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Review: Lipsey’s Smith & Wesson Ultimate Carry Revolver

Right before SHOT Show 2024, while speaking to my friend Darryl Bolke of American Fighting Revolvers, he said he wanted me to look at a gun he helped develop with Lipsey’s and Smith & Wesson. The gun was launching at the show, and he wanted to get my opinion. “It’s kind of a big deal.” He said. Then he told me it was a snub-nosed revolver, and initially I was less than excited.

I have always loved the look, history, and craftsmanship of revolvers, however, my experience shooting them has not always been rewarding. For a variety of reasons, mostly comfort, I side-stepped shooting revolvers in the last few years favoring semi-autos.  I just couldn’t find one I enjoyed enough to purchase and shoot regularly. Darryl grinned and assured me I would be pleasantly surprised. Challenge accepted, change my mind.

The gun industry is seeing a resurgence in revolver interest and the thought put into the design, wasn’t about just throwing another little ‘snubby’ onto the market and calling it amazing. In the summer of 2022, Lipsey’s and Smith & Wesson had a meeting to discuss a mutual collaboration on some new firearms that would be exclusive to Lipsey’s.

When they came to the table an easily concealable J-Frame revolver was one of the first projects mentioned. In designing the new Ultimate Carry, the designers were instructed to “Treat this gun as the next generation of J-Frames.” And that is just what everyone involved in this project did, from the design and shape, to grip and trigger modifications to the XS Sights green dot sight and more. Andrew Gore, Smith & Wesson Handguns Product Manager, stated that, “The objective of the Ultimate Carry was to develop the best J-Frame revolver Smith & Wesson can make.”

The Players

Lipsey’s, started in 1953 and has become one of the largest independently owned, single-location firearms distributors in the country. Smith & Wesson has been creating firearms since 1852 and was a natural choice for this adventure. After Smith & Wesson and Lipsey’s began work on the Ultimate Carry, they asked two prestigious firearms and especially revolver experts Darryl Bolke and Bryan Eastridge to attend the first trials with the pistols. They valued their feedback and welcomed them to join the project.   

Darryl Bolke is a nationally recognized firearms instructor and use of force expert. He has been part of the firearms and police equipment industry for over 35 years at every level. Darryl has collaborated on numerous successful firearms, edged weapons, and holster designs. Darryl presents at firearms training conferences nationally and has authored numerous internationally published articles related to firearms, carry systems, and edged weapons.

“The UC J-Frame is the end result of building the perfect all-the-time carry gun. It is light and small enough without exotic materials. The sights are outstanding and regulated for the ammo people use. The triggers are manageable right out of the box. The grips are built for shooting comfort and deep concealment. The caliber options of .38 Spl and .32 H&R Mag. are great options for the end user. The snubs we have wanted for decades are now a reality with the Lipsey’s Exclusive UC series.”
-Darryl Bolke, American Fighting Revolver

Bryan Eastridge is a 21-year veteran police officer in Oklahoma, a Police Pistol competition shooter with the NRA Distinguished Revolver Badge #740 and has been a police firearms instructor for the past 19 years. Bryan graduated from multiple shooting schools including Ernest Langdon Tactical Pistol Skills, Tom Givens Ringmaster, and Wayne Dobbs Rule 4 Pistol. Bryan is a Rangemaster Certified Handgun instructor and being the founder of EDC Belt Company also rounds out his many credentials. Together he and Darryl worked on several high-risk security projects and taught together. They have formed americanfightingrevolver.com, an online resource to preserve the history and legacy of revolvers.

“The UC model is what I’ve always wanted in a concealed carry revolver. From the sights you can see the purpose-built stocks, making it the ultimate carry package for ‘shootability’ and concealability. “-Bryan Eastridge, American Fighting Revolver

The Particulars

The Lipsey’s Exclusive Smith & Wesson UC Carry is chambered in both 5-Shot .38 Special +P and 6-Shot .32 H&R Mag. For this article, I am mainly focusing on my experience with .32 H&R Mag. version.

Early in the design process, the sights came to center stage. The engineers tapped XS Sights to create an easily acquired and low-profile sight to optically fit in the U-Notch serrated black rear sight. It had to be large enough to be easily seen by the shooter and quick to apply to the situation at hand. The pinned XS tritium sight with an added green ring made the grade and is a very helpful addition. I was able to quickly see and line up the bright green front sight with the U-shaped rear sight.

The grips on the UC went through several revisions and finally a “high horn” VZ G10 grip was settled on. The grip sits high enough to give easy and comfortable grip acquisition high up on the backstrap and a flush cut “boot” grip for maximum concealment and recoil reduction. 

The first thing I noticed about this revolver while I was in the booth at SHOT Show was the easy pull of the trigger. Double-action triggers can be difficult, but the optimized hammer and trigger geometry and springs create a smoother, lighter trigger pull.

Trying the Ultimate Carry on The Range

In March of this year, I was invited to a press event in Baton Rouge, LA, to test fire Lipsey’s Exclusive Smith & Wesson Ultimate Carry revolvers.  My invitation was not because I am a wheelgun geek, and know everything there is to know about revolvers, but specifically, because I am not. As a more mature woman, (did I just say that out loud?) my experience with guns might be much different than a younger gal or a larger man with stronger hands.

After an early morning briefing, we were taken outside to the range. We did a few drills, which helped everyone get familiar with the guns and to loosen up. I chose the stainless 632UC and got used to the feel of it quickly but struggled a little to get my shots where I wanted them. Remember it has been quite a few years since I had much to do with revolvers. But after some grip redirection, a couple more drills and a little tweaking with my sight pattern from Darryl, I started shooting much better. We shot steadily until lunch putting over 150 rounds through each gun. I also put about 25 rounds through the .38 442 UC and while it wasn’t as pleasant for me to shoot, it fit my hand nicely and I was able to shoot well with it.

32 H&R Mag. penetration

.32 H&R Mag. delivered both penetration and expansion.

After lunch, we went back to the range for some fun and informal gel block tests where multiple rounds of varying loads 40 grain to 120 grain and even DoubleTap Snakeshot were shot into Clear Ballistics synthetic gelatin. What we found with the 432 UC was the penetration of all the rounds was very positive and consistent.

I shot the Ultimate Carry to my home range and was able to measure the feel of it in a little more controlled environment, I shot both DoubleTap 60-gr. lead-free .32 H&R and Federal 95 grain semi-wadcutter rounds through it. I was able to have 3-inch groups from 4-5 yards while standing. I was able to have a smooth and enjoyable firing experience where I could take my time with each shot and attribute much of this to the consistent trigger pull and balance of the Ultimate Carry.

Challenge Won

My experience with the Lipsey’s Exclusive Ultimate Carry J-Frame was nothing short of positive and I feel like I have turned a corner in both my firearm training and my attitude about revolvers.  I fully expected to have a very sore hand and wrist especially since I have a little arthritis in my thumb, but there was no pain whatsoever either the day I was shooting or at any time after. This firearm, especially in .32 H&R Mag, is a game changer for anyone, but absolutely for female shooters and older folks.  The revolution in the industry regarding revolvers is coming and the Lipsey’s Exclusive Smith & Wesson is leading the pack. Yes, Darryl Bolke, you won that challenge, and the Ultimate Carry changed my mind enough to buy one for myself.

Lipsey’s Ultimate Carry Revolver Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: 432 UC Matte Black
  • Type: Revolver
  • Action: Double Action Only
  • Caliber: .32 H&R Mag.
  • Finish: Matte black or matte stainless steel
  • Frame Aluminum
  • Overall length: 3 inches
  • Barrel length: 1 7/8 inches
  • Weight: 16 ounces
  • Height: 3 inches
  • Width: 3 inches
  • Capacity: 6 rounds

MSRP for the Lipsey’s Ultimate Carry Revolver is $759, and more information on this firearm and other exclusive firearms from Lipsey’s is available at lipseys.com.

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