Smith Wesson Model 686 Holsters

Best Holsters For The Smith & Wesson 686

We may earn a commission when you purchase through the links on our site. Find out more here.

One of the most popular revolvers currently on the market is the Smith & Wesson Model 686 in .357 Magnum. If you are lucky enough to own one, you should get yourself a holster (or two). Due to the 686’s immense popularity in the United States, there are no shortages of holsters available for it. In this article, I’ll present four of the best ones out there.

4 best holsters for the S&W 686

Best Budget Buy
Houston IWB Holster for S&W Model 686
  • Small and slim profile
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Easy to draw
  • May collect moisture over time
$49 Shop NowClick to read my review
Blackhawk! Multi-Position Brown Leather Holster
  • Solid retention thanks to the thumb break
  • Heavy duty
  • Built out of high quality, thick leather
  • Expensive
  • Leather is very tight upon first being young
$69 Shop NowClick to read my review
Our Favorite
Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster
  • Galco is a very reputable holster making company
  • Leather is very thick
  • Leather strap wraps around grip to keep the pistol secure in the holster
  • Eexpensive
  • Takes a while to break in
$84 Shop NowClick to read my review
Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster
  • Gun will be kept out of the way while walking or going about your business
  • Can be easily worn either vertically or diagonally
  • Very comfortable thanks to the patented spider harness design
  • Very expensive
  • Slower on the draw than a strong side hip holster
$251 Shop NowClick to read my review

First sold by Smith & Wesson in 1981, the 686 is one of the strongest and most durable revolvers that Smith & Wesson has ever produced. It has either a 6 or 7 shot capacity depending on the model and directly competes with other large-frame revolvers such as the Ruger GP100 and the Taurus Model 66.

BONUS OFFER: Get your free shooting range targets to print at home!

Get your free targets to print at home!

Subscribe to our newsletter and get gun deals, educational content, hand's on reviews and news on law changes!

In this article, we will outline and discuss the four very best brands and models of holsters for the Smith & Wesson 686, but before we get into that, we’re first going to dive into the basic types of holster options you have for the 686.

Basic Types of Holsters For The Smith & Wesson Model 686

As was noted above, there is no shortage of holsters for the Smith & Wesson 686 revolver.

Examples of basic types of holsters that exist for the 686 include outside the waistband holsters, inside the waistband, and shoulder holsters.

Out of these, outside the waistband are by far the most common and popular. That’s because the 686 was designed by Smith & Wesson to be a large and heavy revolver that you can carry by your side while out in the woods. It can be used for concealed carry (especially with a smaller barrel), though again it wasn’t really intended for that purpose.

Smith & Wesson Model 686 6inch Cylinder

Generally speaking, inside the waistband holsters are only available for the 686 with a two or three-inch barrel. Outside the waistband, holsters are available for all barrel lengths for the 686 and are far more common than the inside the waistband counterparts.

Another holster option is the shoulder holster, which can be used for both open carry and concealed carry. Many people prefer to use a shoulder holster for hunting because your back rather than your hips support the heavyweight of the weapon.

In addition, carrying a big revolver in a shoulder holster rather than a hip holster greatly reduces the chances of the stock of your rifle or shotgun hitting the grip of the revolver repeatedly (which can be annoying and scruff up the finish).

Now that we understand the basic types of 686 holsters on the market, let’s dive into four of the best 686 holsters that are out there.

Best 4 S&W 686 Holsters

Bianchi 7000 Black Sporting Holster

Houston IWB Holster for S&W Model 686

The Houston inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster is made specifically to house the famous Model 686. It is made of soft material, a combination of eco-leather and suede. The treated leather of the exterior gives it a premium appearance and keeps it waterproof at the same time. 

This holster has a smooth and small profile which makes it ideal for concealed carry. Unlike solid holsters, it is not bulky and is print-free. You can readily attach it to your belt as it comes with an easy-to-use metal clip, just tuck and go. 

As it is a custom fit for S&W Model 686, it easily rides with you while securing your pistol. Drawing from this holster is quite effortless and smooth, so we give it a thumbs up for ease of use. One downside among leather holsters though, as a whole, is their ability to retain moisture over time. Still, it will depend on the conditions you use this holster for. 

What we like about the Houston IWB holster is that it’s really comfortable as a whole. It doesn’t have much friction thanks to its soft material. It does not give the bump we usually get with a Kydex holster, so this is really fit for everyday carry (EDC). Plus, with a quality like this under $50, we definitely consider this one a real steal.

Pros
  • Small and slim profile
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Easy to draw
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • May collect moisture over time

BONUS OFFER: Get your free shooting range targets to print at home!

Get your free targets to print at home!

Subscribe to our newsletter and get gun deals, educational content, hand's on reviews and news on law changes!

Blackhawk! Multi-Position Brown Leather Holster

Blackhawk Multi-Position Brown Leather Holster

If you would rather go with a leather holster for your S&W 686 over a nylon holster, then you’ll want to give a close look at the Blackhawk Multi-Position Brown Leather Holster.

The ‘Size 2’ version of this holster will be large enough to fit the Model 686, and both right and left-handed versions are available.

This is a very heavy-duty leather holster that is built with high quality and strong stitching. In other words, it’s a holster that is designed to last you for several years. It also features a solid thumb break retention strap, which is designed to keep the holster fully secure in place. The thumb break can then be quickly unsnapped by your thumb so you can then draw the weapon with ease.

Another benefit to this holster is the fact that it can be worn either on your strong side hip or in the cross draw position. Some people prefer the cross draw position because you can draw the firearm with either hand. That being said, others yet prefer the quick draw position on the strong side of the hip. Either way, you have options with this holster, which is great.

That all being said, you’re definitely paying for what you get with this holster, and the pricing is a bit higher than the nylon Bianchi 7000 holster that we just discussed. You should also know that the leather will be exceptionally tight when you first receive the holster, so you should anticipate an extended break-in period a well.

Pros
  • Solid retention thanks to the thumb break
  • Heavy duty
  • Built out of high quality, thick leather
  • Strong stitching
  • Designed to be worn either strong side or cross draw
  • Both right handed and left handed versions available
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Leather is very tight upon first being young (break-in period can be a long time)
Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster

Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster

Galco is well known as being one of the most reputable and high-quality holster makers on the market today. They manufacture premium products that command a high price, but in exchange, you’ll get several years of worth out of any product you buy from them before they will need to be replaced.

The Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster from Galco is no exception to this. In fact, this is by far one of the nicest leather revolver holsters on the market today, being a step above in quality over the Blackhawk Multi-Position Brown Leather Holster that we just went over previously.

There are both four-inch and six-inch variations to the Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster available. When you first pick up the holster, you will immediately notice that the leather is very thick and snug. This means that it should take a while in order to properly break it in, but fortunately, once it is broken in you should find that the holster properly retains your 686 snugly while also permitting a fast and smooth draw.

The holster does not feature a thumb break strap like you might expect, but rather features a long leather strap that wraps around the grip of your revolver and then snaps into place. This snap can be easily undone with a simple flick of the thumb or finger, permitting you to then draw the weapon smoothly.

Galco designed this holster to fit belts up to one and a half inches in overall width. Being a very heavy-duty leather holster, it would work best with a heavy-duty leather belt as well.

The biggest drawback to this holster for most people will be the high price. It will certainly be out of the price range for many people on a tight budget, but remember that you are getting what you pay for as well, and this holster will last you for many years before possibly needing to be replaced.

Pros
  • Galco is a very reputable holster making company
  • Leather is very thick
  • Leather strap wraps around grip to keep the pistol secure in the holster
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Takes a while to break in
Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster

Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster

The last holster that we will look at for the Smith & Wesson 686 is the Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster. As we discussed previously in this article, a shoulder holster can be a good way to carry your revolver during hunting, as it keeps it out of the way from getting hit by your rifle stock while being carried in a strong side hip holster.

It should be noted that Galco makes two basic versions of the Vertical Shoulder Holster, one for semi-automatic pistols and then one for revolvers. Obviously, you will need a revolver variant of the holster, and on the right side, to fit the Smith & Wesson 686.

Furthermore, the Vertical Shoulder Holster gives you the option to conceal carry your 686 as well. Conceal carrying with an outside the waistband holster would be rather difficult to conceal, but with the shoulder holster, it’s much easier.

As with the Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster that we just looked at, the Vertical Shoulder Holster comes in both four-inch and six-inch variations to accommodate different barrel lengths of the 686.

A big plus to this holster is the fact that it can be carried either vertically or diagonally. This means that you can properly adjust the holster until you get the desired draw angle for you. Granted though, it will be much more difficult to conceal a diagonally canted shoulder holster with the 6-inch barrel configuration.

All of the straps on this holster can also pivot independently thanks to Galco’s patented spider harness design. This basically enables the entire holster to move with your entire body for maximum comfort. That’s why many users report this revolver shoulder holster being much more comfortable to wear in contrast to several competing holster designs.

That being said, it’s also important to note that the strap can dig into your shoulder if the rig as a whole is not adjusted properly, so be sure to play around with it until you get it to how you like it.

On the opposite side of the actual holster is an ammo carrier to hold additional rounds. Specifically, there are two pouches that can each hold a spare speed loader. These are then snapped into place to hold them, though they can also be quickly unsnapped to access them quickly for when you need to reload.

As with most Galco products, the Galco Vertical Shoulder commands a premium price on the market, but the good news is that you will definitely get what you pay for.

Pros
  • Galco is a very reputable holster making company
  • Concealed carry is easy
  • Gun will be kept out of the way while walking or going about your business
  • Can be easily worn either vertically or diagonally
  • Very comfortable thanks to the patented spider harness design
  • Holds additional rounds on opposite side of the holster
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Slower on the draw than a strong side hip holster
  • Strap can dig into your shoulder if not properly adjusted

Conclusion

These are the four best holsters for the Smith & Wesson Model 686 currently available on the market. My favorite is the Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster. It has nice quality smooth leather and a secure hold. But, it is on the expensive side. As the best budget buy I’d recommend the Houston IWB Holster for S&W Model 686. Does the job for only $49.

You might also like:

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts
The 4 Best Double Rifle Cases
Read More

The 4 Best Double Rifle Cases

Ah, so you need to carry your rifle and some gear to the range? What’s that? You have two rifles? Well, then you’ll have to buy yourself a double rifle case! We’ve selected some of the best double rifle cases on the market (and what’s best for the money). The biggest factor you’ll need to ... Read more
A close up shot of the Remington 700 trigger
Read More

The Best Remington 700 Replacement Triggers

After a recall on the Remington 700 trigger for unintentional discharging, finding a replacement trigger is the best option. Finding a high quality replacement trigger for the Remington 700 will help with control, accuracy, and overall performance. Finding the right trigger can be tricky, but this short guide should provide some pertinent information that will ... Read more

Talk to me

Hi! I'm Mike, one of the oldest writer of Sniper Country! If you have any feedback or question about my articles, please submit it here, it's always appreciated!

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Claim your targets for free (worth $99)!

Join 212,000 avid gun enthusiasts and claim your print-at-home shooting drills. Receive exclusive gun deals once a week and all our great reviews right in your inbox.