S&W Model 686
Smith & Wesson Model 686
Country of origin

United States


Smith & Wesson

Year(s) designed


Production began


Production ended


Weapon type



.357 Magnum, .38 Special


Double Action

Overall length

305mm (12in)

Barrel length

64mm (2.5in), 76mm (3in), 102mm (4in), 153mm (6in)


1.25kg (2.75lb)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

Six-shot, Seven-shot

Used by

France, Luxembourg, Norway, United States

The Smith & Wesson Model 686 is a double action revolver designed to fire the .357 Magnum cartridge. Smith & Wesson's in house Performance Centre produce their own version of the Model 686 which offers a variety of barrel lengths as well as specially designed Model 686's chambered for the .38 Super.

Design DetailsEdit

The Model 686 is only available with an L-frame (medium size), stainless steel frame, with all other major components, such as the cylinder, also made in stainless steel. The Model 686 is then finished in Satin Stainless with a synthetic grip.

The barrel of the Model 686 can be ordered in several different lengths: 64mm (2.5in); 76mm (3in); 102mm (4in); 153mm (6in). The Smith & Wesson Performance Centre produces custom barrels for the Model 686 (built to order) which can also be fitted with a muzzle brake (ported).

The sights of the Model 686 are a combination of a Red ramp front sight, combined with an adjustable White Outline rear sight. The Smith & Wesson Performace Centre produce a range of other sights on their own Model 686s.


The Model 686 was designed for the ever popular .357 Magnum cartridge, chambered in either a six or seven shot cylinder. By virtue of being chambered for the .357 Magnum, the Model 686 is also capable of firing the .38 Special (the .357 Magnum's parent cartridge).

The Smith & Wesson Performace Centre produced a limited line of Model 686s chambered for the .38 Super cartridge, Smith & Wesson's own competitive shooting cartridge. 


The Model 686 has been produced in a variety of forms to help it encroach into many markets such as the hunting and competitve shooting markets. These variants include those produced by Smith & Wesson's in-house tuning centre: the Smith & Wesson Performance Centre.

Model 686Edit

The standard Model 686, as it was originally produced by Smith & Wesson in 1980. Available in all standard barrel sizes with a six shot cylinder capable of accepting either the .357 Magnum or .38 Special cartridges.

Model 686 PEdit

Exactly the same as the original Model 686 except this model featured a seven shot cylinder instead.

Model 686 PP (Power Port)Edit

The most modified version of the standard Smith & Wesson produced Model 686s with a Distinguished Combat Power Port cylinder, capable of holding six cartridges and a barrel fitted with a muzzle brake.

Smith & Wesson Model 686 Performance CentreEdit

The most modified version of the Model 686 produced by the Smith & Wesson Performance Centre. Features include the addition of a weighted barrel, picatinny rail, modified sights, forged hammer and trigger system, ball-bearing cylinder lock and pinned sear. This version entered production in 2007.

Other ModelsEdit

The Model 686 was adopted by the Smith & Wesson Performance Centre whom have produced several other versions of the Model 686 in various configurations:

  • S&W Model 686 "Classic Hunter" (1988) - Released exclusively with a 6in barrel with a six shot unfluted cylinder.
  • S&W Model 686-3 "Midnight Black" (1989) - A blackened finish applied to the stainless frame with a choice of 4in or 6in barrel. Limited production run of 5,000.
  • S&W Model 686 CS-1 (1980's) - A Model 686 designed specifically for the United States Custom Service.
  • S&W Model 686 "National Security" (1992) - Available with either a 3in or 4in barrel and black finish.
  • S&W Model 686 "Target Competition (1992) - A competition version of the Model 686 with a 6in match grade barrel and full lug.
  • S&W Model 686 "The Presidents" (2003) - Finished in brushed gold with hardwood finger grips.


The Model 686 has remained in the Smith & Wesson catalogue since its release and, bar a minor recall due to several reported cases of the cylinder binding to the .357 Magnum cartridge, has remained a popular and reliable hunting and target revolver.

The Model 686 is also used by several police forces, not only in the United States but in Europe with several forces in Luxembourg, Norway and France utilising the Model 686 on special operations in particular.


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