S&W Magnum revolver shooting Prague

.357 Magnum

Smith & Wesson Model 686: A Timeless Revolver Classic

The Smith & Wesson Model 686 is a name synonymous with precision, reliability, and enduring design in the world of firearms. Renowned for its accuracy and versatility, this iconic revolver has captured the hearts of shooters and collectors alike. In this article, we'll delve into the rich history of the Model 686, exploring its origins, design, technical specifications, and the reasons behind its enduring popularity.

History and Origins

The story of the Smith & Wesson Model 686 begins in the mid-1980s when the renowned American firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson introduced this exceptional revolver. The Model 686 was designed as part of Smith & Wesson's esteemed L-frame series, aimed at providing a balance between the smaller K-frame and the larger N-frame revolvers in their lineup. This innovative approach offered shooters a platform that combined strength, accuracy, and ease of handling.


The Model 686's design is a testament to the craftsmanship of its creator, Loyalists of Smith & Wesson. It features key design elements that contribute to its widespread acclaim:

Chambering: The Model 686 is chambered for .357 Magnum ammunition, renowned for its power and accuracy. This chambering allows the revolver to handle both .357 Magnum and .38 Special rounds, providing versatility in ammunition selection.

Action: This revolver operates on a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) mechanism, offering shooters the flexibility to choose between a double-action trigger pull for rapid follow-up shots or a single-action mode for precise, deliberate shooting.

Barrel Length: The Model 686 is available in various barrel lengths, typically ranging from 2.5 inches to 6 inches or more. Different barrel lengths cater to diverse shooting preferences, whether for concealed carry or long-range accuracy.

Sights: The revolver is equipped with adjustable rear sights and often features a red ramp front sight, facilitating precise target acquisition.

Frame: The L-frame design provides a solid and durable foundation while maintaining a manageable size. This balance is crucial for reducing recoil and enhancing accuracy.

Capacity: Depending on the specific model and cylinder size, the Model 686 typically holds six or seven rounds, providing ample firepower for various shooting applications.

Finish: Smith & Wesson offers various finish options, including stainless steel and blued steel, allowing shooters to select a model that suits their preferences and style.

Grips: The revolver offers a variety of grip options, from rubberized grips for comfortable recoil control to wooden grips for a classic look and feel.

Different Models

The Smith & Wesson Model 686 has seen numerous iterations and special editions over the years, each catering to specific needs and preferences. These models often include:

686 Plus: Features a seven-round cylinder for increased ammunition capacity.

686 Competitor: Designed with enhanced features for competitive shooting, such as improved triggers and performance center enhancements.

686 Deluxe: Showcases upgraded aesthetics, including intricate engraving and high-quality wood grips.

686 SSR: Tailored for IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) competitions with features like a specialized grip and trigger.

Why is the Model 686 so popular?

The enduring popularity of the Smith & Wesson Model 686 can be attributed to several factors:

Reliability: The revolver's robust construction and simple design contribute to its legendary reliability. It's a firearm that shooters can trust in various conditions.

Versatility: The Model 686's ability to handle both .357 Magnum and .38 Special ammunition makes it versatile for a wide range of shooting applications, from personal defense to target shooting.

Accuracy: Known for its exceptional accuracy, the Model 686 is favored by competitive shooters and marksmen seeking precision.

Customization: The availability of different models, finishes, grips, and barrel lengths allows shooters to personalize their Model 686 to meet their specific needs and preferences.

Heritage: The Model 686 carries a rich legacy of Smith & Wesson craftsmanship, adding to its appeal among collectors and enthusiasts.


In a world of ever-evolving firearm technology, the Smith & Wesson Model 686 stands as a testament to the enduring allure of the revolver. Its classic design, technical excellence, and ability to meet the diverse demands of shooters have secured its place as a beloved icon in the world of firearms.

The Model 686 continues to inspire admiration and respect among those who value accuracy, reliability, and timeless design, ensuring that its legacy will endure for generations to come. Whether for duty, sport shooting, or collecting, the Model 686 remains a symbol of American firearms ingenuity and craftsmanship.


  • S&W Revolver 686 - Name
  • Revolver - Type
  • Smith & Wesson - Manufacturer
  • www.smith-wesson.com - Website
  • 686 - Model
  • .357 Magnum - Caliber
  • SA/DA - Action type
  • Smith & Wesson - Designer
  • 1980 - Designed
  • 1981 - In service
  • 1.25 kg - Weight
  • 3-7" - Length
  • 45-91 m - Firing range

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