S&W is known for their excellent revolvers, and they continued their excellence with the 686+. adding another chamber into the cylinder without increasing the size of the weapon, allows users an extra shot of the ultra potent .357 magnum.
With the Adjustable rear sights this weapon is also accurate past typical defense ranges. i am not the most accurate pistol shooter, having only received my pistol license a few months ago, but even i can hit a silhouette out at 25 yards, every time in single action, and most of the time in double action.
as a revolver their is no manual safety, the manual safety is the extremely hefty trigger pull in double-action. it is very difficult to get used to the trigger pull. however, one can empty the cylinder (and if you do this, please triple check to ensure it is empty) and practice the trigger pull, simply by pulling the trigger (remember safe gun handling). I was able to do this many, many times, and my finger has become accustom to the trigger pull, and i now can shoot fairly accurately in double action.
the single action aspect (manually cocking the hammer) is a very light, crisp trigger pull. it is also fairly accurate, being able to hit center mass even at 25 yards, off-hand.
This is a heavy weapon. It weighs 38.5 ounces, unloaded. It can be difficult for smaller people to hold the gun up properly, or for extended periods, and for smaller people the recoil can still be brutal shooting .357 ammo (my wife can shoot it, but does not like to, it is to heavy for her, and the recoil is a touch to much for her). however, this gun can shoot .38 specials. this is excellent. shooting .38 specials is much cheaper (compared to .357) and the recoil is not as severe, leading to more training to hone your skills in handling, aiming, etc.
This gun makes an excellent home defense gun because it can be loaded and left unused, and uncleaned for a very long period of time. it also could make a great hunting companion, although its weight and size may make it to cumbersome for some.
I have medium, to large size hands. i have noticed that those with small hands (particularity small woman) have a difficult time holding the weapon and reaching the trigger, but can do it with some practice. and to a man with giant hands, the grip might feel inadequate in size, but should still be easily manageable.
all in all, this is an excellent weapon, perfect for home defense, hunting companion, and even a carry weapon if the person has a frame large enough to easily hide the weapon (i prefer it in a cross draw holster, as it makes it easier to sit for long periods of time, and a short jacket can easily conceal it for me.)