolver is its simple, easy-to-operate design the M206 nails that. 

Buying Guide 

Caliber

When it comes to choosing any gun, caliber is one of the most fundamental considerations, but the right caliber depends on a few different points.

Of the available rounds, our two favorites are .357 Magnum and .38 Special. These are nice, balanced rounds that have significant stopping power without extremely overpowering recoil. They’re also small enough rounds that revolvers that use them can be quite small too. 

You do also see a good number of revolvers that use .22LR. Generally, .22LR isn’t our first choice for self-defense because it’s a low-energy round. However, revolvers have a lot of recoil by default compared to pistols, which can be tricky for weak or inexperienced shooters to handle. 

A weak round you can reliably use is better than a powerful one that you can’t shoot accurately. If you have a hard time handling stronger rounds, .22LR could be the way to go, at least until you can reliably shoot a more powerful round. 

Additionally, .22LR revolvers tend to have higher capacities, allowing you to put more holes in your attacker, even if they don’t cause as much damage.

Beyond that, .22LR is great for recreational shooting, since it can easily be shot all day with very little fatigue.

Size

If you’re looking for a self-defense weapon, you probably want something that you can conceal, which generally means smaller is better. 

On the other hand, the smaller the revolver, the more you’ll feel the recoil, which can make accurate shots harder and follow-up shots smaller, not to mention making shooting more fatiguing. 

Try to find a revolver that allows you to strike a balance between those two issues. 

Keeping in mind this next factor can also help you get away with a smaller revolver.

Ergonomics

Women tend to have smaller hands than men, which makes smaller grips better. However, the design of the grip matters a lot as well.

There are tons of grip styles out there, but weaker shooters, especially with small guns, should look for one that’s rubberized and textured. This will help you keep a more secure grip despite heavier recoil.

Capacity

Generally, revolvers hold 5 or 6 rounds, but the exact amount loosely depends on the caliber and size of the gun. The smaller the gun, the fewer rounds (of the same caliber) the gun can hold. The smaller the caliber, the more rounds a gun (of the same size) can hold. These are loose relationships, though. 

Action

The two primary types of revolvers are double-action and single-action. 

For most people, all you really need to know is that double-action revolvers require a longer trigger pull to both pull back the hammer and fire. Single-action revolvers require you to manually pull the hammer back, then pull the trigger separately, which leads to a crisper trigger. 

For our purposes, which action is better just depends on your preference. 

Very few revolvers are actually double-action only. Most are either single-action only or DA/SA, which means that they can be operated either way. 

Accessories & Customization

While generally less customizable than semi-auto pistols, there are still some features on revolvers, primarily the sights and grips, that you can customize. You can also swap out the cylinder release. 

You may or may not be worried about customization, but if you’d like the opportunity, or at least don’t want to rule it out as a future option, you’ll want to opt for a revolver that has a lot of aftermarket customization pieces available.

In addition, you’ll also want to look at the accessories available. 

For concealed carry, that primarily means holster options. Make sure that you can find holsters that are comfortable, high quality, and allow for the carry positions that you want to use.

Accessories also mean speed loaders, though. These little gadgets allow you to carry extra rounds pre-aligned for loading, similar to a spare mag. They’re particularly useful for concealed carry, but they also make things a little faster and easier at the range. 

Budget

Ever go browse in a clothing store and fall in love with something, then nearly have a heart attack when you see the price? Unfortunately, the same thing can easily happen while gun shopping, especially since, generally, guns cost a lot more than clothes. 

So it’s wise to keep in mind how much you’re willing and able to spend before you start browsing online or in your local gun shop. That way, you don’t get too invested in a particular revolver only to find out it’s well outside of your comfortable price range. 

Most websites even allow you to filter your options or sort by price so you can avoid even the temptation of higher-priced guns.

Aesthetics

Ultimately, appearance matters far less than the other factors we’ve talked about, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting a gun that’s nice to look at too.

Revolvers are fortunately available in a ton of different finishes and grip styles, often even within the same type of gun, so choose the one you like the most. In addition, the most popular revolvers, as we already discussed, allow you to swap out grips, so you can easily trade out the factory grips for ones that better suit your preferences. 

FAQs 

Which revolver is made for the safety of women?

Revolvers in general, can be an effective method of self-defense for women. However, some revolvers have been designed specifically with women in mind. The Charter Arms Chic Lady, for example, is an excellent revolver that was designed keeping women in mind.

Are revolvers good for self-defense?

While semi-automatic pistols are certainly the more popular choice for self-defense, revolvers can also be a great option. They’re easy to operate, which is excellent for a high-pressure situation like a defensive scenario. Plus, they’re incredibly reliable.

Is a .357 more powerful than a 9mm?

While both are sufficient for self-defense purposes, .357 Magnum is more powerful than 9mm Luger. Depending on loadings, the 9mm has about 300 foot-pounds of energy, while .357 Magnum was almost twice that at roughly 550 foot-pounds.

Conclusion 

By now, you should have all of the knowledge you need to pick the right revolver for you or the woman in your life.

While all of the revolvers that we’ve recommended here are excellent choices, our overall favorite revolver for women is the Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight. 

This revolver is a great option for both veteran shooters and those new to firearms or revolvers, and it’s well-suited for both recreation and concealed carry, thanks to its easy-to-operate design, small size, powerful round, and ample aftermarket support for holsters and other upgrades.

With that said, no one revolver is best for all women, and all of these revolvers are of great quality. If possible, try out a few different ones before making your choice.



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