Smith’s New Model 986
Dr. John Woods 12.04.17
Ok, handgunning fans, you decide on this one. For me the new Smith and Wesson Model 986 revolver is one of those so called solutions to a non-existent problem. My primary rationale for the need of this revolver is its chambering of the 9mm round via moon clips. With so many, many options in semi-auto pistols for the 9mm, why bother with a seven-shot revolver?
The handgun itself is a beautiful piece of work, no denying that. It has some appearance oddities though, that may turn some buyers away. Chief in this regard is the titanium alloy cylinder that is unfluted and off color to match the balance of the beautiful stainless steel finish supplied by the Smith Performance Center. But that is just an ascetic’s thing. This feature may not be bothersome to some.
On the plus side the wood grips are gorgeous. The wood panels are mixed with a grainy textured grip surface surrounded by a smooth, slick finish complete with finger gripping grooves. The barrel is a scant 2.5 inches long but the gun’s overall length is 7.5 inches. Certainly this size is suitable for concealed carry or field use if so inclined given the 9mm.
The weight of this handgun tips the scales at 31.7 ounces, so it should be beefy enough to handle 9mm loads without much muzzle jump. One does have to wonder about the noise out the short barrel’s muzzle though.
Sights include a red ramp front sight of black finish dovetailed into the barrel’s miniscule rib. The rear sight is a standard Smith and Wesson type adjustable sight. The revolver is of course both single and double action. The trigger has an over travel stop and the hammer size is plenty ample enough for thumb action cocking even with gloves.
If you have never used or fumbled with loading a revolver via moon clips, then it just requires some practice to get the hang of it. I have been using these moon clips in the new Ruger .357 8-shot Redhawk and it takes some getting used to. Pressing the rounds into the clips may be the most aggravating part, but again, it takes practice.
Inserting a loaded moon clip into a revolver cylinder is pretty simple. Extraction is even easier, but you’ll want to practice this too so you don’t drop or lose the clip in the process. Having 2-3 extra moon clips is essential for backup.
So, you decide. Is a revolver chambered for the 9mm really needed? I have nothing against this handgun per se, but for my uses, I’ll reserve my revolvers for more potent cartridges.