Smith & Wesson is famous for its revolver lines, and this year they’ve decided to make a big return into the wheel gun category. The S&W 686 PLUS comes out of Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center, their custom firearm shop, and is an impressive new version of a venerable legend from the past.
The S&W 686 PLUS is based on the medium L-frame, and is chambered for the proven .357 Magnum. It is also capable of shooting .38 caliber and .38 Special +P rounds. The 686 PLUS comes with the 7-shot cylinder, providing a little extra firepower to an already powerful revolver. Though previous versions of the 686 had a variety of barrel choices, the 686 PLUS is currently limited to the 2.5” barrel.
S&W 686 PLUS specifications:
- Caliber – .357 Magnum, and .38 Special +P
- Action – Single and double
- Capacity – 7 rounds
- Overall Length – 7.5”
- Barrel Length – 2.5”
- Weight – 34.6 oz. unloaded
- Front sight – Red ramp
- Rear sight – Adjustable
- Grip – custom cut wood with finger grooves
- MSRP – TBA
One of the features that immediately captures the shooter’s attention is the non-fluted cylinder. The 686 PLUS has a glass bead finish on a stainless steel frame and cylinder. The appearance is very complementing of the the chromed trigger and hammer. Several parts are Performance Center exclusives including:
- Non-fluted cylinder
- Chrome flashed custom tear drop hammer
- PC chromed trigger with stop
- PC precision crowned barrel
- PC tuned action
- Chamfered charge holes
- Cylinder cut for moon clips.
I was able to shoot the S&W 686 PLUS at SHOT Show Media Day. Admittedly, I’m not nearly as familiar with revolvers as I am with semi-auto handguns, however I have shot revolvers from S&W, Ruger, Colt, and Taurus. The 686 PLUS rates among the best that I’ve shot to date.
The PC tuned action made even the double action trigger pull as smooth as glass. There was no hint of creep or struggle to overcome the magical point in the trigger pull that has to be crested in order to obtain the break. Instead, the 686 PLUS trigger rolled through the double action motion in a steady and very predictable motion and break.
When cocking the hammer for single action, the trigger pull is almost imperceivable. As soon as I tightened my trigger finger on the trigger during single action, the 686 PLUS roared to life. Not that the lightweight pull is a bad thing, but one for the shooter to be aware of non-the-less.
Recoil on the S&W 686 PLUS was remarkably controllable considering the 2.5” barrel, although the ammunition at Media Day was just .357 target rounds. Accuracy was very good in my opinion. Standing, unsupported at 15 yards all of my shots were within a 2-3” circle. Again, I’m not as much a revolver shooter, so experienced wheel gun shooters will likely fair much better.
The S&W 686 PLUS will likely be very popular for wheel-gun enthusiasts. The slimmer grip makes this a revolver that many shooters could shoot comfortably. Unfortunately I could not get a S&W representative to provide an MSRP, as they told me that the information was going to be released on their website. So far it has not, but considering other revolvers coming out of the Performance Center I would guess around $1200.