Best Budget Revolvers of 2023 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated:
August 9, 2023

In these current times, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the extra money to buy a high-end firearm.

Luckily, there are plenty of options on the more affordable and budget-friendly side. This includes the venerable revolver. Today’s manufacturing standards mean that even lower-priced guns are usually of at least solid quality.

Check out some of the best budget revolvers below.

What to Watch For When Buying a Budget Revolver

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a budget revolver. Just about every affordably priced firearm will be safe to use and work perfectly fine. However, some are still better than others. Keep the following info in mind when shopping for a budget-friendly revolver.

Brian Belko: Gunmann Author

This Section Written By:

Brian Belko

Expert Author

Brian is an experienced freelance writer and technical writer who has previously written for publications such as Wide Open Spaces, Bigfoot Gun Belts, Alien Gear Holsters, and Kampgrounds of America. He brings both a passion for writing and a love of the outdoors to his published content.

Aside from writing and the outdoors, Brian enjoys gardening, being a co-host on The Nostalgia Blast Podcast, and learning to code.

Manufacturer Matters

While the manufacturer of a firearm is always important to consider even with a large budget, it should garner some extra attention when working with a smaller budget. If the manufacturer of the budget revolver you are considering is well-known and recognized, odds are that you won’t have to worry about quality. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but poor quality firearms are quickly outed by firearm reviewers and publications.

Stick with a manufacturer with a respected reputation and you’ll wind up with a solid firearm even on a small budget. That being said, this is all still relative. Even the so-called “budget” options from some high-end manufacturers will still cost more than some are willing to spend.

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Balancing the Scale

The weight of a revolver is an important factor to consider. A revolver that is too heavy will be difficult to maintain control over while shooting. A revolver that is too light is going to have more recoil making it more difficult to fire accurate follow-up shots. This isn’t to make it sound like a Goldilocks situation where there is some magic revolver weight you must find. However, do be careful to not overlook it.

A too heavy or too light revolver might feel fine when you are holding it in the gun shop or sporting goods store, but it is vital to be more pragmatic about the weight. Consider your own strength, how you intend to carry it, and the size of the caliber before making a final revolver decision.

Plan of Action

There are three types of actions used in revolvers. Single-action, double-action, and double-action-only. When using a single-action revolver, you must pull the hammer back manually before pulling the trigger. A double-action revolver cocks and releases the hammer via the trigger pull. However, a double-action revolver can also be used as a single-action. Alternatively, a double-action-only revolver has no exposed hammer and can only be used via double-action.

This really comes down to personal preference and intended use. Many people prefer double-action revolvers for self-defense because all you have to do to fire one is pull the trigger. However, there are also great options for single-action and double-action-only with the latter being ideal for concealed carrying.

Comparison of the Best Budget Revolvers

  • 5-round capacity
  • Best budget .357 Magnum
  • Barrel measured at 2 inches
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  • 6-round capacity
  • Best .22 budget revolver
  • Constructed from high-quality materials
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  • 6 round capacity
  • Best overall budget revolver
  • Grip made from checkered wood
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  • 5 round capacity
  • Barrel measured at 2.5 inches
  • Runner up for the best overall revolver
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  • 6-shot capacity
  • Best .38 Budget Revolver
  • Barrel length is measured at 2 inches
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Review of the Best Budget Revolvers

The following is a list of the five best budget revolvers currently popular on the market. As you go through each one, you should note the features and characteristics so you can find one that will match your ideal revolver.

Once you find one that’s close enough, that’s when you know that it’s a winning pick. Let’s begin the list with a look at our best overall choice:

Best .357 Budget Revolver:
Taurus 605 .357 Magnum 5-Shot Revolver


  • Super-durable
  • Fast firing ability
  • Useful for EDC purposes
  • Quick to load and unload
  • Easy to grip, especially in bad weather


  • It might be a little difficult to clean at first
  • The cylinder may be a little tough to pull out
  • Shooting groups tend to be a little inconsistent

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, most recent buyers were pretty happy with the revolver. They managed to shoot at targets and hit them from about 25 yards out. A majority of users were using this revolver for the purpose of concealed carry. The revolver was lightweight and didn’t bulge in holsters. One user said sometimes it’s like the revolver is not even there.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Once again, you have a revolver that is small enough for concealed carry purposes. However, the .357 caliber has a reputation to do some serious damage. The .357 magnum can literally obliterate soft material targets. In other words, it can turn an apple into applesauce. So if you want a revolver that is small but can deliver devastating damage like no other, the choice is obviously clear. And at an affordable price, why would you turn down such an opportunity?

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be used by some EDC users that have been in the game for some time. In translation, we’re talking seasoned vets of concealed carry. The reason being is because the .357 can be quite loud and also has some firing power that might be too much to handle for newbie users.

Bottom Line

The Taurus 605 .357 Magnum 5-Shot Revolver might be small in size but you can best believe it can devastate almost any target it comes across. Don’t be surprised if you take this out to the range and end up ripping off half of your paper targets after a few shots.

Best .22 Budget Revolver:
Heritage Rough Rider .22LR 4.75" Revolver


  • Super-durable
  • Aesthetically sharp
  • Accurate at about 30 to 40 yards out
  • Great for target shooting or home defense
  • Hammer and trigger pull is easy and smooth


  • Not appropriate for concealed carry use
  • The cylinder may be a little hard to pull out at times
  • Some casings may get stuck in the cylinder sometimes

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers said this revolver was perfect for shooting targets at the range. But not to be outdone, a lot of them say they intend to keep it around for home defense purposes. Performance-wise, they managed to fire off each shot rather quickly and at targets ranging from as far as 40 yards away. One user said his shooting groups were pretty tight most of the time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The revolver might just be a textbook example of how old-school revolvers worked back in the day. Now, users can recreate the experience of many lawmen and outlaws of ages past with this revolver. The only difference is that you won’t be committing any crimes or having shootouts at high noon. This revolver is also built to last you a long period of time. So if you need something that is built to last, this could be the revolver for you.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a revolver just for the sake of keeping it around at the house or occasional trips to the target range, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything quite like this. Plus, with a good amount of shots at your disposal, you’ll have quite a lot of fun with this revolver. Once you fire a shot, the fun never ends.

Bottom Line

The Heritage Rough Rider is the .22 revolver you can get ahold of if you just want a simple firearm to keep with you at home. Not only is it reliable, but it has the ability to last you quite a while with the right kind of shots. Don’t be surprised if you’re still using this and it remains reliable after a decade. 

Best for the Money:
Rock Island M206 Spurless .38 Special


  • Great firing power
  • Trigger pull is decent and smooth
  • Hammer cocking is smooth and easy
  • Excellent for EDC and concealed carry use
  • Great finish, allows you to retain a nice, strong hold


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This revolver was a hit with most users. A lot of them used it for the purpose of EDC carry. They were able to load their shots fairly easily and fire them off at the range. However, a good number of users say this was perfect for self-defense, if and when the situation were to arise.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This .38 special might just be the kind you’ll want to have on hand in the event you find yourself in a life and death situation. And you’ll have plenty of firepower at your disposal to ensure that the attacker or prowler will be knocked down. The design is also another thing that stands out. It’s got the classic revolver look that makes it quite sharp when it comes to aesthetics.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be a revolver that will be perfect for self-defense purposes. But don’t count it out as something that won’t work well for target shooting (both competition and casual). If you want a revolver that rocks accuracy at some pretty decent distances, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

The Rock Island M206 Spurless 38 Special is small, accurate, and dependable for any EDC situation. You’ll be prepared for just about anything once you have this revolver strapped to your holster. Plus, it’s at the right size for some good old-fashioned “no bulge” carrying.

Honorable Mention:
Taurus Public Defender .45 LC Revolver


  • Easy to clean
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Accurate at about 25 to 30 yards
  • Excellent for concealed carry purposes
  • Easy to load, takes a couple of minutes


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were happy with the revolver’s overall performance. They said they were able to fire off five shots at the range in a matter of a few seconds. Not only were they able to hit their targets accurately from 25 yards out, they managed to knock out larger ones situated from nearly 50 yards. One user said he uses it for casual target shooting and EDC purposes. Either way, he is confident in the revolver’s performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver is aesthetically sharp thanks to the all-black finish. In fact, it looks pretty dang intimidating. So it would make sense that it was designed for the purpose of concealed carry. Who would seriously want to be on the wrong end of this revolver? With five shots at your disposal, you can easily ward off prowlers and home invaders. Aside from that, it’s a pretty well-constructed revolver that can do quite a bit of damage.

Who Will Use This Most

This will definitely have its uses as a concealed carry revolver. So if you are in law enforcement or if you want to keep a revolver around for the purpose of self-defense, this might be exactly the kind of pistol you are looking for. Don’t be surprised if you see it hit targets with ridiculous accuracy.

Bottom Line

The Taurus Judge Public Defender .45 Colt Revolver might be the type of firearm you can keep handy for a long time due to its durability. Not to mention, this is the kind of revolver you need to get the job done whenever you find yourself in a self-defense situation. It’s intimidating and can be your best friend in the applications where you need it the most.

Editor's Pick:
Taurus 856 .38 Special 6-Shot 2" Revolver


  • Easy to load
  • Fits most OWB holsters
  • Super-sturdy construction
  • Accurate at various distances
  • Great for all kinds of applications


  • The trigger pull weight is not the best
  • Hammer cocking might be a little stiff
  • Can be a little difficult to pull out the cylinder

What Recent Buyers Report

This revolver was perfect for most users who intend to conceal carry. They said they were able to store this in their OWB holsters without making it noticeable. One user said he was able to carry this around without drawing any undue or awkward attention. Performance-wise, it managed to accurately hit targets from about 25 to 35 yards out. Overall, the pistol was pretty reliable for its intended use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This might be one of the smallest revolvers currently on the list. This is usually a good thing, considering you’ll want a revolver that is concealable. Plus, no one will ever even know its there when you’re out and about. But be sure to remember it if you are somehow in a life-threatening situation. Other than that, the sleek finish makes this pistol stand out and look intimidating. Don’t be shocked if you scare off any attackers just by simply pulling it out.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be a great revolver for those starting out with concealed carry. So if you have yet to use one for the purpose of everyday use, this revolver might be the best of the bunch for newbies. Once you give it a whirl, you can keep it around for a long time or go for an upgrade. That is entirely your call.

Bottom Line

The Taurus 856 38 Special +P Revolver will likely be one of the best concealed carry revolvers simply on its size alone. But it’s the performance that should matter most. And sure enough, you’ll get a revolver that will not disappoint you. Fire off a few rounds of this sucker and prepare to be amazed.

How Accurate is a Revolver?

Short answer: it depends. It will depend on a few factors, like the caliber and the type of revolver. Some smaller calibers will likely be effective at ranges from 25 to 50 yards out.

At the same time, they’ll also be able to fire off lighter weight rounds. Larger calibers like the .357 will travel slower and therefore, just be used for shorter distant shooting (25 to 30 yards at best). 

Can You Really Find a Quality Revolver That’s Affordable?

Yes you can. However, you should consider the fact that while quality and cheap are not synonymous, you can find a revolver that is affordable and will exceed your standards when it comes to quality and performance. This should not be confused with investing in a revolver that is cheap in quality and disappointing in performance just to save a few bucks. 

How to Choose a New Revolver?

If you are looking for a new revolver, it’s obvious that it will come down to a few features and characteristics. So you need to keep an eye out for them so you know which one will be better compared to all other options. Here are some characteristics and features to look out for:


Revolvers have different capacities. Typically, a revolver contains six shots which are housed in the rotating cylinder. However, there are others (usually smaller calibers like the .22) that will contain about eight rounds. The number of rounds you need will likely depend on your personal needs and preferences. There isn’t really an ideal capacity that is recommended, but when using a revolver, you usually get six shots. 

Durability and Quality

You’ll need to find a revolver that will be durable and solid. You want it to be built to last and unable to easily fall apart. So be sure to find one made from the best materials. The better the materials, the better the chance it will last you years or even decades. 

What is Your Intended Purpose?

Your final decision will often depend on your intended purpose. For example, if you intend to find a revolver that will be perfect for concealed carry, then find one that is smaller in size. Probably a snub nose revolver or a hammerless revolver to prevent snagging. 

Likewise, if you want a revolver for home defense purposes, the size may not matter. Keep in mind that some revolvers may be a little too large for EDC carry.

Pros and Cons of Revolvers

Taurus 605 .357 Magnum 5 Shot Revolver

Here are some of the good and bad aspects of revolvers.


Revolvers have all kinds of upsides compared to some handguns on the market. If you ever need one that will give you a good amount of shooting power, these might just be what the doctor ordered. Here are a few pros you might enjoy:

Most are Small in Size

Revolvers are small in size and therefore, excellent for the use of EDC (or concealed carry) use. Surprisingly enough, they won’t bulge in your holster if you have it strapped to your belt. So if you have no idea which handgun is best for concealed carry, a good place to look is at a revolver.

Little Chances of Malfunction

An incredible advantage of using revolvers is that you don't have to worry about jamming and potential misfires. Each slot in the rotating cylinder acts a unique chamber, so if anything goes wrong (cartridge is a dud) you simply pull the trigger and move to another round.

Simple to Use

All you have to do is cock back the hammer, pull the trigger, and repeat until you’ve run out of rounds. It’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t require any kind of complex strategy. So if you want something that is literally simple to use for any application, you’ll want a revolver handy in just about any given situation.


Of course, there are some shortfalls that revolvers come with. But don’t let them discourage you from ever purchasing one. Here are some cons you need to know about:

Heritage Rough Rider 22LR 4.75" Revolver

Trigger Pull May Not be as Light

On average, your trigger’s pull weight will range at about four to six pounds. For some, that might not seem like much. But to newbie users, that might be a bit of a struggle at the start. So you may need to apply a little bit of extra pressure to the trigger in order to get a shot off. 

Round Capacity May Not be Enough

While the round capacity might be a pro for some, it might be a con for others. Sure enough, you can go up a number if you believe that you don’t have enough shots to work with. So if you don’t like shooting off five, go up to six. Don’t like six? Go eight. 

Reload Times

Reloading a revolver can take longer than a magazine-fed pistol, unless you have a moonclip or similar fast-load tool.

Types of Revolvers 

Not all revolvers are the same or are created equal. In fact, there are a few different types available on the market. Here are some of the most popular types:

.22 Caliber

A .22 caliber is the smallest of the bunch. And it’s perhaps one of the most reliable if you are using it for EDC purposes. They do travel a bit faster in velocity than some of the other calibers. So if you want a revolver for EDC or even competitive shooting, this caliber might just be what you need.

.38 Special

A .38 special is a bit larger in size. However, it’s measurements are identical to a 9mm. A .38 Special is also considered quite accurate in target shooting applications. So if you are a casual target shooter, these will definitely stand out. Likewise, this is also a good caliber for self-defense purposes, as well.


As mentioned before, the .357 is among one of the most powerful calibers on the block. There are soft targets that will get badly damaged after a few shots. A prowler or a home invader would dare not be on the receiving end of these. 

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The best budget revolver is out there. All you have to do is find one that will stand out to you in terms of personal preferences and use. Find the right caliber or revolver in your price range and appropriate for your intended application and you’ll have something that is reliable and will last you a long time.

People Also Ask

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about revolvers. Use this guide to gain a good understanding of what they are and how they will be useful to you. Note the answers so you have good knowledge of what these revolvers can do. Here are the questions:

Are Revolvers Outdated?

Absolutely not. While they have been around for a long time, they stay reliable for years or even decades. Just because they’ve been around a while, doesn’t mean they are outdated or out of style.

Are Revolvers Reliable?

Short answer: yes. Most are reliable since they are pretty simple to use. As long as you are able to cock the hammer back and pull the trigger easily (or just pull the trigger if it’s double-action), then you might just have the most reliable gun on the block.

Which is More Powerful, a Pistol or a Revolver?

The answer is that it depends. It depends on the caliber of each. Some revolvers and calibers like the .357 might be a bit more powerful than some pistols like the 9mm or .380. 

Do Revolvers Leave Shell Casings?

A revolver’s shell casings will stay in the cylinder after you have fired them. However, they are easy to remove when you need to reload. Be advised, one of the most common flaws of a revolver is that some casings may jam. It may depend on the brand of the round or the revolver itself. 

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