Californians Can Buy High Capacity Gun Magazines Now – Legally

What is in this Article:
BREAKING NEWS: California judge, born in Cuba has ruled a key piece of gun control legislation UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Read about the implications of the ruling, nuances and pieces of his opinion which was 80+ pages. Learn why it will still be challenged and may go up to the Supreme Court of the United States ultimately.

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS RULING HAS BEEN POSTPONED. IT IS NO LONGER LEGAL TO PURCHASE HIGH CAPACITY MAGS IN CALIFORNIA AS OF 5PM PST APRIL 5th 2019

Californians can now buy “high capacity” and standard capacity magazines without risking felony actions. Judge Roger T. Benitez has ruled California Penal Code subsection 32310 as Unconstitutional. Gun control advocates are beside themselves. Judge Benitez makes a strong argument for the Second Amendment in an 86-page court document including 80+ pages of opinion lodged into the Southern Districts system on March 29th 2018. BUY YOUR MAGS NOW WHILE YOU CAN UNCHALLENGED.

Californians Can Buy High Capacity Gun Magazines Now – Legally

UPDATE: THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN AMENDED TO REFLECT A CHANGE IN THIS RULING. IT IS NO LONGER LEGAL TO BUY HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES IN CALIFORNIA AS OF APRIL 5TH 2019 5PM PST.

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE MAY BE TIME SENSITIVE, IT MAY NOT ACCURATELY REFLECT IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE MATERIAL COVERED, DEPENDING ON WHEN YOU VIEW IT. WE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO PUBLISH ONLY ACCURATE INFORMATION. THIS ARTICLE IS ACCURATE AS OF APRIL 2, 2018.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on reddit
Reddit

Federal Judge Rules California’s Magazine Ban Unconstitutional – NOT AN APRIL FOOLS PRANK.

ACCURATE AS OF APRIL 5TH 2019 5PM PST – THIS ARTICLE IS NO LONGER ACCURATE. IT IS NO LONGER LEGAL TO BUY HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES IN CALIFORNIA. IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED.

 

ACCURATE AS OF APRIL 2ND 2019: Not an April Fools joke: Californians can now buy standard capacity magazines, otherwise known in most media outlets as “high capacity magazines”. But it may not last long, so BUY YOUR HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES ASAP IN CALIFORNIA!

A Cuban born U.S. Federal judge in Southern district of California has handed the biggest gun rights victory to Californians in years. Judge Roger T. Benitez declared the California Penal Code Subsection 32310 Unconstitutional as a result of his findings in the important Duncan vs. Becerra case. His findings and rulings are detailed in an 86-page court document with more than 80 pages of opinion that was entered into the court on March 29th 2018.

In what reads like a fairy tale for gun rights supporters, Benitez opens with “Individual Liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.” followed by a Robert Kennedy quote, and ends with the statement “This decision is a freedom calculus decided long ago by Colonists who cherished individual freedom more than the subservient security of a British ruler.  The freedom they fought for was not free of cost then, and it is not free now.” He detailed three separate cases of assaults on law abiding citizens that highlighted his impetus for the ruling. He is seemingly, staunchly a second amendment advocate.

Benitez also cited the concept of the so-called “Heller Hardware Rule”. He highlighted the ridiculous Prop 63 that passed in 2016 as well, further stating:

“Constitutional rights stand through time holding fast through the ebb and flow of current controversy…” “Bad political ideas cannot be stopped by criminalizing bad political speech. Crime waves cannot be broken with warrantless searches and unreasonable seizures. Neither can the government response to a few mad men with guns and ammunition be a law that turns millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals. Yet this is the effect of California’s large-capacity magazine law.”

Judge Benitez also noted that mass shootings were “…exceedingly rare…”; and the numbers no doubt bear that synopsis out accurately, despite the difficulty in digesting increased occurrences of mass shootings in the world. As a side note: the numbers of total deaths caused by semi-automatic rifles is a miniscule fraction of total deaths in any society. His notations about mass shootings are not falling on deaf ears within the firearms community.

Implications of this ruling:

  • Californians will no doubt be under pressure by whatever new laws are pushed swiftly through the state legislature in the very near future. So, buy your high capacity magazines now.
  • Grandfathering protections has a rich history for most gun law implementations. It may not be the case going forward. This is a brazen stay of the anti-gun politician’s agenda. They will not be happy about it.
  • This is not only about AR-15’s and this is not just about defensive uses, though these areas benefit proportionally. You will want to secure your normal capacity magazines for your Glocks and Smith & Wesson’s and HK’s and Springfield Armory pistols.
  • Having magazine components on hand, purchased while they were legal is a very good protection against future difficulties in the state.
  • Both sides are likely to attempt to take this challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • A 9th circuit court of appeals ruling overturning this Benitez decision could make criminals out of law-abiding citizens, and while it historically is not very likely, could make current purchases of the magazines subject to surrender upon reenactment of the legislation.
  • That said, the 9th circuit will not be able to wholesale throw out the judge’s opinion like it has in the past, the opinion has strong precedence in Its DNA. It’s more likely that this appeal moves towards the SCOTUS than it simply gets kicked back immediately by the 9th circuit court. Notably, the Ninth circuit court upheld Benitez’s ruling to stay the law’s initial implementation to test for constitutionality already, leading to this decision.

Furthermore, the opinion rendered by Benitez is strongly rooted in practicality and has ties to timeless ideas presented in the Second amendment. It bodes well for the potential docket time it might see at the SCOTUS.

Without a hiccup, Gavin Newsom and Xavier Becerra both blasted the decision and noted their desire to push back.

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: there are some counties that enforce very strict laws about ammunition. California as a state has a very intrusive and strict policy on ammunition purchasing. If you buy online to get your high capacity magazines while this ruling exists unchallenged, make sure you understand the rules about ammunition purchases if you are bundling ammo and magazines. MOST HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINE VENDORS have delisted their bundled packages to keep delays to a minimum and avoid difficulty for purchasers in California who are trying to get magazines while they can. Vendors like Amazon.com may not be adhering to this ruling in a practical way, because of the extreme logistics of doing so in a large platform. Historically these are not items that are sold on the Amazon Platform anyway.

So, what is the longevity we can except of this ruling?

It’s anyone’s guess. No doubt California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra is chomping at the bit to get back into court and get this thing disputed. There will be no shortage of money in the budget to fight for more gun control in California. It’s likely to be challenged in the next month or so, again.

Code Text

Penal Code – PEN

PART 6. CONTROL OF DEADLY WEAPONS [16000 – 34370]  ( Part 6 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

TITLE 4. FIREARMS [23500 – 34370]  ( Title 4 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

DIVISION 10. SPECIAL RULES RELATING TO PARTICULAR TYPES OF FIREARMS OR FIREARM EQUIPMENT [30210 – 33690]  ( Division 10 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

CHAPTER 5. Large-Capacity Magazine [32310 – 32450]  ( Chapter 5 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

ARTICLE 1. Rules Governing Large-Capacity Magazines [32310 – 32390]  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

  1.  

(a) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, buys, or receives any large-capacity magazine is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(b) For purposes of this section, “manufacturing” includes both fabricating a magazine and assembling a magazine from a combination of parts, including, but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, to be a fully functioning large-capacity magazine.

(c) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, commencing July 1, 2017, any person in this state who possesses any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) per large-capacity magazine, or is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) per large-capacity magazine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(d) Any person who may not lawfully possess a large-capacity magazine commencing July 1, 2017 shall, prior to July 1, 2017:

(1) Remove the large-capacity magazine from the state;

(2) Sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer; or

(3) Surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.

(Amended November 8, 2016, by initiative Proposition 63, Sec. 6.1.)

This legislation has been rendered unconstitutional. As a result, many online vendors of shooting accessories have opened up the channels for sales of previously restricted “high-capacity magazines” to Californians.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: This does not affect Subsection 30515 Materially. California Gun Owner’s should understand the laws that still apply to firearms that may be able to accept all these new “High Capacity Magazines” they intend to buy. The “California Assault Weapons Ban” as it is sometimes colloquially referred to, is actually California Penal code subsection 30515.

Assembly Bill No. 1135

CHAPTER 40

An act to amend Sections 30515 and 30900 of, and to add Section 30680 to, the Penal Code, relating to firearms.

[ Approved by Governor  July 01, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State  July 01, 2016. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1135, Levine. Firearms: assault weapons.

(1) Existing law generally prohibits the possession or transfer of assault weapons, except for the sale, purchase, importation, or possession of assault weapons by specified individuals, including law enforcement officers. Under existing law, “assault weapon” means, among other things, a semiautomatic centerfire rifle or a semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has any one of several specified attributes, including, for rifles, a thumbhole stock, and for pistols, a 2nd handgrip.

This bill would revise this definition of “assault weapon” to mean a semiautomatic centerfire rifle or a semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of those specified attributes. The bill would also define “fixed magazine” to mean an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.

By expanding the definition of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

(2) Existing law requires that any person who, within this state, possesses an assault weapon, except as otherwise provided, be punished as a felony or for a period not to exceed one year in a county jail.

This bill would exempt from punishment under that provision a person who possessed an assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017, if specified requirements are met.

(3) Existing law requires that, with specified exceptions, any person who, prior to January 1, 2001, lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to the date it was defined as an assault weapon, and which was not specified as an assault weapon at the time of lawful possession, register the firearm with the Department of Justice. Existing law permits the Department of Justice to charge a fee for registration of up to $20 per person but not to exceed the actual processing costs of the department. Existing law, after the department establishes fees sufficient to reimburse the department for processing costs, requires fees charged to increase at a rate not to exceed the legislatively approved annual cost-of-living adjustment for the department’s budget or as otherwise increased through the Budget Act. Existing law requires those fees to be deposited into the Dealers’ Record of Sale Special Account. Existing law, the Administrative Procedure Act, establishes the requirements for the adoption, publication, review, and implementation of regulations by state agencies.

This bill would require that any person who, from January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2016, inclusive, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine, as defined, and including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be removed readily from the firearm with the use of a tool, register the firearm with the Department of Justice before January 1, 2018, but not before the effective date of specified regulations. The bill would permit the department to increase the $20 registration fee as long as it does not exceed the reasonable processing costs of the department. The bill would also require registrations to be submitted electronically via the Internet utilizing a public-facing application made available by the department. The bill would require the registration to contain specified information, including, but not limited to, a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely and specified information about the registrant. The bill would permit the department to charge a fee of up to $15 per person for registration through the Internet, not to exceed the reasonable processing costs of the department to be paid and deposited, as specified, for purposes of the registration program. The bill would require the department to adopt regulations for the purpose of implementing those provisions and would exempt those regulations from the Administrative Procedure Act. The bill would also make technical and conforming changes.

(4) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Digest Key

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES 

Bill Text

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 30515 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

  1. (a) Notwithstanding Section 30510, “assault weapon” also means any of the following:

(1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:

(A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.

(B) A thumbhole stock.

(C) A folding or telescoping stock.

(D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.

(E) A flash suppressor.

(F) A forward pistol grip.

(2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.

(4) A semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:

(A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.

(B) A second handgrip.

(C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning the bearer’s hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.

(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.

(5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

(6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:

(A) A folding or telescoping stock.

(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.

(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.

(8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

(b) For purposes of this section, “fixed magazine” means an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.

(c) The Legislature finds a significant public purpose in exempting from the definition of “assault weapon” pistols that are designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events. Therefore, those pistols that are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and by USA Shooting, the national governing body for international shooting competition in the United States, and that were used for Olympic target shooting purposes as of January 1, 2001, and that would otherwise fall within the definition of “assault weapon” pursuant to this section are exempt, as provided in subdivision (d).

(d) “Assault weapon” does not include either of the following:

(1) Any antique firearm.

(2) Any of the following pistols, because they are consistent with the significant public purpose expressed in subdivision (c):

MANUFACTURER             MODEL CALIBER

BENELLI MP90    .22LR

BENELLI MP90    .32 S&W LONG

BENELLI MP95    .22LR

BENELLI MP95    .32 S&W LONG

HAMMERLI         280         .22LR

HAMMERLI         280         .32 S&W LONG

HAMMERLI         SP20      .22LR

HAMMERLI         SP20      .32 S&W LONG

PARDINI               GPO       .22 SHORT

PARDINI               GP-SCHUMANN .22 SHORT

PARDINI               HP          .32 S&W LONG

PARDINI               MP         .32 S&W LONG

PARDINI               SP           .22LR

PARDINI               SPE         .22LR

WALTHER            GSP        .22LR

WALTHER            GSP        .32 S&W LONG

WALTHER            OSP        .22 SHORT

WALTHER            OSP-2000             .22 SHORT

(3) The Department of Justice shall create a program that is consistent with the purposes stated in subdivision (c) to exempt new models of competitive pistols that would otherwise fall within the definition of “assault weapon” pursuant to this section from being classified as an assault weapon. The exempt competitive pistols may be based on recommendations by USA Shooting consistent with the regulations contained in the USA Shooting Official Rules or may be based on the recommendation or rules of any other organization that the department deems relevant.

SEC. 2. Section 30680 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

  1. Section 30605 does not apply to the possession of an assault weapon by a person who has possessed the assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017, if all of the following are applicable:

(a) Prior to January 1, 2017, the person would have been eligible to register that assault weapon pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 30900.

(b) The person lawfully possessed that assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017.

(c) The person registers the assault weapon by January 1, 2018, in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 30900.

SEC. 3. Section 30900 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

  1. (a) (1) Any person who, prior to June 1, 1989, lawfully possessed an assault weapon, as defined in former Section 12276, as added by Section 3 of Chapter 19 of the Statutes of 1989, shall register the firearm by January 1, 1991, and any person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to the date it was specified as an assault weapon pursuant to former Section 12276.5, as added by Section 3 of Chapter 19 of the Statutes of 1989 or as amended by Section 1 of Chapter 874 of the Statutes of 1990 or Section 3 of Chapter 954 of the Statutes of 1991, shall register the firearm within 90 days with the Department of Justice pursuant to those procedures that the department may establish.

(2) Except as provided in Section 30600, any person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to the date it was defined as an assault weapon pursuant to former Section 12276.1, as it read in Section 7 of Chapter 129 of the Statutes of 1999, and which was not specified as an assault weapon under former Section 12276, as added by Section 3 of Chapter 19 of the Statutes of 1989 or as amended at any time before January 1, 2001, or former Section 12276.5, as added by Section 3 of Chapter 19 of the Statutes of 1989 or as amended at any time before January 1, 2001, shall register the firearm by January 1, 2001, with the department pursuant to those procedures that the department may establish.

(3) The registration shall contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks, the full name, address, date of birth, and thumbprint of the owner, and any other information that the department may deem appropriate.

(4) The department may charge a fee for registration of up to twenty dollars ($20) per person but not to exceed the reasonable processing costs of the department. After the department establishes fees sufficient to reimburse the department for processing costs, fees charged shall increase at a rate not to exceed the legislatively approved annual cost-of-living adjustment for the department’s budget or as otherwise increased through the Budget Act but not to exceed the reasonable costs of the department. The fees shall be deposited into the Dealers’ Record of Sale Special Account.

(b) (1) Any person who, from January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2016, inclusive, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine, as defined in Section 30515, including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool, shall register the firearm before January 1, 2018, but not before the effective date of the regulations adopted pursuant to paragraph (5), with the department pursuant to those procedures that the department may establish by regulation pursuant to paragraph (5).

(2) Registrations shall be submitted electronically via the Internet utilizing a public-facing application made available by the department.

(3) The registration shall contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks, the date the firearm was acquired, the name and address of the individual from whom, or business from which, the firearm was acquired, as well as the registrant’s full name, address, telephone number, date of birth, sex, height, weight, eye color, hair color, and California driver’s license number or California identification card number.

(4) The department may charge a fee in an amount of up to fifteen dollars ($15) per person but not to exceed the reasonable processing costs of the department. The fee shall be paid by debit or credit card at the time that the electronic registration is submitted to the department. The fee shall be deposited in the Dealers’ Record of Sale Special Account to be used for purposes of this section.

(5) The department shall adopt regulations for the purpose of implementing this subdivision. These regulations are exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

SEC. 4. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

The above citations are readily available online, and we leave the interpretation of these citations to the reader. We do not provide legal advice.

Conclusion:

Don’t fear purchasing standard and larger capacity magazines for now. But California based shooters should maintain situational awareness as new challenges are made to the striking down of this unconstitutional law. You’ll have a window of time, as the requirement of notification by Mr. Becerra’s office to law enforcement has been mandated as part of the ruling. But you can bet that this is not the last we have heard of it.

Chris Cox, Spokesperson for the NRA said the following: “Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution… The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.” We agree with Mr. Cox’s assessment.

You can save some money while joining the NRA through this link.

You can join the Gun Owners of America through this link.

Both organizations are critical components in the solution to undo poor legislation regarding the Second Amendment. This was an NRA backed lawsuit in California.

Nothing included in this article should be misconstrued as legal advice. We do not serve in a capacity to offer competent legal advice, nor does our content provide a platform by which anyone should believe that statements made by authors or staff of this website are providing legal advice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

OTHER CONTENT YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Californians Can Buy High Capacity Gun Magazines Now – Legally

BREAKING NEWS: California judge, born in Cuba has ruled a key piece of gun control legislation UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Read about the implications of the ruling, nuances and pieces of his opinion which was 80+ pages. Learn why it will still be challenged and may go up to the Supreme Court of the United States ultimately.

Read More »

Smith & Wesson 686 Revolver

PRODUCT REVIEW: SMITH & WESSON 686 PLUS 7-SHOT .357 MAGNUM REVOLVER STAINLESS STEEL Product links for this Review View Smith & Wesson 686 Revolvers BUY NOW Complementary Products: MASC Leather Holster Hornady Critical Defense .357

Read More »

THE AUTHOR’S PERSONAL COMMENTARY ABOUT THIS NEWS

“This is an obvious win for the California gun owner. It is the culmination of a comprehensive look at wat the Second Amendment protects juxtaposed upon what modern legal precedent has stated about the right to bear arms. It is simultaneously, as contemporary, and timeless a statement by a California judge as I have ever seen with regards to a controversial ruling.”

“The opinion is harmoniously in line with what I believe as a champion of gun rights, but we must not get this ruling confused with a new way forward in the fight to protect gun rights in California and overturning unconstitutional laws regarding ownership by law abiding citizens in the state. This is not over.”

“My favorite part aside from the actual opinion being so reality based, is the outcry from the usual suspects who would seek to legislate the Second Amendment into the ground. Genuinely slack jawed responses that showed their shock over the ruling, were issued by Gavin Newsom, Xavier Becerra and other outspoken politicians and talking heads on the others ide of the gun rights debate.”

“A staff attorney named Ari Freilich from the Gifford Law Center made a ridiculous statement about the opinion in his hasty reply showcasing emotion rather than factual material observations. He stated: (about Benitez) that the judge is “…so deeply out of touch that he believes mass shootings are a ‘very small’ problem in this country.” That is a very layered statement by Mr. Freilich.”

“Out of touch with what? Certainly not the statistics. Out of touch with your philosophical ideologies? Out of touch with overhyped media consensus? Out of touch with the ultra-aggressive gun control agenda? If we are to make news on what some zealot says, it certainly shouldn’t be based on emotions, but rather on facts. Mr. Freilich is so out of touch with the reality of the situation, that he thinks facts can be made out of emotions.”

“As an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, no one cringes more than I do, or is heartbroken as much as I am, every time I hear about a school shooting. But the facts are these: the number of people killed by semi-automatic rifles each year is minsicule compared to the amount killed by hammers, fists, knives, cars, medical accidents in the operating room, etc. Mass shootings are good for no one.”

“Furthermore, the numbers aren’t even close. There are a handful of deaths each year caused by firearms in mass shootings. Millions die yearly in the other above-mentioned scenarios. A life’s value is not predicated on the way they die. A death is a death, whether by cancer, or gang violence. To state that Judge Benitez is the one who is out of touch is patently ridiculous, when this man has determined that a death of a person in a mass shooting event is somehow worse than by a bomb or by a car or by a beheading. Buy your standard capacity and high capacity magazines as soon as you can, and brace yourself for a rise in the tempo and aggressiveness of the conversation and legislation of guns in America. There is more to come on this topic” – Benjamin Worthen

EDIT (04-07-2019): “I felt confident this would be a short-term solution, and it was, but all is not lost. Judge Benitez wrote an articulate and facts-based opinion on a law that is hard to enforce, shows no demonstrable benefit to public safety, and has given opportunity to the legal system to work. The 9th circuit as out of touch on Second Amendment cases as it has been in the past, will surely defer to some level to his ruling and show that his opinion has merit.” –  Benjamin Worthen

ORIGINAL RULING ON MARCH 29 2019

SUBSEQUENT RULING ON APRIL 4 2019

Smith & Wesson 686 Revolver

PRODUCT REVIEW:
SMITH & WESSON 686 PLUS 7-SHOT .357 MAGNUM REVOLVER STAINLESS STEEL

DOWNLOAD THE FREE 2-PAGE REPORT ABOUT THIS ITEM

THIS IS THE TOO LONG; DIDN’T READ VERSION OF THIS S&W 686 ARTICLE

The Smith & Wesson 686 Plus is the mainstream 7-shot .357 Magnum revolver that denotes there is still a high-quality product coming out of a commodity product manufacturer like Smith & Wesson, even it at comes at the expense of higher weight and more bulk.

You are getting a legacy revolver for a reasonable price and an intuitive tool that can be used to hunt, defend yourself or shoot at paper targets and minimizes maintenance. No active safeties and top-quality finishes and sights give you a great value for those who want a medium to large revolver for their shooting needs.

BULLET POINT REVIEW OF S&W 686 PLUS

  • History means something. This is a firearm that has roots more than 30 years old, and which has consistently gotten better.

  • Yes, some of the safety mechanisms have been changed on this model over the years. It is still a fantastic firearm.

  • 7 shots of .357 Magnum is a potent option from a stopping power perspective.

  • The value for the money is high because of the varied scenarios where this revolver can be used effectively. It is not a cheap handgun.

  • It’s a heavy, robustly designed firearm, but it is not immune to concerns at the yoke/cylinder area. It weighs more than most traditional carry guns and has not been adopted widely as a carry gun. It is still a very good carry gun, notwithstanding, for those who can conceal it.

  • While it does not have a terrible trigger straight out of the factory, it’s also not amazing. Consumers should understand that spring kits and trigger jobs can make this trigger one of the best double action triggers in the world.

  • Constructed with a very good grade of stainless steel that harmonizes ease of maintenance and aesthetics.

FULL REVIEW OF SMITH & WESSON 686 PLUS 7-SHOT REVOLVER

You can DOWNLOAD THE 2-PAGE REPORT on this item or you can view in in this webpage by toggling the toggle bar near the bottom of this page.

A primer on NETGUNSMITH.COM Reviews:

You can look at specifications if you’ve ever owned a firearm and get a general sense of how a gun stacks up. A real review of a firearm should be honest, and unbiased. It should highlight the practical conversation about the gun. Sure, it’d be cool to have a million different ballistic tests and paper targets to show the accuracy and individual load performance, but ultimately there are not enough hours in the day to do the review or to consume it.

We have designed some parameters that we think will help two types of users to understand if a product is usable for them personally by reading our reviews. We try to gloss over specifications and look at the nuance of the product instead. We try to avoid talking about accuracy and other semi-intangibles (because a user controls a lot of that), unless we are talking about purpose-built products that live in the realm of ultra-precision shooting. We try to answer the questions that most websites and most gun stores don’t.

Look to Netgunsmith.com to offer a unique insight to the way a gun works for a shooter. We also try to make things relative. How does the product shape up against peers in its field (see the “Comparative” section below)?

We try to answer some basic questions to help you understand what you will get with the product we are reviewing.

We also advocate for training and practice. Sure, we would like you to buy a gun on our links out to affiliates like Brownell’s, Amazon, etc. because it helps us create content moving forward. What is more important though, is that you know how to use the gun properly, safely and with control. We highly recommend that you get legitimate training to handle your gun, and that you even consider renting one or handling it in a physical store before buying if you need to.  

We want to answer 6 questions we feel can help you make a purchase decision on a shooting product.

Who would want the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus?

The handgun home defense advocate. This is the best-case scenario from a practical perspective for this revolver. The only other thing that makes more sense, is using it for the fun of it. This is a great gun to shoot at the range or in the desert or with friends. So, ultimately if you just enjoy shooting fun guns, the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus is a great choice.

Additionally, the variants that are available make this gun a very good candidate for hunting, with the right barrel size and modifications. You might also find it a serious choice as a concealed carry, or a full-time open carry firearm if you are a bigger individual or prefer the revolver and want the extra shot capacity.

How is the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus better than the rest of the field?

It’s made out of 100% stainless steel for the frame, cylinder, barrel and associated core components. This makes it durable and rust resistant. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a work horse. The internal components are made out of a combination of high-quality steels that have a good retention capability, so the trigger maintains the feel; the lockup stays true and the performance doesn’t degrade over time really.

It’s got seven shots, in the same size platform as other guns that are only capable of shooting 5 or 6 shots of .357 Magnum.

It has history that proves the design is impeccable. 30+ years of proven reliability and solid accuracy has made this a very special revolver.

It can be modified heavily if you wish, which makes it a unicorn in the revolver segment. You can find aftermarket parts very easily for it, and some of it can be done by normal consumers with basic knowledge, without the need for a gunsmith (things like spring kits, etc.).

You are not going to have to worry about shooting it. It’s not a safe queen, but it has classic lines and great aesthetics anyways.

What are some of the things about the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus that underperform?

The trigger that used to be amazing from factory, isn’t as great as it once was (and admittedly, some model releases also changed the trigger feel from model to model). You will need to do some deburring and spring work to make it as smooth as you can get on a 1,000+ revolver.

It’s heavy, though it absolutely feels more balanced than most revolvers at this weight, so this may end up a draw across the board.

The grips are fairly pedestrian on some variants.

The sights are very good, but they are not specialty sights they are all-purpose sights.

Why do I care about the Company that makes this?

Smith & Wesson has legitimate history. They did start to cut some corners about a decade ago during some strategic shifts in the consolidating market, and they sometimes don’t champion some of the underlying second amendment concepts that some hardcore shooters do. From the perspective of the gun in this review, none of that matters, because they are still putting out a fantastic product in this model (the 686 Plus).

Smith & Wesson is also one of the only revolver makers that are producing factory full customs and they are legitimately the only company that has as deep a bench in the revolver field as they do. They are serious about wheel guns.

They make guns that last generations if you take them seriously. Smith & Wesson has produced a line of revolvers that is hard to beat in value for the price point. I don’t care what some hater might say about the brand, I challenge them to find a better value on the market that can consistently deliver in the .357 Magnum spectrum at this price point like the 686 Plus can. They will have a hard time finding ANY competitor, let alone a viable one.

What are the “X-Factors” for the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus, that I need to know about?

7 shots. Enough said. It’s the same size as your normal six shot revolvers, but it has seven.

It doesn’t have a problem with any ammunition. Lead, wadcutters, hollow points, different grain weights, it doesn’t care it digests it all and it does so accurately.

Durability is hard to match by any other revolver. Sure, you have tighter, more accurate high tolerance revolvers, but they cost twice as much. Sure, you have guns that can be replaced at half the cost, or serviced for a pittance, but you give up the durability. The 686 Plus can last lifetimes if cared for in the most basic ways.

With the volume of guns that S&W is pushing out of the factory, the instance of bad guns that come through the pipeline is miniscule. Yes, you might read a bad review here or there, but Smith & Wesson deals in millions of firearms per year. The relative issues with guns are only a handful of those. You cannot find that with most high-volume producers regardless of cost.

Is there any history about the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus that I need to understand?

There were some major changes that you will hear people grumbling about online. If you are new to revolvers, this is about as good as it gets as a first revolver in a Double action platform with proven history.

Most of what they grumble about has political roots and/or stems from the basic hammer bar/transfer bar safety that Smith & Wesson added in the middle round of model releases in the nineties and early 2000’s. There is also some issue with the MiM hammer and other core components. This is a complaint that doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s a cost cutting measure, but it shouldn’t be a complaint because it doesn’t change the durability or the performance of the product. It simply doesn’t cause problems. It doesn’t force recalls. It is a non-issue.

The gun is more than 38 years old if you factor in all variants. There was a legitimate concern in the past while the company fixed a problem with guns made before about 1986-7, where there was a cylinder binding issue. None of the 686 Plus models have this problem. You will see some simple modifications that have changes as new iterations have been released, like the “bosses” inside the side plate, and the shim concept that has been around since the 1990’s regarding the yoke and cylinder float.

Our only legitimate gripe with the guns in this model range, is that the trigger has been historically inconsistent over the model releases generally, though it really isn’t that bad.

COMPARATIVE VALUES OF THIS ITEM (out of 10 possible points per metric):

Relative Value Offered for Price on Market: 8 out of 10 This item offers excellent value relative to peers. You can find guns that offer cool features for less money. You can find guns that cost more and deliver a better experience. It is hard to find a gun that shoots this caliber, and feels this solid, and has a reasonable price point like the 686 Plus.

Ease of Use: 10 out of 10 Netgunsmith.com feels this is an Intuitive choice; safe for any shooter with basic training. It’s a nearly perfect first defensive handgun, because it doesn’t require a ton of thought to use well. That is not an excuse to skimp on training, it’s a testament to the value of the simplicity of the sum of all the parts that make up this firearm and how well they work together.

Suitability for Hunting: 7 out of 10 It’s been used extensively by handgun hunters and is still viable. While a hunter may not take it on a large percentage of their hunts, it has value for those who desire to have a handgun that is field ready and offers enough stopping power for medium and small game animals between 35 and 275 pounds (within reason).

Suitability for Home Defense: 9 out of 10 A classic choice for those who prefer a handgun for home defense. Most people would be better served by a capable, shoulder fired gun for home defense, but there is something to be said for the potency and simplicity of the S&W 686 Plus. There may be some overpenetration concerns for the suburbs (but no more than with any suitable rifle), with the cartridge. Notwithstanding, it stops threats, it is easy to use, and it is safe to use, hence the great rating (9 out of 10).

Suitability for Concealed Carry: 7 out of 10 It is large, but some can justify the weight and bulk for carry. Smaller users aren’t going to be using this firearm for concealed carry. It has been a duty weapon for many law enforcement units world wide and has the duty chops to fit the bill, it is just a bit bulky to hide for most shooters. If you can conceal it, you will love it as an EDC gun.

Suitability for New Shooters: 10 out of 10 Can shoot .38 Special to train, and is easy to learn on. The ability to learn with .38 Special cartridges and move up to .357 Magnums, and the ease of use and safety of this handgun makes it something truly special for beginners.

History and Reputation of the Brand: 10 out of 10 Smith & Wesson has a great reputation. For a company that has cut a lot of corners over time, this is a firearm that is still every bit as good as it was when it was released more than 30 years ago. Yes, it’s different, yes there are some concessions for some shooters integrated in the design, but it is made well, and it is from a producer that has legitimate historical significance and reputation.

Cost of Ownership: 8 out of 10 This is a reliable, easy to clean and relatively cheap to shoot firearm. With the commodity rates on the market for .357 Magnum cartridges, and the durability of the materials and design of this revolver, it’s a nice, easy to shoot gun that won’t break the bank at a dollar a shot like some other guns that have a similar impact on the shooter.

Durability: 10 out of 10 The design has been proven to be very durable and reliable in operation. Very little needs to be said. With proper maintenance and normal use conditions, this gun will last a very long time; generations even. Shooting 10,000 rounds is a good start to “breaking this gun in”. Don’t swing/flip the cylinder up like you see in the movies and don’t impede the rotation of the cylinder forcefully, and you will never have a problem.

Resale Value: 9 out of 10 This firearm will hold its value quite well if no modifications are performed on it. It doesn’t have the same collector value that, say, a Colt Python does, but it will not lose value if it remains in good working condition. These things are very well built, and even with MiM hammers and hammer bars that some people hate, they will still sell out at most places.

Notes: This is a well-balanced but heavy firearm and may not be suitable for small shooters in some scenarios. You can buy a couple of different versions. None of them are particularly standout, compared to the others available in the model range – meaning they are all equally good on the base level. You can pay more for creature comforts, but the accuracy and the durability and the smoothness of the design are all inherent in the base model too.

Differentiating Factors: The Netgunsmith.com team feels that the legacy of this firearm puts it in the top few choices of any industry list. The balance of the firearm is game changing, as it allows ease of handling, while the weight mitigates some of the snappy recoil of the .357 Magnum cartridges. 7 shots in a substantially similar size format to other medium to large revolvers that only carry 6.

CONCLUSION

The Smith & Wesson 686 Plus Revolver is not a safe queen. It is not a newcomer, and it has a certain maturity that even legacy firearms don’t have. That presence and the longevity that the 686 has, provides the owner of the gun with a very interesting, and fun to own firearm that still delivers on all of its promises.

It’s not a perfect gun, and enthusiasts of the platform might find fault with the newest three model releases (at least), but there is not a person here that can name a viable contender for the market segment that this gun serves at the same price point. It overdelivers on every point it tries to compete on.

Consistency is the name of the game with this revolver and it’s hard to beat at that game. 30+ years of staying power, and it still sells out everywhere. That is because the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus is MUCH better than average.

ALTERNATE PHOTOS OF THE 686 REVOLVER:

THE AUTHOR’S PERSONAL COMMENTARY ABOUT THIS ITEM:

“This gun came out before I was in high school. It was around the time I started shooting. I was a gunsmith’s apprentice at 12 years old. This firearm predates that. From the moment it came out (among a sea of special guns like the Colt Python), it was the “daily driver”.”

“It wasn’t finicky or too highly polished so as to make it a safe queen. It didn’t have the smooth trigger of the Python, and it sure didn’t have that gorgeous deep purplish-blue finish. But it worked. It was accurate. It was solid. It was everything that the Smith & Wesson line had been crafting for decades, but it was also something new and innovative and it made a legitimate splash.”

“For years, even though I owned a Python; loved it as a young shooter and thought it was awesome, I coveted the Smith & Wesson 686 Revolver as something I wouldn’t feel guilty shooting. It wasn’t until I was graduating high school that I bought my first 686 (which was ironically the 686-5; a pistol that many purists weren’t enamored with). This was a favorite gun for me, and even though I sold it later to buy a different firearm, I still have fond memories of that first 686.”

“It’s ridiculously accurate, it feels good in the hand and it makes the shooter confident by just handling it. When you own one you trust it. If you don’t own one yet, then you covet it. When you feel it in your hand you can’t help but think about it long after you put it down. It’s just a gun that feels like an extension of your body, from the balance to the clean looks to the no-nonsense attributes. I’m not a fan of a lot of things that Smith & Wesson, and many mainstream manufacturers are doing, but I hold this gun in high regard because it delivers on promises and it leaves no shooter unfulfilled when they own it.” – Benjamin Worthen

If you click the toggle below you can view our 2 page report on this item. You can also download the report by clicking the picture on the sidebar at the top of the page.

Netgunsmith participates in affiliate programs. Some links on the website may lead you to third-party e-commerce websites. You are not mandated to participate in these programs, but if you do click a link and make a purchase eventually as a result, we may be compensated by that company which you purchase through. This does not cost you anything in addition to the price of your purchase, and it helps us to deliver top-quality content going forward. Thanks for your support. You can read about how we select and maintain our affiliate structures on this website HERE.

OUR PREFERRED AFFILIATE RELATIONSHIPS:

ammo for sale