Best J-Frame Revolvers of 2020 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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Finding the best J Frame Revolver might be a challenge, but if you have a good idea of what they are and have a basic understanding of them, the search process might be a little easier for you. This type of revolver comes in different calibers and can come in handy with some applications.

So, if you are using it for target shooting, concealed carry, or whatever else, you’ll be pleased with the overall functioning of some of the best J Frame revolvers that are available on the market. Of the many J Frame revolvers on the market, we’ve handpicked five of them as the best. Before we get to the list itself, we’ll discuss what a J Frame revolver is and the characteristics of our favorite models.

The latter should serve as a guide on how you can choose a revolver for your own personal use.

Comparison of the Best J-Frame Revolvers

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Colt Cobra 2" .38 Special

  • Best overall J Frame revolver
  • Chambered to fire .38 Special shots
  • Barrel measured at 2 inches in length
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Taurus 605 2" .357 Magnum

  • Runner-up for the best overall
  • Chambered to fire .357 rounds
  • Barrel measured at 2 inches in length
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Ruger SP101

  • 5-round capacity
  • Best J Frame revolver for the money
  • Available in different barrel lengths and calibers
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Smith & Wesson Model 60

  • Best S&W J Frame Revolver
  • Available in .38 Special or .357 calibers
  • Rubberized grip for superior shock absorption
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​ Smith & Wesson 43C

  • XS sights equipped
  • Contains up to 8 rounds
  • Made from high-quality stainless steel
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What is a J-Frame Revolver?

A J-Frame revolver is self-explanatory when you look at it. This type of revolver is shaped like a “J”. Typically, these revolvers are small in size and therefore perfect for those who want to conceal carry a revolver wherever they go. Most of the time, these revolvers will contain about 5 rounds. 

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models 

We didn’t choose these five revolvers at random. We found these based on a characteristic or feature that stands out as interesting. We advise you to follow this list and use a similar formula to what we’ve used to choose a revolver for our list. Here are some of the characteristics to look out for:

Price

If you are on a budget, then there is a good chance that you’ll be looking for an affordable J Frame revolver. It’s important that you spend your money on a revolver that is not just the best quality that you can afford, but also the best performance. While it may sound like an impossible task, it really isn’t. 

High-Quality Materials

We make sure that every J Frame revolver on the list is made from high-quality materials like steel, rubber, or polymer among others. The reason why you should opt for high-quality is that they are most likely to last you a bit longer than normal. Just because they are made from high-quality materials doesn’t mean you should neglect regular care and maintenance, but if you do take care of your revolver, the longevity will certainly be extended.

Size And Measurements

The size and measurements of a revolver can be important to you depending on your personal preferences and needs. Especially if you are looking for one that will be ideal for concealed carry. Remember, not every J Frame revolver can be of the same size. Some may be smaller than others and vice versa. Keep this in mind when finding a revolver. 

Quick Take - The Best J-Frame Revolvers

These are our recommendations for the best  J-Frame revolvers:

  1. Colt Cobra 2" .38 Special
  2. Taurus 605 2" .357 Magnum
  3. Ruger SP101

Review of the Best J-Frame Revolvers

The following is a list of the five best J Frame revolvers that are currently on the market. While going through the list, you should note the features and characteristics of each one. If you have a good idea of what your “ideal revolver” looks like, you can find one that will be close enough to the desired description.

Now, let’s begin this list by taking a peek at our “best overall” J Frame Revolver:

Pros

  • Well-made and durable
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • Fits in most holsters without bulging
  • Accurate at some pretty good ranges
  • Excellent for concealed carry purposes

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new buyers were pretty happy with this revolver. They said that it was easy to load and it remained pretty light in weight once it was fully loaded. As far as performance goes, they weren’t complaining. They were pretty stoked that they could hit a bullseye from as far out as 25 yards (even with smaller targets). One user said that while he EDC carries on a daily basis, he puts it to good use once a week at the shooting range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This J Frame revolver is made from high-quality steel. Along with the rubberized grip, it reduces a great deal of recoil and the shock that goes along with it. It’s a compact-sized revolver that will certainly get the job done in a concealed carry application. So, if you need a revolver that you can carry on a daily basis, this might be the one you’ll need. It’s better to be prepared than never at all.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be an excellent concealed carry revolver for newbies. It’s lightweight, durable, and can pretty much hit targets from a close, but decent range. Whether you are warding off home invaders or hitting bullseyes, you can depend on a revolver like this. While the J-Frame is quite unique, it’s performance stands out a lot better.

Bottom Line

The Colt Cobra .38 Special is the kind of J Frame revolver that will definitely be the odds on favorite for concealed carry users (both new and seasoned). It’s proven itself that it belongs on the top spot and probably will stay there for quite a while (assuming a new challenger appears). 

Pros

  • Really powerful
  • Trigger pull is decent
  • Very durable construction
  • Great for concealed carry and target shooting
  • Excellent grip, will allow for great control, even in bad weather

Cons

  • Sights might need some adjustments
  • Sights may be a little too large for some users
  • The cylinder may be a little difficult to pull out at first

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers were pretty happy with the revolver in general. They said that for a revolver so small, it can do some impressive damage. Such was the case when they tested it out at the shooting range and not only hit bullseyes, but the damage that was done was a sight to behold. One user said considering that it’s a .357 magnum, he’s not shocked in the very least.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The .357 magnum has a reputation of turning apples into applesauce (not literally, though). In other words, soft targets will sustain a great deal of damage upon impact. It’s part of the reason why the .357 is so dang intimidating when it comes to different revolver calibers. No home invader or prowler would ever want to be on the wrong end of one of these in a self-defense situation. So, if you want a force to be reckoned with, this J Frame revolver might just do the trick.

Who Will Use This Most

This will probably be a concealed carry revolver that will be powerful and do some serious damage if push came to shove. If you want something that is concealable, powerful, and reliable in the times you need it most, this is exactly what you might be looking for. A .357 magnum is not something to mess around with. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete newbie or experienced with the shooting.

Bottom Line

The Taurus 605 is perhaps one of the best concealed carry revolvers on the market for its firepower and concealability. If you think about it, that’s a pretty dangerous combination for a revolver. So, if you want to be truly armed and dangerous against those that threaten your life or property, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything quite like this.

Best for the Money: 
Ruger SP101

Pros

  • Superior firing power
  • Super durable construction
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Hammer cock smooth and easy
  • Excellent for home defense, varmint hunting, and target shooting

Cons

  • Trigger pull can be a little stiff
  • May be difficult to load at times
  • Might be a little heavy for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were impressed with this revolver. Especially when they were looking for something that was not only affordable but can be useful in so many applications. One user said that he keeps it at home since it’s a bit large for concealed carry. Nonetheless, he knows that as long as he has it with him at home, it’s prepared to take on any danger.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver is further proof that you can get a high-quality and well-performing revolver at a price that you can afford. Furthermore, this revolver is a deadly force that you can use to your advantage in a home defense situation. If you have to deal with the other invaders (we’re talking varmint here), then you have a revolver that has just enough stopping power to knock those suckers down. We’re not kidding here. A bunch of buyers have done that already.

Who Will Use This Most

This revolver will be useful in more ways than one. But it’s the kind of revolver you can keep at home (or take with you to the range for target shooting). So, if you want a revolver that is powerful, accurate, and can be great for any application be it at home or outdoors, this could be the one that is worth your hard-earned money.

Bottom Line

The Ruger SP101 is the best affordable option you can find if you want something with dependability, quality, and performance. You’ll know for a fact that it’s exactly what you’ll get for a price that you can probably afford. In other words, you get a whole lot more than what you pay for. Cheap and disappointing, this revolver is not.

Best S&W J Frame Revolver:
Smith & Wesson Model 60

Pros

  • Great for concealed carry
  • Super durable construction
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • Reduced recoil right out of the box
  • Accurate and precise shooting at various distances

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were fans of the S&W brand. Of course, there were others that didn’t get it based on the name alone, regardless, they had a lot to be happy about. They managed to go the distance with larger targets, being able to accurately hit them from about 50 yards out. One user said that he was impressed with not just the accuracy, but the fact that it was actually reliable and didn’t jam once even after going through 100 rounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver just might be one of the best for a concealed carry user. To break it down into a subcategory, it’s reliability is where it excels at. If you hate the idea of using a revolver that is susceptible to jamming, it’s time to find one that won’t. Smith and Wesson are known for making some of the most reliable revolvers and firearms in the world. If that’s impressive enough for you, you’ll know that this revolver is worth the investment.

Who Will Use This Most

This would definitely be a great newbie-friendly revolver for those starting out with concealed carry. In fact, this revolver is pretty much one of the easiest to use. If you intend to EDC carry and want to be prepared for any danger that is thrown your way, this revolver could be the one you’ll need for starters.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson Model 60 is a reliable and accurate revolver that will certainly leave a first impression on most new users. Especially if they are new to concealed carry. But if you prefer a revolver to any other handgun on the market, this revolver, in particular, might be a good choice for you.

Best J Frame 22 Revolver:
Smith & Wesson 43C

Pros

  • Easy to load
  • Super durable construction
  • Perfect for concealed carry
  • Trigger pull is light and smooth
  • Accurate and precise at close range

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were concealed carry users that were looking for a revolver that was easy to conceal in most holsters. They were very happy with the quality and the ability to fire accurate shots from ranges between 10 to 15 yards. The pistol was also super easy to handle and was comfortable as far as ergonomics was concerned.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Made from stainless steel, this revolver is a very tough customer. It can stand out as far as quality goes. It can take the bumps, bruises, and even the multiple amounts of gunfire. You can load the cylinder with ease and be able to shoot off as many rounds as possible in a quick and timely fashion. If you want something that will be easy to shoot and won’t give you any problems with the reliability, this could be a revolver worth considering. 

Who Will Use This Most

This revolver will be a perfect fit for anyone who wants reliability on the top of their list of “must-haves”. And there is no question that a Smith and Wesson can deliver on the promise when it comes to malfunction-free reliability. Odds are, you will be quite happy knowing you can blast through 100 rounds without a single jamming incident. 

Bottom Line

The Smith and Wesson 43C revolver is just one of many revolvers from the brand that shooters will trust most. It’s concealable, great for target shooting or self-defense and will definitely come through in the clutch if and when you need it most.

Pros and Cons of J-Frame Revolvers

Let’s investigate some of the reasons for and against j-frames you might want to consider in your own use.

Pros

You can get a lot of good things out of a J Frame revolver. They can stand out in ways other revolvers can’t. Here are just a few pros you can get out of a revolver:

Better Concealability

There is no question that a lot of these J Frame revolvers are small enough for concealed carry. Even better, the design itself makes the likelihood of bulging almost non-existent. It’s no wonder that those who have an eye for good design will end up going with a J Frame revolver than any other design on the market.

Most Preferred For EDC Use

Preparing for danger will place you miles ahead of those who are not prepared for it. A good revolver like a J Frame revolver will allow for every day carry regardless of where you are. And while it’s concealable, it can certainly perform quite well in self-defense situations either at home or wherever danger might be nearby.

Easy to Use

Make no mistake about it, the ease of use will certainly give you the advantage. Most J Frame revolvers will have light trigger pulling and thus making it possible to get shots off quickly. This is a major plus for those who intend to use a J Frame revolver for the purpose of self-defense. 

Cons

With pros, there are cons. And needless to say, there are a couple of things where a J Frame revolver will fall short on. Here’s what they are:

Some May be a Bit Pricey

If you are looking for a revolver for the purpose of self-defense, the J Frame revolvers will probably be a bit pricier overall. But still, you can find one that is affordable for your budget. But compared to other revolver types, expect these to be a bit more expensive. 

Sights May Not ​be The Best

While the sights can provide pinpoint accuracy depending on the model, some of the front sights might be a little larger than they should be and thus makes it hard to focus on the target itself. Even with a smaller sight, they might be a little tough to utilize at first. But with practice, you’ll be able to put them to good use. 

Conclusion

Finding a J Frame revolver will take time. But if you find one that will match your ideal description, you know that you’ve found a winner. With so many choices, it all comes down to what is considered a deal maker or a deal breaker for your own revolver. Choose wisely as you look around, because you may end up with a revolver that can stick with you for a while.

People Also Ask

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that you can use as a guide to give you a better understanding of how these J Frame revolvers work. Here are the following questions:

Is S&W Model 60 J-Frame?

Indeed it is. In fact, it just so happens to be on the list above. The J Frame is absolutely perfect and therefore makes it one of the best revolvers for the purpose of concealed carry.

Why is it Called a J-Frame?

The reason it’s called a “J-Frame” is due to the fact that the frame of the revolver is shaped like the letter “J”. And it is for this reason why they are much easier to draw and also easier to fit in your favorite holster

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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