3 inch Carry Revolver


November 16, 2010, 09:51 PM
I've been big on revolvers all my life . In fact my first two guns were Smith and Wesson Model 10 and 64 . Both had 4inch barrels and were the standard police sidearm at the time. Now I am at a point in my life where I carry my 642 more than my glock and I just want something a bit larger for my strong side carry. Can anyone reccomend a good 3 inch revolver ? I definately would like 357 but wouldnt turn down a good 38 at all. It just doesnt seem like there are many offerings out there anymore for this size revolver.

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November 16, 2010, 09:55 PM
Well I would have to say the SP101 in 357mag. I carry the 3" and it fits so well I think i'll keep it to carry forever. It is a fantastic shooter.

November 16, 2010, 09:56 PM
Ruger SP101 comes in the three inch vatiety. Security/speed sixes came in two and a half or four I believe. I have a two inch SP101 that I absolutely adore. It has become my favorite carry. I carry it whenever I can.

November 16, 2010, 09:57 PM
I very much like my 3" Ruger GP-100. It is a well made revolver and handles either 38 or 357 mag loads well.

Deaf Smith
November 16, 2010, 10:36 PM
GP-100 3 incher is one option. Finding a tight Ruger Speed Six .357 with 2 3/4 inch barrel is another.

Or a Smith&Wesson 65 3 inch .357 (and get Secret Service grips for it!)

Or a Smith 19/66 2 1/2 inch .357 ($500 if you can find a good example.) Secret Service grips are made for it to!

Or an older 2 inch Colt Lawman III revolver in .357!

And I see 2 inch Smith 64 snub .38s at gunshows alot to!

Here is a couple of mine! One is a M66 Smith, the other a Ruger Security Six 2 3/4 inch barrel .357 I turned into a Round butt design like the Smith. Both have Secret Service stocks.



November 16, 2010, 10:41 PM
Smith Model 13 (blue) or 65 (stainless). .357, 3", heavy barrel,fixed sights, round butt. I think this model used to be the FBI issue handgun. I've had a model 13 for years, excellent gun. I had a 2 1/2" model 19, I like the 13 better.

If you don't mind a bit heftier gun, there is the Smith 696 3" .44 Special, if you can find one.

November 17, 2010, 02:19 AM
The S&W 686 in the 3" variety has one big advantage over the 2 1/2" K's & L's. Full length extractor rod.

They're also usually PC or Lew Horton specials.

November 17, 2010, 02:23 AM
I carry a 3 inch GP100 with hogue grips as my woods gun. I highly recommend it.

November 17, 2010, 02:42 AM
3 Inch Model 10 ( .38 Special ) was available in a Round Butt.

Ditto, Model 13 ( .357 ).

Either one are very nice Revolvers, well suited for IWB.

November 17, 2010, 03:17 AM
3" SP101 for me.

Love that revolver, I will never sell it.

November 17, 2010, 06:00 AM
Security six in 2.75 or Taurus 605 3 in 357 . I have both and both are trouble free shooters. Carry in a Masters leather paddle for maximum comfort

November 17, 2010, 06:12 AM
No reason not to stick with police trade-ins...there's usually very little difference between them and brand new Smiths.

Okay...often they are smoother and always cheaper.

November 17, 2010, 06:23 AM
For those of you who are carrying the 3" SP101, what are you using for holsters? I've had the 3" for several months and really enjoy shooting it at the range but haven't found an IWB holster for it in my price range ($40 - $60). I won't pay $100 for a holster that I may not even like and wait months to get it.

Thaddeus Jones
November 17, 2010, 09:14 AM
The 3" 66 is the ultimate CCW revolver, IMO.

A 3" 13 or 65, or 10 or 64 will serve you well too. :)

November 17, 2010, 09:34 AM
I had an SP101 3" which I liked a lot. I carried it in a Don Hume IWB clip-on molded leather holster, and that worked great.
However, I stumbled into a S&W model 19-4 2.5" nickle, and quickly made that my carry revolver. I just liked the 6rd capacity and the adjustable sights, and it has a fantstic trigger. I like the grip better, too. I shoot it better than the SP101 easier.
Though the SP101 was a great revolver, it went up for sale shortly after I got the Model 19-4.

November 17, 2010, 09:45 AM
586 L comp 7 shot


November 17, 2010, 09:51 AM
I've always liked the long action Smiths. In particular, I would like a post-war transition model with the updated hammer block. If I found one that I didn't worry about ruining the original finish on, I'd chop it to three inches, round the butt, put on smooth boot grips, cut the hammer spur, remove the single action notch, chamfer the charge holes, and maybe parkerize it.

In my mind, that would be a terrific belt gun.

November 17, 2010, 09:51 AM
I'm actually also facing the same dilemma as the OP. I'm going to be in the market next month for a 3" revolver, which I plan to have some customization done to once I get it. I'd prefer a .357, but since I have 3 other .38's in my daily carry rotation, I'm not exactly uncomfortable with that caliber either.

I'm keen on the SP101, and when it's all said and done that's probably what I'll end up getting. But I'd like to explore some 6-shot options as well.

November 17, 2010, 09:59 AM
If you're open to the idea of some modding/smithing, buy the six shot you like and have it cut and crowned.
That way you don't have to beat the bushes for a 3" you like and can use your time and resources more productively.

November 17, 2010, 10:27 AM
By larger, I don't know if you mean frame or barrel?

If you want a J Frame, you might look at the 3" S&W M&P 340 with an XS 24/7 Tritium Night Sight with U Notch rear.

M&P 340 (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_766335_-1_757768_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y)

Or the Model 60 if you prefer adjustable sights.

Model 60 3". (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_765498_-1_757768_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y)

November 17, 2010, 10:34 AM
I like this pistol and find it to be easy to handle. As far as a holster, i like my bianci m-3 behind the back. Very comfortable except driving.can't go wrong.

Lucky Derby
November 17, 2010, 10:43 AM
S&W M13/65, M19/66(A bit hard to find in 3") M686, M60.

Ruger SP101, GP100.

I have a 3" M13 and have been looking @ a 3" GP100 lately.

Love the 3" revolvers.

November 17, 2010, 12:02 PM
wheelgunslinger, that's actually an interesting idea. 64's are inexpensive and easy to come by. You can pick up a police trade in for well under $300. Anybody got a recommendation as to who would do a good cut and crown job?

November 17, 2010, 02:00 PM
3" SP101
2.75" Speed Six

November 17, 2010, 02:14 PM
S&W model 60 J-frame. I think 60-10 up are 357/38. Best all around revolver I own,small enough for carry and 3 inch great for plinking. Lighter than the sp 101.

John Wayne
November 17, 2010, 02:37 PM
S&W model 60 Pro. 3" bbl., tritium front sight, adj. rear sight, nice wood grips, tapered underlug, full-length ejector rod, and flatter 5 shot cylinder.

S&W has a $50 rebate on them now, too.

The S&W K frame 3" are nice too but hard to find.

Dave T
November 17, 2010, 10:01 PM
If some of you folks are going to recommend guns with barrels under 3" I guess I can get away with this (smile). The ultimate revolver in the 3" range is the 3.5" Model 27 S&W. No longer made but used ones can be found, although they won't be cheep.

Mine was rescued after years of neglect that left it badly pitted. My gunsmith round butted it while he was restoring it to functional if not original condition.


This 27-2 is a great carry gun in the right holster with a good belt. Not a light weight but more controllable than smaller, lighter guns with full power magnums in the chambers.


November 17, 2010, 11:35 PM
I have never seen a Taurus 605. It seems that alot of people ar ebig fans of the sp101 I will look into it. I have to be honest though the smiths always hold a place in my heart as they were my first guns. Would Smith and Wesson put a 3 in barrel on a 4 in gun? I dont think there are many gunsmiths around my area that I'd trust.

November 18, 2010, 09:44 AM
I have a newer 686+ 7-shot 3" round butt, with MIM parts and the lock. It is a little heavy, as it has the full barrel underlug. But the trigger is very smooth and I seem to shoot it well. Full power .357 is a handfull, but mid-range .357 or 38+P are more manageable options. I have K/L frame woooden service grips on it which are small and help with concealment, but the Uncle Mike's rubber fingergrooves that came with it are going to be necessary for the stronger loads.

Sniper X
November 18, 2010, 11:04 AM
LOVE three inch revolvers for carry! I had a really nice Taurus model 88, a Nickel copy of a Smith model 66. It was a GREAT gun and one of the most accurate revolvers I have ever had....here's a pic because I'll bet you guy's have never seen one as it isn't even in gun books.


And not a 3in but my all time favorite carry revolver now...on the hip today...


Not that I would not LOVE a 3in Python, it's just that if you think a 2.5in is hard to find and expensive, a 3in is like hens teeth made of platinum!

November 18, 2010, 03:52 PM
S&W 65 Lady Smith 3" RB (if you can find one)
S&W 65 standard 3" RB
S&W 13 3" RB
S&W 681 PC 3" RB ($)
Ruger Speed Six 2.75"

All are good options. Of all my wheelguns, I prefer the 3" K frame S&Ws the best. Best of luck!

November 18, 2010, 04:26 PM
I have an ruger sp-101 in 3 inch. I carry IWB with a Ken Null holster. For your price range of $40-$60 look at a Simply Rugged sourdough pancake holster.

November 18, 2010, 08:44 PM
I have a 3" GP100 and a 3" SP101. Love them both and will serve you well as an outdoor or CCW gun.

November 18, 2010, 08:56 PM
S&W Model 60-15 Pro Series .357 magnum
Very good trigger and easy to conceal.

November 18, 2010, 09:06 PM
I guess one of my personal favorites is a blued 3 inch Model 36 Chief in .38 Special. I just keep migrating back to it,..it fits the hand like the hand shake of an old friend,..and has always been there since the first round down range.

Have had Model 13 and 65's as well,..and they were great guns. Wouldn't mind finding one to follow me home in fact,...but,..the old 3 inch Chief always takes the prize.

November 18, 2010, 09:18 PM
"For your price range of $40-$60 look at a Simply Rugged sourdough pancake holster."

+1 Just got my Simply Rugged sourdough pancake for my 2.25" SP101 in the mail today! It's very nice!

Where would be a good place to get a cut and crown on a S&W 66-7 4"?

November 19, 2010, 01:50 AM

I strongly recommend the 3" S&W K, L and N frame revolvers as being awesome with the 3" tube! Here are my three favorites:

K frame - Model 65 (or the blued version, the Model 13) Fast from the holster, fast from target to target, very accurate and easy to carry.

L frame - Model 686 (or the 586 blued version)
Beefier frame than the K frame, but the bore axis is a little higher above the hand. I prefer the sleeker, faster K frame.

N frame - Model 27 3 1/2"
Bigger, heavier gun that tames recoil better while still being fast to shoot!

And my favorite 3" barreled gun . . . a 3 1/4" custom barreled Model 25-2 in .45 Auto cartridges that are put into moon clips for the fastest reload times possible!

November 19, 2010, 04:49 AM
Here is a 3"-er L-frame no one has suggested... a 5-shooter in .44 Special!


Now, if the hard to find 696 above is not quite heavy enough, here is an N-frame to consider - albeit short at 2 5/8" barrel - the re-issued PC627 UDR - an N-frame eight-banger in .38/.357M. You can also find it in .44 Magnum as the PC629 UDR.


The 3" 60, 60 Pro, and 360NG are great smaller (J-frame) examples. The PC627 UDR is not a great amount more, dollar-wise, but a heck of a lot more in features.


November 19, 2010, 09:33 AM
Charter Arms is back operating under its original ownership (gone are the inferior days of Charco and Charter 2000), and they are re-introducing the original .44 Special Bulldog w/ 3" tapered barrel and exposed ejector. They've also go the 2.5" Bulldog Pugs. Prices are very modest (around $350) and having recently read about the Corbon 200gr DPX's short-barrel performance, it's flying pretty high on my radar at the moment.

November 19, 2010, 10:54 AM
As far as size where does the GP 100 range in comparison to Smith and Wesson is it K or L frame size? Can you still get a 3 inch model 36?

November 19, 2010, 04:31 PM
As far as size where does the GP 100 range in comparison to Smith and Wesson is it K or L frame size?
The GP100 is larger than a K frame Smith and, it seems to me, slightly larger/heavier than a L frame Smith. I don't own a GP100 but have the older Police Service Six that Ruger no longer makes. It's a wonderful revolver and similar in size to the S&W K frame. If you are looking for a 3" carry gun I would go with the S&W 65 (k frame) or the 2.75" Ruger Speed Six. Both are fantastic!

November 19, 2010, 08:35 PM
Model 60-10 reinforced J-frame 3 inch barrel. A nice carry.

November 19, 2010, 08:48 PM
My CCW is a S&W 696 44spl, I load it with Cor-Bons DPXs. It has a 3 inch barl. and is stainless. I stick it in a Galco Combat Master. This holster rides high & tigh to my side. All the knock-down power you need. I hope you can find to rent and run a few thur it. I did and fell in love.

November 19, 2010, 09:24 PM
Nice 3" S&W 65s. Here is a pic of it's blued cousin, the Model 13:



November 19, 2010, 09:36 PM
3 inch Ruger SP101
3 inch S&W Model 65

or if you can find one:

3 inch Colt Detective Special (Colt made a run of the SF-VI with a 3 inch tube too)

April 9, 2011, 09:55 PM
I carry a 3-inch S&W 642 in a IWB holster. Easy to aim and easy yo shoot:)

Waldo Pepper
April 10, 2011, 02:28 PM
My 3" carry S&W 629 Talo Special, with Rosewood grips.


Same gun with pretty wood replaced with Pachmayr Decelerator grips for carry and shooting.


Brian Williams
April 10, 2011, 02:43 PM
I really like my S&W 13 with a 3" Barrel.

April 10, 2011, 03:39 PM
I just purchased a like-new S&W M64-3 with a 3" barrel. I like it so much that the original wood grips are going into storage (to protect them), and are being replaced with a set of Crimson Trace LG-306 laser grips.


It's a little heavy at 34oz, but I've got no problem with a carry piece in .38 Special. And I like the fact that there are no adjustable sights to interfere with presenting or holstering the weapon.

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