Wheels have been used throughout history to get things done. From moving cannons to Bunker Hill to pioneers traveling west, it seems that the wheel has helped the United States become the great country it is. Another wheel-based tool, revolvers, also influenced the development of the country.

Colloquially called a “wheelgun,” revolvers served both sides during the Civil War, as well as our troops in the trenches of World War I, and helped police the cities and counties throughout the nation. The revolver also proved to be the most popular handgun for self-defense for the majority of the last century.

Seasoned does not mean out of date, and the history of the combat revolver simply proves it to be a reliable design—not one that is over the hill. Since reliability is one of the most important aspects of any self-defense firearm, the revolver certainly is worth of considering when you select a weapon to carry for personal protection.

I’ve carried a J-Frame revolver for nearly all of my adult life, both as a backup to my service weapon when I still wore a police uniform and as a tool to protect my family when not on the job. While I also carry modern autopistols for personal protection, I still frequently carry that five-shot .38 Special and feel adequately prepared for most any eventuality. With all of that in mind, here is a quick look at some of the revolvers currently available that you may want to consider for your own needs.

For more information on the revolvers featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.

Charter Arms


Nighthawk Custom


Smith & Wesson


For more from author Richard Johnson, visit

This article was originally published in ‘Concealed Carry Handguns’ 2017. For information on how to subscribe, visit

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