Best .38 Revolvers

A Comprehensive Guide

It can be tough to choose one among the wide variety of the best .38 revolvers available in the market. With all of the different makes and endless firearm options in the market, how can you be sure you’re picking the right one? You could spend hours reading reviews and comparing specs, or you could let us do the hard work for you. We’ve reviewed many top .38 revolvers on the market so that you don’t have to.


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Last update was on: May 13, 2022 3:40 am

Short for "Lightweight Compact Revolver," this Ruger LCR lives up to the name and has become a trusted choice for personal protection. Chambered in 38 Spec, this American-made revolver boasts an aerospace-grade aluminum frame, as well as a steel cylinder that is fluted to reduce weight and...

After careful consideration, we’ve determined that these are the five best .38 revolvers available. Read on to learn more about each one and find the perfect fit for your needs.

Table of Contents

If you are in a hurry to purchase the best .38 Revolvers, and you want to make the best decision, here are our top 3 picks:

Top 3 Best .38 Revolvers

Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver is designed to fire a full power round and is as simple and easy to use as it is reliable. The Model 642, is a variation of the Model 42 Centennial Airweight which integrates the time-tested features of the original with modern advancements. It is a small-frame,...
out of stock
This Ruger SP101 is a rugged, American-made revolver that delivers five rounds of 38 Special. It boasts a stainless finish and a 2.2" barrel. It is a fantastic choice for personal protection and carrying through the woods or around your property. This SP101 is in excellent condition, with a...
out of stock
Short for "Lightweight Compact Revolver," this Ruger LCR lives up to the name and has become a trusted choice for personal protection. Chambered in 38 Spec, this American-made revolver boasts an aerospace-grade aluminum frame, as well as a steel cylinder that is fluted to reduce weight and...
out of stock

The following list covers five of the best .38 revolvers available today regarding price point and quality. Each one has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll discuss below so that by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to look for when shopping around for your first pistol or want something new to add to your collection. Let’s get started.

5 Best .38 Revolvers (Ranked And Reviewed)

1. Ruger LCR


This Ruger LCR uses .38 Special +P ammunition. It has an aerospace-grade aluminum alloy frame and a double-action-only trigger mechanism. This 5-round revolver has both front and rear sights, which are integral to the frame casting. The Ruger LCR weighs a mere 13.5 ounces, so it’s an excellent option to use as a concealed carry revolver. Its Hogue grip provides good comfort and control even in wet conditions. It’s also worth noting that even with.38 Special +P ammunition, the recoil is relatively snappy, making it unsuitable for newbies or individuals with weak grips. Nonetheless, this Ruger LCR is one of the top .38 revolvers available due to its low price and high-quality design. The Ruger LCR is one of the most well-known .38 revolvers on the market today. If you’re looking for a competitive revolver that’s reliable and easy to conceal, then this might be the right choice for you.





The Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight is a .38 caliber revolver with an aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel cylinder. It weighs 14.4 ounces and measures 6.31 inches overall with a barrel length of 1.875 inches. This revolver carries five rounds and uses a double-action-only operation to prevent an accidental discharge. This S&W 642 has both front and rear sights and a synthetic grip. The polymer grip makes this revolver easy to hold and prevents it from slipping or moving around in your hand. Its integral front sight is easily adjustable, though the rear sight is fixed. This S&W 642 is well-made and reliable without too much recoil like you’d find with a larger .38 Revolver.




3. Ruger SP101


The Ruger SP101 is a 5-round, .38 caliber revolver with a 2.25-inch barrel. This double-action revolver has a stainless steel finish and weighs 26 ounces. It holds five rounds in the cylinder and includes both an integral front sight and fixed rear sight, as well as a black rubber/ synthetic that provides additional control and comfort during shooting. This Ruger is popular because of its medium size, making it an excellent choice for concealed carry. It’s a good-quality firearm that won’t break the bank, and its alloy construction makes it lightweight without sacrificing strength or durability. The Ruger SP101 is a powerful weapon with enough stopping power for self-defense or hunting.

Ruger SP101 N3



4. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard


The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is a double-action, 5-round .38 caliber revolver with a 1.875″ barrel and an overall length of 6.61 inches. The aluminum alloy frame and steel cylinder have a black PVD finish. It has gray polymer grip panels that add to the pistol’s aesthetics. S&W Bodyguard has black ramp front sights and an integral rear sight for rapid target acquisition, as well as a PVD finish that prevents rust or corrosion. This lightweight revolver weighs only 14.2 ounces and is chambered for .38 Special +P rounds. .38 caliber offers a good amount of stopping power, and the Bodyguard’s low weight makes it a convenient option for concealed carry.





The Charter Arms Undercover small is a single-action/double-action, 5-round .38 special revolver with a two-inch barrel and an overall length of 3.75 inches. The stainless steel frame comes with a black rubber grip and a blue finish. This revolver is excellent for concealed carry due to its small size and lightweight design. This is a solid revolver with a short and simple design that makes it easy to use and carry. Its size makes it particularly good for women or those with small hands. Moreover, the complete black frame adds to the allure of this revolver. The Charter Arms Undercover is a sturdy revolver that you can use as a self-defense gun or for hunting, and it has enough stopping power to bring down a small game. Its lightweight design makes it convenient for concealed carry, and the rubber grip provides strong traction during use.




What To Consider While Buying The Best .38 Revolvers?

.38 is a classic revolver caliber that provides a good balance between stopping power and ease of shooting. With so many different makes and models on the market, it can be tough to figure out which .38 revolver is the best for you. Not only do you have to worry about what type of .38 revolver you want, but also what features it should have, how much it will cost, and where you can find the best deal. If you want to buy the best .38 revolvers, you must consider some factors to ensure that you get the best one.

Build Quality

Look for a .38 revolver made out of durable materials like stainless steel frames and has no parts that feel loose or flimsy. Always buy popular revolvers from well-known manufacturers with a solid reputation to ensure that you purchase a quality product. Manufacturers such as Charter Arms, Smith & Wesson, North American Arms, Ruger, Taurus produce some of the best .38 revolvers on the market.


You should also try to find a .38 revolver that is reliable and has a long track record of success. Look for positive buyer reviews and ensure that the manufacturer offers a warranty if anything goes wrong with your revolver. Check out what other people are saying about specific models you are considering buying, or go through customer reviews online to see if it has any complaints.

Price Range

If you want to buy the best .38 revolvers, make sure that you stick within your price range. If the revolver costs more money than you want to spend, the chances are that it will have features or quality materials that you don’t need or want. Look for a well-priced revolver with the features and quality materials you need. You can find used or refurbished revolvers that are cheaper than this price range, but it is essential to do your research before buying one of these.


It is also essential to consider the features of .38 revolvers before buying one. Make sure that you can handle your firearm with ease and it has the right features for your shooting style. For example, some people prefer double-action revolvers because they can fire multiple rounds without having to cock the hammer each time. Other people prefer a single-action revolver or a shorter barrel. Similarly, check if it has user-friendly features such as adjustable sights, a hammer spur, or an external safety to make shooting easier. 


The revolver’s accuracy depends on the size, weight, and design. The material, grip type, and sight system also influence a revolver’s accuracy. You should always go for a .38 revolver that has excellent accuracy. This will ensure you aim at your target with ease and enjoy shooting.

Shooting Range & Usage

You should choose a weapon according to your needs and intended usage. This is a crucial point to consider while buying a .38 revolver. Make sure that the barrel length, size, and caliber of your preferred model can fulfill your purpose of usage. For example, if you want to buy a pistol for self-defense purposes, make sure your chosen model has at least 2.5 inches of barrel length.


Well, the debate on this issue is still ongoing. Many people argue that 9mm handguns are more potent than .38 revolvers due to their larger cartridges and longer barrel lengths. However, many other factors give .38 pistols an edge over 9mm handguns, such as cost, ease of use, and concealability.

Not necessarily, but if you want to buy the best of the best, it may cost you more money.

A quality .38 revolver weighs anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds on average, depending on the model and features. This means that you can comfortably hold, carry, and shoot your gun without issues.

Yes, .38 revolvers are perfect for women because they are lighter and smaller than other types of firearms. Many manufacturers even make unique models for women that contain pink grips and other aesthetic features.

The accuracy and reliability of these revolvers make them perfect for home defense and target practice at any given time. They are easy to use and maintain, plus they are powerful enough to take down a target with ease.


The .38 caliber revolver has been around for hundreds of years, and with good reason – it’s easy to use, lightweight, compact, and powerful enough. If you want to buy a revolver for your defense or shooting, then you can’t go wrong with a .38 revolver. We’ve compiled a list of our five favorite .38 concealable revolvers to help you make the best decision for your needs. Consider what’s important to you when choosing, and then pick one that suits your preferences. Don’t forget to read through our in-depth article about how these best .38 revolvers work before purchasing.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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