Anyone else wish they made a smaller Revolver??

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Jun 7, 2004
I've got J-frame Airweights, and now a Ruger LCR, and yes I realize they will fit in your front pocket (I have a Kramer pocket holster). But lets face it, they are still fairly larger than say a Ruger LCP, Kel Tec P32/P3AT/PF-9, Seecamp, Kahr P380, etc. I've also owned many small pocket autos, and while they had been good as far as reliability, none of them were without malfunctions. My revolvers have always been 100% reliable.

I would LOVE for say S&W, or Ruger to make a 5-shot revolver smaller than a J frame, but larger than a NAA Mini. If it was a 5-shot 32 H&R mag the cylinder would be about 1" in width across, and you would still get decent power. The cylinder could be steel, and the frame aluminum (or even polymer now), and it would probably only weigh around 9-12 ozs. The cylinder could also be shorter than a 38 special cylinder, and that would significant considering that S&W uses a 357 length cylinder for all its J-frames.

Perhaps the gun's maker could even make & sell ammo for it, say a 100 grain JHP or wadcutter style for defense, and a 85 grain for the range. The grip could be either the same size as a J-frame, or just a hair smaller, with larger after market grips available. Make the barrel anywhere from 1 inch to 1 3/4 inch. Pinned front sight, with a deep U-cut rear sight style.

This would truly be something different than is currently out there as far as small frame revolvers, and would directly compete with the small pocket 32s and 380s. You'd have "5 for sure", and considering the 380's all pretty much have 6+1, that isn't a big difference. Plus on paper, the 32 H&R magnum edges out .380 auto round as far as energy.

I've pretty much given up on small pocket autos. Seems like unless you move up to Glock 26 size for a small auto, you don't get that reliability. I'm just gonna have to make it work with my LCR/J-frames, and NAA Pug.
Due to the required geometry of the cylinder, there's a finite size down below which you either can't go, or you get into diminishing returns.
Making a one inch cylinder starts getting into strength issues.

About the smallest DA revolver made was/is the Charter Arms versions.
Going much smaller than that and you start having problems with controlling the gun or keeping a solid, shooting grip.
While it sounds sort of appealing, I think there are a few things holding the concept back:

.32 caliber guns have not really been big sellers. The .327 Federal Mag offers some promise for those that like this size round, but I doubt it could be put into a revolver as small as you're talking about.

The .380 Auto in a Kel-Tec sized pistol has an advantage over the .38 Special snub only in the areas of capacity and external dimensons (some may prefer the trigger too). The .38 Special round is superior to the .380. If you make the revolver smaller, it may be the same size as a P3AT, but it will no longer be more powerful. It will also hold less ammunition.

The trigger on revolvers is compromised to a great extent when you get into pocket-sized guns. Many people have a hard time getting used to the J-frame trigger, and making the revolver smaller will result in a harder trigger pull. You can have an SA option, but for pocket carry it's not as practical (and often still sucks).

I traded a P3AT for a S&W 442 a while back for the reasons you mentioned. The Kel-Tec was appealing, but I realized that the 442 was the smallest gun I could shoot well, that also had a decent amount of stopping power. For me, it was the best compromise.
There ARE smaller revolvers. NAA makes the .22lr and .22mag single actions.
I don't own one, and would not carry one for SD.
I just wanted to point out that smaller revolvers (that are still actual, regular shootable guns; not like the Swiss minigun) than the j-frame exist.
A revolver smaller than a Model 60 (especially the Scandium models) would be pointless. What in the world could one possibly get out of it that they can't get out of the already small revolvers? The tiny NAA .22s are nothing more than toys for guys who haven't grown up (like me). There's a part of most of us that hearkens back to the days when we sat around playing with the tiny guns our parents bought us. (One of my favorites was the Golden Guns German Lugars, made by Marx. It came with a plastic holster and was great.) But in the real world, there's a fine line between practicality and fun. I'll always love my Beretta .25 pocket pistols because they sat right in between. They're small enough that they still feel like toys and pack enough punch to still make bad guys take notice.

Revolvers, especially, require tight tolerances, which can be expensive. Bore size, throat size, chamber dimensions, etc., all require attention to detail.


How different is this childhood gun from the gun below...except
in price?



This Swiss Mini-Gun actually fires real bullets. Yet what practical value
does it really have? None. It's just a toy. The 2.34mm rimfire ammunition
puts out a measly 0.97 joule of energy. That is significantly less than
most BB guns or air rifles. It's available in stainless or gold. See it fire

The Swiss Mini-Gun is only about $6,000, and ammo is only a little more expensive than .44 magnum ammo...okay...a lot more...about nine dollars each round.
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About the smallest gun I've seen outside something just plain tiny, like the NAA guns, are the old Colt .32 Police Positive and Detective Special revolvers.
Something the size of the Old S&W Safety Hammerless New Departure (lemon Squeezer) double action .32 would be nice.

These are a fair amount smaller than a J frame, and truly disapear in a pocket. That would be a nice middle ground between the NAA and J frames. With modern metallurgy, I'd bet it could be made to handle at least the .32 H&R Magnum round, and that would be a great alternative to the small pocket .32 auto's and .380's IMO.
About the smallest gun I've seen outside something just plain tiny, like the NAA guns, are the old Colt .32 Police Positive and Detective Special revolvers.

I believe you are thinking of the Pocket Positive, and probalby the I frame S&W's as well.
How about an update of the 7-shot .22 long M frame "ladysmith", in a six-shot .22 mag centennial airweight version?

Hotcakes, I'm telling ya... and with today's metals it would make it into the 10 oz-ish class...


here's another look at the M versus J's (M in upper left):


Imagine that as a 10 oz, round butt hammerless with a 2 1/4 inch tube on it...

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You guys have some good points. I wasn't thinking about making a really small revolver, just a little bit smaller to be competitive with the wave of small pocket autos. About the size of an old S&W I frame, or just a hair smaller than that would be best.

I do have a NAA Mini PUG, and I can keep the shots on a paper plate at about 10-15 feet, and thats all the gun is intended for. For most clothing I can carry the LCR or J-frame, but it would be nice to have a smaller revlover for times when I need to pocket carry in khakis or dress pants.

SIDHESHOOTER- I like your idea a lot, especially if they could figure out a way to not make the trigger pull horrible, which is usually what happens with rimfires
almost small revolvers

The S&W model 586L comp. is not sized the same as the smaller autos as you mentioned, but is a good size. Pricey though.

As are the Ruger SP101's. Good, that is.

And I just admire the S&W 696, 44 spl. revolver, though it is outrageously too expensive to buy on line now.

How about the Charter Arms bulldog?
Years ago S&W did make a revolver with a smaller frame than the J frame in .22 lr. That same revolver could today be made in .32 ACP. For me I use the keltec in .32 or .380. A .380 keltec is very close to the .36 navy in terminal effect. Wild Bill Hickok used the .36 navy for his gunfighting with effectiveness. The down side of smaller keltecs is being able to aim them well. But that limitation also applies to the charter arms .38 spl which is about as small a .38 that you can get. Try shooting a stainless steel charter arms under dim light and still hit something at any distance beyond 21 feet,
I've got a top break 5 shot .32s&W HR revolver that I'd carry if it was chambered in something more substantial. There's no reason with modern metallurgy that you shouldn't be able to duplicate that gun.
I would love it if Ruger would bring out a 5-shot LCR chambered in .327. I believe it could be made a little smaller then the current .38SPL version, while still retaining it's strength.
I hear ya. Glock 26 is as small as I'll go as far as autos are concerned (tried smaller with bad results). Usually I carry my J-frame, but when I can't, the NAA Black Widow is my pocket gun. Five for sure, .22 magnum. Beats an unreliable .380 as far as I'm concerned.

Best regards
I wish S&W would bring back the I-frame. Especially if they could chamber it for something like .38 Special with a short cylinder for wadcutters. (.38 Super might be interesting)
Grant Cunningham in his blog sometime back had the following to say on the subject:

"A gentleman wrote in asking about small backup revolvers - that is, a revolver to carry as a backup to a primary revolver.

I know that many people carry their primary gun on their hip, with a lightweight (aluminum, titanium, scandium) wheelgun in an ankle holster, and I know a couple of folks who carry a S&W "J" frame in a front pants pocket as a second gun.

This is not what the writer had in mind, though. He was thinking of a very small (smaller than a "J" frame) "subcompact" revolver for a second gun, in the same way that there are subcompact autoloaders (Seecamp, Kel-Tec, etc.) to serve as backups to a larger autoloader. Sadly, the market in this case is pretty limited.

The only one that comes quickly to mind is the North American Arms "Mini" revolver in .22LR and .22WMR. (The Magnum, of course, would be a better choice than the Long Rifle, ballistically speaking.) The trouble with these guns is that 1) I've never seen one that could be even charitably referred to as reliable, and 2) they are harder than heck to even keep on an IDPA target at 7 feet, let alone be assured of a solid hit in the vitals.

Beyond that there are only the much larger S&W "J" frame guns (and the Taurus equivalents, though I'm not wild about them.) However, there may be a "blast from the past" that is worth considering: the Colt Pocket Positive. Never heard of it? Well, you're in for a treat!

The Pocket Positive was nothing more than a scaled-down "D" frame (Detective Special, etc.) After all, the "D" frame was just a scaled down "E" frame (Official Police, etc.) so why not go even smaller? The Pocket Positive was a tiny little gun - considerably smaller than even a "J" frame. (A cylinder on the Colt measures 1.240", while the "J" frame comes in at 1.310". What really makes the difference, though, is the frame - the Pocket Positive is a tiny, almost jewel-like gun, noticeably smaller than the popular "J".) The action is, as noted, of normal Colt design, and should smooth up as nicely as its bigger brothers.

The Pocket Positive was most commonly chambered in the .32 Colt Police round, aka the .32 S&W Long. Now the .32 S&W round isn't terribly powerful, of course, but neither is the .32ACP - a cartridge used and praised in the backup role for many years. The .32 revolver round has a significantly heavier bullet, so it should have better penetration than the .32ACP - always a good thing when shooting a "mousegun." Ammunition is still being made, though the factory offerings are limited to lead round nose.

Pocket Positives have not yet captured the collecting world's imagination, and are still available at reasonable prices. I picked one up a while back for $150, and it's been sitting in my "to do" pile awaiting some spare time. I think I'll dig that out and put it back into working order; I think it may be the answer to the need for a good backup revolver!"

Thus, a somewhat smaller revolver double action would appear doable with a decent action.
I have a NAA Mini in .22LR. I don't really need anything smaller, but it's available in .22 Short as well. How much smaller do you want?:D


My J-frames fit in my pocket just fine.:)
I have an old charter arms 32 S&W long...

that isn't too far from your comments. It was made in Stratford, Conn. about 30 years ago on a smaller frame than a J frame. I like it and load it with 100gr lead wadcutters, at about 850 ft/sec. It is very pleasant to shoot and can be quite effective if shot placement is proper. My wife loves it and carries it most all the time. Even though she has a Ladysmith J frame, she prefers this gun to carry. I have carried it from time to time when I am at church or dressed-up in a shirt and tie and felt great with the little revolver. Many decades ago our police officers were armed with this caliber. I carry the Colt detective most every day and prefer a 38 special for conceal carry. That said, I like your suggestions about the 32 H&R magnum revolver, and with all the new metals out now, I can see the benefit of this size of revolver you are talking about. The older "I" frame or colt pocket gun would be a good place to start. My 2 cents
Sidheshooter has something there that would work..

with his beautiful little S&W M frame.
I have a NAA 22S also - I bought it because it was cute.

NAA did try to make a 32 mini revolver but the design process failed and it was a horror. You can follow that story on their web site. I don't see why they just didn't scale up the 22 line - but I ain't no engineer.
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