Revolvers and automatics used to be distinctly different in a lot of ways, from actions to feeding systems, to the rounds fired. Revolvers have traditionally used rounds with longer, rimmed cases. Revolvers also have the distinction of firing the most powerful handgun cartridges out there. There are a few exceptions, of course. Weapons like Desert Eagle and the Coonan series of 1911s are capable of firing .357 Magnum, .44 magnum and even .50 AE.
However, one thing you rarely hear about is a revolver chambered in an automatic cartridge. A revolver chambered in an automatic cartridge doesn’t look as impressive as a Desert Eagle chambered in .44 magnum on the big screen, so the revolver in an auto cartridge has never reached the same popularity as a magnum in an automatic.
They have been around for a long time though, and they have more than proven themselves when necessary. They have filled small niches and developed a slight cult following. The next few guns are some of my favorite revolvers, and they just happen to be chambered in an automatic cartridge.
1. Charter Arms Pit Bull
When you ask what is the point of a revolver in an automatic cartridge, the Charter Arms Pit Bull is a live-fire example of why the concept works. The Pit Bull is chambered in the .40 S&W, a popular and powerful cartridge and the smaller 9mm, a lighter recoiling round.
The design is unique and uses a dual coil spring assembly in the extractor to retain and extract the automatic and rimless round. The Pit Bull has a 5-shot capacity and has a barrel length of a little over two inches. This makes the Pit Bull a very compact package for concealed carry.
Now the first use for the Pit Bull would be for a backup for a full-sized fighting pistol. The .40 S&W is one of the most popular rounds used by American police. That’s not to say they aren’t popular with civilian shooters as well. If your main handgun goes down you can immediately switch to the Pit Bull and continue the fight, and you don’t have to carry two types of ammo.
When it comes to reloading, you can even use the magazines to reload a little faster in an odd way. Using your thumb, you push the rounds from the magazine and into the chambers. This is much easier than digging for loose rounds in your pocket, and keeps the rounds organized.
Besides a backup, it can be a plenty potent concealed carry handgun. For those who like revolvers but want something more potent than the .38 special but not as harsh as the .357 magnum (or as expensive), the .40 S&W is a great in-between bullet for the two rounds.
The weapon comes in at a light weight of 20 ounces. The grips provided fill the hand quite nicely and are larger than most snub-nosed grips. These provided you a very firm grip and make shooting the potent .40 S&W quite enjoyable and quite controllable. Charter Arms has really outdone themselves with this little Pit Bull.
2. Taurus Model 905
Taurus is a company that became famous producing cheaper Beretta and Smith and Wesson clones. These days though they have begun producing a variety of their own designs, including polymer frame automatic pistols, revolvers like the Judge, and now the Taurus 905.
The Taurus 905 is an incredibly compact, lightweight, 9mm revolver. The capability for using this weapon as a backup is the same as using the Charter arms Pitbull. Plenty of police forces still utilize the 9mm round, and the 9mm is also one of the most popular rounds for civilians. The 9mm is very comfortable to fire, especially from the short snub-nose barrel the 905 features.
Now why would a civilian choose this as his or her main concealed carry weapon? Especially when ballistics are considered, the .38 special is very similar. Why choose a 9mm revolver that requires moon clips to load? Well, as matter of fact, moon clips make extraction easier, but are not required to safely fire 9mm rounds in the 905. This makes loading the weapon in a pinch quite possible.
Also, the 9mm is so common you can find vast varieties of different loads from tons of different companies. You can find more options for 9mm than the .38 special any day. For example, my local big box retail store carries one brand of .38 special, and four brands of 9mm, in three different weights, and in both full-metal jacket and hollow point. 9mm is also considerably cheaper.
The 905 features comfortable rubber grips. The sight is small enough to prevent snagging. The 905 is built on a J frame, so it’s quite concealable. It’s an excellent revolver, which fits both the role of a concealed carry weapon and back up handgun.
3. Smith and Wesson Model 610
The old 10mm round never got the respect it deserved. There was a very brief fad featuring this round, with the FBI adopting it and numerous companies producing automatic handguns for it. The round eventually fizzled out. The FBI dropped it, but it retained a cult following. The 10 mm is substantially more powerful than its little brother the .40 S&W.