Rugged, reliable, mechanically simple, and intuitive to operate, revolvers were the sidearm of choice for the New York Police Department, the FBI, U.S. Air Force units, and countless other law enforcement and security organizations for much of the 20th century. In recent years, however, revolvers have been all but replaced by semi-automatic pistols as standard issue sidearms in professional spheres.
With little change since its design was patented by Samuel Colt in 1836, the revolver is an antiquated weapon. Modern semi-automatic pistols, meanwhile, generally offer faster reload times, slimmer designs, and greater magazine capacity than revolvers do, without compromising much in the way of reliability. (Here is a look at America’s top pistol companies.)
Still, for many of the same reasons revolvers were once popular with American military and law enforcement, they remain so with many gun owners in the United States. Licensed gun makers in the U.S. produced nearly 3.8 million revolvers between 2016 and 2020, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Tobacco data. And according to sales data from the online firearm sales marketplace, Gunbroker.com, some revolver models are especially popular.
Using a report from Gungenius, which uses data from Gunbroker.com, an online firearm sales marketplace, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 most popular revolvers in America. Revolver models are ranked by 2022 sales reported by the online platform, though exact sales numbers were not provided.
The Colt Python is the only revolver on this list to rank among the 22 best-selling firearms of any type – including rifles, pistols, and shotguns – on Gunbroker.com in 2022. The Python, a .357 Magnum revolver, was first released in 1955 before being discontinued in 2005 and reintroduced in 2020.
Colt, the maker of the Python, is one of several firearm brands with more than one revolver on this list. The others are Taurus, Ruger, and Smith & Wesson. These three brands accounted for a combined 85% of all domestic revolver manufacturing from 2016 to 2020. (Here is a look at the biggest gunmakers in America.)
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