One might question, why bother with a revolver chambered in 9mm? After all, 9mm is the quintessential auto loader cartridge that is rimless, designed from the beginning, well over one hundred years ago, to be chambered in auto loading pistols. Why bother with this cartridge in a revolver?
There are, actually, several compelling reasons to use a revolver that is chambered in 9mm rather than one chambered in the more traditional, rimmed, revolver cartridges such as 38 Special or 357 Magnum. Foremost among these reasons is the availability and affordability of 9mm ammo, which is the most prevalent and available handgun ammunition on earth. 9mm can be had for significantly less money than any 38 Special or 357 Magnum rounds. Also of note, many people who are interested in revolvers are, primarily, auto pistol shooters. Having a revolver chambered in 9mm means that there is no need to stock a separate cartridge for your shooting needs if you primarily shoot 9mm, to begin with.
If considering acquiring a 9mm revolver, bear in mind that they function differently than other revolvers in that they most often need moon clips to accommodate the rimless cartridge. Moon clips are thin, metal clips that hold the rounds so that they can be ejected from the cylinder, and moon clips have a penchant for easily bending, which can make the revolver fail to rotate. On the plus side, a moon clip reload is the fastest revolver reload, so many prefer this option for the reloading speed advantage. Regardless, be sure to familiarize yourself with these particulars if interested in a 9mm revolver.
If having a revolver chambered in 9mm is for you, then here are our top five proposed for your consideration:
5. Smith and Wesson 986
The Smith and Wesson model 986 is a custom shop, full-size revolver. While some may opt to carry this beast, it tends to be a competition-oriented gun. Such a revolver, however, offers little recoil due to the weight and the relatively mild 9mm cartridge. While 9mm typically puts up more recoil than light 38 Special rounds in a revolver, it is nowhere near as punishing as 357 Magnum or other such magnum rounds. The Smith and Wesson 986 is a high-quality revolver that makes an excellent competition gun or simply a fun gun for range use. The 986 is a large L-Frame revolver that is quite heavy, but it provides a seven-round cylinder and the weight makes these guns a pleasure to shoot.
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4. Chiappa Rhino 9mm
The odd-looking Chiappa revolver has its followers, and this company makes a 9mm model. These revolvers are very non-conventional, but fans of this brand like how the bore access sits low in the hand and the craftsmanship is generally very good. These guns are expensive, but for the wheelgun enthusiast, it may be worth it. Once again, this may be a large and heavy option for concealed carry, but it is certainly an interesting option for revolver enthusiasts.
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3. Taurus 905
Taurus is a brand that has improved in quality in the past several years and their newer revolvers seem to be well-regarded by people who have been using them. The Taurus 905 model, chambered in 9mm, is a small enough revolver for most to carry. The 905 offers a five-round cylinder capacity of 9mm. Taurus is a budget-friendly brand, and this model may be a good alternative for those seeking to acquire a 9mm revolver, yet not spending the kind of money that is required for the prior suggestions thus far.
2. Ruger LCR 9mm
The Ruger LCR series is one of the two industry standards among small and concealable revolvers, playing second fiddle in popularity only to the ubiquitous Smith and Wesson J-Frame series of guns. The LCR has many fans due to the modern design of a polymer frame and the excellent stock trigger pull. The LCR that is chambered in 9mm is, essentially, the same frame as the 357 Magnum version, using a polymer frame housing and a steel upper housing. Still, these guns are light in weight, at only seventeen ounces.
In fact, the LCR 9mm is so light in weight that the user must be careful of “crimp jump” in these guns. The 9mm cartridge is not designed with as strong a crimp holding the bullet in the case as other revolver-specific cartridges. The recoil can cause certain bullets to walk out of the case, and this has the potential to lock up the gun. Bear in mind that 9mm recoil in such a light revolver is stout. One must be sure to vet their carry ammunition in this platform to avoid crimp jump. If you do test your ammo, however, the LCR may be the best alternative for a deep concealment 9mm revolver on the market.
1. Ruger SP101 9mm
Top awards for a 9mm revolver go to the Ruger SP101. This revolver has a long and excellent track record. While the SP101 is a small-frame revolver that is quite easy to conceal, it is an overbuilt, all-steel frame, and it is quite heavy for its size. While many wheel gunners dislike the SP101 for being too heavy for a small-frame revolver, this extra weight makes it incredibly shootable for such a small platform. The weight pays off big with controlling the 9mm round and the SP101 provides a great balance of concealment and shoot-ability for a 9mm revolver.