December 14, 2021
Without getting into a .38 Special vs. 9mm debate, the 9mm Luger round is renowned for its efficiency from a short barrel, which makes it a good choice for small-frame snubnose revolvers. If your particular 9mm wheelgun uses moon clips—not all models do—reloading quickly is also considerably simplified. Let’s take a look at what revolvers are currently available in 9mm, from lowest cost to highest. All prices are manufacturer suggested retail, and you can typically find these guns for less.
1. Taurus Model 905: $406–$423
The Model 905 is a traditional five-shot, small-frame revolver just right for concealed carry. It’s got a two-inch barrel, and overall length is 6.5 inches; height and width are just 4.4 and 1.4 inches respectively. Weight is 21 ounces.
The gun can be had with a black oxide finish on the metal—steel alloy for the frame and cylinder, stainless steel for the barrel—for $406. The all-stainless version goes for $423. Grips on both are rubber, and they have fixed sights front and rear. A transfer bar prevents the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled, and the 905 features the Taurus Security System, which permits owners to lock the gun and prevent unauthorized people from firing it. The gun can be reloaded quickly with standard moon clips or Taurus’ Stellar clips. TaurusUSA.com
2. Charter Arms Pitbull: $521
The Pitbull features a dual coil spring assembly located in the extractor to make loading and ejecting 9mm rounds into its five-shot cylinder a snap. No moon clips required. snap. A 22-ounce weight, 2.2-inch barrel and neoprene grips make this snubbie about as carry-friendly it gets.
The gun features a matte, glass-bead finished stainless steel frame, and the spurred hammer is easy to operate in single-action mode. Sights include an integral rear and a no-snag fixed front. CharterFirearms.com
3. Rock Island Armory AL9.0: $599
Rock Island’s entry into the 9mm revolver market is a six-shot gun with a three-inch barrel. An all-steel gun with blued finish, it weighs 24 ounces and features an adjustable rear sight and a ramped front with red insert. The barrel is fully shrouded, which puts some weight out front—providing better control during firing. Rock Island rates the single-action trigger pull as four to 6.5 pounds, while the double-action pull ranges from 11.5 to 13 pounds. The grips are pebbled rubber for a sure grip. Moon clips are included. Armscor.com
4. Taurus Model 692: 639–$777
Let’s hear it for the double-action convertible cylinder system! This Taurus medium-frame series is a .357 Magnum/.38 Special that offers a spare 9mm cylinder option. Of the three barrel lengths, the 2.5- and three-inchers will most appeal to those who want to carry the gun concealed. Both versions are available with black oxide finished steel alloy or matte stainless. In the 2.5-inch length, prices are $639 for black oxide and $692 for stainless. The three-inch gun carries prices of $718 in the black oxide and $777 in the stainless.
The 692 has a seven-round capacity, and the rear sight is fully adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of loads. The three-inch version weighs 35 ounces while the 2.5-incher is three ounces lighter. Height and width for both versions are 5.7 and 1.5 inches respectively. Full barrel shrouds put more weight out front for better control, and the three-inch versions have ported barrels for reduced muzzle rise. Taurus’ excellent Ribber grips tame recoil come standard.
The 692 has a transfer bar safety that prevents the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled. The gun comes with the firm’s Stellar clips but will also take standard moon clips. TaurusUSA.com
5. Ruger LCR, LCRx: $809
This revolutionary revolver is built right for concealed carry. It has a five-shot capacity, but what really sets this gun apart is its polymer fire-control housing—which reduces weight and also helps reduce recoil. And that’s key because this gun is light at just 17.2 ounces with its 1.87-inch barrel. Hogue Tamer Monogrips also help make this a comfortable gun to shoot. The grips are peg-style and they too can be easily replaced.
The stainless steel cylinder has a PVD finish that will stand up to daily carry wear and tear, and it is extensively fluted to further reduce weight. A friction-reducing cam in the fire-control system provides a super smooth, non-stacking trigger pull, which helps with practical accuracy. Sights include a notched topstrap rear, and the white-bar front sight is pinned and is easily replaceable.
It’s available as a double-action only (LCR, shown) or as a double-action/single-action gun (LCRx). Both are priced the same and come with three moon clips. Ruger.com
6. Ruger SP101: $859
This solid, dependable revolver has been a mainstay of Ruger’s double-action revolver line for a long time. Now it can be had in 9mm, making it a great choice for concealed carry. It sports a 2.25-inch barrel, which makes for easy carry, and while it’s not a lightweight at 25 ounces due to its all stainless steel construction, it’s certainly not too weighty to serve as a carry gun.
And that weight makes it comfortable to shoot—a characteristic further aided by black rubber grips with a synthetic insert for full coverage on the grip. No exposed metal to sting your palm. If for some reason you want to change them out, they’re easily removed and swapped with a variety of custom grips.
Its transfer bar safety mechanism means the gun can’t fire unless the trigger is pulled, and it has a triple locking cylinder for positive chamber alignment and dependable operation. The SP101 has an integral rear sight and a black ramp front sight. It comes with three moon clips. Ruger.com
7. S&W Performance Center Model 986: $1,149
Hefty yet compact for concealed carry, this handsome 2.5-inch barreled L frame has a seven-shot capacity. The barrel and frame are stainless steel, and the unfluted cylinder is titanium—which helps keep the weight of this gun at just 31.4 ounces. Overall length is 7.5 inches.
Performance Center guns come in for hand fitting and extra tuning on the action, making them extra smooth shooting in double action. The barrel is custom, with a recessed precision crown. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and the front sight is ramped with a red insert. The package is set off with handsome custom wood grips, and the PC Model 986 comes with moon clips. Smith-Wesson.com
8. Korth Carry Special: $5,098 (with optional 9mm cylinder)
This crème de la crème of carry 9mm wheelguns is available through Nighthawk Custom. The base gun is a .357/.38, but within seconds you can switch to the optional 9mm cylinder (a $1,399 upgrade that brings total cost to just over $5K). This six-shot cylinder has its own ejection system and doesn’t require moon clips.
Every part on the Carry Special has been machined from billet steel and given a DLC coating—a premium finish that’s super slick for smooth operation and highly resistant to scratches. The 416R stainless steel barrel is cold hammer forged for excellent accuracy.
The gun weighs in around 34 ounces. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and the front is a fixed post. The Hogue grips have been slimmed down for a smaller, easier to conceal profile. NighthawkCustom.com