A Pair of S&W Combat Magnums

Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum

Smith & Wesson rolled out a number of new wheelguns this year. Two of those are given the revered Combat Magnum name. One is a Model 66; the other is a Model 69.

Model 66 Combat Magnum

The new Model 66 Combat Magnum is a K-frame revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum. As with other K-frames in this caliber, it holds six rounds in the cylinder.

Smith & Wesson fits the gun with a 2.75″ barrel, giving it an overall length of just under 8″. An underlug protects the full-length ejector rod. On top, the company uses a pinned front ramp sight with a red insert. An adjustable rear sight offers a crisp outline when aiming.

The gun has a stainless steel finish and black synthetic grips. The MSRP is $849.

Model 69 Combat Magnum

Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum

Matching the 66 is the Model 69 Combat Magnum in the “other” magnum caliber: the .44. This bigger-bore model is an L-frame gun to better handle the cartridge. Only five shots will fit into the cylinder of this revolver.

Like the Model 66, this gun has a 2.75″ barrel and the same sights. Additionally, it has a stainless finish and black grips. Other than the caliber and slight weight difference, the two guns are pretty similar. The Model 69 Combat Magnum shares the same price: $849.

I had a chance to handle both guns at the recent SHOT Show. Both of them seemed well-built, and I look forward to shooting the Model 66 that I have on order.

While the guns are not as flat and compact as a variety of 9mm pistols, they are still concealable should you wish to carry one. I’ve got a Model 64 that I’ve carried for several years. It’s a smooth shooter and the bulk of the cylinder has not been a problem to conceal under a shirt or jacket.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • Those are some darned handsome hoglegs right there.

  • Edeco

    41 Mag L-frame, >5″ barrel plz. I’m really hoping for a 41 GP100 but if Smith produces a medium 41 first, I’d go with that.

    • Paul White

      high on my wishlist. They did a 44 special why not a 41 mag?

      • Edeco

        I was shocked by that. Maybe they’re not yet sure the frame can handle it or if tweaks are needed, but Gary Reeder apparently does 41 conversions, and if an L-frame can take 44 Mag…

    • Dang, if I was gonna carry a wheelgun for defense that would be right up at the top of my wishlist.


      • Edeco

        Yup, martial use isn’t my department, but it’d be right at the top end of practical/duty size and muzzle energy.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I like these.
    No nonsense.

  • Spencerhut

    The frame locks have outlived their usefulness, time for them to go.

    • Swarf

      What’s that? Buy a Ruger? Ah, good idea, thanks.

      • Spencerhut

        I’ll take a S&W with a frame lock over a Ruger every single day, twice on Sunday. But Smith needs to give up on them.

        • Jared Vynn

          Why no love for the Ruger? They are built like tanks and far more durable.

          • Spencerhut

            How many 100+ year old Rugers are out there still in daily use? Built like a tank? Yes. But clumsy, complex and heavy with crappy triggers and rough (compared to S&W) actions is just not what I and most competitive shooters look for in a revolver.
            Rugers are far from junk, you can pound nails with them when you run out of ammo. But when it comes down to it S&W’s is just better at making revolvers you can shoot, quickly and accurately all day long with little to no fuss. And when the day of shooting is done you can tear a S&W down to the last screw and pin, clean lube and reassemble it with ease. Do that with a Ruger, Colt, Charter, Korth, Chiappa . . . pick one. Most will be lucky to make it through 300 rounds without an issue.

          • Jared Vynn

            You are aware Ruger is the easiest to disassemble for cleaning and reassemble right? Factory grip and a shell casing are all you need. I have done it many times with my security six without issue. And as Ruger hasn’t been around that long it’s no surprise their revolvers haven’t.

          • Spencerhut

            Being a guy that works on guns for a living, I’ll stand by my statement about the ease S&W compared to any other revolvers. And your Security-Six, which I own one of, is no longer made.

          • koolhed

            Very few differences between the Speed/Service/Security Six Rugers of yesterday and the GP-100s of today.

          • richard kluesek

            The ‘sixes’ are somewhat more handy, lighter, balanced, and use a full framed grip with front and rear tang straps rather than the grip plug handle.

          • FightFireJay

            When was the last time you handled a Ruger, like the GP100 Match Champion?

            The times, they are a changin’.

          • Spencerhut

            The mechanical engineering under the new look is the same Ruger GP100 that has a crappy trigger and piss poor assembly / disassembly. But I’m sure it it works for what you use it for or you would not be standing up for them.

          • richard kluesek

            Bring back the SecuritySix/SpeedSix/PoliceServiceSix line. Have also got S&Ws and Colts, great handguns all.

      • Jared Vynn

        I would, SRH is a great revolver.

    • They outlived their practical “usefulness” before the pencil first reached the graph paper, but I think they still have a place as a CYA for political ninnies and calming the vapors of nervous retailers. It costs manufacturers very little to add them and they’re easily ignored by grownup users; don’t think of them as unnecessary safety devices, but as marginally successful anti-pearlclutcher devices.

  • Spartan

    Look at that ugly Hillary hole. No thanks.

  • Spencer Ivey

    The 66 looks like it’d make a good carry revolver.

  • koolhed

    Yep. Maybe I’m obsessed, but I won’t even THINK about buying any S&W revolver until that stupid hole (and arrow diagram) gets deleted. There has to be a bunch of other people that feel the same way.

    • Seems like a silly thing to walk away from a nice gun over; a dumb feature you never use is just a dumb feature you never use, unless it gets in the way you can simply ignore it.

      I don’t even notice the silly little ~RTFM and “capable of firing with the magazine removed” warnings on my other modern handguns at the range, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t ever cross my mind if I had to draw and lay sights on a bad guy.

      • Yale Eliot Johnson

        The issue is that on lighter guns with magnum loads (like the 69), the lock can become engaged and freeze the entire gun. Some of the scandium N-frame guns have frozen while loaded with the hammer back, mid-cycle, and the owner unable to open the cylinder. What really sucks is that if your gun is stuck and can’t be unloaded, S&W won’t accept it for warranty claims. You have to potentially pay a smith to fix it first, then send it back. You could also fix it yourself and risk an accidental discharge. That’s a fun option.

    • Joshua

      I have been told that there are gunsmiths out there who can remove that feature if you are so inclined

  • Anonymoose

    They brought back the Model 64 (stainless Model 10) and Model 67 (stainless Model 15) for this year too.

  • gunsandrockets

    S&W is playing some odd naming games. Renaming games?

    If you go to the S&W website, you will find two different “Combat Magnums” listed, the same revolvers described in the TFB article.

    And if you look up the earlier S&W Model 69 44 magnum, the version with the 4.25 inch barrel, the website calls it just the “Model 69”.

    Yet on the right hand side of my own S&W Model 69 revolver, boldly stamped on the barrel are the words “Combat Magnum”.

    Go figure.

  • valorius

    Purty..but i like my stainless 3″ Ruger SP101 with hogue fancy wood grips even better.

  • Disarmed in CA

    I want.

  • tiger

    People whining about a lock are really being juvenile.

    • YZAS

      You’re absolutely right! I think they should keep the lawyer locks and the MIM parts! …that way my 4″ 686 -4 pre-lock will continue to grow in value every year! 🙂

      • koolhed

        Loathing the Hillary Hole is not juvenile, its called ‘principle,’ my man. Principle.

    • Edeco

      Their choice of words, maybe a little, but it takes an enthusiast to reject that stuff. Like heated seats in a so-called pony car; a philistine would say why not, an enthusiast would know it’s wrong.

  • Matthew Groom

    Dear S&W,
    Get rid of the awful two piece barrels, which break and are inaccurate, and offer your revolvers without locks, or piss off.

    Common Sense

  • Marcus D.

    I am not interested in any magnum caliber with a barrel of less than 4″. With those snubbie barrels there is lots of pain, no gain.