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Old 07-08-2017, 01:20 AM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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Default 3" 686 for carry

Hello, I am thinking that my next handgun purchase will be a 3" 686 plus. I just wanted to hear from some others that carry one.

My current carry gun is normally a Government or Commander 1911 which is carried IWB. I live in Texas and carry the stainless in the summer and the blued one in the winter. I know a steel revolver will be heavy, but I am not concerned about that, I carry 1911s as mentioned.

I have a 4" 686 currently and am thinking a 3" would be a little more handy for day to day carry. What are some grip and holster recommendations that you actually use? I would like to find a compact grip that would still let me get a full grip and not require me to tuck my pinky finger underneath.

Also, how does it carry compared to a 1911 as far as concealment? We have open carry here so I am not concerned about a little printing, however I would like to be discreet too. The only revolver that I carry so far is an LCR and that one goes on my hip on the way to work and mainly only gets worn when I make a stop on the way home.

I have some time to shop around for a holster and grips as I more than likely won't be getting this until the end of this year or early next year. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:33 AM
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I've got a 4 inch Square butt 686-3 that I've CC in Northern NY during the winter under a heavy jacket. The 686 is a service size pistol, concealment wasn't it's main design idea. But, you already CC a 1911, so you are used to hiding a service sized pistol.

I'd recommend a good pancake holster, I use desantis but galco and several others offer quality ones too. You'll need a cover garment if you go that route and you might want to go with a higher riding holster so the barrel doesn't stick out so far. I also tried a blade tech kydex, but it sat way low and was really bulky. it was great on the range though. i'd continue to poll the membership and see if folks like/recommend an IWB which IMHO might be easier to hide but less comfortable.

On grips, I'd make sure to get a round butt. I use hogues but also look at the Pachmyer compacs as well.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:00 AM
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Iv'e been carrying a 681 4" that I round butted in a Milt Sparks VMII lately. same size/weight. VZ makes some of the best grips for guns imho. i have a set on my 681 and a couple Safariland comp. III's for reloads. weight is not an issue to me, as I too carried a 5" 1911 for years. only thing i ran up against, room in my pants/shorts. went on vacation and packed on a couple of lbs. and now its a bit snug!
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:11 AM
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I've got a 3" 686+ ( Talo 3-5-7 series) and love the gun for it's shooting characteristics. I'm not dedicated enough to carry anything that size and weight though. That said, I find the factory grips to be pretty decent and good looking . I think it would be a good pick . The 686+ pro also has a decent factory grip and shaves a few ounces off the guns weight .
Good luck in your search!
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:09 AM
BAM-BAM BAM-BAM is offline
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Best all around revolver I own is probably a 4" round butt 686...... but for all day concealed carry ......... make mine a 3" K-frame.

I had a 3" 586...... just to bulky and heavy for all day carry IWB...IMO

Remember we're talking carried a lot and hopefully never shot................

If I thought it was SHTF...................... hi-cap 9mm
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:00 AM
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@OP,

Like you, I am in the planning stage. I have a 686+ 3" on order. When the current dust settles, I expect my rotation will focus on a Mauser HSc, a 686+ 3", and a Commander.

For the 686, I like the factory grips at the moment, and plan to get a second set. For leather, I am pretty much focused on a Galco Combat Master holster, or same style if I see one from a different manufacturer.

How it carries, I can't answer. However, when I do carry my Chief's 36-6 (a J frame identical twin to the 3" 686), that carries quite comfortably OWB, and it really depends on the holster for IWB.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:07 AM
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I can't speak to a 3" 686+, but I do carry a 2 1/2" 686+, primarily in the winter.

Fully loaded it is 40 oz - on par with a steel framed full size 1911, but heavier than the 31 oz LW Commander I often carry in the summer (my usual summer pistol is a 30.5 oz S&W 6906).

If you choose a decent IWB holster, you'll find the 3" 686+ will be very concealable - more so than a full size or Commander sized 1911, and will be more comfortable to carry as the hammer on the 686+ doesn't rub on you like the hammer on a 1911 can.

I use a Wild Bill's Concealment Covert Carry IWB holster, for both my 2 1/2" Model 66 (36 oz) and my 2 1/2" 686+. The website lists it as made to order with an 8-10 week delivery time, but I've never had WBC take more than 3 weeks for an MTO item and the little brown truck usually brings in about 2 weeks. Summer is also their slow time, so MTO items should be quick.

This particular model uses an offset belt clip that keeps the overall profile thin, and the resulting wider surface makes it very comfortable. It's also a tuckable design if you need to tuck in shirt. As you can see the holster below is sized for my 3" Model 13, but works fine with the 2 1/2" revolvers.





I've also carried a 3" Model 13, and I can state that the extra 1/2" of barrel makes no difference at all in comfort or concealment. 3" does allow a little more velocity from a .357 Magnum, particularly if you are using a load optimized for a longer barrel.

L and K frame sized revolvers like the 686+, Speed Six and Model 66 below all conceal better than you'd think, particularly with a compact grip, as the maximum width only exists in the cylinder, with the barrel and grip frame being substantially thinner than a 1911 over all.

I'm a big fan of Pachmayr's Compact grip on this class of revolver as it conceals well, yet is still comfortable and controllable to shoot with .357 Magnum self defense loads.


Last edited by BB57; 07-08-2017 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:08 AM
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I don't carry mine often but do so occasionally AIWB with either a leather Triple K holster or a kydex holster from JM Custom Kydex. It wears and conceals surprisingly well imho.

For most day to day carry, however, I generally carry one of my other semi autos or a 642-1.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:17 AM
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I have a 686+, 3" talo edition
The Scopesmith The Gun Room— — Back in Stock TALO Model! Smith & Wesson 150713 Model 686 Deluxe 357 Mag 3in 7rd – Adjustable White Outline/Red Ramp Sights Stainless Steel – Satin Finish – Textured wood grips
and carry owb in a Lobo Leather enhanced pancake holster with a thumb break.
Enhanced Pancake – Welcome to Lobo Gun Leather
I think the 3" is the perfect carry size and imo, nothing beats 7 rounds of .357

Last edited by Enzo; 07-08-2017 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:56 AM
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I have carried snub K's and L's and I much preferred the K's. Sold both my 2.5 & 3 inch L's a long time ago - don't miss them.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:10 AM
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I carry a 3" GP100 in a Simply Rugged pancake...works great, conceals great.

Also carry my 4" 686 in a Remora, even for a full size gun it hides rather well.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:23 PM
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Go shoot the 1911 and 686 without ear protection and your favorite carry loads and see which one you still want to carry
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:17 PM
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I carry either a Star PD in .45 ACP or a Mod 66, 2&1/2 inch barrel, round butt, Pacmeyer grips in custom made shoulder holsters. Conceals nicely in cool or cold weather, and either a lite vest or a light-weight sport coat in warm weather. As I spend a lot of time in a vehicle, the shoulder holster is more comfortable and offers easy access while sitting. (A retired trooper went into leather work when he got bored, and my last custom holster for the Star, including two mag pouches and a handcuff carrier cost $70. Rodek Leather Works, Inc.)
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:37 PM
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My husband and I both occasionally carry a 2 1/2 and 3" 686+, mostly for woods walks or when bears are sighted in the area. In a Sourdough Pancake and Galco Combat master. The stock grip on the 3" is good and a Hogue Bantam is a good alternate that's a bit smaller.

Grips L to R: Stock 3", Hogue Bantam, Stock 4"

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Old 07-08-2017, 04:01 PM
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For me I prefer nothing less than 4 inch. As a LEO I could conceal a 4 inch IWB just as well as a 2 inch. Did not make sense giving up the one, or two inches. Pocket backup though had to be no more than a two inch.

I have only a couple three inch revolvers, a Charter Arms bulldog, and a 1851 Navy avenging angel. They sit in the safe most of the time. Carry for rotates between several 4 inch DA revolvers. Only snub I carry regularly is a NAA mini revolver in my pocket.
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:02 PM
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In my younger life pre-chemo I CCW a S&W Model 29 4" or 6"plus four speed loaders.

Currently I CCW a Glock with a extra magazine plus a S&W "J" Frame
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyj View Post
In my younger life pre-chemo I CCW a S&W Model 29 4" or 6"plus four speed loaders.

Currently I CCW a Glock with a extra magazine plus a S&W "J" Frame
Currently I have been carrying my model 21, and a peacemaker clone. But I can get away with it here in NC as OC is a protected right. The NAA though never leaves my pocket no matter what I am carrying, sometimes my only carry depending.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:43 AM
t3hgruu t3hgruu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasky View Post
Go shoot the 1911 and 686 without ear protection and your favorite carry loads and see which one you still want to carry
Lol I actually have shot a 686 I owned years back as well as 1911s without ear pro, I also put a couple of cylinders of .357 through my LCR with naked ears. We all do dumb things right? If I had to to risk rank my concerns of hearing loss during a SD situation I can say that would be at the bottom of the list.

To everyone else, thanks for your replies and especially for the photos! Pictures are worth a thousand words. I was looking at the Hogue bantams, however I am concerned the rubber grips my cause my shirt to stick and ride up a little. I am personally not too big of a fan of the stock grips that came on my 4" 686 and my Governor. Those finger grooves are just in the wrong place for my hands.

I have a couple of High Noon down under holsters that I use for my 1911s. I like the looks of the leather one with the clip. I have a kydex holster that I use occasionally if I know I'm going someplace where carry is a legal no no. It's easy to take on and off but not very comfortable.

I am wanting to have a good revolver as an option to remove some magazine and ammo concerns. Maybe since I am starting to push 40 I am realizing that sometimes it's better to keep things simple.
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:47 AM
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A half inch here, a half inch there.... my 686+ with 2.5" barrel is just fine. And I think that your intended target wont know if it came from a 2.5" or a 3" barrel.

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Old 07-09-2017, 05:31 AM
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That's an awesome picture.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:09 AM
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Mostly people find two things about a specific revolver that work for them: barrel length and frame size. Find out if you're a K, L, or N frame guy. Then find out what your barrel length is. For example I do well with a 4" or 6" in N frame, but can't do anything with a 5". It doesn't balance well and I have trouble finding the front sight. The extra round is a joke. It confines you to HKS or maxfire speedloaders or you go the moonclip route. You're actually slower than a six shot to reload. We found out that the break even point for the slower reload is actually eight shots. If you're going to stay with speedloaders the Safariland Comp 3 cannot be beaten in a 2.5" K frame model 66. It's the fastest speedloaders and gun combination.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:53 AM
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Texas Gun Leather makes a IWB holster that spreads the weight around, increasing comfort. I'll carry my 686 4" on hikes and camping using it.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:17 AM
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I'm using a Galco "Speed Paddle" for my 3" L-frame.
If you go to Galco's website, it has others which will work with your anticipated 3" 686+.

As shown, I usually have a Pachmayr brand grip on my revolvers, but do have other brands, like Hogue or the supplied ones from S&W, which I'll put on for some variety.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:14 PM
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I think a 3" 686 would be a great carry gun. However, everyone is different so you need to figure out if one would work for you specifically.

I prefer a larger frame. I used to carry a 2" Detective Special, which is Colt's D frame, but wanted a slightly bigger gun with more power. So I upgraded to the 2.5" Python which is on the I frame, about equal to S&W's L frame. I love the snub Python for carry, it is perfect for me, the size, the weight, the power.

Hindsight is 20/20, and if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have gotten a 4" Python instead. Would have been cheaper for starters, but would also have given me better accuracy and more velocity. I like my snubby though. A 3" Python would have been perfect, but obtaining one of those for a realistic price is unrealistic.

So a 3" 686 would work great for someone like me. In fact, I considered a 2.5" 686 but I am really anal about action design and dedicated to the Colt V spring. I would take some time to think it over and decide on what exact configuration fits your bill. An inch or so barrel difference doesn't make much difference on guns of the same frame size when it comes to carrying or concealing. So I wouldn't rule out a 4", or even 2.5" the other way.

For combat shooting, I got combat grips from Karl Nill. They are expensive, but they are one of the highest quality grips I have seen. The fit is amazing on my Python. They are designed specifically for shooters and make the gun point fantastic when combat shooting (no sights).

For holster, I just have a Bianchi Accumold right now. It was cheap and actually gives a nice high ride OWB which is concealable. The holster covers most of the gun's frame to protect it, which I require for nice guns. Eventually I plan to get a Galco or Desantis combat leather for high ride OWB carry. I go with OWB so the gun is always easy to draw, and I practice drawing and combat shooting. A carry gun isn't worth anything if you don't practice, practice, practice how to use it well.

Here's my dirty girl after some range drills.

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Old 07-09-2017, 01:26 PM
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I think the 3 inch 686 is a great carry option and the weight doesn't bother me at all. It's a little tough to carry in the summer tough. I carry my 2.5 inch 686-4+ when the temps cool off.


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Old 07-09-2017, 11:11 PM
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Default Switched from J frames to a K frame for EDC ...

My 3" Model 547 in 9mm has proven to be quite comfortable for EDC. The extra weight does not seem to be a bother with a good holster. I carry it as my primary weapon AISW and the extra weight of the all steel K frame is comforting. Bestdes the Kydex shown below I also carry it in a Remora AISW for better concealment and comfort as it can be moved around to suit the situation.



The 547 points so naturally and is so well balanced that it comes up to sight alignment much quicker than my J frames.



I painted the front ramp with white out to pick it up quickly in a defensive situation:



digiroc

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Old 07-09-2017, 11:54 PM
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I have a 2.5", 3" and 4" 686+, and all but the 4" are in my carry rotation. I live in a concealed only state, so an IWB is easier to conceal, but a 4" is a little too long for IWB comfort. Everything feels better in an OWB holster, however. I prefer a boot grip for a short revolver, but a "banana" or round-to-square grip gives you the full length grip you prefer.

Recoil is moderate in a 36+ oz revolver. I shoot nothing but full-load .357 Magnum in mine. I don't think I would like 25 oz recoil, much less an airweight 15 oz.

If you carry "mostly" concealed, that means high ride too. The shorter the barrel, the easier to clear leather in a situation. A 3" 686 has a full-length ejector, whereas 2.5" is short, and takes a good whack to eject all the shells the first time.

I get smaller groups with these revolvers than a mid-range 1911, typically about 3" at 10 yards, SA. I can keep then on a paper plate at that range DA. I think that's dangerous enough for self defense.
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:18 PM
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My k frame 2.5 66 snubs are all more comfortable to carry than my commander. Now i am carrying the new 66 2.75. IWB is a must for concealment for my athletic 5'9" 157lb body. The square but Altai grips from Altamont are my favorite grip.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:42 AM
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I carry a 586 L-Comp IWB no problem. Have also carried a 2.5" 686 Plus and a 4" 686 in the past. A good belt and holster is all you need. During the hot humid summer I prefer something a little lighter though.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:08 PM
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I have a 3" 686 among other barrel lengths. To me, even though I love the gun, it is just too big for everyday carry. For EDC, I carry a 640 Pro. The 3" 686 does make a great backpacking gun.

Last edited by GTBL; 08-29-2017 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 08-29-2017, 03:59 PM
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Digiroc ... what grips do you have on your 547? Are those factory smooth combats? They look like they'd be quite comfortable.

Quote:
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My 3" Model 547 in 9mm has proven to be quite comfortable for EDC. The extra weight does not seem to be a bother with a good holster. I carry it as my primary weapon AISW and the extra weight of the all steel K frame is comforting. Bestdes the Kydex shown below I also carry it in a Remora AISW for better concealment and comfort as it can be moved around to suit the situation.



The 547 points so naturally and is so well balanced that it comes up to sight alignment much quicker than my J frames.



I painted the front ramp with white out to pick it up quickly in a defensive situation:



digiroc
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  #32  
Old 08-29-2017, 07:12 PM
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My 686 Plus with Cylider and Slide shop rear sight
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:12 AM
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The main difference is in comfort. The 4" barrel requires a longer holster. The muzzle are presses against your back pocket, which is rounded on the inside. This creates a bit of tension thst you feel as you move around. You can see this printing sometimes. The 3" gun, WITH A HOLSTER MADE FOR IT, will relieve some of that tension. If you carry the 686 3" in a holster made for a 4", you will either feel a slight difference as the leather is mashed down over time or no change ever if you use kydex.

I also think the 4" is easier to shoot. I noticed a dramatic difeerence in performance when moving to a 3" gun from a 5" gun.

Last edited by tomrkba; 09-05-2017 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:01 PM
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Default Hogue Rubber Laser Grips ...

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Originally Posted by pools350 View Post
Digiroc ... what grips do you have on your 547? Are those factory smooth combats? They look like they'd be quite comfortable.
The wooden grips were made by a member here who is no longer active. They are nice grips, about as the Packmyar Compacts also shown.

I'm also trying out the Hogue laser grips and while bigger feel great in hand. They will make it a little harder to conceal, but still doable with the right clothes.



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Old 09-16-2017, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neumann View Post
.../

/....Recoil is moderate in a 36+ oz revolver. I shoot nothing but full-load .357 Magnum in mine. I don't think I would like 25 oz recoil, much less an airweight 15 oz.

If you carry "mostly" concealed, that means high ride too. The shorter the barrel, the easier to clear leather in a situation. A 3" 686 has a full-length ejector, whereas 2.5" is short, and takes a good whack to eject all the shells the first time.

I get smaller groups with these revolvers than a mid-range 1911, typically about 3" at 10 yards, SA. I can keep then on a paper plate at that range DA. I think that's dangerous enough for self defense.
I agree my 36 oz 2 1/2" Model 66 or my 40 oz 2 1/12" Model 686 are heavy enough to be able to shoot very well, while still being light enough to carry comfortably all day long in a good IWB holster with a well made belt.

We're in agreement as well on the ejector rod. The FBI specified a 3" barrel for their Model 13s because it allowed for a full length ejector rod. But..."full length" is relative to the .38 Special, and the .357 Magnum brass still will not fully clear the cylinder.

The "FBI reload" was developed back in the 1930s when speed loaders were a new thing, and when 4" or 5" revolvers and .38 Special were the norm. As such, with a full length ejector rod and .38 Special the FBI reload worked well, as the thumb provided enough force to eject the spent brass.

However, with full power .357 Magnum loads, the brass can stick enough to make ejection using only the thumb on the ejector rod a challenge, even with a full length ejector rod. Add a short ejector rod, and it gets to be even more of a challenge.

That led to the "Universal reload" where the thumb is repositioned down on the face of the cylinder, and the ejection force is provided with the strong hand slapping "down" on the ejector rod.

.357 Magnum loads also generate much more heat at the forcing cone and in both the FBI and Universal reloads, the forcing cone ends up resting on the side of knuckle of your middle finger. Some officers and agents have dropped revolvers in gun fights due to getting burned after firing 6 rounds rapid fire and reloading. It isn't an issue with .38 Special but it can be with .357 Magnum.

In addition, officers tend to slap the ejector rod at an angle - and that's what bends ejector rods, not the hollywood style flipping the crane closed (that causes its own issues with the crane, but doesn't bend the ejector rod).

The end result was the stress fire reload where the cylinder is opened the same way (with the thumb unlatching the cylinder and then the middle and ring fingers of the weak hand going through the frame to push the cylinder out). However, once open the thumb goes from the cylinder latch to position between the cylinder and frame to hold it open, with the revolver held in the strong hand with the hammer in the web of the hand, holding it muzzle up. This allows the weak hand to slap straight down on the ejector rod with the thumb and forefinger on each side of the barrel - which helps align the hand so that it strikes straight down on the ejector rod. There is also no thumb in the way to limit the travel of the ejector rod, so you get a much more positive ejection using the full length of the ejector rod.

You also don't have the hot forcing cone resting on your middle finger.


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Originally Posted by tomrkba View Post
The main difference is in comfort. The 4" barrel requires a longer holster. The muzzle are presses against your back pocket, which is rounded on the inside. This creates a bit of tension thst you feel as you move around. You can see this printing sometimes. The 3" gun, WITH A HOLSTER MADE FOR IT, will relieve some of that tension. If you carry the 686 3" in a holster made for a 4", you will either feel a slight difference as the leather is mashed down over time or no change ever if you use kydex.

I also think the 4" is easier to shoot. I noticed a dramatic difeerence in performance when moving to a 3" gun from a 5" gun.
I agree with you on the holster. A 4" is just to long to be able to walk, stand, move and sit comfortably all day long in an IWB holster - and concealment isn't an option in a OWB holster.

The longer barrel will help reduce some of the muzzle flip, due to the longer length and increased weight forward, particularly with something like a 686 where the barrel has an under lug. However, the difference is fairly small if you've got a well developed grip.

The difference in accuracy is virtually non existent however - if you've got a well developed grip and good trigger control. If the sight alignment and grip are sufficient, the shorter sight radius makes no significant difference. Mechanically speaking, 2 1/2" and 3" revolvers are every bit as accurate as 4" and 5" revolvers.
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Old 09-16-2017, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by forrestinmathews View Post
We found out that the break even point for the slower reload is actually eight shots.

A 2" 327PC comes to mind. Eight shots of .357Mag goodness!
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