686 snub for carry?


March 18, 2010, 11:14 PM
Hey folks!

I currently have a S&W 686 .357 with a 6" barrel that I LOVE!!! Here is a picture: http://www.bglz.net/images/686_polished.jpg

But that is not my question. My question is this: I am looking for a new carry revolver, and this one is way too big.

I love the 686, and I was wondering if the 686 with 2.5" barrel is a good option? Does anyone carry a .357 snub similar to this? I am not looking for an ultra-concealment gun--I have my 642 for that. I am looking for something to carry in an OWB holster.

Is the 2.5" barrel too short to really take advantage of the .357 magnum? I may not even use .357's in it. I may just carry .38 +P's to be honest. But the extra heft of this gun would be nice.

Any input would be great!!

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March 18, 2010, 11:27 PM
My current wife has one. It is awfully big to conceal.


March 18, 2010, 11:33 PM
I agree with Guillermo.

I sometimes alternate carrying a 2.5" 66 and 19. I loved my 4" 686 so much I thought a 2.5" one of those would be a great option, too. I bought a 2.5" 686-4 for that purpose, but ended up trading it away and going back to the K-frames I already had. The 2.5" L was just a bit bulky. This was also in an OWB pancake holster. If you are going to carry in more conventional belt holster and use a larger outer garment to conceal it, it would not matter so much.

So, I would recommend getting a 66 2.5" if you can - the slightly smaller frame and cylinder dimensions make it carry much more easily to me. FYI, I deeply approve of your taste in grips on that 6". Very attractive.

My current wife has one.

I would really like to ask some questions about the way that statement was phrased, but I'll keep my mouth shut. ;)

March 18, 2010, 11:44 PM
I would really like to ask some questions about the way that statement was phrased, but I'll keep my mouth shut.

Now Oro, you are one of the good guys on THR. Ask away if you wish

March 19, 2010, 12:08 AM
He, he. You just made it sound like you were planning on making an upgrade soon! Like "my current truck is OK, but I've got my eye on a new F-250."

I'm sure you didn't mean that; it just sounded a little funny. ;)

I like to play word games around that subject myself. Sometimes for a grin I'll say, "Oh, my first ex-wife, well she..." Then the other person usually looks a bit puzzled and says, "Just how many ex-wifes DO you have?" Well, just the one, but I'm not dead yet, you know... ;)

March 19, 2010, 12:12 AM
I would dump her but she is so hot

and she has nice guns

Low Budget Shooter
March 19, 2010, 12:16 AM
Wanted: Woman interested in immediate marriage; must have S&W 686, any barrel length is fine; please send picture of revolver.

March 19, 2010, 08:20 AM
I had a 2.5" Round butt 686 that I traded away a long time ago. It was a great gun and in the right holster, very easy to carry under a shirt or light jacket. Since you are not looking for the smallest gun possible I think you would be well served with a snubbie 686. To answer a couple of your questions, my snubbie was incredibly accurate. With Millet sights on it, it was actually just as accurate as my 6" as long as I took my time. Of course you will lose some velocity from the shorter barrel but you will do the same with the plus p's. A short barreld 686 is waaaaay more comfortable to shoot than a SP101 or similar.

On a personal note, there is a pair of these at my local dealer that have been hanging around for a long time. I am paying off two guns right now but I think they have my name written all over them once I am done paying for these two.:D

March 19, 2010, 08:31 AM
For carry the 686 frame feels too large. The J-frame holds great in the hand and is easy to wear.

March 19, 2010, 08:36 AM
The solution to this question, for decades, has been the K-frame.

Find a Model 66 with a 2.5" barrel, it will be much easier to carry, and hold the same 6 rounds.

March 19, 2010, 08:55 AM
You guys are to funny. several posts about wife's and then...round butt....

To the OP, a L frame can get heavy after while. In my younger days I carried N,K and L frames, now days it's J frames and small pocket auto's. Things do shrink with age.

March 19, 2010, 09:37 AM
RatDrall is right...K frame

Madcrate, I missed the part about round butts. Some folks really prefer them, others are happy with square butts. (we are talking guns...right?)

March 19, 2010, 09:44 AM
Sure it make a great carry gun........on the trail. That is usually my hiking gun when I hit the local trails. Also makes a great tent gun when your camping.
I tend to lean towards other options for everyday carry.

March 19, 2010, 10:47 AM
This is where the K frame shines. L frames are just too big for CCW, but some folks are not OK with 5 shot J's. The K can't handle a constant diet of full house magnum loads like the L can without loosening up, but enough for some practice and to carry won't hurt it.

March 19, 2010, 11:22 AM
My 686+ 2.5" conceals about the same as my 19s and 66s, but I don't like the balance of the underlug. I like the 7 rounds though.

March 19, 2010, 11:39 AM
Get a good OWB holster and "go to town" is my answer.

I carry a 686+ 2.5 daily, using one of two holsters, either Galco FLETCH (strong side carry only) or Simply Rugged Sourdough pancake (strong side or cross draw). Light over shirt and voila, away you go. The thing you are looking for imo is to have the cylinder above the belt line. That is THE key to concealing revolvers in my experience and it should fit tightly to the side so invest in a high quality "gunbelt", not a flimsy dress belt. Lots of makers advertise these, I have a couple, but the combination goes a LONG way in making for a comfortable fit.

I also carry a LOT in Maxpedition Jumbo Versapak. DOn't have to worry about what I'm wearing and if you joke me out on a "man purse" well...this man purse bites back :) . Looks like an over the shoulder backpack but it is slower to access the weapon, even with training, vs a OWB holster.

While I agree that the K frames are more comfortable for lots of folks (starting with Bill Jordan :) ) I'll paraphrase Clint Smith in that guns are supposed to be comforting, not comfortable. If you hit well with the 686 and "love" it as you say, there is your choice imo. Pick the gun first, then work out the kinks for carry. Always a way to pack iron concealed to your liking.

I specifically chose the L frame + due to the additional round. Now THAT's comforting imo. Not that 6 is something to sneeze at but mine is deadly accurate (much more so that any service auto I've packed except some 1911's) and I felt much more comfortable with revolvers. Always have.

Just my solicited .02. Hope it helps. But I don't think your choice in revolvers is a bad one at all. Great minds/think alike and all that :).

Happy Blasting.


March 19, 2010, 03:03 PM
I'd say go for it, an L frame is heavy enough that there probably isn't any need for you to go to .38+P if you like .357 out of your 6", even with the shorter barrel. And the .357 is always faster than the .38, even from a short barrel against a long barrel. Double the pressure really makes a difference in velocity.

March 19, 2010, 03:07 PM
I have CCW'd my 4" 686 with little difficulty wearing Cleveland-winter clothes. But I prefer to carry my 3" Ruger SP101.

March 19, 2010, 04:07 PM
My EDC is a ruger sp101,GREAT little snub and no trouble to carry/conceal.Its weight really tames even the full-house 357 mags,which is what I load it with.

Sniper X
March 19, 2010, 04:53 PM
I carry a model 19-2 with a 2.5in barrel and it hides real well. I say go for it.

Deaf Smith
March 19, 2010, 07:25 PM

Check your 3 inch 686 .357 you have pictured to see if inside the crane it has the stamp, CS-1. Mine does. It means "Custom Service 1". The U.S. Custom Service used 3 inch 686's for a while before going to simi-autos.

And if it is one.. let it sleep in the safe cause it's worth $$.

As for carrying a 686, in any barrel length, for CCW, well it's an awful heavy gun for 6 rounds of .357! But if I was going to do it, I'd get the 2 1/2 version, round butt, and Secret Service stocks added (they are like boot grips.)

Still a bit heavy but it's an awfu good gun.


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