Kicking It Old School with the Smith and Wesson 586

586.1I didn’t say this in my last article, but I am a self admitted Glock super fan boy.  I’ve been pretty loyal to my Glocks for several years now.  I love my Glocks: I love their simplicity, their function, their reliability, and I even love how ugly they are.  They are magnificent.  That said, I recently cheated on my Glocks and I’m not ashamed to admit I had a good time doing it.  It made me smile, I laughed, and I had fun with it: I shot a revolver.

I shot my 4” Smith & Wesson 586 .357 Magnum (I shot .38 Special) and it was an eye-opening experience. I got my 586 several years ago while living in Texas in a straight trade deal for another gun I wasn’t shooting, so I took this in as a project gun because how hard can working on a revolver be, right?  Little did I know!  This gun has seen A LOT in its lifetime.  This was no safe queen, until it got to my house.  Life got in the way of this project (deployments, cross country moves, extended duty in other states, long working hours, and family) and it earned the title of Safe Queen while residing at my house.  A few months ago, I decided that would change.  I would get that 19th Century technology out of my safe and exercise it.

586.2Initial impressions upon arriving for my local IDPA match were several quizzical looks at my hip.  One of my friends even whispered to me “You know that’s not a Glock, right?”  I informed my friend I was well aware that I wasn’t shooting one of my beloved Glocks that day and that I was going to have fun shooting this old hog leg.  I knew I was at the bottom of a very steep learning curve.  I was forced to do a thorough stage analysis on each stage because having only six rounds in the gun and eighteen on the belt is much less forgiving than having 31 rounds (not to mention every reload costs precious seconds).  I found that unless your match director is a revolver shooter, most of your stages will not be revolver friendly.

I started the match shooting American Eagle 158 grain lead rounds nose (AE38B).  This was the epitome of a “bunny fart” load.  According to Federal’s webpage (check it out here), the muzzle velocity of this load is 770 FPS.  The carbon steel framed 586 soaked up that recoil and I felt none of it.  There’s something to be said for that 40+ ounce (roughly 2.5 pounds) frame.  Aside from the obvious differences between my Generation 3 Glock G35 and the Smith 586, the weight was the most noticeable.  My G35 tips the scales at a diminutive 27 ounces (1.6 pounds), so having a full extra pound of steel at the end of my arms was noticeable from the first stage to the last.


I shot the last 2 stages of this match with 158 grain FMJ ammunition from Military Ballistics Industries.  This was remanufactured ammunition using once fired brass.  MBI reports a muzzle velocity on this bullet at 760 FPS.  I was skeptical when I purchased this ammunition this past summer, but after firing a few stages and then some accuracy testing after the match, I’m a believer in MBI.  This was a budget, quality ammunition that I am not afraid to put in my gun.  Lucky Gunner ( and Bulk Ammo ( both carry the MBI line.

I didn’t win my division this day, but I had a great time shooting this wheel gun.  I have enough .38 Special to keep shooting this for a few months and with some encouragement, I won’t be the only revolver at next month’s IDPA match.  Until then, I am going to experiment with how to reload (Miculek style vs. Ayoob “Stressfire” style) and see what works for my HKS speed loaders and me. HP

Nick Sporinsky

Nick Sporinsky is a contributing writer for Handgun Planet and an avid supporter of the Second Amendment.  He is a career Army Officer and has been participating in IDPA competitions between deployments to the Middle East since 2008.  He currently holds a Sharpshooter classification in both Stock Service Pistol as well as Enhanced Service Pistol.  He resides in South Carolina with his wife and 3 children.

Photos: Colt Driver

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