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Old 09-23-2009, 04:21 PM
Brian894x4 Brian894x4 is offline
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Default Navy Seals use of Model 66s or 686s?

I've read some snippits here and there of the Seals using both Model 66s and Model 686s. Nothing concrete, just a lot of snippits, including things like Seal Team 6 was the only one to use the 66 and the rest used 686s, that they were used because stainless steal was easier to deal with in salt water environments.

I've also read that the Seals might "still" use the 686 in some cases, because it's less likely to jam in silty water, etc, etc.

I'm curious if anyone has a more detailed account of their use by the Seals. And especially any pictures or information on when they were used, how they were carried (where and holsters, etc) and specificly what models were used. Were they only 4" barrel models for example, or did they carry 2.5 or 3" versions too?

Also, if any modifications were done to them...i.e. changes in sights, internals or anything else?

It just really peaked my interest when I read this and I'd like to find out as much as I can about their use by the Seals since I'm a big Model 66 fan. If there's a website or anything that I missed while trying to search I'd appreciate the link too.

I figure these were probably all mid 1960s guns so that's why I posted in this section. Thanks for any insight or info.

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Old 09-23-2009, 04:31 PM
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Hi:
I am interested also in the fact that revolvers were used instead of semi-autos?
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:37 PM
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I never saw a 66, but the Teams at Little Creek VA did use 686's. I saw two at the SEAL Team display at NAS Oceana in 2004.

One was submerged in an aqarium tank. Periodically the sailors would pull it out and fire it (blanks).

I did hear that LCDR Marchenko wanted stainless S&W revolvers, but don't recall what became of that request.
Hope this helps. Regards 18DAI.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:51 PM
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Well I have a 686 in my bag of tricks and the Seals like to copy what I do - - so it wouldn't surprise me
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:02 PM
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It is sort of interesting - AND - what would the duty round have been? I've never seen any mil-spec/Hague-compliant .357 ammo. I'd hate to depend on .38 spl. 130 gr. FMJs for anything critical.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:06 PM
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:48 PM
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Dick Marcinko's book shows a picture of a Seal team Six training exercise where the boarding team is carrying/pointing Model 66s.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:22 PM
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When I went to firearms instructor school in the mid 90's there was an active duty Navy Seal going through the same class. That dude sure could shoot, and he was the only one who could still function after taking a face full of pepper spray. (He took the blast, held his eyes open with his fingers, and told the instructor "I could kill you right now". Not sure if that was a threat or a mere statement of fact.)

Anyway, in conversation with him one day he mentioned he "swam a 686", which I took to mean he carried one when scuba-ed. I know they work underwater, and I imagine a contact shot with one would do the trick.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:26 PM
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Because the SEALS are often deployed against terrorists, they probably are not hindered by the Hague Accords prohibition of hollowpoint or lead ammo that applies to war between nations.

I know that French equivalents use whatever .357 ammo they want, including some pretty exotic stuff. They have employed Manurhin MR-73's and S&W 586's. French cops also use a variety of other Ruger, Manurhin, and S&W .357s. One Manurhin model is based on Ruger's old Security-Six, with refinements. But later actual Rugers also see use, often with Trautsch grips.

I think the SEALS do still use stainless S&W's, and not just with Hague Accords "legal" ammo. However, their primary handgun is the SIG-Sauer P-226 9mm, with a Navalized finish. I believe that SIGARMS also offers that finish option to civilian buyers.

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:43 PM
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This is all cool info. Thanks for chiming in. I wonder if aoyone has any pictures on the net somewhere. I never thought to ask which round they might shoot out of the things, but that was a great question too.

The idea of them using S&W revolvers at all is one thing, but the idea they still might be using them today is just flat out amazing. I have to imagine that while the original Seal revolvers might have been stock, that anything used today, must be modified in some ways.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:01 PM
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Famously, Dick Marchinko the founder of SEAL Team Six, the hostage rescue and anti-terrorist team, bought the S&W Model 66 for the Team.

The original Team had something like 78 members, all "shooters", no support people.
In their first year in business, they shot up more ammo in practice then the entire US Marine Corps did.
Later, and still, the Teams use the Model 686 for training and for use when "going swimming with the gun".

From the founding of Navy UDT to today, the teams have used many types and brands of revolvers, including the Colt Detective Special and Cobra to the S&W Model 15 and 629.

There's always a flurry of comment whenever the Teams or Special Forces is seen test firing a new firearm.
A few years ago everyone was all a-flutter after Special Forces was seen testing the Desert Eagle .50.

Point is, they're ALWAYS testing guns to see if they have any use, they don't necessarily actually buy many or actually use them.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:41 PM
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Navy Seals use of Model 66s or 686s? Navy Seals use of Model 66s or 686s? Navy Seals use of Model 66s or 686s? Navy Seals use of Model 66s or 686s? Navy Seals use of Model 66s or 686s?  
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While stationed in Key West , FL. the WWII sub I was on at that time ran operations with the UDT teams in training. We would go out at night, surface(miles off shore), place rafts and men(no motors) on the aft deck, and then submerge. As I remember these guys carried an assortment of firearms. I saw grease guns, Thompsons, 1911s, revolvers, sawed off pump shotguns, but most all there arms were small and compact! No 686s, they weren't invented yet!
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian894x4 View Post
This is all cool info. Thanks for chiming in. I wonder if anyone has any pictures on the net somewhere. I never thought to ask which round they might shoot out of the things, but that was a great question too.

The idea of them using S&W revolvers at all is one thing, but the idea they still might be using them today is just flat out amazing. I have to imagine that while the original Seal revolvers might have been stock, that anything used today, must be modified in some ways.

Why? If it works as-is, why "fix" it? Apart from changing grips, I usually never modify my handguns. Some people seem to make a hobby of that, though. It's their money and their hobby...
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:11 AM
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I didn't mean to suggest that it "needed" be modified, but was just curious if it was.

I was thinking more along the lines of action jobs, and in today's modern warfare environment, would they be modified with night sights or flashlight adapaters or anything like that. Maybe any modifications to make them more friendly in the water...i.e...better sealed up gun..or maybe the opposite, holes drilled to allow it to drain faster.

One thing that I wonder if was changed was grips. I'm not sure how the factory wood grips would do in a salt water environment and if maybe they wanted anything different.

SWAT type teams regularly modify their weapons, or have specific add-ons or toys, so that's where I'm coming from.

I'm curious what kind of holsters they use(d) and how they packed the things plus carrying spare ammo. I probably have a lot questions that answers would not be easy to come by.

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Old 09-24-2009, 11:12 AM
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I worked at a training facility in NC which a lot of SEAL teams used. Back in the early 1990's they were still carrying a lot of Model 66's.
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:28 PM
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The SEAL Model 66 revolvers are shown in Richard Marchinko's book.
They had Hogue rubber Mono-Grips fitted.

The holsters appeared to be an upright type nylon shoulder holster fastened tightly to their vests.

The Teams now have huge support organizations including world class gunsmiths.
They can have any modifications they need to their guns, so some probably have modded S&W revolvers, or even several with different mods.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:29 PM
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In his book Marcinko said they wore out S&W .357s regularly. Don't recall which model though.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
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In his book Marcinko said they wore out S&W .357s regularly. Don't recall which model though.
Huh...apparnetly his book is available online by google and you can basically read and search it for free. At least major parts of the book. Weird stuff. Here's a couple of interesting and relavant excerps....

Definition of "Smith": Smith and Wesson, Generally a .357 Model 66, stainless steel revolver with 4" barrel

"Desert Target Practice during Training of Seal Team Six. Those Model 66s got real hot too".

"The Men Hung silhouette targets and then practiced aquiring a sight picture and squeezing the trigger of their stainless steel Smith and Wesson Model 66 .357s"

(Listing gear) ".....Smith and Wesson Revolvers in stainless steel, so they wouldn't rust when we swam with them".

"...Delta used .45s, while my unit used .357 or 9mm...."

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Old 10-02-2009, 03:31 AM
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Check out "Weapons of he Navy Seals" by Kevin Dockery. He is one of the curators of the Seal Museum and covers the history of firearms used by the Seal Teams in depth. Both the 66 and 686 were used.
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:13 PM
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I hate being a "I have this buddy who..." guy, but one of my good friends honest-to-God just finished his enlistment as a SEAL. He was stationed in San Diego, and he unequivocally told me that they used 686s for some situations due to its salt water resistance. He specifically brought it up with me because he remembered I had a 686 when we were in high school and let him shoot it.

However, he still preferred the SIG 226 9mm because it was simply ingrained in him through the training.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:41 PM
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Speaking of holsters......I've got a vintage ballistic nylon piece, most definately mil-spec (built like a brick $hithouse). Manufacturer was a company called "Elevated Urban Operation" (or somthing to that effect....I'll have to dig it out of storage to remember for sure). It's a full flap, secured with lots of velcro and most definately made for a 4" K frame (though there's no model designation on it that I can recall)

Perhapse it's got a military history???
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:43 PM
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Last time I was at Dam Neck 686s were still around, as well as 36s. I don't remember when the transition from 66s to 686s was, but 686s were in use in 1992 or 1993.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akviper View Post
Check out "Weapons of the Navy Seals" by Kevin Dockery. He is one of the curators of the Seal Museum and covers the history of firearms used by the Seal Teams in depth. Both the 66 and 686 were used.
In this book, it says the 686 is used for (among other tasks) "live" fire using primer-only .357 cases plugged with wax as the projectile.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:24 PM
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Way back in 1985? I had a SEAL TEAM buddy get orders from SEAL TEAM ONE ( West Coast ) to some SEAL TEAM on the east coast . As soon as he got there he called me and wanted to buy his jump gear back from me that he had sold to me . At that time he mentioned that when he arrived at his new command he was issued a Stainless Steel S&W Mod. 66 and that he was to be carrying it " at all time's " . He mentioned something to the effect that his new TEAM was very intense . He said that he needed his jump gear back and was willing to pay me more then what he sold it to me for becouse he had to have it right away and he needed it overnighted to him ? I don't till this day know what that was all about . Now I don't remember ever having the SEAL TEAM SIX conversation with him but as I can recall I assumed that this is where he went . At that time as I can recall SIX was the only TEAM actively carrying anything " at all the time's " let alone a revolver .
That's all I know , or can remember .

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Old 10-28-2009, 11:49 PM
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Last time I was at the Seal Museum in Ft. Pierce, Fl, there was a nicely engraved 686 with white (pearl?) grips that was labeled as having been presented to Richard Marchinko by some of his troops. Beautiful gun!
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:56 AM
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So it's safe to say that the SEALS did carry and use both the 66 and 686 in the past and perhaps still do among many other type of firearms.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:55 PM
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Well this subject is very interesting because I was just watching a documentary on the Discovery channel about the Navy Seals, their training and what it takes to become a member of the Navy's elite U.D.T./Speacial Warfare Units. In this film the instructor stated that the Seals use different weapons and techniques for each mission. That meaning that the Seals have to adapt to all sorts of places and environments. For example if they are assaulting a place in a country that the most available ammo is 9mm and 7.62x39 why bring in .45 a.c.p. and .223, it makes sense. I can imagine that they have just about every kind of weapon available to them to get the mission done, that would also go for Army Force Delta and Green Barret "Masters Of Counter Insurgency" as they go by in the armed forces. You also have to remember one of the Seals main objectives is to lay down the most accurate, dramatic, over whelming amount of fire at one time upon extract not as a show of force but to also destroy their opponents at the psychological level. Some time back I was reading a story about the CIA's book of dirty tricks and unconventional warfare. It stated that back during the Vietnam War they would use the local superstitions about vampires. So when they would ambush a V.C. recon unit they would poke holes on the dead bodies necks and hang them upside down from trees to instill fear on the other V.C. regular units and pro-communist local villagers. With all this said, unconventional war calls for unconventional means.

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Old 12-07-2010, 08:03 PM
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To add to the S&Ws in general issue, rather than just onesies and twosies, the model 36 is regularly used by at least one command within Naval Special Warfare.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:23 PM
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So you think that if they're still using 686's today that theirs have the IL ? ;-)
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:30 PM
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My thinking is that if Clint Smith can get all the S&Ws he wants built new without the lock, then a few clients who make large purchases can have it their way, too. On that same note, if Clint is a better, more responsible human being than I in the eyes of S&W, then they can keep their new products until they treat me the same.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhm0351 View Post
My thinking is that if Clint Smith can get all the S&Ws he wants built new without the lock, then a few clients who make large purchases can have it their way, too. On that same note, if Clint is a better, more responsible human being than I in the eyes of S&W, then they can keep their new products until they treat me the same.
Explain please . I know who Clint Smith is, just not the rest .
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:52 PM
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A while back, when the 22-4 (or 21, I forget) came out, there was an article about the one produced for Clint (who wrote the article himself). His shiny new Thunder Ranch Special N-frame did not have the lock on the side, but the ones for the rest of us being sold in the production run did. Obviously, the rumors about S&W being required in some way to build all new pistols with a lock are unfounded. The 22-4 is the only revolver since the lock came out that I have felt compelled to buy. Sure wish it were available without the lock, but that's a mess of a discussion that has been beat to death everywhere else over and over.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:32 PM
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I can confirm that Team 6 did indeed use S&W 66s and 686s. The reason being was that you might have to fire as you broke the water, and due to the fact that the water would drain out of the barrel at the forceing cone and the rear of the cylinder thus decreasing the overpressure danger. And therewas the stainless durability against salt water corrosion.
The holster was an early "plastic" job whose name escapes me. The load is classified!
And the snubbies were used for backup or undercover work!
Also NCIS carried 3inch 66s.
I was with the Teams for a while, although which one is a secret that goes to the grave with me. Dale
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:07 AM
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I have read that, early on (Viet Nam), that, at the request of the Teams, S&W developed the model 39-the original hush puppy, but they further requested a "high capacity" 9, and the model 59 was the result. I have read this in a couple of places, and other than that, I can't say. But I have owned a 59for over 25 years, and have shot a large ammount of all types of ammo through it, including foreign stuff, blazer, hand loads, and anything there was, and I can not remember a failure that was the fault of the gun. There were many 15 round magazines that were fired as fast as the trigger could be pulled. It would shoot them without a glitch. I bought it used, and never touched it internally. Now I own 2 of them, just in case! flapjack
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:37 AM
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^That would have been the "X-147". It was an experimental early pre-59 prototype. Some say it was made of stainless, but that I can't confirm.
The HushPuppy was a fact! And I think there is a photo of one in one of the 39 threads in the autopistol section.
Both were before my time in service.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:53 AM
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I don't know any seals,but I was friends with a dolphin that used to pack a model 696
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:19 AM
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I think those were 5" barrels. However I could be mistaken.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:20 AM
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While I'm not a SEAL, I've trained with them around the globe as a SF Combat Diver. We were training (shooting, diving, jumping) with them in Machrihanish Scotland during 89'(Tm 2). I do remember seeing 4" M66s in the arms room. Haven't seen any since. Tm 8 has always carried the SIG 226 in the Gulf when I've worked with them. Here in Astan they still prefer the 226.

CD
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:14 PM
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Default my late cousin, Norman R Riddle, USN BUD/S

carried a blued S&W model 19 in Viet Nam, 1968, 1969, 1970. He'd called his dad back in the States soon after he was deployed to the Riverine Forces, complaing of the lack of good handguns. My uncle asked him what he wanted & Randy told him a S&W mod 19 6" would do just fine.

The next day one was purchased & with the permission of his CO, sent to him there. He carried it throught his tours overseas.
I'm sure he had a rigger or someone make him up a holster.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:43 PM
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da gimp-the air force had the model 10'sbut us army folks had 1911's that must have been Bora War Vets, because they were junk. They rattled so bad that an average VC mortorman could put the first round on you just from the noise comming off of these buckets of bolts. I was fortunate to get an as new model 10 from a civilian,a 4", which went wherever I did, all of the time. There were some bad "accidents" with the 1911's we had, and I just developed an aversion to it, as I did to the m-16. Still couldn't own anything gas impingement, I just would not be able to get past the broken trust issue from a psychological standpoint. I found out just a few years back the last 1911's the Army bought was in 1943! At least for those of us that Viet Nam Vets. No wonder they were tired. When we went to the range a Ft. McClellan, one guy just squeezed by with enough hits to qualify after a whole day on the range. Fortunately only 11C's had to qualify-11B's just had a familiarize requirement. There were all kinds of malfunctions, and they sent us over with that junk. I hope what they have now is better. Amazingflapjack

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Old 12-12-2010, 12:17 PM
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I can also confirm that while going through a certain Firearms Instructor school in 1995 there were 2 SEALs that did have their issued 686 4"s with them for the revolver portion. They were quite fond of the revolvers.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eich View Post
I can also confirm that while going through a certain Firearms Instructor school in 1995 there were 2 SEALs that did have their issued 686 4"s with them for the revolver portion. They were quite fond of the revolvers.
If you read Marcinko's books, it becomes clear that those guys practiced A LOT, serious practice at serious shooting. I would imagine that any gun one used that much, to such good effect, would become a very good friend, not easily abandoned for a stranger.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:35 PM
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Thumbs up

It warms my heart to hear of some of our best still using the "outdated" wheelgun in todays auto filled world.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:29 AM
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Well I'll tell you to me and this is from my personal experience. One of the best all around S&W's is either a 4'' Modal 681 or a 581, fixed sights all the way and the full under lug barrel to aid recoil with full house loads. and for those folks who don't like the extra weight a Modal 64,65 or any of those bull barrel fixed sight Modals the only modifications that I would recommend would be is milling off the front sight and dovetailing it adding Trintium Night sight and drilling two in serts for the rear.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCelo View Post
Well I'll tell you to me and this is from my personal experience. One of the best all around S&W's is either a 4'' Modal 681 or a 581, fixed sights all the way and the full under lug barrel to aid recoil with full house loads. and for those folks who don't like the extra weight a Modal 64,65 or any of those bull barrel fixed sight Modals the only modifications that I would recommend would be is milling off the front sight and dovetailing it adding Trintium Night sight and drilling two in serts for the rear.
I gotta admit that's a great idea! But I was wondering if one of those "Big DOT" sights by Ashley could be made to work?
As for them using "outdated" tech, well revolvers do tend to work very well at bad breath range! Dale
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:09 AM
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You know I was at the range the other day and noticed one thing that those 3 dot night sights really suck. I shoot much better with the dot front sight and the white outline rear or the bar dot or just plain dot front and black rear night sights. Much easier to find the front sight then lining up the three dots.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nframe357 View Post
It warms my heart to hear of some of our best still using the "outdated" wheelgun in todays auto filled world.
+1; I was thinking the same thing!
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:09 PM
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:19 PM
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One of my horseshoeing clients is a former SEAL from the mid-80's. I asked him this question. He stated that they could pretty much carry whatever they wanted depending on the mission requirements and that it was not uncommon to see someone packing a revolver. He personally never carried one tho.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:28 PM
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Very interesting thread. I'd like to see it start up again with more info. Any takers?
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