Although chambered for .357 magnum, which might be a bit much for a beginner, Smith & Wesson's Model 60 is also capable of firing the much more manageable .38 S&W. Lightweight and comfortable to handle, the revolver is a great choice for competition or personal protection.
Many people looking to purchase a gun for self defense overlook revolvers and go straight for semi-automatic pistols, but the Taurus 380 is a great choice and often better if you want to use .380 ACP. Lightweight, compact, and hammerless, this revolver holds five shots and you don't need to worry about quickly racking a slide in a rapidly developing self defense situation.
NRA Gun Guru Phil Schreier recommends the Ruger GP100 for first time shooters interested in revolvers. Like the S&W Model 60, the GP100 is chambered in .357 magnum, but can fire more forgiving .38 caliber bullets. Being able to switch between the two popular bullet types without needing to buy another gun provides versatility to a gun that's great great for competition and self defense.
Rossi's Plinker is excellent for the inexperienced shooter thanks to its small caliber. While the other revolvers we covered are suitable options for competition and self defense, the .22 LR Plinker really allows a new shooter to get comfortable with the basics of shooting. The revolver's exceptionally low recoil helps one perfect techniques that translate across all other calibers.
Yes the basic design is almost 200 years old and yes they don't have the capacity of a semi-auto's magazine, but there's a reason revolvers are still around. Powerful, easy to handle, and a reliably simple design, revolvers can be excellent choices for self defense and competition shooting.
We walked around the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to ask for recommendations on the best revolver for new shooters and got some great answers. So for the new shooter who has been eyeing revolvers, we hope this sets you in the right direction.
Click through the gallery to see their suggestions and find one that's right for you.