Tuesday, August 17, 2010


HERE'S THE SPECS FOR THE SAME GUN THAT MAX HAS, EXCEPT MAX'S GUN HAS A WHITE DOT FRONT SIGHT. ALSO, MAX'S GRIP IS A BIT SHORTER AND MORE ROUNDED AT THE ENDS THAN THE EXAMPLE SHOWN ABOVE. You get the idea. It's a kick arse gun! You know you're carrying a real gun when you're wearing this pistol. Yee Haw!


Model 686 Plus

$964.00 *
*Suggested Retail, Dealer Sets Actual Pricing
Model: 686 Plus
Caliber: .357 Magnum®.38 S&W Special +P
Capacity: 7 Rounds
Barrel Length: 2.5" / 6.4 cm
Front Sight: Red Ramp
Rear Sight: Adjustable White Outline
Grip: Synthetic
Action: Single/Double Action
Frame Size: Medium - Exposed Hammer
Finish: Satin Stainless
Overall Length: 7.5" / 19.1 cm
Material: Stainless Steel FrameStainless Steel Cylinder
Weight Empty: 34.1 oz / 966.7 g
Purpose: Personal ProtectionLaw Enforcement

My friend Max has a great revolver that I had never gotten to handle, as we both often carry J frames during the Texas summers. I had seen it a few times with him wearing it but didn't get the opportunity to handle it and actually feel it until a few days ago.

It's a righteous gun. The model 686-6, a stainless L frame Smith and Wesson with a 2 and 1/2 inch barrel, it holds seven rounds of .357 Magnum, in a package not that much different from a Model. It's solid, baby, rock solid. Like the gun dealer in Taxi Driver told Robert Deniro about a Smith and Wesson J frame..."you can hit somebody in the head with it and it'll shoot right on target". And that's about true for most Smith and Wesson revolvers.

The trigger, both DA and SA, were almost as good as that on my early Colt Python. It featured a wide combat hammer and trigger, two things I want on a revolver. HKS makes special speed loaders for it so combat reloading is not a problem. It's a big gun and it's a great feeling gun as well. Max's gun featured Hogue-like grips that could have been about 1/2 inch longer for my liking, but they were rounded and highly concealable compared to lots of grips I use.

I had never really though one way or another about L frame Smith and Wesson revolvers. I've owned "many" J, K and N frame Smith and Wessons. I've never had a problem with any of my Smiths, ever, and that's 30 years of owning them myself along with my Father who owned Smiths from the 50's on. My Father trained with the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece in the military but late in life, one of his favorite guns was his 1890's Smith and Wesson Safety Hammerless in .38 Smith and Wesson caliber which he bought new in the box in the 80's.

Some of my Father's friends reload ammunition. They were old buddies of his from college and "1950's Houston" who still hung out together well into their 70's and 80's. These reloaders made him some nice hollow point loads for the .38 S&W, and so he never wanted for defensive ammo for that particular gun.

Likewise, in his fifties, my Father often carried a S&W Model 1917 in .45 ACP. My dad loved his S&W's, and the occasional Taurus copy of a Smith. At various other times in his life, my Father carried J frames and K frames in 2", 3" and 4". Great guns. If my Dad didn't like a particular gun he had or the way it shot, he'd trade it on another, and his reloading friends were great at getting deals on guns from dealers and pawn shops.

I'm kinda the same way. If a semi-auto jams, unless it's a target .22, it's gone for something else. I've never had a problem mechanically with a revolver, but I did have several Model 25-5's back in my policing days that just didn't measure up to my duty weapon, a Colt Python. I didn't fully appreciate .45 ACP and .45 Long Colt calibers in my youth, although I do now. Still, the N frame Smiths are better used, imho, to make Model 29 .44 Magnums. It's much more versatile than the .45 Long Colt caliber, as you can shoot .44 Specials as well as Magnums out of any .44 magnum.

If you're gonna carry around a gun as big as a Model 29, it might as well be in .44 Magnum.

But the 686-6 is considerably smaller than the Model 29. It's a great snubbie and I know I'm gonna have to have one in the near future. I've been overlooking them in the used sections of my favorite gunshops, although I did spy a nice custom stocked one some time back for a reasonable price, so there's hope in finding an affordable version for me one day.

With the Model 686-6 you could rewrite the famous scene from Dirty Harry, where he confronts the bank hijacker and says (and I paraphrase) "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're wondering, did he fire five shots or six shots? To tell you the truth, I don't know how many shots I fired myself. But being that this is the .44 Magnum handgun, the most powerful handgun in the world, and it'll blow your head clean off, well, you gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

With the 686-6, you could rewrite that scene to say "You're wondering, did he fire five shots or six? Well punk, it doesn't really matter, being that this gun is a seven shot Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum, loaded with hot Magnum loads with 158 grain hollowpoints. One of these bullets will make your head explode like a watermelon getting hit with a sledgehammer. And since I've got seven rounds in this gun, you're pretty much SOL whether I fired five or six shots.".

It's apparently a bit tricky but not impossible to find holsters for L Frame Smiths, especially the snubnose. Most major holster makers make them. Max favors holsters from El Paso Saddlery as well as High Noon Holsters. I like those as well, but also favor vintage Bianchi and Safariland and the Jackass Leather descendant Galco. High quality nice holsters.

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