Top 5 Revolvers Not Chambered in .38 Special

It’s a bit of a stereotype but also understandable that when many people think about revolvers, they automatically think of the .38 Special cartridge. In reality,  revolvers are chambered and available in a wide variety of calibers. This is our list of the Top 5 Not-a-38-Special Revolvers for 2024. We took care to choose useful—but awesome—guns, some of which are also pretty unique.

Chambered in 9mm, the Ruger SP101 is easily one of the best not-a-38-special revolvers for 9mm lovers. (Photo: Ruger)

Ruger SP101

If you love 9mm Luger and that’s really what’s kept you from getting a revolver, we have news: there are revolvers chambered in 9mm Luger. One great example is the Ruger SP101. This revolver has a 2.25-inch barrel length, making it highly concealable, and has a five-round capacity. It has black rubber grips with synthetic inserts for greater comfort during live fire and to provide durable, functional grips. When using a revolver as a carry gun, you want to focus on function over aesthetics, and the Ruger SP101 does just that (as it should).

Ruger also designed the SP101 to be easier to maintain than many revolvers—integrated subassemblies are easy to take apart with no need for special tools. The gun has a triple-locking cylinder for superior alignment. A transfer bar mechanism provides safety from accidental discharge. It ships with an integral rear sight and black ramp front sight that works just fine out of the box. After all, this is a revolver created for close-quarters use. It ships with three moon clips that can be used as speedloaders and to make it easier to eject spent brass casings.

So, if you’re a big fan of 9mm Luger, this is the revolver for you.

The Smith and Wesson Model 610 is a 10mm Auto chambered revolver. (Photo: Smith and Wesson)

Smith & Wesson Model 610

The Smith & Wesson Model 610 is a revolver that handgunners who love semi-autos gravitate toward, while revolver purists tend to avoid it. It’s an incredibly well-made, high-quality gun chambered in 10mm and can also fire .40 S&W. The Model 610 is a stainless steel N-frame revolver with a 4-inch barrel. It weighs 42.6 ounces empty, which is a positive thing because that weight helps mitigate felt recoil. The gun has a six-round capacity.

Features of the Smith & Wesson Model 610 include a polished silver finish, rubberized grips with finger grooves, and a single-action/double-action trigger. The gun ships with standard black sights that are interchangeable with aftermarket options, making it easy to change them if you prefer it. This gun has an overall length of 9.5 inches and a height of 6.1 inches, making it slightly large for concealment. It’s not impossible to conceal with an OWB holster and a good cover garment; it’s just more of a challenge. The Model 610 is a fantastic option for handgun hunting or gun owners who simply like 10mm. It’s reliable, accurate, and well-made. A great choice for a somewhat untraditional revolver chambering.

taurus 380
The Taurus 380 is a snub-nosed revolver created specifically for easy concealment. (Photo: Taurus)

Taurus 380

As you may have guessed from the gun’s name, the Taurus 380 is chambered in .380 ACP. It’s a popular cartridge for a lot of micro-compact semi-autos, and fans of the round can continue to get their fix in revolver form thanks to Taurus. The Taurus 380 is made to be the ideal concealed carry pistol, especially for scenarios where deep concealment is a must. Its dimensions speak to that. The gun has a 1.75-inch barrel length, a 5.95-inch overall length, and a width of 1.4 inches. It weighs 16 ounces empty, and with its 5-shot capacity, it doesn’t weigh that much more when it’s loaded. Of course, it isn’t only the gun’s dimensions that make it great for concealed carry.

The Taurus 380 has rubberized grips with ridges along the backstrap and textured panels on either side. Those details translate to the ability to keep a better hold on the gun when shooting, even if your hands are wet. The gun has an adjustable rear sight that’s low-profile and curved at its outer edges to reduce the risk of snagging. The front sight is ramped. It’s a double-action-only revolver, which also functions as a safety feature considering how many people are likely to pocket carry a gun like this (if you pocket carry, please also use an appropriate holster). If a little pocket-carry-capable revolver is on your wish list, check out the Taurus 380.

smith wesson governor
The Governor can be used with .410, .45 Long Colt, or .45 ACP. (Photo: Smith & Wesson)

Smith & Wesson Governor

Although the Smith & Wesson Governor is made to handle three different rounds, we’re focusing on the .45 ACP chambering. The Governor is a solid option for shooters who want to keep their .45 ACP but are interested in trying revolvers. It’s a well-made revolver with excellent fitment that’s reliable, accurate, and comfortable to shoot. The Governor is designed for .410 2.5-inch shotshells, .45 Long Colt, and .45 ACP. It has a six-round capacity.

The Smith & Wesson Governor has a 2.75-inch barrel and an overall length of 8.5 inches. It weighs 30.2 ounces, making it rather sizable, but that’s a plus when you consider how additional weight mitigates felt recoil and muzzle rise. Frame size is listed by Smith & Wesson as “extra large.” It’s a single-action/double-action gun. This model has a black finish, so there’s no risk of glare, and as an additional bonus, it adds a layer of protection against wear and tear. The grip of the gun is a black synthetic with finger grooves. It has an integrated groove rear sight and front night sight. As a bonus, the Governor can work well for hunting varmints and smaller predators, making it a great multi-purpose revolver.

colt king cobra 22 lr
The Colt King Cobra in .22LR is a great option for new shooters. (Photo: Colt)

Colt King Cobra

The Colt King Cobra is available chambered in .22LR, making this specific model a great option for shooters who are new to revolvers. Of course, it also makes a great hunting option for appropriately sized varmints. The King Cobra in .22LR is an exceptionally well-made revolver that’s made to be inherently reliable and easy to operate. It boasts steel construction and a heavy-duty frame and has a 10-round capacity. There’s also the fact that it’s part of Colt’s snake family of guns, so if you’re a collector, you’re going to want this gun in your collection.

This revolver has a 4.25 barrel, and the gun has an overall length of 9.25 inches. It weighs 33.8 ounces empty, meaning it’s solid enough to turn felt recoil and muzzle rise into almost nothing. Features include a vented rib, Hogue over-molded rubber grips, and a polished silver finish. The gun comes standard with an adjustable rear sight and fiber optic front sight. This is a single-action/double-action gun and features a trigger that delivers a crisp, clean break. It’s a fantastic choice for plinking and target shooting but also excels when it’s time to teach brand-new shooters about revolvers.

Conclusion

Choosing a revolver doesn’t have to mean a .38 Special (or .357 Magnum). There are countless other chamberings on the market, including .327 Federal, .44 Magnum, and .460 Rowland. The options are endless, and there’s a caliber for every purpose.

What’s your favorite revolver caliber? Drop your thoughts in the comments section.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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