When I wrapped my hands around the diminutive Smith & Wesson Model 60, my first thought was “Honey, I Shrunk The 686!” As I turned it over in my hands, I started to wonder if Rick Moranis had accidentally pointed his shrink-ray at a real gun, because the Model 60 looks and feels like a 2/3 scale model of my favorite .357 Magnum. But trust me: it’s a real gun. In fact it’s a fire-breathing fistful of ballistic fury, and you’ll use two fists if you know what’s good for you . . .
If your primary environment is in the woods, where you can come across bears, wolves, or worse, carrying the full powered .357 Magnum round for protection makes a lot of sense. At the same time, it’s hardly desirable to pack around a heavy revolver that’s just going to weigh your belt down all day. The Smith & Wesson Model 60 steps in to combine the best of both worlds: it fires full powered .357 Magnum rounds and does so in a very light and comfortable 24 ounces.
The gun under consideration here is the Smith & Wesson Model 60 “J-frame” with the 3″ barrel in .357 Magnum, a.k.a., the “60-15.” The Model 60 is not a new design. Introduced in 1965, it occupies its own special niche in handgun history. It was the first regular production all-stainless steel revolver, and it was an immediate success. The original Model 60 was a .38 Special. Today’s Model 60 is a .357 Magnum. It is available in 2 1/8” barrel, 3” barrel, and 5” barrel versions. Like all J-frames, it chambers 5 rounds. With its longer barrel and grip, it is as if the traditional short barreled snub-nose has been stretched for better performance.