New From Smith & Wesson: Short Barrel Combat Magnums

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


  1. avatar BLoving says:

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

    1. avatar Liberal Prepper says:

      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.

      1. avatar R D says:

        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.

      2. avatar PW in KY says:

        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

      3. avatar Billy O'Connor says:

        Don’t reintroduce these fine guns just to stab a Hillary Hole into them!

      4. avatar Jack says:

        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.

  2. avatar gjbdjjchnh says:

    dont forget your sword too. wouldnt just one obsolete weapon

    1. avatar Hank says:

      You ever been on the receiving end of a magnum?

      1. avatar Renner says:

        Ever been on the receiving end of a sword?

        1. avatar Hank says:

          … touché.

        2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          LOL all around

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      Okay. So I have a few swords.
      IS THAT SOME SORT OF CRIME?! Who sent you?!

    3. avatar jwm says:

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

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

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

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

        1. avatar jwm says:

          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.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        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.

    4. avatar Kyle says:

      No such thing as an “obsolete weapon”, only “misapplication of a tool”.

    5. avatar Hannibal says:

      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.

      1. avatar J says:

        In that case, gimme a Glock 20

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Love me some 10mm, but it’s half to 70% of the energy of the .44 magnum.

  3. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

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

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:


  4. avatar Chazzer says:

    Absolute junk when compared to pre-lock 2.5″ 66 !!! DMD

    1. avatar DrewN says:

      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.

  5. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    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.

    1. avatar Pistol Pap says:

      Agreed . 3″ is the optimal length

      1. avatar Gregolas says:

        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 !

    2. avatar Jack Crow says:

      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.

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      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.

      1. avatar JC says:

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

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        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!

    4. avatar Rokurota says:

      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.

  6. avatar Tom says:

    Complete with Hillary Hole. No thanks.

  7. avatar strych9 says:

    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. avatar Disarmed in California says:

      (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.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        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.


      2. avatar Art out West says:

        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.

      3. avatar Hannibal says:

        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.

    2. avatar Hank says:

      ^ 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.

    3. avatar Specialist38 says:

      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.

  8. avatar great unknown says:

    How do you control recoil on one of these mini .44 magnums?

    1. avatar DrewN says:

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

    2. avatar binder says:

      Be a man ;). Also 44 special works too.

    3. avatar David Schuring says:

      One handed if you’re experienced 🙂

    4. avatar California Richard says:

      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.

  9. avatar Disarmed in California says:

    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?

    1. avatar binder says:

      Are you going to protect them from the press when they do?

      1. avatar David Schuring says:

        The press knows nothing, let alone a small thing like that.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        No one would care except, maybe, the lawyers. Anti-gunners are not interested in revolvers.

  10. avatar Rumblestrip says:

  11. avatar Warren Pease says:

    Please send these to California. We need a reason to smile.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

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

  12. avatar Tal says:

    I’m all over the 66, definitely will be getting one.

  13. avatar Mark N. says:

    MSRP $849. If anyone wants to know.

    1. avatar Jack Crow says:

      THanks! I was wondering about that.


    2. avatar California Richard says:

      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.

    3. avatar Jack says:

      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.

  14. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    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.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      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.

  15. avatar VF 1777 says:

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

  16. avatar Russ H. says:

    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.

    1. avatar Russ H. says:

      Actually, now I see the mod 69 for $650 to $720 – somewhat better.

  17. avatar jwm says:

    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.

    1. avatar PW in KY says:

      That’s what she said

  18. avatar Mad Max says:

    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.

  19. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    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.

  20. avatar F.C. S. says:

    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.

    1. avatar Russ H. says:

      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.

    2. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

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

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      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.

      1. avatar Russ H. says:

        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.

  21. avatar Nynemillameetah says:

    Why aren’t they showing the other side of the revolver?

    1. avatar Gregolas says:

      Hair grows on that side.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      More pics on the web site. Yes, it has a hole above the cylinder release for the lock.

  22. avatar misterO says:

    So, same sh!tty trigger, then. Thanks but no thanks.

  23. avatar TruthTellers says:

    .357 and .44 Magnum? Where’s the .327 to compete with Ruger?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      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.

    2. avatar Jeff says:

      Why produce something in a dead caliber?

  24. avatar George K Reed says:

    Dirty but – OH YEAH!!!!! – Bring back the M65!!!!
    Glock um tarts.

  25. avatar Spencer Ivey says:

    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?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      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.

  26. avatar charles Murray says:

    I wish they would make this in a 45LC

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