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Old June 15, 2011, 08:12 PM   #1
JGON
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WI Boy new to CCW and Revolvers - Suggestions?

Hi all,

I am not new to forums, but I am new to this one...

I've been wanting a Smith and Wesson revolver for as long as I can remember. I've been doing my homework, and this week I finally came to a decision to "pull the trigger" on a S&W 686 Plus with a 4" barrel. This gun would mainly be used for Home Defense, as well as being an open carry firearm when I'm in the woods.

And then I picked up the newspaper and saw that the Wisconsin State Senate passed a weapons bill that will finally allow Wisconsin residents to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. A concealed carry law will most likely pass this summer sometime.

This changes what my potential uses for a new firearm would be, but I'm torn because I was really looking forward to getting this sizeable Smith and Wesson revolver. I like guns to have a little more weight to them... it feels good in my big hands. I think this would be a great fit for my original uses, but now I'm unsure because my potential uses have changed some.

I've never thought about CCW before in my life, because it's a big time crime to do so around here. But now that it looks like we'll be able to get CC Permits, I'm having second thoughts about this gun.

Does anyone out there CC a 686 or similar sized gun? I'm 6' tall, 200 lbs. I generally wear a button down shirt tucked in for work. Our average year round temperature is 46 degrees, and even in the summer on my off time I wear loose enough clothes to conceal a gun of this size. What about holsters? I know literally nothing about these things, hence, why I'm hear, asking long winded questions

IWB holster? In the front? Back? Elsewhere? Where do I begin?

Thanks,

JGON
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:16 PM   #2
Tom Servo
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I've never thought about CCW before in my life, because it's a big time crime to do so around here. But now that it looks like we'll be able to get CC Permits, I'm having second thoughts about this gun.
A 4" L-Frame makes a marvelous carry gun. The biggest factors will be the quality of the holster and belt you wear. I'm your height, but of considerably slighter build, and I have no problem concealing one.

Strong-side hip carry is your best bet for position. Find a load that handles well, without too much muzzle flash.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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You might want to consider a K or L frame in 2.5 or 3".. I find 4" to be a little much for CCW.. My personal favorite is the M13 in 3" but I also have a M66 in 3". I have a M19 2.5" but there seems to be a marked differance between 2.5" and 3" even though it doesn't sound like much.. with the 3" you get a full length extractor rod, and the extra sight radius is a big help with accuracy. Just my experience though

they also make the 686 in 3", but I prefer K frames, seem to point better for me
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Old June 15, 2011, 10:30 PM   #4
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I own the smith&wesson model 649. I can recommend this 5 shot, stainless steel 357 revolver. It is 2 1/8"(I have seen it listed as 2", but I think 2 1/8" is barrel length which I have also seen listed). I agree, shorter barrel for CCW in my opinion. Go feel them out and good luck. I was glad to hear WI was coming around.
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Old June 15, 2011, 10:54 PM   #5
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If CC passes in WI, lots of employers will soon be posting signs that no guns are allowed on premises, so be ready for that.

No, a 686 is going to be too much to CC, and the +model, especially so.

You're going to have to get two guns.

Get your full size 686+, and a Ruger SP-101.

If you want to meet up at a range and try some of my revolvers, you're welcome to. I have 44 Magnum, 45 ACP, and 357 Magnum. The blued one is 22 and is not in a good enough state of tune to shoot at the moment. The second from top is a S&W 625, which is going to be about the same size as your 686+ would be.

The SP-101 at the bottom is a more appropriate CC gun on the heavy side.



I'm 50 miles north of Chicago, and a 20 minute drive to the border. Do you know where Bristol is? They have a good range, we could meet there some weekend day. $30 for non-members for the day.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:20 AM   #6
TenRing
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That 686 Plus will be a great woods gun but it probably won't work out for a concealed carry gun under normal circumstances...button down shirt and all.

Since you already have your larger woods/home defense gun, you will need a smaller framed gun for concealed carry. If you like revolvers, check out the Smith & Wesson J frames. There are many variations but I like the hammerless models such as 340PD, 442, 642. These work great in your front pocket or in a small inside waistband holster...easy to conceal and always ready when and if you need it.

Keep it simple at first. As you get more concealed carry experience and your needs grow, you might look into other types of weaponry.

I was glad to hear about Wisconsin becoming the next concealed carry state.
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Old June 16, 2011, 01:25 AM   #7
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For inside the waistband, which is the best way to carry during the hot days of summer, the barrel length is paramount. A 4-inch is doable but will get tiring once the novelty of having a CCW permit gets old. Comfort is key for long term carry, which I have done non-stop since 1974 or so, after I got my first cop gig!

I have carried 4 and 6-inch full weight S&W handguns in a pinch. I have carried almost every handgun invented by man at one time or another, revolver and semi-auto.

Weight and barrel length are the top priorities for carry comfort, which means either a small gun, or a more expensive lightweight big gun! Small guns are harder to shoot effectively for inexperienced shooters, as well as for some more experienced ... small is for experts, NOT the other way around. Larger guns have a better sight radius, a better grip, more control, less recoil for the same caliber, and shoot better by design.

Carry small and hope nothing actually happens, or be prepared for a real fight with a real fighting gun! Ask any cop, they prefer to carry a 2 oz. gun all day, but when facing another gun, they wish for a Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum!

Compromise, and get a large light gun, or a medium size, medium bore gun. This quest will bring out the Ruger vs. Smith & Wesson crowd, trust me, but, and there always is a but in life, if you want light and big, Smith is your choice, not because I do it, but because it is the right thing to do in my experience! If you want medium and weight is not critical, Rugers work fine, just wear suspenders to keep up your jeans!

The Smith lightweights come in aluminum or scandium, and you have many caliber choices from .38 through .44 magnum, the best being the .357, .44 special, and the time-tested in many wars, .45 ACP!

A fighting gun must be reliable first and foremost! It has to go BANG every time; all else doesn't matter if the bullet does not leave the gun! Then it has to fit YOU, not me, or anyone else, and it must be comfortable to carry, or you will find excuses not to. Weight and barrel length are the top priorities for that comfort zone that you need for everyday carry. This fact is beyond contestation!

Some will tell you that a fighting gun is for close up work and not to worry about long shots. I say NAY, that philosophy was and is a strategic imbecility. If you can shoot far, you can always shoot close, it is not true the other way around. Even though the majority of most gun fights are up close and personal, "MOST" never works when it is YOU who is in that gunfight, as things just go to hell all on their own, and if you have built in limitations, you lose, you die!

What if a nut is running towards your kids in the front yard, and you come out of the house, pigmy-size-gun in hand, and they are 40 yards away? Do you go back in the house to get your rifle, because you have been taught your peanut-whistle gun choice is not good enough? NO, you make the shot because you have done so repeatedly at your local gun range ... if you couldn't make it, you bought THE WRONG GUN, or need more practice and training.

Your skill sets in a fight must be the best that you can possibly do, as fights on the streets are noisy, no ear or eye protection, stressed to the max with shaky hands as adrenaline is pumped by your over-beating heart at 120 beats per minute! If you shoot perfect 100 scores at the range on a nice day of your choice, with lots of sleep the night before ... on fight day, after being up all night as sick as dog or with a sick kid, on a cold, rain and snowy night, muzzle flashes and big bangs, you will be lucky to shoot a 70 now! Just think how bad it gets if you only shoot a 75 during perfect conditions at the ole boys gun club!

Pick the fight gun, train until you are poor, and then train some more!!!

Good luck with your gun, and send along a few photos!!!
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Old June 16, 2011, 02:02 AM   #8
8shot357
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An Airweight would be a better CCW IMHO. It's your money, have fun.

My revolvers of choice, and I pick the 638.
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Old June 16, 2011, 03:09 AM   #9
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concealing an L-frame in a mild climate is not a big deal, as long as you are not weight sensitive.

I've seen an L frame that Tom Servo used to carry, and I can vouch for the fact that he is much, much slighter than 200lbs. Please note that he indicated an L isn't too hard to carry, and he lives in a significantly warmer part of the country than WI.

I've carried a GP100 (takes the same holsters as L frames) and a S&W Mountain Gun (N frame) without any major difficulty in GA and NC, again, warmer than WI.

Now, if the OP were asking solely for a CCW revolver, something smaller might make more sense (and I normally CCW either a 3" Model 13 K frame or a 442 J frame, when in revolver mode; BTW I also find the K frames point the best). But the OP specified three uses for one revolver: home defense, woods carry, and CCW - assuming the bill passes, and doesn't make it too difficult to get the permit.

For that combination, I personally would rule out the J frames. I'd go with anything from the 3" SP101 to a 3" or 4" K frame to the 686 the OP is already looking at.

Just realize that the L will be heavier than the other options, and slightly larger than the other options, and so will be a bit more difficult to carry and conceal. A bit more difficult is nothing like impossible, and may not even be impractical.

But, the heavier the gun, the better quality the belt and holster you will want.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:09 PM   #10
Tom Servo
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Weight and barrel length are the top priorities for comfort carry
I disagree. In my experience, holster and belt are the most important factors. With a good rig, a 686 is fairly comfortable to carry.

On the other hand, a cheap belt and holster will make carrying even a small, light gun a chore. I've heard guys with the build of linebackers tell me a Glock 26 is too large and heavy. The problem is that they're wearing a dress belt (which is not designed to distribute weight) and one of those cheap nylon holsters.

Quote:
I've seen an L frame that Tom Servo used to carry, and I can vouch for the fact that he is much, much slighter than 200lbs.
Thaaaanks In fact, I'm currently carrying a 5" steel-frame 1911 in the dead swelter of summer. Why? Because, as with the medium-frame revolver, I carry what's reliable and what shoots well for me.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:25 PM   #11
JGON
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Most people seem to believe that this gun is concealable, but it seems some people are discouraging it, others say it's no problem, others are on the fence about it, etc. Well I'm going to go with my initial decision and get a S&W 686 with a 3" barrel, as opposed to the original 4" I was looking at, and I will give that a go in the woods and at the range for the next month or two until the bill passes. I will determine for myself if it is concealable for me. Until it does, I will need to brush up on belts and holsters...

What are your suggestions for belts and holster for this gun for CCW?

Since my state has not allowed CC and I have no experience with these things, I am going to try it out with the 686 3" barrel since I LOVE shooting the gun and see how it goes. If it becomes a chore, I will consider something smaller down the line, and just keep the 686 for home defense and my outdoor activities.

If I do get something smaller, it will be in the dimensions. I don't think I'd like a lightweight Mouse Gun, or a lightweight gun chambered in a larger caliber. I think I would still want a gun with some weight to it. I want it to be both fun and easy to shoot, AND have the ability to conceal.

All of your input has been very helpful and informative.

JGON

Last edited by JGON; June 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:46 PM   #12
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I have a 4" 686-4, it has not made it to the carry conceal rotation yet, but still looking into it. I find what I am carrying the most lately is a J-frame 642 or the Sig 232, both are about the same size, and I have been carrying on my ankle the most. The ankle carry with boots is not bad, it keeps the weapon from sliding down. The most comfortable method of carrying is shoulder holster but that is not an option most of the time.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:57 PM   #13
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I appendix carry a Colt Detective in a IWB holster (Bianchi Pro 100). Comfortable sitting, biking or driving. In my opinion, appendix carry is the easiest to defend from a gun grab.
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Old June 16, 2011, 01:26 PM   #14
mtime7
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I believe in good leather from a known manufacture,in a style that works for you,(Pancake for me) as far as holsters go.. Belts, Bianchi,and alot of the hoslter manufacturers make some good belts, but I use Triple K, (alittle cheaper)..
Also on ebay, JG sales, has some used Gould & Goodrich, 3" K frame hosters, pancake style, that sell for around $14.. I bought one for my 13, and 66. I just tried my four inch 686 in it and it fit with barrel sticking out, but don't know if a plus model will fit
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Old June 16, 2011, 02:55 PM   #15
Andy Taylor
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Welcome! Glad to see WI is getting with the program.
As you can see there are many different opinions on an approriate carry revolver. None of them are wrong. They are all right for someone. You have to decide what works for you. There are some things that are universally true.

1. A GOOD belt and holster, designed to carry a gun, will do amazing things to help comfortably carry a large revolver. (or auto pistol for that matter, but we are discussing revolvers here. )
2. Smaller guns are easier to conceal.
3. Larger guns are easier to shoot.

I have three revolver that I carry most of the time. A S&W342Ti 2": Small light fits in a pocket. A Ruger SP101 3". Nice comfortable on a belt, really to big for a pocket. And last but not least a Colt Trooper 4". It is about the same size and weight as the S&W 686+ (BTW someone implied that the 686+ was larger than a 686; it isn't. The chambers are just closer together) I do not find it at all hard to conceal, with the proper cover garment. I normally wear jeans, a T-shirt tucked in and an untucked/unbuttoned button down shirt over it.

I know that some don't like to, and some can't, do to employment etc, but dressing around the gun gives a lot more options than trying to taylor the gun to a mode of dress. I have comfortably carried a 6.5" N frame concealed in a shoulder holster, dressing as described above.
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Old June 16, 2011, 03:11 PM   #16
Tom Servo
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What are your suggestions for belts and holster for this gun for CCW?
The biggest factor is the belt. A good, thick, double-stitched belt will be somewhat rigid, and it will distribute the weight well.

As for holsters, a pancake that holds the gun high and tight against the body works well.
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Old June 16, 2011, 09:56 PM   #17
Smaug
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JGON: Get the 4"

Since you'll be outside-waist band carrying it, the extra inch of barrel isn't going to make it any harder to carry. But it WILL make it easier to hit with, and give some extra velocity, and tame recoil a bit more too.

If/when you get CC north of the Cheese Curtain, you may get new carrier excitement and actually carry it. For a bit. Then, you'll get over it and get something small and light.

Not that I know from experience, but I've been seeing folks go through this phase for the past 7 years here.
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Old June 17, 2011, 11:15 AM   #18
JGON
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What are your favorite pancake holster brands?

Favorite belt?

All of this input is helping me sort this out. Also, keep rooting for the State Assembly to pass the bill next week, although everyone thinks they will!

JGON
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Old June 17, 2011, 12:06 PM   #19
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I can't believe you cheese-heads got concealed carry before we did in Illinois.

Beating the Bears on your way to the Super Bowl was bad enough. Getting concealed carry before us just adds insult to injury.
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Old June 17, 2011, 12:11 PM   #20
JGON
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I can't believe you cheese-heads got concealed carry before we did in Illinois.

Beating the Bears on your way to the Super Bowl was bad enough. Getting concealed carry before us just adds insult to injury.
Hahahaha. Yeah nothing personal with the Packer's victory... believe it or not, I had nothing to do with that. It was mostly Aaron Rodgers

I guess as far as everything else, living in Illinois and being a Bears fan is a CHOICE. I choose CC and Packers!

Maybe now that IL is the only state standing, someone will have the guts to follow through with some 2nd amendment legislation there... let's hope anyways.

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Old June 17, 2011, 12:25 PM   #21
Smaug
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For CC, any non-dress leather belt will work.

The holster will be inside waistband, I take it? I don't know about that.

My belt is a Bianchi web duty belt, too wide for most belt loops. My holster is a Blackhawk competition holster, so that won't help you much for CC.

I have a Fobus holster on the way for my CZ97. That is an OWB holster, which won't help you either. Sorry!

As for IL being the last state standing, I comfort myself because it is not REALLY true. Although it is not technically illegal in California, it is all but impossible to get a CC permit. The police turn it down because they don't want armed citizens to cope with.

I think some of the ultra-conservative eastern states are like that too.

Do you guys remember the guy who made news a few months back by carrying concealed in Illinois? He had his auto pistol in a fanny pack designed for the purpose, and with loaded mags separate. He technically complied with the law, because the gun was "cased and unloaded" yet he could get it out and loaded in seconds. He was arrested and went to court and won.
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Old June 17, 2011, 12:30 PM   #22
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Beating the Bears on your way to the Super Bowl was bad enough.
Hey, if Packers fans aren't going to fight off the giant spider invasion, who is?
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Old June 17, 2011, 02:00 PM   #23
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Any non-dress leather belt may work, but a lot of them won't work very well, no disrespect to Smaug intended.

The wider the belt, the more it will distribute weight. Wider dispersion means less pressure at any given point around your waist.

The stiffer the belt, the less it will flex, and allow the holster and gun to move. More movement means more discomfort, and more difficulty in concealment.

A lot of forum members recommend belts from the beltman. I haven't tried his, so I have no opinion, but his belts seem to have a good reputation. I've used Simply Rugged belts, and they are good for their price point. My current belt is a 1-3/4" Sam Andrews (andrewsleather.com), which costs more, but is made of thicker, stiffer leather. (It's stiff enough that for the thread asking how to handle the weapon when in the loo, well, it's not an issue; even unbuckled and loose, the belt keeps a holster pretty well upright and vertical.)

The belt is stiff enough that I can carry an M&P9 full-size in a Comp-Tac kydex for 8 hours at a time, without noticing it's there, or a 3" Model 13 in OWB leather, again without really noticing it's there, etc.

For IWB, you can get away with less belt, as long as your pants aren't overly loose. But even IWB, a better belt will make a difference.
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Old June 17, 2011, 04:15 PM   #24
secret_agent_man
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This:
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y
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Old June 17, 2011, 05:55 PM   #25
Garybock
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CC 686

I own a S&W 686 4 inch barrel - I shoot it a lot at the range, I really like this gun. It stays on my night table, loaded and ready to go. I own a S&W 686 3 inch barrel and I have used this as a carry weapon in the winter. I use a Sparks holster for the 3 inch model. This is a real good set up. Most of the time I cc my S&W 340 MP. I'm a pretty big guy, 6 ft 2 and 275 lb. As you my notice I'm a S&W fan. Those two model 686s are pretty awesome revolvers.
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