Revolver Tour #11: Smith & Wesson 986

Smith & Wesson 986

As it turns out, I like revolvers chambered for autopistol cartridges. I have three right now, a 625, a 929, and this – the Smith & Wesson 986 Pro Series. This a seven shot L-frame chambered in 9mm, and in my opinion it’s the best of the 9mm Smith guns.

The big difference between the 986 and the 929 is the size. Yes, the 929 holds one more round, but it’s built on the N-frame and has a six inch barrel. It’s enormous and heavy, and while that makes it a great gun for USPSA, I think the 986, built on the smaller L-frame, with a 5 inch lightweight profile barrel, handles a lot better for every day shooting tasks. To make a car analogy, the 929 is a race car that’s really good at being a race car, but is terrible on the road. The 986 on the other hand is a really good road car that also makes a great track day car.

Smith & Wesson 986 Pro Series - detail

In fact, I actually think the 986 platform would be a great start for a carry gun. Take the barrel and shorten it to three inches, replace the sights with XS sights for all your night shooting fun, add some lasergrips, and you’d have yourself a pretty neat carry revolver. Basically a 686+ but chambered for 9mm instead of .357 Magnum. It would be a fantastic hipster carry gun, although I don’t think the sales numbers would be great. But that’s alright, because I have a 5 inch and that’s good enough for now. I will say that I’ve never really put mine through hard use, just taking it to the range to get it sighted in and do some general shooting. That’s really what is purpose to me is – a fun gun. A gun that I have around in my safe and shoot from time to time because it’s enjoyable to do that. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Smith & Wesson 986 9mm cylinder open


  1. I’d really like to see a 4″ six-shot version of this gun for IDPA! But I’d be even more happy with a 3″ version (with six or seven shots) for a carry piece and IDPA.

  2. The only reason I would like to own a 9mm revolver, is because they’re cheaper to operate.

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