Back in the day, .357 Magnum revolvers were among the most popular handguns around. Law enforcement officers wanted a more powerful cartridge than the .38 Special for service use and the .357 sixgun was better able to stand up to the new .38 +P and +P+ cartridges.

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Probably the most well-known .357 Magnum when I became a cop in the mid-1970s was the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Combat Magnum. Envisioned by Border Patrolman and gun writer Bill Jordan as the “peace officer’s dream,” the Model 19 was based on a strengthened (medium-sized) K-Frame, making it more convenient to carry than the large (N-Frame) Model 27 or Model 28 Highway Patrolman .357 Magnum revolvers.

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Colt produced a robust .41-caliber revolver during the same era called the Trooper Mk III, which had a new action that didn’t require all the hand fitting needed in the older Trooper and Python models. At the same time, Ruger came out with its first double-action (DA) revolver, the Security-Six, which was another medium-sized .357 Magnum, this one with a solid, modular frame that had no side plate like the Colt or S&W. All three of these handguns were used extensively by law enforcement and had great followings for self-defense and field use.

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Sadly, none of the aforementioned .357 Magnums are still being made today, but Ruger and S&W are still turning out .357 models along with several other manufacturers. Here are some of formidable options for today’s wheelgunning fans.


Chiappa Rhino 40DS

Charter Arms Mag Pug

Dan Wesson Model 715

Ruger GP100 Match Champion

Ruger GP100

EAA Weihrauch Windicator

Rossi Model R97206

Smith & Wesson Model 66

Smith & Wesson Model 340PD

Taurus Model 608

Taurus Protector Model 605

Ruger SP101

Ruger LCR

Smith & Wesson Model 27

Smith & Wesson Model 686

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