Best Smith and Wesson Revolvers – 2020 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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Are you looking for the best Smith and Wesson Revolver? If you are, you are not alone.

Smith and Wesson has long been a name that many gun owners and enthusiasts have spoken highly about. If you are firmly in the S&W corner, rest assured you may be able to find one of their best revolvers appealing in some way.

While there are a handful of revolvers on the market, we’ve put together a list of the six best Smith and Wesson revolvers. Before we get to the list itself, we’ll discuss whether all Smith and Wesson revolvers are the same and how to choose one for your own personal use. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Smith And Wesson Revolvers

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Smith & Wesson 586 .357 Magnum

  • Made from high-quality steel
  • Best overall Smith and Wesson revolver
  • Grip made from rubber for maximum shock absorption
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Smith & Wesson 460V

  • Five-shot capacity
  • Single and double action
  • Runner-up for best overall Smith and Wesson revolvers
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Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight w/ Internal Lock

  • Five-shot capacity
  • Grip made from high-quality polymer
  • Best Smith and Wesson revolver for the money
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Smith & Wesson 629

  • Grip made from synthetic materials
  • Barrel measured at 6.5 inches in length
  • Best Smith and Wesson Revolver for home defense
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Smith & Wesson 686

  • Best S&W .357 Magnum revolver
  • Grip made from synthetic material
  • Available in six or seven-shot capacities
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Smith & Wesson 442

  • Available in various models
  • Best S&W revolver for concealed carry
  • Grip made from high-quality rubber for shock protection
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Are All Smith and Wesson Revolvers The Same?

This question gets asked a lot. And there are similar questions asked regarding other firearms and accessories. Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. The reasons being, for S&W revolvers are the following: First, some revolvers will differ in shot counts. Some will have six shots, while others will have seven or eight. Some will have wood grips, while others will be made from synthetic materials. It all comes down to these little details to prove that not every S&W revolver is the same thing.

How Do I Choose a Smith and Wesson Revolver? 

There are a lot of characteristics and features you can choose from in terms of finding the right Smith and Wesson revolver for yourself. Knowing how to make the distinction between a great revolver and one that isn't as good is key. It comes down to the following things you need to look for:

Affordability

While the price tag is something that may be a factor in your final purchasing decision, it shouldn’t be the only reason. If you must find a revolver on a budget, you should consider investing in the best quality and performance you can afford. This way, you can invest in value rather than throwing money away on something that ends up being flimsy and unreliable. 

Choose the Best Quality Possible

The best quality comes from the best materials. For example, steel and polymer are two proven materials on the market that have been linked to better grip, less damage, and overall durability. While they are high-quality materials, they should be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis so they can last a long time rather than rust and end up being ineffective.

How Many Rounds do You Need?

As mentioned, not every revolver is going to have the same amount of shots in the cylinder. You can choose five, six, or even eight shots, if you so choose. This might be a personal preference for you, but it can also depend on the application you intend to use your revolver for. A higher count can be ideal for those who intend to use their revolver for target shooting (casual or competition). 

Quick Take - The Best Smith and Wesson Revolvers

These are our recommendations for the best Smith and Wesson revolvers:

  1. Smith & Wesson 586 .357 Magnum
  2. Smith & Wesson 460V
  3. Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight w/ Internal Lock

Review of the Best Smith and Wesson Revolvers

The following is a list of the six best Smith and Wesson revolvers currently on the market. As you go through each one, it is important to note the features and characteristics so you can make an informed decision on which one stands out the most. If you find one that is close enough to the ideal description of your dream revolver, then you know you have found a winner.

Let’s take a look at the first S&W revolver on our list -- the best overall choice:

Pros

  • Solid, durable construction
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • Reliable, even through 150 rounds
  • Handles the heavy .357 loads quite well
  • Excellent for concealed carry and target shooting

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were quite happy with the revolver. Among the laundry list of things they liked were the following: easy loading, fast and smooth shooting, and concealable for EDC carry. One user said it just might be the perfect revolver for his personal needs and preferences. Furthermore, he added that he had so much fun firing it at the range while landing accurate shots from about 30 to 40 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver might just be the epitome of perfection. It’s at the perfect size and might just be made with the right kind of high-quality materials to ensure that it lasts you a long time and can handle high-stress situations like a self-defense application. In short, it’s a revolver that is built like a tank and is at a size where you can carry it in almost any holster. Plus, it’s got some serious firing power. After all, it is a .357 caliber revolver.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be an excellent concealed carry revolver. And it may be great for target shooting, as well. No matter the intended application, you’ll have a revolver that will be built for the long-term and will be reliable in a moment’s notice. If you need a .357 that can do some serious damage, while being able to stand out as the go-to revolver for almost any application, this could be yours to own.

Bottom Line

The Smith and Wesson Centerfire .357 Revolver has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it belongs on top. It’s a concealed carry user’s dream come true with great reliability, accuracy, and quality to boot. You’d be insane to pass up the opportunity to give this a closer look.

Pros

  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Superior quality, really durable
  • Simple to load by either hand or speedloader
  • Can be used for concealed carry and even varmint hunting
  • The grip provides superior control, even in bad weather conditions

Cons

  • Hammer may be a little tough to cock back
  • Trigger pull may be a little too heavy for some users
  • May be a little difficult to pull the cylinder out at first

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were looking for a revolver that could stand out as one of the best for multiple applications (and even small varmint hunting). They were not disappointed when they found this revolver to be quite effective. Not only were they able to hit their targets accurately from about 30 yards out, but they also were able to carry this revolver in their respective holsters, making it easy to conceal carry. One user was even speechless when he found out he could maintain his property and get rid of the varmint problem with a revolver, of all things (which of course, he ended up doing).

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver might just have enough power to make a strong case on why it belongs on the list. Its shooting power is tremendous and can deliver all kinds of knockdown power. So, if you are in a life and death situation or are looking to get rid of some small critters causing problems, you have a revolver that will give you a new level of confidence. You will be confident in knowing you have a revolver you can trust if push comes to shove.

Who Will Use This Most

While great for many applications, it can excel as a concealed carry revolver. Not to mention, it would be handy to keep at home in case you need to deal with a pest problem. If you live out in the country where you won’t have to worry about endangering your neighbors, you can safely get rid of the varmint problem this way. What better revolver can you find on the market that can do all that?

Bottom Line

The X-Frame Centerfire Revolver might be a worthy contender of the best overall spot in the not-so-distant future. So don’t be shocked if you see this making an ascension to the top anytime soon. But for now, you can use it to enjoy its excellent firing power and overall reliability.

Pros

  • Super-solid construction
  • Ridiculously lightweight
  • Accurate and precise shooting
  • Easy to carry, can fit in many OWB and IWB holsters
  • Great firing power, can do some serious damage

Cons

  • Recoil might be stinging in some hands
  • Some of the small parts may be susceptible to corrosion
  • A few users have questioned the potential longevity of the revolver

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were looking for an affordable Smith and Wesson revolver that would be reliable and able to fire off accurate shots, regardless of application. Needless to say, they were quite happy with the overall performance of this revolver, in general. They were able to hit smaller targets accurately from as far as 25 yards out. However, the larger targets allowed shooters to hit bullseyes set to about 40 yards.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Right off the bat, you know the measurements are perfect for concealed carry. It’s compact in size and therefore, super-easy to conceal. If you hate the idea of conceal carrying a firearm that may create some kind of bulging, you know for a fact that a smaller firearm like this revolver is the answer. If you need a replacement concealed carry firearm, this revolver might be right up your alley.

Who Will Use This Most

Simply put, it’s a great revolver for those looking for a concealed carry revolver on a budget. Even if you have enough money to play around, this revolver proves itself to be quite effective at the range (or in a life-threatening situation). So no matter the application, this revolver will be your best friend.

Bottom Line

The J-Frame Centerfire Revolver is the one revolver that won’t break the bank, nor will it disappoint you. Believe us when we tell you that this isn’t some flimsy, cheap revolver that won’t matter much in a few months. It’s built for the long-haul and will be ready for a lengthy period of reliable service when you need it most.

Best Smith and Wesson Revolver for Home Defense: 
Smith & Wesson 629

Pros

  • Great for home defense
  • Reliable and powerful shooting
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • Excellent gripping ability and very ergonomic
  • Accurate and precise from various distances

Cons

  • May be heavy for some
  • A little loud for some users
  • Not suitable for concealed carry

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were satisfied with the revolver as a whole. Not only did they get this for home defense, but they were able to test it out at the target range to find out how well it can perform. Sure enough, it was able to hit targets accurately from about 30 yards out. One user said he used this in a “run and gun” practice range and managed to hit each shot with precision and accuracy. He says he is confident that he is prepared to take on the real deal, if and when the situation were to arise.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver is one of the larger models. As expected, it’s got a bit more “oomph” in the firing side of things. And it can fire off .44 caliber shots. They are, by far, the best caliber for when you absolutely have to do some serious damage to an attacker that dares to invade your home and threaten your life. If you think this is the revolver for you, then get it for your own use. Be warned though, it’s quite loud and a bit powerful so it may not be newbie-friendly.

Who Will Use This Most

As mentioned, this may not be a newbie-friendly revolver, considering that it can be loud and a little bit heavy. So if you have had some experience with revolvers, you might be able to handle this one a bit better. If not, don’t be discouraged. But if you need a revolver that can literally stop an attacker right in their tracks, you’d be hard-pressed to find a revolver quite like this anywhere on the market.

Bottom Line

While there are a lot of S&W revolvers out there that will be great for self-defense, the 629 is perhaps one of the best for home defense. It's quite powerful and nice to have around at home. Keep it somewhere safe so you'll know where to go if you hear any suspicious noises. Home invaders or prowlers will think twice before doing anything that may result in you using this.

Best S&W .357 Magnum Revolver:
Smith & Wesson 686

Pros

  • Durability is quite solid
  • Fit and finish are excellent
  • Seriously powerful shooting
  • Stays reliable and jam-free through 150 rounds or more
  • Ergonomically-friendly. Won’t strain your hands in an extended shooting session

Cons

  • Very loud
  • Front sight can be better overall
  • Sights may need to be adjusted to ensure better accuracy

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users say that this revolver is seriously dangerous. That is if you happen to be involved in either of the following: an attacker threatening a homeowner or a small critter causing a good deal of damage to your property. They were quite amazed by the damage they did to the targets while testing this out at the range. One user said it can be quite powerful and you can feel it with every shot.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The .357 magnum is, without question, known for its ability to turn an apple into applesauce. A soft target will be seriously damaged when it comes in contact with a .357 round. But don’t expect it to be extremely messy when you shoot at a target. If you want a revolver with have a good amount of power in every shot, you’ll know this is the one you’ll want to go with.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a revolver that, once again, will be more useful to the seasoned concealed carry vets. Newbie friendly may not be the best way to describe it considering its powerful shooting. So the recoil can be a bit much. But if you have used revolvers in the past and know that you can control something like this for extended shooting periods, this revolver might just be what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson 686 Centerfire Revolver is a force to be reckoned with, regardless of the application. No attacker or small varmint will stand in the way of something this powerful. But if they so dare to do so, this revolver can deliver a stopping power like no other. If you need a revolver that will stand up to the challenge, this product will take the ball and run with it.

Best S&W Revolver for Concealed Carry:
Smith & Wesson 442

Pros

  • Super-solid construction
  • Excellent for concealed carry
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • Accurate and precise across many distances
  • Doesn’t bulge in many OWB and IWB holsters

Cons

  • Sights may need adjusting
  • May be tight to load at first

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users say this revolver is at the right size for concealed carry. They managed to keep this nice and safe in OWB and IWB holsters without any snagging issues whatsoever. Furthermore, they were pretty happy with the accuracy. The revolver managed to hit targets ranging from 25 to 35 yards out. One user said for a revolver like this, that was good enough for him.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There really isn’t much to be said, other than the fact that it’s seriously durable. So it’s built to take on high-stress situations like a self-defense application. It’s probably the best EDC carry pistol you can take with you just about anywhere. And when you’re carrying something like this all day, every day, you are well-prepared for the dangerous situations that may be threatening your life or property. Preparation matters most when it comes to danger. The question is, will you be ready?

Who Will Use This Most

This will be the perfect newbie-friendly revolver. If you have never used a revolver before or are starting out with concealed carry, this just might be the kind you need. It can do some damage, but is at the right size to conceal it discreetly and not attract any undue attention. If you need a revolver that will be at the right size for the perfect concealed carry moments, this might be your cup of coffee.

Bottom Line

The 442 J-Frame Centerfire is a great conceal carry revolver that will get you through the day and allow you to prepare for dangerous situations that may lie ahead. It’s concealable and ready when you need it most. For a revolver that can be hard-hitting and save your life in any given situation, this Smith and Wesson revolver might just go above and beyond the call of duty.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Smith and Wesson Revolver

If you invest in a quality Smith and Wesson revolver, odds are, you’ll likely enjoy the following benefits that we’ll be listing below. The last thing you’d want to do is miss out by not purchasing one. Here’s what you get out of a revolver from S&W:

Diversified Calibers

Smith and Wesson have revolvers of all kinds of calibers. So you can choose which one is best for you in terms of your intended application. If you want something that can do serious damage, there’s a caliber for that. If you want something that can hit hard and still give you tight shooting groups, a .22 caliber revolver could do you some good. 

Superior Reliability

If there is one thing that Smith and Wesson is known for, its reliability. Meaning these revolvers can come through in the clutch in the moments that matter. If you want something that will give you a leg up against your attackers in a home defense situation, a revolver will certainly rise above the call of duty, especially from a reliable brand like S&W. 

Built to Last

If you are the kind of shooter that wants a revolver that is solid and durable, you’ll be able to give Smith and Wesson revolvers the attention it deserves. That’s because every revolver they make is constructed from high-quality materials known for lasting users years or even decades. 

Conclusion

Knowing which Smith and Wesson revolver you need will come down to some time and research. Be sure to figure out why you need an S&W revolver and then find a specific model to fit your needs and preferences. Once you manage to lock one down, you’ll be amazed by what it can do, so long as you use it regularly and take the best care of it. 

People Also Ask

The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Smith and Wesson revolvers. You should use this guide to help you better understand how these revolvers work so you can make a more informed decision. Here are the following questions:

What is the Smallest Smith and Wesson Revolver?

The smallest revolver of the Smith and Wesson brand is the 442 J-Frame Centerfire. The barrel itself is measured at around two inches in length and is considered to be one of the best revolvers around in terms of concealability.

Where are Smith and Wesson Revolvers Made?

Smith and Wesson revolvers are made at the global headquarters of Springfield, Massachusetts. However, they are also made in some other parts of the United States, as well. 

What is the Most Popular Smith and Wesson Revolver?

The answer depends on the exact need and preference of the user. In terms of overall popularity, the 586 .357 magnum is considered to be one of the best. However, more concealed carry users have preferred smaller models like the 442 due to its light weight and measurements. 

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