Gun Review Spot's Smith & Wesson 686 Service Revolver Reviews

Smith & Wesson 686 Service Revolver

Smith & Wesson 686 Service Revolver

First Reviewed September 3, 2010
Found in Revolver Reviews, Service Revolvers, Smith & Wesson

Overall Value55555

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.


8 Reviews for “Smith & Wesson 686 Service Revolver”
  1. frank wood says:

    the 686 smith and wesson is a must have for any legal gun owner,its power and control in the .357 is matched only by a long gun for you can shoot 38spl,.357 in a few different grains depending on your skill.
    the 686 is stainless steel and heavy to take a pounding from any 38 or 357 factory load you put down the tube.

  2. John Adams says:

    I have owned a Smith & Wesson 686P 2.5″, 3″, 4″ and 6″. I currently have a 4″ and 6″. In my opinion, the 686P is the finest all round revolver you can buy. I use my 6″ with a red dot mounted to shoot competitively at my club. I use the 4″ for recreational shooting. I sold the 2.5″ and 3″ because they were too short for target shooting and too heavy for carry.

    The 686 in any barrel length is durable, accurate, dependable and a great looking gun to boot. I usually shoot .38 special for all of my target and recreationsl shooting. I use .38 plus P hollowpoints for home defense and for the rare occasions I carry when I’m alone in the woods. Everyone who enjoys shooting a revolver should definitely have a 686 in their gun safe.

  3. brian says:

    I have owned my 686-3 4″ barrel since 1991. Purchased it new in 1991. I have not been disappointed. It shoots accurately and is still as tight as it was in 1991. This one is my pride and joy where revolvers are concerned. I have bought, sold, and traded many others; this one is here to stay!!!

  4. Randy says:

    I got a used 686/6″ 357 several months ago, as an earlier version I found the wooden grips quite painful after 20-30 rounds. Once fitted with a Hogue rubber grip set it was very nice! No problem hitting a grapefruit at 50 feet. As a rather well used shooter it is still tight, square and reliable. A keeper, for sure!

  5. Jason says:

    I could not be happier with this gun highly recommended weapon had never jammed on me yet.

  6. Ron says:

    Never hear of a revolver jamming. Maybe you should get some edjumication. Love mine,ain’t jammend yet.

  7. Dave says:

    The 686-0 and -1 did lock up S&W recalled them for a ne Hammer nose and Bushing. I just had my 686 no dash completed.

  8. george says:

    have a 686 no dash 4 inch wood grips, has always performed as have all my smiths, a great second choice for me, my primary carry defense choice is my model 28-2 with 4 inch barrel like the extra weight for better control.

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