More on the Smith 69


More on the Smith 69

A few months ago we reported on one of Smith and Wesson’s newest handguns. The Smith Model 69 quaked on the market but the shake was slow to be noticed. It was like a kid doing a cannonball in the swimming pool off the high dive, but the water never splashed on the sidewalk. It took a while to sink in. Now if you were standing beside the pool you would be soaking wet.

Confusion often comes when a gun maker like Smith and Wesson brings out another new gun when their stable contains so many. The model numbers start to run together as consumers try to figure out the name and model number designations. Actually Smiths are easier to decipher than some other makers if you know how their system works. Any handgun model starting with a “6” is a stainless version. Without is a blued model.

The Model 69 then is stainless and designated also as the Combat Magnum. They usually use the “combat” name for handgun models with shorter barrels, lighter in weight and easier to wield on target. This 69 was created as a big bore handgun that would be suitable to carry by hunters in the wilds just in case a confrontation might arise with dangerous game like a bear.

The 69 was built on the “L” frame which is their mid-sized frame. However, it is chambered for the powerful .44 Magnum. The cylinder only has five holes in it, so this was a way to pare down the weight, but still keep the gun strong enough to handle the big magnum. The 69’s barrel is 2.75 inches in length and the revolver’s overall length is 7.8 inches. Its weight is a scant 34.4 ounces, light for a .44 Mag.

The black rubber-like synthetic grips do help to absorb some of the recoil. Shooters will have to learn to lean into the target when shooting the 69 in earnest. The red ramp front sight with a black adjustable rear sight helps to line things up quickly. Remember too, that any revolver chambered for the .44 Magnum will also handle the milder .44 Special, an idea to consider for close quarters self-defense work.

The Smith 69 would be an ideal handgun for carry into the wilds for hunting back up, or possible confrontations with poachers, or big wooly mammoths that growl with big teeth. It is not a gun to plink with, but one designed for serious business. It retails for $849 and can be seen at

Avatar Author ID 67 - 788914672

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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