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.
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Chiappa Rhino 40DS
Charter Arms Mag Pug
Dan Wesson Model 715
Ruger GP100 Match Champion
EAA Weihrauch Windicator
Rossi Model R97206
Smith & Wesson Model 66
Smith & Wesson Model 340PD
Taurus Model 608
Taurus Protector Model 605
Smith & Wesson Model 27
Smith & Wesson Model 686