For years the Smith & Wesson 686 appeared to be the very definition of the term “service revolver”. First introduced in 1980 as a six-shot revolver chambered in .357 Magnum, the gun has gone through an evolution that has included the adaptation to four different barrel lengths as well as the expansion to a seven-shot cylinder and the inclusion of “Power Ported” Models.

Smith & Wesson made a limited number of these service revolvers in a black finish in 1989 and 1992 but the overwhelming majority of all 686 renditions have been produced in a polished stainless steel finish.

These revolvers are built on the Smith & Wesson medium L-Frame, are chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge, and retain the ability to handle the shorter .38 Special as well.

Almost all of the 686 revolvers being produced today come with rubberized wrap around combat grips but past renditions have been shipped with square-butt wood grips as well. Adjustable rear sights have always come standard and up until 1992 the 6” and 8.5” barrel length versions featured an adjustable front sight as well. Trigger setup is typical Double-Action/Single-Action.

A full-length barrel underlug which shrouds and protects the extractor rod is a standard feature on these guns. The most common barrel length of Smith & Wesson 686 service revolvers is four inches but the guns have been made in 2 & 1/2”, 3”, 6”, and 8” lengths as well.

Reviews of all the standard Smith & Wesson 686 service revolvers in any barrel length can be shared here. This includes special editions such as the Target Champion, National Security, and Power Ported Models. Just include reference to which model you have in your review so readers can have a proper reference. Reviews for the newer 686 Plus with its Pro Series modifications have their own review sets.