When most Americans think of the Philippines in relation to revolvers, they may well think of the mythological ineffectiveness of the .38 Long Colt chambered M1894 and M1901 revolvers during the Moro Rebellion. However, revolvers have been manufactured in the Philippines themselves for quite some time, beginning with the Squires Bingham/Armscor M100D and Thunderchief revolvers as well as the Shooters Arms “Protector”. This past week, TFBTV’s James Reeves took a detailed look at RIA/Armscor’s M206 revolver.
In this episode of TFBTV, James Reeves reviews the Rock Island Armory M206 .38 Special revolver. The M206 has been made for decades in the Philippines. It is a popular seller, but for $259, you know it isn’t going to be perfect. But James makes the case for the M206, and why this Colt Detective Special semi-clone might be the best cheap revolver on the market right now.
The M206 is, however, only one of four M200-series revolvers RIA and Armscor currently offer. Also in the line-up are the M200 4″ barreled model, and the M206 spurless models in both parkerized and matte nickel finishes. The M200 line is very affordable, all being in the $200-range MSRP, with the exception of the matte nickel finish spurless model which is $369 MSRP.
Budget price, but decent construction
The biggest savings of RIA’s M200 series comes from the fact that the revolvers are manufactured in the Philippines at a much lower labor cost than in the USA. The components, however, are a decent value. James was duly impressed at the little revolver’s price to performance ratio. Here’s the rough specs of the M200 Series:
- Sights: Smooth Channel rear, fixed front
- 6 shot cylinder
- Trigger: approx 12lb DA, 4lb SA
- Grips: Checkered wood (except for M200 4″)
- Caliber: .38 Special only
- Pinned single-piece barrel
- Colt-style cylinder release
- Weight: 1.5lbs unloaded, 1.72lbs loaded
Bottom line, if you don’t yet have a wheelgun and would like to try one out, or are looking for a budget-minded handgun small enough for CCW, the M200 series wouldn’t be a bad first revolver to cheaply add into your collection.
Other Philippine wheelgun Possibilities
For those of you not into .38, or not into the M200 series, RIA makes another series of revolver as well. The AL family of revolvers comes chambered in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, 9mm, and .357 Magnum. Though coming with a host of more impressive features and construction, the AL series costs quite a bit more, coming in at $699 MSRP for the blued .357 2″.
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