While handguns selected for concealed carry are often compact and lightweight, so as to be more comfortable to the wearer and more likely to be carried, the home defense or “house gun” has no such restrictions, unless maybe it’s too big for your bedside table drawer. With this in mind, I recently tested a revolver from Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center, and for those who prefer wheelguns it could just be the ultimate house gun.
However, there’s an emerging new class of wheel guns that strike an aggressive line and veer away from the blued steel and hardwood grips of the revolvers of yore. And just like with the AR market where customers are starting to look for something different, your handgun buyers might want to see what’s out there among this new class of revolvers that pulls at their tactical heartstrings.
My first centerfire handgun was a Smith & Wesson Model 28 Highway Patrolman revolver. This .357 Mag sixgun was built on the rugged N-Frame, the same as that used on the S&W Model 29 .44 Mag. This big wheelgun was the test bed for my foray into handloading, and it gobbled up some horrendous loads constructed with hard-cast, 158-grain SWC bullets backed by healthy doses of 2400, H110 and W296 powder and sparked with magnum primers. That being said, I’ve always had a soft spot for N-Frames and have a number in my personal collection. Another favorite is the S&W Registered .357 Mag, which was later called the Model 27. I have an early post-war “Pre-27” with a 5-inch barrel—a barrel length that I favor on both revolvers and autoloaders.