6" Combat Revolvers?

This is a discussion on 6" Combat Revolvers? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hey guys! We all know the 4" bbl was standard on service revolvers for decades, but there were also departments and individuals who chose 6" ...

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Thread: 6" Combat Revolvers?

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    Member Array Rugeroo357's Avatar
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    Question 6" Combat Revolvers?

    Hey guys! We all know the 4" bbl was standard on service revolvers for decades, but there were also departments and individuals who chose 6" bbl'd guns. This was pretty common back in the 20's-30's-40's era, but after a while you mostly saw 4" guns in the holsters of police officers etc.

    However, even up until the switch to semi-auto pistols, there were units and individual officers who had 6" barreled revolvers. I've read in some places guns as large as Colt Pythons with 6" full-lug barrels, and S&W 586/686 with full-lug 6" bbls were used. I am wondering why they would have choose the larger gun over the smaller 4" guns. Also, do you know of any PD or individual officer who has a 6" revolver as there duty gun?

    I love 6" guns myself, but I've often wondered if they would be at home in an officer's holster if they were willing to deal with the extra length and weight. What do think about this?

    Thanks!

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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    Having started my LEO career carrying a "K" frame Mod 19 w/ 4" bbl I can't say I remember any cops that carried 6" wheel guns. (Other than Dirty Harry LOL!). The agency I worked for issued 4" to Patrol and 3" to Motors, which was common in that area.
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    In the 50s and 60s, where I lived in the Northeast the state cops or other agencies charged with "highway patrol" missions commonly carried the 6" revolvers. I'm not sure if this was due to longer sight radius or the potential for a little more velocity, or for more forward weight to reduce muzzle flip with the .357 loads.
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    Distinguished Member Array Gunnutty's Avatar
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    In the early eighties with a Sherriffs department in Washington state several of the guys carried 686 Smiths with six inch barrels. I carried a 6 inch Python. I liked the feel and the added weight helped with my marksmanship. Still have the Python by the way!
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    When started had Colt Trooper 4" as duty weapon back in the 70's in Illinois

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    Had a 6" S&W 686 +. Also had a 5" Ruger GP. It was a perfect compromise for me as I find 6" barrel guns to be too barrel heavy.
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    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    Colt called their 2.5" a snub, but their 3" "Combat".

    I think it had way more to do with the holster that was issued and how the pistol was carried. The Police Positive and Official Police came in (2.5" also for the PP) 4", 5", and 6" since the oughts. I think maybe more department's simply liked 4", and it's as simple as that.

    One of my Pythons is a 6" carried by a Pennsylvania Highway Patrolman for 20+ years, and I think that was pretty common all the way into the 1980s, especially when they could or were required to provide their own service revolvers.

    Before the S&W Chiefs Special and the Colt Detective Special those who were plainclothes probably carried a 2.5" PP.

    The "Combat" length was sort of an odd duck, but they certainly sold a bunch of them to guys going to Viet Nam. My Friend has his father was a pilot and flew with a revolver in a holster, and it is the 3" "Combat" length. Maybe it was just marketing, but I think it worked.
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    Distinguished Member Array Black Knight's Avatar
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    Back in 1978 when I started working private security I borrowed my father's H&R model 926 in 38 S&W. In March 1979 he helped me get my first handgun. It was a 6" Colt Python in a Bianchi model 5BH holster. A year later I changed the holster for a Bianchi model 27 Breakfront. I carried that revolver for about 3 years before I buldged the barrel at an NRA Security Firearms Instructors school. I ordered a 4" S&W model 28-2 and then sent the Python off to be fixed. I have carried 4" barreled revolvers ever since. I find the 4" barrels easier to handle and more comfortable to carry or even sit down with. With the 6" the holster and gun push the belt up when you sit down. You could angle it to fit between the car seat and center console but then the grips poke you in the side. I would not feel bad about going back to a 6" barrel because I know what to expect but prefer the 4" models.

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    Ex Member Array ANGLICO's Avatar
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    Biggest round (+P preferred), longest barrel (if you can hide it or deal with it) = better effects on target. Heck if I could carry around an M - 198 Howitzer (155 mm), I would.

    Also, they are a lot more stable for me left or right handed and more accurate at beyond 21 feet.

    My wife's .357 M 66 is one of the most accurate wheel guns I have shot. It is a 7 inch barrel set up for hunting, and it is dead on. Large frame, better control and accuracy is my opinion. Not to mention stopping power.

    One additional add - simplicity, either single or double action! If you know how to shoot, you don't always need 15 rounds. But is is nice to have them. I have speed loaders for the wheel guns.

    Again, my opinion.

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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    6" Combat Revolvers?
    I like shooting them and I can carry them concealed if need be. I find them a bit unwieldy for getting out of a holster and into action should the need arise and as such, less than practical for self defense carry. I don't recall seeing any cops carrying them.
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    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5lima30ret View Post
    Having started my LEO career carrying a "K" frame Mod 19 w/ 4" bbl I can't say I remember any cops that carried 6" wheel guns. (Other than Dirty Harry LOL!). The agency I worked for issued 4" to Patrol and 3" to Motors, which was common in that area.
    I must confess, for the first year of law enforcement I carried a 6" Model 19. The primary reason for this was simply....that was all they had to sell me.
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    Senior Member Array Bigsteve113's Avatar
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    Down here in the Dirty Dirty South we carried 4" mostly K frames prior to switching to autos. The guys who carried 6" revolvers were few and far between, honestly about 1%. For me it was mostly a 4" 66. Although I flirted with a Smith model 13, 586, and even a 4" 29, I alway came back to my beloved 66. Still one of my favorite guns, I still carry it afield a lot.
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    VIP Member Array tdave's Avatar
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    I got my 6" Python as a present used. The gun store owner told me the previous owner had been a Maricopa County Sheriffs Deputy who had carried it on duty.
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    LAPD utilized 6" S&W Model 14's for several years...they incorporated 4" S&W Model 15's along the line...I remember reading a story about the record setting Patrol Officer that shot his 6" Model 14 to a LAPD record. Early Adam 12 highlights the Model 14 then the Model 15...

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    I love shooting 6-inch revolvers, especially the ones with nice tapered barrels that aren't front-heavy. One would have to put some thought into a duty holster that would house the 6-inch revolver and keep it out of the way when he sat down.
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