No conversation about American firearms is complete without mentioning Smith & Wesson. The American gun manufacturer calls upon nearly 170 years of experience — plenty of time to further develop their firearm designs. Indeed, Smith & Wesson offers a diverse lineup of both semi-automatic pistols, as well as rifles, though it is the company’s revolvers that stand apart from the rest.
One Smith & Wesson design that is particularly potent is the Model 586.
The Model 586 is built around Smith & Wesson’s L-frame, a medium-sized revolver frame that is sufficiently robust to handle hotter cartridges like the .44 Magnum, though in the case of the Model 586, the revolver is chambered in .357 Magnum. In contrast to many revolvers, the Model 586 has a large cylinder that can accommodate a full 7 rounds of .357 Magnum — putting a huge amount of firepower at a shooter’s fingertips.
Although the Model 586 primarily shoots .357 Magnum ammunition, it can also safely chamber and fire .38 Special ammunition, as that cartridge is slightly shorter but fires a bullet of the same diameter as the .357 Magnum. This ammunition flexibility allows shooters to fire ammunition that has less recoil — great for newer shooters — and is usually sold at a lower price point than .357 Magnum ammunition and therefore allows for plinking on the cheap.
The Model 586 is not a particularly large revolver and sports a short, 3-inch barrel. What makes the revolver quite unique however is the large port cut into the end of the barrel which helps reduce recoil when shooting. Though the revolver isn’t particularly large and shoots the powerful .357 Magnum, recoil is substantially reduced and makes shooting the revolver a much more pleasant experience.
The entire revolver — frame, barrel, and cylinder — is made of blued carbon steel and ships with checkered hardwood grips that feature two-finger gloves that help ensure a firm, tight grip on the revolver.
The Model 586 is part of Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center collection. This lineup of revolvers and other firearms are made with accurized components, “combining old-world hand-craftsmanship with modern technology to create extremely accurate, high-performance models designed for the most demanding shooters.”
Though the Model 586 is indeed a high-quality Smith & Wesson revolver made with the best of the company’s components, it does come at a price: according to the Smith & Wesson website, the Model 586 retails for close to $1,300.
Still, in the Model 586, Smith & Wesson has built a very high-quality .357 Magnum revolver that, despite it’s stiff chambering, is an easy shooter. For those looking for one of Smith & Wesson’s most high-quality revolvers, the Model 586 delivers.
Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer based in Europe. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.