Mike Adams

In my last column, I recommended several semi-automatic handguns along with commentary about the potential uses of each. I did this because so many readers asked for specific advice about pistol purchases. But, just in case there is any confusion, I have never suggested that a person’s first handgun should be a pistol. In fact, I believe everyone should own a revolver first.

In today’s column, I offer my suggestions for revolvers in various calibers. These recommendations are presented roughly in order from the first revolver one will need to the last revolver one might need or, in my case, simply want. Many readers will start a collection at the top of this list and stop somewhere in the middle after their basic needs are covered. Again, I hope the following recommendations are helpful:

Ruger 22 long rifle/22 magnum single action revolver. I hope everyone reading this column will agree that every shooter needs at least one single-action revolver. I selected this one first because a) I believe that shot discipline must be instilled beginning with the first gun purchase, and b) the first revolver should be capable of delivering .22 long rifle (LR) cartridges.

The .22 LR is a cheap, accurate round that allows a person to get comfortable shooting before moving up to the more powerful cartridges. By simply changing out the extra cylinder that comes with this Ruger shooters can step up to the .22 magnum (Mag), which travels about 700 feet per second faster than the .22 LR. This round has just enough power to stop rabid little varmints in their tracks. In other words, you might want to enjoy this one in woods, not just at the range.  

Smith and Wesson Model 686 .357 Magnum. This is an easy choice as far as I’m concerned. The .357 Magnum is a good round for security needs. It also fires the more affordable 38 Special rounds for use at the target range. Finally, it’s not a bad sidearm for hunters to carry in the woods. The four-inch barrel is best for most uses although someone seeking a .357 carry weapon should look into the Model 640 snubnose.  

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.