Snubnosed revolver

A snubnosed revolver has a barrel length of 3 inches (76.2 mm) or less. The design sacrifices power and range for maneuverability and concealment. Its popularity was temporarily overshadowed with the wide-scale availability of compact semi-automatic pistols in the 1980s and their gradual adoption by police in the 1990s.[1]

History and use

The first snubnosed revolver were the various "Sheriff's Model", "Shopkeeper Special", and "Banker Special" versions of the Colt Single Action Army revolver made by Colt, in the 19th Century.[2]

Two developments resulted in a resurgence in popularity of these revolvers in the United States starting in the mid-1990s. First, the passage of Right to Carry laws in various states created new markets for reliable, concealed carry firearms. Second, the passage of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban limited the availability of pistol magazines holding more than 10 rounds, thus reducing the advantages of the "Wonder Nine" pistols normally capable of holding 15 or more rounds. These are in addition to the advantages of simplicity and reliability common to revolvers.

The increased demand for snubnosed revolvers has been met with the introduction of numerous new models from Smith & Wesson, Taurus and others. While some were made of traditional carbon steel, stainless steel, and lightweight aluminum alloys that had been in use for decades, many of the new models used high-strength, lightweight metal alloys such as titanium and scandium. More recently even polymer frames have been used.

Popular snubnosed revolvers

.38 Special

.357 Magnum

.44 Special


  1. Sweeney, Patrick (2007-12-24). Gun Digest Book of Ruger Pistols and Revolvers. Gun Digest. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-89689-472-3.
  2. Adler, Dennis (2008). Colt Single Action: From Patersons to Peacemakers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-7858-2305-6.

External links

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