The S&W 581 is a medium size (L-frame) revolver, first produced in the 1980s. The 581 is actually a variant of the 586, with the 581 having fixed sights, as shown in the example pictured here. This gun also has the rarer nickel finish, and a 6-round cylinder.
The 581 is chambered for .357 magnum, and can also shoot the lighter .38 special round. The flexibility here is nice, as .38s are more enjoyable to shoot in longer sessions at the range. When you need the extra stopping power – be it for self defense or hunting – you can go with the .357 magnum.
The weight and balance of the gun is excellent, and accuracy for a revolver with fixed sights is very respectable. With the 4” barrel shown here it’s also a good candidate for concealed carry… with the right holster of course.
These guns are becoming more desirable, and you’ll be lucky to find one these days in good condition for less than $500. Not many people have bad things to say about this revolver – it’s a good, solid gun, and a nice choice for a first-time gun buyer.