Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Revolver Rigs of the ICORE Southern Regional Revolver Championship 2018

Wheel guns, wheel guns, everywhere

This past weekend I attended my first ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts) match in Princeton, Louisiana. The Southern Regional Revolver Championship was held on Shootout Lane and attracted thirty-three (33) shooters from across the nation. I was placed in Squad Three with nine other shooters. During the course of the match, I asked each shooter for permission to photograph their revolvers and rigs. Everyone was happy to oblige and shared details about their equipment. Here are some of the set ups I encountered!

My Revolver


I figured it would be good to start this post with a run down of my revolver and gear. I am shooting a Smith & Wesson 929 in the Open Division. This division permits pretty much any modification to your revolver. The S&W 929 comes with a removable compensator to assist in recoil reduction by redirecting gases upward which keeps the muzzle flatter. Red dot sights are also permitted in Open and I selected my faithful C-More RTS2 on an Allchin mount. I swapped the factory hammer and firing pin for Apex Tactical parts. The Evolution IV hammer does not have a hammer spur to get in the way and the extended firing pin helps with reliable ignition. 

For moon clips, I selected the same brand that comes with the 929 from Smith & Wesson made by TK Custom. As a lefty, the Hogue extended cylinder release really helps me open the cylinder quickly. This is the "short" lever and I plan to acquire a "long" release soon. I also went with Hogue big butt grips with no finger grooves, because the groves never fit my hand. The USPSA Legal Speed Rig and Moon Clip Belt Rack 8 Post are both made by Speed Beez. Last but not least, the belt is a Tuff Surefit Competition Belt. I am happy to report that the revolver and gear worked well at the match. That's enough about my gear, let's look at everyone else's rigs!

Mike's Revolver


Mike was Squad Three's main Range Officer and the Rules Director for the match. Mike is running a Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 in Open Division. The TRR8 is a revolver that I have been eyeing for quite a while. This is a Scandium frame revolver with ports at the muzzle to reduce recoil and a JPoint optic. I believe the stocks are custom from Hogue to fit his hand. The TRR8 is riding in a Double Alpha Race Master holster and DA Premium Belt. I'm not sure what brand moon clip holders he uses, but the rounds on his belt are .38 ICORE hand loads. I haven't gotten into reloading yet, but he explained these load and unload much faster than .38 Special. If I pick up an eight shot Smith & Wesson in .357 Magnum, it might just be a TRR8. 

Bob's Revolver


Bob works with Revolver Supply. Bob selected the Smith & Wesson 929 and the included compensator for Open Division as well. Bob prefers a C-More Slide Ride on a BMT Equipped KickStand with a left side overhang. This moves the dot closer to the barrel for less mechanical offset. I think his holster is a CR Speed WSM II, but it was heavily modified. Bob added delrin layers for his support and bolted magnets to the moon clip carriers to ensure the round only come off when he pull them off. His moon clip holder modifications probably cost him a few dollars and work as well as my expensive rig. Bob is a smart man! I should be more like Bob.

Bob's Revolver


This is another Bob from Squad Three. Bob also runs the S&W 929 with the compensator attached. As for optics, he also selected the C-More Slide Ride on a BMT Equipped KickStand but with a right side overhang. Interesting how the Bob's picked similar gear. I'd guess the grip is a custom piece from Hogue. The revolver is riding in a Safariland holster but I'm not sure about the belt. I believe the moon clip carrier is a Speed-E-Rack, but I could be wrong. It looks like it has nine posts and Bob has a single post behind his holster. I doubt he'll ever run out of ammo on a stage!

Joe's Revolver 

Joe is also running a S&W 929 in Open Division. Unlike the rest of use 929 Open shooters, Joe decided the compensator isn't worth it with 9mm ammo. Like Bob of Revolver Supply, Joe uses C-More Slide Ride on a BMT Equipped KickStand with a left side overhang. I forgot to ask him how he got those slick custom Hogue stocks because I really like those! His holster is a Double Alpha Race Master holster. Joe is also running what seems to be a seven post Speed-E-Rack for his moon clips. Last but not least, you can see a dump pouch for spent moon clips. His is even ICORE branded.

Peggy's Revolver 

Peggy is married to Joe and they compete together across the country. She was the only female shooter in Squad Three, but I saw a number of lady shooters participating at the match. At many of the local matches there are rarely more than two competing. Peggy is running a Smith & Wesson 627 Performance Center revolver in the Limited Division. The front sight is an SDM fiber optic, which is the same sight I use on my 686-1 and 66-6. Peggy also selected Hogue big butt stocks and an extended cylinder release. The revolver is riding in a Double Alpha Race Master and a seven post Speed-E-Rack for her moon clips. She also has a single moon clip carrier for her first load. I guess I need one so I don't just throw my first moon clip in my pocket.

Dave's Revolver

Much like Peggy, Dave was running a Smith & Wesson 627 Performance Center with an extended cylinder release in a Double Alpha Race Holster. His Hogue stocks were all business. He added material on the right side of the grip to create a palm swell and then wrapped it in tape. I asked him what caliber he was shooting and he said .38 Short Colt. I've heard that this is a popular round because the cases are shorter than .38 Special and extract easier. He also used a double stack moon clip carrier rather than single posts. I'm not sure what brand. It was also far to his left side rather than directly in front of him. Dave and I chatted all day about strategy and how to recruit more revolver shooters. His idea to hook new shooters is simple; beat them in a shoot off so they want to learn how to run a revolver. I'll be working on that at my club!

Brandon's Revolver 

Brandon and I were in the same boat, as this was our first ICORE match. He expressed the same feeling about his local matches having almost no revolver participation. Like me, he was just happy to get to shoot his revolver with other wheel gun enthusiasts. He was running a S&W 929 in Limited Division. The front sight is a Dawson fiber optic (I need one of these when I go back to USPSA Revolver). He picked smooth Hogue Big Butt stock and a TK Custom extended cylinder release. It is riding in a CR Speed WSM II hoslter and I  believe his moon clip carrier is a North Mountain Moon Clip Holder. It was nice to chat with Brandon and hear that I'm not the only one shooting wheel guns by myself at matches. Now to recruit more people!

Ted's Revolver

Ted is running a Smith & Wesson 686 in the Classic Division. Rather than Hogue stocks, he likes rubber Packmayr grips. He did still have an extended cylinder release, but I'm not sure it was a Hogue. His revolver was riding in a CR Speed WSM II. This is the first revolver in this post that has been fed with speed loader rather than moon clips! Ted uses Safariland Comp III speed loaders and a North Moutain ICORE Retro Speed Loader Holder. He runs normal .38 Special loads. Ted and I also chatted a bit about stage plans, but I had to remember his cylinder held six rounds while mine holds eight. 

Scott's Revolver 

The other Classic Division shooter in Squad Three was Scott. He was also running a Smith & Wesson 686, but I'm not sure what type holster he was using. He also wrapped his JM stocks in tape for a bit more grip. Like Ted, Scott uses Safariland Comp III speed loaders and a North Moutain ICORE Retro Speed Loader Holder. Scott's speed loaders were highly modified to ensure they loaded quickly. I also learned that the first six round of each stage was .38 Short Colts while the rest of his speed loaders were full of .38 Special. Ted explained that this ensured positive extraction on the first reload. Clever idea Scott!

Lefty's Revolver 

As a lefty, I don't expect to run into too many other left handed shooters. This is even more evident when it comes to left handed revolver shooters. I was told there were three lefties at the match including myself. Unfortunately, I didn't get this gentleman's name, but he was proud to explain that this was a limited edition Smith & Wesson 627 with a 6.5" barrel with an extended cylinder release from Hogue as well. I really like those custom big butt stocks. I'm not familiar with the brand of holster, but it appears he is running a Speed-E-Rack for his moon clips of .38 Short Colt. Glad to see another lefty out there!

Ruger's Revolver

If you haven't noticed, there is a very distinct pattern here; every other wheel gun on this list has been a Smith & Wesson. This gentleman wasn't shooting in my squad, but I bumped into him at the chronograph station. Lo and behold, there was a six inch Ruger GP100 riding in his holster. Speaking of the holster, it appears to be an Amadini holster on a CR Speed belt. I don't recall what speed loader pouches were on the belt. Glad to see another brand represented at the match!


Five of the ten shooters in my squad were competing with Smith & Wesson 929s. I guess it is a popular choice for ICORE. I was surprised to only see the one Ruger, but maybe it was just this match that was mostly Smith & Wesson. As a fan of the Chiappa Rhino, I was really hoping to see one of the models on the range, but no such luck. Maybe at the next match!

I hope everyone enjoyed this look at some of the revolvers at this ICORE match. I love looking at cool revolver and what gear other shooters are running. I may be switching to a "long" cylinder release after talking with everyone about their gear. It might make reloads a bit easier. The next post on Revolvers Only will be the match review featuring videos and stage breakdowns. I have some good footage of each stage and I'm working on the videos over the next week. Please come back for the match review! 

As always, if you have any suggestions for future posts or would like to share your experience on the current topic please post below!


  1. How about a follow up on your experience with the red dot on your 66?


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