I picked up the pair of Smiths on Friday from my boys at Beech Grove Firearms. I have not yet had a chance to get these guns out to the range, and I’m saving most of my stuff about the Model 60 Pro Series for later. However, I wanted to give a first impression of the 686 SSR. This is a 6 shot L-frame with a 4 inch “slab sided” barrel. As part of Smith & Wesson’s Pro Series of guns, the 686 SSR comes from the factory with a number of enhancements not seen on standard 686 guns, including chamfered charge holes, trigger overtravel stop, interchangeable front sight, and probably best of all are the “Pro Series” grips.
I’m very glad that the front sight is interchangeable; I’ve never been a fan of the “red/orange ramp” style of front sight, and if I decided to keep this gun the first thing I’d do would be change it out for a patridge gold bead or a Cylinder & Slide fiber optic front. That’s not a criticism of the sight itself, it’s just a matter of my personal preference in sighting systems. The other features of the gun are pretty nice; especially the trigger. Out of the box, the trigger pull was smooth with only a bit of hesitation as the gun locked up fully. I’m not kidding when I say that this gun had a better factory trigger than the Performance Center 646 no-lock gun that I had.
Of course, this is just a first impression. I haven’t pulled the trigger over a live round yet, and that’s what will make all the difference. I’m very hopeful though – the grips which encourage a high hand hold and the decent factory trigger seem like they’ll combine to make this a very shootable gun. To wring it out I’m going to run myself through a couple iterations of the IDPA Classifier match. The 686 SSR was basically built from the ground up to compete in IDPA’s Stock Service Revolver division (hence SSR). The IDPA classifier gives opportunites to test the gun at shot range speed shooting, mid range shooting, and all the way out to long range (20 yard) shots.
Of course, it’s going to have to stop snowing first.