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  1. #1
    nvdesert is offline Junior Member
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    Sights for S&W 686

    I just purchased a new 686 plus with 6 inch barrel. Many that I see around have a white outline on the rear sight, helping zero in on a target faster. Mine does not. The rear sight is all black, so I was thinking of getting calling Smith and Wesson for one, then I figured maybe I should check out the aftermarket. Any suggestions for aftermarket sights with good visibility in low light situations that work well on the 686? I'm looking for top quality without spending a fortune. My preference is made in the US. Thanks.

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  3. #2
    EliWolfe is offline Member HGF Gold Member
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    I have a 3" 686 7-shooter fitted with the white notch/orange front sights you have described. i thought i would really like to put a set of night sights on it, but i am not a gunsmith, and I won't risk mucking up my S@W to save a buck. I believe any change to that front sight calls for a gunsmith in my case. Looking at the rear sight, it looks like it would be pretty simple to change that out to the white notch version, just ask S@W to be sure. That combination works very well at the range so I'm happy with my "stocker" and plan to keep it that way.
    Eli

  4. #3
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvdesert View Post
    I just purchased a new 686 plus with 6 inch barrel. Many that I see around have a white outline on the rear sight, helping zero in on a target faster. Mine does not. The rear sight is all black, so I was thinking of getting calling Smith and Wesson for one, then I figured maybe I should check out the aftermarket. Any suggestions for aftermarket sights with good visibility in low light situations that work well on the 686? I'm looking for top quality without spending a fortune. My preference is made in the US. Thanks.
    With S&W, the aftermarket choices for a white-outline rear sight are small. Millett used to make a rear sight assembly with a very high visibility outlined rear blade, but Brownell's, the gunsmith supply house where I go for such things, is showing the Millett as "Discontinued by the factory."

    Brownell's can sell you an entire S&W rear sight assembly for about $68. All you'll need to do is loosen and remove the tiny mounting screw, slide the sight rearward to remove the elevation nut from the slot in the frame, and repeat in reverse order for reassembly with the new sight.

    You can also get kit to replace the sight blade only for about $17-$23 (depending on shipping costs). To replace the rear sight blade on a S&W revolver, you have to actually break the windage adjustment screw, because the end of the screw is riveted into the nut during assembly. It's not terribly tricky, but there is a risk of getting the sight too tight or too loose in the sight body, with associated problems of binding or excessive side-to-side movement. There is also the possibility of bending/breaking the screw during the riveting of the nut. Any competent gunsmith could do it, but after you pay him to do the installation job, you probably could have bought the entire sight assembly for less money, and had the old sight assembly as a backup, too.

    Here are links to Brownell's pages for the sight assembly and the rear sight blade kit. Important note: both of these items are offered in various blade heights for different barrel length revolvers, and if you get the wrong height, then you will be WAY off target when you try to shoot. These are examples, but not necessarily the exact heights you will need; to find those, you'll have to measure your current weapon's sight blade height.

    https://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=...O__4_6__BARREL

    https://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=..._WHITE_OUTLINE
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  5. #4
    nvdesert is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the responses.

    DJ Niner, I did not realize Brownells was such a great resource. Thanks for pointing out the link to the stock white outline rear sight. I think I'll try to get a close up look at some of the aftermarket sights like HiViz or similar and see what I think of them up close. Perhaps a HiViz front and rear white outline, might be a good combo on the 686.

  6. #5
    EliWolfe is offline Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    With S&W, the aftermarket choices for a white-outline rear sight are small. Millett used to make a rear sight assembly with a very high visibility outlined rear blade, but Brownell's, the gunsmith supply house where I go for such things, is showing the Millett as "Discontinued by the factory."

    Brownell's can sell you an entire S&W rear sight assembly for about $68. All you'll need to do is loosen and remove the tiny mounting screw, slide the sight rearward to remove the elevation nut from the slot in the frame, and repeat in reverse order for reassembly with the new sight.

    You can also get kit to replace the sight blade only for about $17-$23 (depending on shipping costs). To replace the rear sight blade on a S&W revolver, you have to actually break the windage adjustment screw, because the end of the screw is riveted into the nut during assembly. It's not terribly tricky, but there is a risk of getting the sight too tight or too loose in the sight body, with associated problems of binding or excessive side-to-side movement. There is also the possibility of bending/breaking the screw during the riveting of the nut. Any competent gunsmith could do it, but after you pay him to do the installation job, you probably could have bought the entire sight assembly for less money, and had the old sight assembly as a backup, too.

    Here are links to Brownell's pages for the sight assembly and the rear sight blade kit. Important note: both of these items are offered in various blade heights for different barrel length revolvers, and if you get the wrong height, then you will be WAY off target when you try to shoot. These are examples, but not necessarily the exact heights you will need; to find those, you'll have to measure your current weapon's sight blade height.

    https://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=...O__4_6__BARREL

    https://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=..._WHITE_OUTLINE
    Yeah, what he said! DJNiner da man.

  7. #6
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is offline Senior Member
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    For some reason Smith & Wesson put great stock in white outlines and red front sight inserts. Most of mine came with a plain black rear sight, but I had to replace the red ramp. Nothing shows up more clearly than plain, matte black sights nor offers a better sight picture.

    Practice with both under different lighting conditions and you'll see that the plain black offers more precise aiming allowing you to hold elevation much better.

    Bob Wright

  8. #7
    nvdesert is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    For some reason Smith & Wesson put great stock in white outlines and red front sight inserts. Most of mine came with a plain black rear sight, but I had to replace the red ramp. Nothing shows up more clearly than plain, matte black sights nor offers a better sight picture.

    Practice with both under different lighting conditions and you'll see that the plain black offers more precise aiming allowing you to hold elevation much better.

    Bob Wright

    Bob, thanks for your insight. I'm relatively new to the sport and don't recall hearing such an opinion. I was under the impression that brighter, contrasting colors, would yield a better sighting of the target. I don't have the best eyesight and have been shooting in at a range where the targets are not well lit up at the closer distances. My take on the red front and all black rear is that it could be better, and thus my initial desire to try the white outline rear. For the reasons DJ Niner pointed out, I ordered the entire rear sight, not just the kit. It will be interesting to see how the white outline differs for me, better or worse. I'll certainly pay close attention to if its an improvement or not.

  9. #8
    EliWolfe is offline Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    For some reason Smith & Wesson put great stock in white outlines and red front sight inserts. Most of mine came with a plain black rear sight, but I had to replace the red ramp. Nothing shows up more clearly than plain, matte black sights nor offers a better sight picture.

    Practice with both under different lighting conditions and you'll see that the plain black offers more precise aiming allowing you to hold elevation much better.

    Bob Wright
    I think I can relate to what Bob is saying here. There are times, especially in bright sunlight, when the orange blades "glows" I guess I would call it, and while the horizontal sight is clear, the elevation line up is a bit blurry because of that fluorescent glow . I have not noticed this at the range so much, but of course I don't shoot for small groups as I tend to practice DA and try to keep 'em in the hurt zone!
    Interesting subject, hope it turns out well for you.
    Eli

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