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In a presser sent out yesterday, Smith & Wesson announced two new carry options for wheel gun aficionados. The Model 66 and Model 69, chambered in .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum, respectively, now available with 2.75″ barrels. Nicely skirting the line between snubby and “duty” or “target” barrel length, these medium frame Combat Magnums represent a powerful carry option. S&W’s press release follows . . .

Smith & Wesson Shipping New Short Barrel Version of Powerful Combat Magnum™ Revolver Series

Smith & Wesson Now Shipping New Combat Magnum Model 66 & Model 69 Revolvers

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., (May 17, 2017) – Smith & Wesson today announced that it has begun shipping the new short barrel versions of its Model 66 and Model 69 Combat Magnum revolvers. The new Model 66 and 69 revolvers feature a 2.75” barrel and are chambered in .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum, respectively. The Combat Magnum revolvers are purpose-built for those seeking a magnum caliber in a medium size frame.

Jan Mladek, General Manager for Smith & Wesson® and M&P® Brands, said, “The two new shorter barrel length Combat Magnum revolvers, the Model 66 .357 Magnum K-frame and the Model 69 .44 Magnum L-frame, offer the consumer a powerful personal protection option.  We are proud to continue delivering innovations to our revolver product line, and the new 2.75” barrel length versions allow for easy carry and concealment of the highly regarded Combat Magnum series in these two popular calibers.”

The new Model 66 and 69 revolvers feature a stainless steel frame and cylinder, glass bead finish, and a 2.75 inch barrel. Innovative new features include a redesigned ball detent feature to strengthen the yoke to frame lockup to support heavy magnum loads, as well as a full length extractor for quick, effortless cartridge removal. Both revolvers come equipped with a red ramp front sight, an adjustable white outline rear sight, synthetic grips, ball-detent lock up, full top strap barrel serrations, and a two-piece barrel.  The Model 66 revolver is equipped with a 6-round cylinder to handle both .357 Magnum and .38 S&W Special +P, and the Model 69 features a 5-round cylinder capable of handling the large .44 Magnum caliber, as well as .44 Special.

For more information on the Model 66 and Model 69 Combat Magnum series revolvers please visit

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  1. Not a new idea, but a reintroduction of an old one… still nice to see those being made available again.

    • Interseresting. S&W has had only a limited .44 recently, ones not capable of handling the +P+ bear loads. I see they finally redesigned their weak lockup so perhaps real power can come from their short barrels.

      So, is there a safety lock? If so, then this release is DOA.

      • As long as that “lawyer-friendly hoplophobic moms demand action” hammer locking device is still on these revolvers, I will pass on owning a Smith and Wesson and keep owning non-condecending Ruger revolvers.

      • Lol DOA. Since all new Smiths have the lock then we’re fairly well stuck aren’t we? I know there are a few purists that won’t buy them but it doesn’t bother me at all.

        If it was REALLY hurting them they would have gotten rid of it already don’t you think?

        p.s. I have both lock and lock-less models

      • Not for me. Bought a M 69, 2.75″ barrel this morning. Taking it to the range Tuesday. I don’t like the lock either. If I see something I like it’s not going to kill the deal.

        Most of my S&Ws are older without the lock. I’ve thought about removing the lock and putting in a plug. Frankly I have never had a problem with the lock.

        I’m impressed with this M69. I have a Lew Horton 629 (1985) that I shoot but won’t carry for CCW. Just in case. If I use it I probably will never see it again.

        For Self-defense the lack of hearing protection isn’t that big of problem to me. 7 years 8″ Howitzer’s.

    • Nukes made all sidearms obsolete. What’s your point.

      And FYI, in CA I can carry a sword, it’s legal cept for LA.

      • Is it legal to pull your sword out and shout ‘There can only be one!’?

        • It’s a good way to get a fire hose turned on you and some quiet time as a guest of the state. I believe here in CA it’s called 5150.

      • True. However, full length swords tend to get tangled up in things, bang people in the shins, and make getting into a car a real chore. Plus people tend to stare unless you are wearing a costume. Stick to short swords.

    • If you’re on a battlefield, sure. If you’re not, it’s not much of an issue. How many defensive gun uses require more than 6 rounds (particularly of a powerful cartridge)? And there are situations where you might want a magnum round. If so, a wheelgun is the best choice.

  2. I’d sure hate to need to see anything after firing either one in dim light.

    • Eh, they work and prices on the 4″ are anything to go by, you’ll be able to get a screaming deal. And who wants a nice pre lock as a truck/pack/tacklebox gun? This will be a great .44 Special that you don’t mind banging up, especially if you don’t need the overbuilt (for Special) Ruger. Almost no one is going to put enough rounds through one to matter.

  3. Want and want! 3″ is an excellent barrel length for a practical wheelgun; easy to carry and easy to shoot.

    I’ve always found it odd that so few 3″ revolvers have been offered.

      • Agreed, The 3 in., K frame, heavy bbl, round butt is the most symmetrical and beautiful of all revolvers. S&W, make one in 9mm and .45acp and I’ll take one of each !

    • Me too- I am in for 2 of the model 66. I LOVE small-medium size .357 wheelguns for carry or defense. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Glad they are bringing them back.

    • Chris,

      I want revolvers with five-inch barrels. They offer additional site radius, additional barrel length (for better muzzle velocity), and additional mass (better recoil mitigation). And yet they still look nice, they balance wonderfully, are easy to carry, and are easy to draw from a holster.

      • Yep. 3″ has too short of a sight radius for precise and quick shooting. 5″ is optimal.

      • I prefer a 5 inch service revolver to a 3 inch gun (and don’t carry snubbies) but I find the latter easier to carry concealed.

        …not to say I haven’t carried a 5 inch S&W .357 concealed, but it wasn’t pleasant, especially in hot weather!

    • Hmm. According to BBTI, .44 mag form a 3″ barrel has the same energy as .357 from a 4″. Maybe it’s time to change my hiking gun. A Service Six gets heavy after a day on the trail.

  4. I’ve never been a big wheel gun guy so I have a semi-story related question:

    The other week I noted a Colt King Cobra for sale at Cabela’s in their “fine gun room” (or whatever Cabela’s calls it), kinda beat up too. Price, $3099. What’s the deal with that? I expect a price hike from Cabela’s but even online they’re like $2K+ in most cases (usually in better condition than the one I saw). Why so pricey for a fairly modern wheel gun?

    • (1) They don’t make them anymore.
      (2) Walking Dead fanbois snatch up anything that looks like something Rick Grimes might own.
      (3) Colt Revolvers are generally considered to be among the finest-shooting wheelguns ever manufactured.
      (4) It’s a decent investment, given factors 1-3 above.

      • I knew people loved the Python and that it demanded a pretty high price. I didn’t realize that translated to the King Cobra as well.


      • Aren’t people getting burned out on “The Walking Dead”?

        I “found” it on Netflix a couple years ago, and watched a bunch of it, but have gotten tired of it. I doubt I’ll bother watching the current season when it hits Netflix.

      • The ‘investment’ part is questionable. I suspect that revolvers like that may be at about their peak in price, or at least near it, for the forseeable future. The bubble from pop culture can’t last forever.

    • ^ what he said, also gonna pile on about the walking dead thing. I honestly think it drove up the price of all classic style revolvers new and old, of all calibers.

    • people stayed away from the king cobra and anaconda in droves.
      So they didn’t sell well and they didn’t make many
      The least commercially successful guns are often the most expensive
      The next ones are guns everyone bought and used the hell out of them. Then one in pristine condition brings top dollar. Like a colt woodsman.

    • Have paws like a grizzly (or Jerry M. which is pretty much the same thing) or shoot Special, which is a fantastic comfortable round.

    • You don’t. These aren’t race guns and aren’t prone to malfunction if you “limp wrist” them. Sight alignment, trigger press, let the gun do its thing. Don’t fight it. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  5. Does it have a Clinton-era cylinder lock? If so, why is S&W still doing that??

    Also, will they make a Performance Center version of these?

    • No reason that they shouldn’t. Revolvers do not have to meet all the silly rules applicable to semi-autos.

    • Ouch. For that money I’ll buy 3 charter arms bulldogs and do a new york reload when the first two fall apart during the gunfight.

    • Picked up my M 69, 2.75″ barrel for $779 plus tax and background check. MSRP is $849, +,+.

      No thanks on the Charter Arms. Like some hot loads.

  6. 3″ barrel revolvers have always looked right. I’ve got an old 3″ Charter Arms Pathfinder in .22 mag and while the bluing is about gone its a really nice little pistol – I definitely wouldn’t want to be shot by it. The Model 69 loaded with .44 special semi wadcutters looks interesting.

    • I’ve got an old Rossi 68 in 3″ 38sp. I love the look of it, but never carry it, since it doesn’t fit in my pocket (like my 642, P3AT, or Shield). Still, I have to admit that 3″ revolvers look better and are easier to shoot than 1.875-2″ ones.

  7. Ha – I like how they show the RIGHT side – and not the side with the big ol’ ugly LAWYER LOCK.

  8. I totally get the Mod 66 .357 but a 2.75″ L frame 44 mag? I had an N frame Mod 29 with a 6.5″ bbl in the 80’s (note: had). I can see shooting 44 special from the new mod 69 all day but 44 mag? That is going to be one unpleasant experience. The mod 29 was pretty bad but the mod 69 will be horrible. They should have just chambered it for 44 spec. I recently saw a new mod 69 selling for $999 at a local gunshop with a vintage 80’s mod 29 with an 8 3/8″ bbl for $1050 in the box. S&W better get the price down.

  9. I’ve had a bunch of 2 inch barreled snubbies. I had, amongst others, 2 taurus 85s. My son has a taurus 85 in 3 inch barrel. There’s a world of difference in that 1 inch of barrel.

  10. I was watching for the Model 69 Combat Magnum, .44 Mag, 2.75 in. on Smith’s web site link to Gallery of Guns, the Shooting Store, and Gearfire and one popped up about a month ago and I bought it.

    I fired 50 rounds of Magtech .44 Mag JSP and the 69 Combat Magnum was the most accurate handgun that I have bought (and I have purchased about 30 firearms in the last 4 years) out of the box. Got a 10 round, 1 in. group in the bull’s-eye at 10 yards with the first 10 shots.

    I think the recoil is manageable but I’m used to shooting small pistols, like a Sig P290, with +P loads. I was a little fatigued after 50 rounds though.

  11. Only carry revolver I have left in the collection is my 1st gun. A magna ported Model 66 2.5inch DAO.
    My Ruger 22/22mag doesn’t count.
    I wants a 44spc. only Not a 44mag Im a sissy.

  12. The primary problem with lighting up a 44 mag especial with this short of a barrel is that after firing it in a defensive situation you will be completely and permanently deaf. A police detective did this a few years ago when assaulted in a vehicle. He had a S&W model 29 with a 4″ barrel. He fired one shot killing the criminal,however it busted both of his ear drums rendering him disabled and deaf of life. You will not have ear protection in a real world situation.

    • I second that. I made the mistake of firing a 357 without ears and I had a ringing for weeks. I can imagine a 44 mag would be worse. Very good point as I expect someone may consider this revolver for personal defense. But loaded with 44 spec, it would be a magnificent man stopper.

    • Thank you for pointing out a much over looked point. Hearing loss among LEO/MIL is a huge problem.

    • In an enclosed space that is probably true. But I, and many other hunters, have shot the .44Magnum revolver in the field without going deaf. Your ears will ring, and that’s a sign of damage, but not deafness.

      • You understand that damage and “ringing” is bad right? Repeated exposure to a 44 magnum without hearing protection may not make you deaf but it absolutely will substantially damage your hearing.

    • A .327 Federal Magnum is something I’d like to have, but that round really needs a 3″-4″ barrel (or better) for best effectiveness. So does a .357 for that matter, so I am kind of surprised that this is only 2.5″. But it is a nice looking pistol.

  13. I want it in 45 Colt. Carry gun without the magnum when fired. And since it’s made for 44 Mag it can handle hotter than factory loads. Why don’t they make many 45 Colt DA revolvers?

    • It’s the design of the cartridge casing. The .45 colt round was designed specifically for the 1873 colt revolver. Extraction of the spent casing was done with a spring loaded rod that acted as a center punch. It entered the front of the case and hit the inside of the case bottom, pushing it out.

      The rim of the cartridge just had to be big enough to stop the cartridge from sliding on thru the front of the chamber and dropping out.

      Double action revolvers extract by the rim of the cartridge. The smallish rim of the .45 colt can cause problems with extraction.

      This is why the 1873, and the follow on Winchesters were never offered in .45 colt in the day.

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