The 9mm revolver is becoming more popular amongst weekend shooters and those that prefer a short-barreled revolver, but want slightly improved ballistics over a .38 Special round. On average, a 9mm round travels at an additional 100 fps over a similarly grained .38 Special round. In this article, we will examine the benefits of a 9mm revolver and compare four models.

What Is The 9mm Revolver?


The 9mm revolver has been around for some time. Nearly 50 years ago, some gun manufacturers built “convertible” revolvers such as the Ruger .357 Magnum Blackhawk. These firearms came with an extra cylinder designed to use the 9mm Parabellum round. Now, however, manufacturers are producing revolvers that are specifically designed to use 9mm ammunition.

The biggest attraction for most to a 9mm revolver is the ammunition. The 9x19 round is one of the most popular rounds in production today and is much easier to find and cheaper than a .38 Special round. Also, for those enthusiasts that like to carry both a semi-automatic and a revolver; the 9mm revolver is a good choice because the ammunition can be used interchangeably.    


The Ruger SP101  


The Ruger SP101 has been in production since 1989 as a smaller frame companion to the SP100. These two models replaced the Ruger Security Six model. The Sp101 is available in .22 LR, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9x19mm, and for a time was available for use with the .32 H&R Magnum round which has since been discontinued. The 9mm version of the SP101 was introduced around that time frame but was eventually discontinued in 1998. However, Ruger has resumed production of the 9mm version is early 2018.    

The 9mm revolver version of the Ruger SP101 has a 2 ¼ inch barrel and weighs 25 ounces. This firearm is a high-quality snub nose design. The grip is black rubber or black synthetic, and the body is constructed from stainless steel. The Ruger SP101 9mm revolver has a total length of 7.2 inches and features a black ramp front sight integral rear sight, and it uses a moon clip with a five round capacity.  


Pricing  


The Ruger SP101 9mm revolver is priced in the $700-$750 range.  


How It Compares


We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.    

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 986

Taurus 905SS2

Chiappa Charging Rhino 60DS

 


Ruger SP101

ruger sp101


Price


Ruger finds the sweet spot between value and quality with this 9mm revolver. The price tag is quite reasonable for this type of firearm and is a great value considering the quality design.

Ease of Use    

                       

The Ruger SP101 9mm revolver is very easy to use. The 9mm revolver ships with 3 full moon clips that also serve as a speed loader and aid in removal of the spent rounds.  


Assembly Time    

                

The Ruger SP101 is very easy to assemble and the takedown of integrated subassemblies requires no special tools. Also, the patented grip frame can easily accommodate a variety of custom grips.


Design Quality     

                 

The SP101 features a triple-locking cylinder that is locked into the frame at the front, rear, and bottom for more positive alignment and dependable operation shot after shot. Also, the grip has no exposed metal in the back strap making it extremely comfortable.

 

Warranty    

                         

Ruger, like many firearm manufacturers, has elected not to provide a written warranty. However, Sturm, Ruger, & Company has an excellent reputation for customer service and will go to great lengths to ensure customer satisfaction including repairs and modifications to their products when necessary.

PROS

  • Patented transfer bar mechanism provides security against accidental discharge
  • Lightweight
  • 2 ¼ inch barrel design makes it ideal for concealed carry

CONS

  • 2 ¼ inch barrel design makes it ideal for concealed carry
  • Lack of a written warranty



Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 986

smith and wesson performance center model 986


Features

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 986 is a double action 9mm revolver that features a 2.5-inch barrel and L frame design. The model 986 is made of stainless steel with a titanium cylinder. The grip is custom wood that features finger grooves. The firearm weighs 31.7 ounces and has a total length of 7.5 inches. The cylinder has a capacity of 7 rounds and comes with two full moon clips.


Price    

The price of this revolver reflects the high-quality construction and performance that the Smith & Wesson Company is known for. The Performance Center Models are a higher-end product.


Ease of Use     

                      

The full moon clips make loading and unloading of rounds a breeze and the adjustable rear sight and orange ramp front sight makes a great sight picture. The 7 round cylinder makes shooting at the range more convenient.


Assembly Time     

                

The model 986 9mm revolver requires very little assembly time aside from reloading the moon clips with new rounds. The clips included with the firearm can be difficult to unload and sometimes will require the use of pliers.  


Design Quality  

                  

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center 986 is made of high-quality materials and S & W is well known for reliability. The firearm can be fired as both a single action double action mode. The performance center brand is a custom division within the Smith & Wesson Company that is well known for making good designs better.  


Warranty          

                   

The Smith & Wesson Company does not have a written warranty due to legal implications related to firearms. However, a written lifetime service policy is included with every Smith & Wesson firearm.

PROS

  • High-quality design
  • 7 round capacity makes less frequent reloading a reality
  • The custom wood grip is comfortable and stylish

CONS

  • The full moon clips are somewhat cumbersome to unload and reload with new rounds
  • At $1100-$1150, the Performance Center Model is very pricey



Taurus 905SS2

taurus 905ss2


Features

The Taurus 905SS2 9mm revolver features a steel body with a hard rubber grip. The barrel is 2 inches long, and the overall length is 6 ½ inches. The cylinder capacity is five rounds and moon clips are required. The front sight is a serrated ramp and the rear sight is a notch at the rear of the top strap. The total weight is 22.2 ounces and is available in a blue or stainless steel finish.


Price                 

This is the least expensive of the revolvers on our list. This model feels as if it’s a stock model as it has hard rubber grips and non-adjustable sights.


Ease of Use        

                    

This revolver functions extremely well. The sights are very basic and all shots are double action unless the operator pulls the hammer back. The pull of the hammer is somewhat heavy but very smooth.


Assembly Time    

                

This 9mm revolver does not require much in the way of assembly. The five-round moon clips are a little more work than anticipated to reload but serve as a speed loader when prepared ahead of time for a range session.


Design Quality     

               

The Taurus 905SS2 is well constructed but could use more finishing touches. In many test models, the hard rubber grip is not completely matted and the sights are very basic and not adjustable. Also, the hard rubber grip does little to absorb recoil like a softer rubber grip would.


Warranty      

                         

The Taurus Company does not have a written warranty, but has an excellent reputation for customer service and will typically make any necessary repairs quickly.

PROS

  • The least expensive revolver we reviewed
  • Basic construction makes for ease of use
  • Dual action or single action

CONS

  • Hard rubber grip
  • Lack of a written warranty or service agreement
  • Non-adjustable sights



Chiappa Charging Rhino 60DS

chiappa charging rhino 60ds


Features

The Chiappa Charging Rhino is the natural evolution of the legendary Chiappa Rhino revolver. Developed for competition shooting, the Charging Rhino features a 6-inch barrel and a total length of 10 ½ inches. The total weight is 2 lbs. The Charging Rhino 60DS has a six-round capacity and uses moon clips and fixed fiber optic front sight. The rear sight is green fiber optic and is adjustable. Also, the Charging Rhino is constructed from lightweight stainless steel and features a choice medium walnut or gray laminate grips.  


Price                 

The Chiappa Charging Rhino 60DS is the most expensive 9mm revolver that we reviewed. With that said, this firearm is specifically designed for competitive shooting. The 6-inch barrel length makes the application of this firearm somewhat limited.


Ease of Use  

                         

The Charging Rhino is very easy to use. The double action revolver makes for a very smooth hammer pull. The bottom barrel, upper rail support, and long snout kept the jarring and snapping to a minimum. This firearm features a 6 round capacity and uses moon clips that also serve as a speed loader.  


Assembly Time    

                 

The Charging Rhino 60DS requires very little assembly and is easy to disassemble and clean. The 6 round moon clips make reloading the revolver a breeze, however, removing spent rounds from the clip is somewhat time-consuming. In some cases, a pair of needle-nose pliers makes is necessary to remove spent rounds from the clip.

  

Design Quality    

                  

The Charging Rhino 60DS is of very high-quality design. This pistol is designed and manufactured with the competition shooter in mind. The pistol is designed with a bottom barrel and upper rail that minimizes the effects of recoil. Also, the high-end fiber optic sights make aiming a breeze. The medium walnut custom grip is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. Also, this firearm is relatively lightweight at 2 lbs considering the 6-inch barrel length and 10 ½ inch length overall.


Warranty           

                  

This is where the Charging Rhino 60DS stands out from the others on our list. The manufacturer (Armi Sport) provides a written warranty which guarantees to correct any structural or project defect without time limit. Also, parts are covered for one year from the initial date of purchase for defects. This warranty does not cover parts that have experienced normal wear.  

PROS

  • High-quality materials
  • 6 inch barrel length makes the revolver more accurate from a greater distance
  • Bottom barrel design limits snapping and jarring

CONS

  • Cost; this is the most expensive model on our list
  • The design and barrel length make its application limited to competitive shooting
  • The moon clips included can be difficult to unload


Conclusion


The 9mm revolver has seen an uptick in interest and demand as of late. For many, the biggest reason is the ammunition. The 9x19mm round is the most popular round of ammunition in production, and can usually be purchased for half the price of a .38 Special round. The ballistics are similar to or slightly improved when compared to the .38 Special round.    

The Ruger SP101 is a very popular model firearm from one of the most well-respected gun manufacturers in the world. The SP101 9mm version is perfect for those that like the snub nose design most commonly associated with the .38 Special. This design with its 2 ¼ inch barrel makes it ideal for a concealed carry firearm. The Sp101 9mm has a five round cylinder and ships with 3 moon clips. The effective range of the SP101 is 30 to 50 meters with a maximum range of approximately 500 meters. However, this firearm has been designed with self-defense in mind and is most effective at short range.

This model is compact and lightweight. The Ruger SP101 is made of high-quality stainless steel with a soft rubber grip or composite grip. The transfer bar is connected directly to the trigger which provides additional security against accidental discharge, and the firing pin is mounted in the frame.

The Ruger SP101 meets the sweet spot between quality and value. The high-quality construction, performance, and price make this the ideal choice for someone looking to purchase a 9mm revolver.  

Overall Rating: