Best Revolver – S&W vs. Ruger

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The revolver has been an American icon since the handgun was invented. It predates all of the fancy semi auto handguns, and has an aura of style that is hard to match. Their design is simple, clean and classic, which makes revolvers the most reliable and accurate guns available. They are simply a cylinder with 5-6 chambers for bullets that rotates to load a new bullet into the chamber area. Their actions are simple, and have made them the go-to gun for many people. They were initially made famous from their use as the standard side-arm for hundreds of year, in military use, cowboy westerns, concealed carry and about every other area of life. Clint Eastwood made the Smith and Wesson Model 29 and the .44 Mag Round famous in the Dirty Harry Series. But today, what can be considered to be all around the Best Revolver?

This was judged by three categories; reputation, price and construction. It was an extremely close competition between the Smith and Wesson Revolver (medium frame) and the Ruger GP100 Revolver. It usually comes down to personal preference, but in the end, we crowned the Ruger GP100 Revolver as the Best Revolver.


In this category, the Smith and Wesson Revolvers actually won. You simply can’t beat the Smith and Wesson name in the world of revolvers. They are the biggest gun manufacturer in the Untied States, and have been around for over 150 years. Ruger comes close in this category, but because of the tremendous name and popularity of Smith and Wesson in the United States, we had to give it to them.


This section is where the Ruger GP100 took back the lead. Ruger revolvers are significantly cheaper than their Smith and Wesson counterparts, usually by about 15-30%. That makes a huge difference for most gun buyers. Is it really worth that extra hundred bucks or so on a $450 gun to upgrade in name and reputation? In my opinion they are both very similar guns, and so for the price, it would make more sense to go with the Ruger.


The last section ended up being the deciding factor for this competition. From everything I’ve read, the Ruger revolvers are a little more solid construction and are made with better metal than the Smith and Wesson Revolvers. I know many people will stand behind their S&W’s fervently, but the Ruger will win in this category.

Our Choice for the Best Revolver

The bottom line is that the Ruger GP100 is the Best Revolver out there. It’s an amazingly durable and reliable gun, and for the price is your best option to get. The Smith and Wesson Revolver are absolutely amazing guns also, but for the price and day-in, day-out shooting, I’ve chosen the Ruger as the champion.

7 Responses to “Best Revolver – S&W vs. Ruger”

  1. Leonard Fashoway

    I am a total S&W fan, since 1964, and prefer to use a K-22 for NRA basic firearms training in my Michigan CPL classes, since 2002. I once had a student with a Ruger 38 Spl, and a box of brand-new ammunition. His first load was causing a problem, he apparently could not close the cylinder. It was locked up, partially closed, unable to either fire, or even open easily.

    He struggled and struggled, the line finished firing, he still could not close or open the mechanism. I took over, and also failed. One cartridge (not just the “bullet”!) had its rim formed too thick, and it caused the hangup. I measured the rim thickness on my dial indicator stand at home, and it was 0.003 inches too thick, a problem at the ammo factory.

    I fit my own S&W just fine.

    Other than that, I sense that the Ruger trigger pull is not as smooth as my S&W. I specialize in revolvers for initial training because it FORCES the student to learn to totally control the trigger, not just jerk away.

    Three days ago I happened to meet a lady who just bought a tiny Ruger 380 for defense, because it was nice and very small. Wonderful reason for choosing a handgun. She never yet fired it and wanted some advice. After trying it out for a while, I let her try my (also tiny) S&W 442 Airweight 5-shot, and she instantly liked the trigger better. Now she wants to try to exchange hers, good luck!

    Even worse, now she has to get used to the frequent smell of oil and gun solvent, to keep the thing pristine clean. It is a blowback design, so WILL it always fire?

    I qualified annually (26 times) with a S&W Model 10 in a major police department, and never had a failure. I used a well-worn S&W 1955 Target (chambered for 45 AutoRim, but loading 45 Auto) for both on-duty and also for the centerfire stage in department pistol team twice-weekly training and competition, never a failure, and filled a small box with first-place trophies to boot.

    Unrelated, but true, when i was ordered to change to a 40 cal Glock 22, it was the FIRST one in the entire department to fail on the transition course.

  2. Gerald

    I own a Ruger Security Six 357. It is a great shooting, accurate revolver.

  3. tito bravo

    right ruger is the best revolver out hter

    • Johnny Wallace

      This is one of the best articles regarding revolvers vs revolvers. Rugers are American made and are built to last. Colt and smith and Wesson are nothing but names at a higher price. Ruger guns built for Americans and a great price every man and woman can afford. Rugers are built like tanks.

  4. smoke

    I’d say that generally speaking, it’s hard to argue with your choice of the GP-100 & for all the reasons you

    mentioned. However, I would just add that my personal preference would be it’s “baby brother”, the SP 101

    ( 4.2″ barrel ) 357 magnum, 5 shot cylinder. I have only 1 round less……but at 3/4 pound less WEIGHT.

    I find WEIGHT to be a more significant consideration regarding firearms as I get older……going forward.

  5. John Heller

    I own 25 Smith&Wesson revolvers, and I also own 27 Ruger revolvers and I agree hands down that the Ruger is a better made gun and shoots cleaner than the S&W every time.

  6. jim warrington

    Hands down rugers GP 100 and Blackhawk are the best handguns out
    on the market today.


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