Revolvers CAN Fail: Smith & Wesson Performance Center 686 Locks Up

Before shooting this video, I was comparing a “normal” Smith & Wesson 686 with this, a recently purchased, pre-loved Performance Center hot rod 686 with undersnout “grill.” I discovered that my groups were nearasdammit identical. So I went single action, shooting .357 Federal magnums (straight from the box, not reloads). This video captures my first SA string with the PC 686. After six shots, I kinda half-cocked the hammer, and then cocked it some more. Both the 686’s hammer and trigger locked back and froze solid. The revolver was—and remains—inoperative. Useless as anything other than a big heavy solid object to throw at an attacker. I’ve posted my tale of no-go woe on the Smith & Wesson forum. Their members have been kind enough to provide some possible explanations . .

First, the rabbi [below] suggested that it may be an internal lock failure. Xtrooper cautions that “the internal lock is a handy scapegoat for every failure of a Smith revolver equipped with one, but the fact is that verified failures are rare. I don’t think this case is one of them.” He also points out that the lock won’t work with the hammer back.

Scooter123 agrees. “I’m willing to bet a whole quarter it aint the Lock. If you knew me, you’d know I don’t bet on anything less than a sure thing. Have to pull the sideplate to be sure but I suspect one of 2 possibilities. One is that the DA sear is out of position and jammed up the lockwork. Two is that the hammer block broke and a loose piece has jammed up the lockwork.”

I’ll take the busted revolver to my gunsmith on Monday and report back.

Meanwhile, I would not want this to happen in a self-defense situation. (Yes, this is a home defense handgun.) I know the odds of a 686 failing in combat are a million-to-one, and the odds of ever needing one for combat are ten times that high. But I buy a lottery ticket every week, and there’s no downside to that deal.

The question is, now what? As I’ve stated before, once a gun gets on my you-know-what list, it’s dead to me. Still, I’ll wait for the smith’s analysis. And maybe Smith’s as well . . .

UPDATE: Gunsmith Dave Sunturri confirms that the 686’s internal lock failed. Click here for new video.

[Note to self-defense shooters: I normally shoot DA only. Hence the wandering trigger finger. Note to bloggers: feel free to scrape the copy, video or pic. In exchange, I'd appreciate a link back. Thanks.]