Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson is still the undisputed reigning revolver champ. Its standard production revolvers are better than most of the competition’s tricked out top end guns. Its Performance Center guns are even better, and much more expensive. The company just introduced a new 9mm revolver in their Pro Series line that is meant to offer more custom features at more manageable prices.
Smith introduced several new guns at this year’s SHOT Show. There’s the M&P Bodyguard .380, a Model 66 and 69 called the Combat Magnums (six rounds of .357 Magnum, or .44 Magnum). There’s even some pretty paint slapped on their M&P rifles. But I am in love with the 9mm revolvers.
The 986 has a five-inch barrel and holds seven rounds of 9mm. From an engineering perspective, the 9mm requires a bit more ingenuity than another .38. The round doesn’t have a rim, so seating the rounds in the chamber is more of a challenge. The 986 has a titanium cylinder which is incredibly light. The price will come in higher than a standard model, but it’s going to sell well, as finding 9mm is much easier these days.
If you’re looking for something with even better performance statistics, check out the Jerry Miculek Signature 929. This gun is tricked out with chrome accents. The 6.5 inch barrel has a removable compensator. It even has chamfered charge holes. And if a seven round revolver isn’t going to challenge your counting skills, the 292 might. It holds eight rounds.
I put the 986 through its paces at the range earlier this week, and it performed well. Even with a filthy dirty gun that had been working on the range non-stop for hours, I was able to get some nice clean groups. Recoil feels a bit sharper than a standard .38, but nowhere near a .357. I think Smith & Wesson may be on to something with these designs. We’ve put in our requests for review guns, and we’re eager to see how they stack up in side-by-side comparisons with some of Smith’s time tested designs. We’ll let you know just as soon as we do.