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Smith & Wesson Model 686


Distinguished Combat Magnum


Overview


S&W Model 686

Right side view of Smith & Wesson Model 686-6 with 6 inch barrel.
Source: Smith & Wesson - © copyright lies with original owner

Origin
United States
Type
Revolver
Entered service
1980
Status
Limited service
Development
1980
Developer
United States - Smith & Wesson
Production
1980 - present
Producer
United States - Smith & Wesson
Unit cost
$ 830 for Model 686 in 2015
Designations
Distinguished Service (M581, M681)
Distinguished Combat Magnum (M586, M686)

Description


Introduction

The Smith & Wesson Model 686 is a double action revolver of US origin that was introduced in the early 1980's. It was developed to produce a stronger framed revolver than the variants of the ubiquitous Model 10, but retaining the smaller grip and size.

Design

The Model 686 is a double action revolver that uses what Smith & Wesson calls an L-frame. The L-frame combines the heavy frame of the earlier N-frame revolvers with the smaller grip of the K-frame revolvers. Different model numbers indicate the use of a blue steel or stainless steel frame and the use of fixed or adjustable sights. It is available with a variety of barrel lengths ranging from 2.5 to 8.75 inches.

Firepower

The Model 686 fires the .357 Magnum round from a 6 shot cylinder. As with most .357 Magnum revolvers it is also able to fire the smaller and less powerful .38 Special round. Some variants feature a 7 shot cylinder. Effective range is a few dozen meters.

Users

The Model 686 and its variants were mainly aimed at the US civilian and law enforcement market. In the 1980's revolvers already received much competition from pistols and adoption of new service revolvers was lower than the decades before. The M686 was acquired for law enforcement and special forces uses by several others nations.

Details


S&W Model 586

Left side view of Smith & Wesson Model 586-7 with 4 inch barrel.
Source: Dustin Suchter - © public domain

Variants of the Model 686

The Model 686 represents a wide range of revolvers. Each of the four model numbers is produced in roughly seven subtypes with minor differences and in various barrel lengths. The blue steel 500-series was commonly used as police revolver, while the stainless 600-models are in limited use by frogmen in various nations.

Model 581: Blued steel L-frame revolver with fixed sights. Produced between 1980 and 1988.
Model 586: Blued steel L-frame revolver with adjustable sights. Produced from 1980 to 1999.
Model 681: Stainless steel L-frame revolver with fixed sights.
Model 686: Stainless steel L-frame revolver with adjustable sights. Produced from 1981 to present day

Facts Model 686 (6 inch)
General
Origin
United States
Type
Revolver
Caliber
Caliber
.357 Magnum
.38 Special
Feed system
6 shot cylinder
7 shot cylinder in the -7 models
Barrel length
152 mm
Operation
Action
Double action, single action
Rate of fire
Semi-automatic
Dimensions
Length
303 mm
Weight
1.27 kg empty
Sights
Mechanical
Iron sights, adjustable