Smith & Wesson introduced the original Model 60 in 1965. It’s a 5-shot J-frame revolver and was the first mass produced stainless steel revolver. It was originally chambered in 38 Special but it was updated in 1996 with a slightly larger frame to handle the 357 Magnum cartridge.
I’m writing today to specifically address the Model 60-18, a particularly odd design. Basically, the 60-18 is a Model 60 with a 5 inch barrel. It’s odd because J-frames are usually reserved for small, concealable self-defense revolvers, but the longer 5 inch barrel rules that out. Unfortunately, S&W discontinued the -18 several years ago, but they’re still available pre-owned online.
Personally, I love the idea. I think one would make a great camping/hiking/kit/woodland gun. It provides 357 Mag firepower in a small, lighter package than the L-frame 686. However, the longer barrel gives more velocity and better recoil control than the typical snub nose revolver. The longer barrel also gives a longer sight radius for better accuracy. In terms of weight, the 60-18 is only 30 ounces, which is fairly light compared to a 4″ 686 (40 ounces) or a 6″ 686 (45 ounces).
Note: The photos above are ‘courtesy’ of Gander Mountain. They’re the best images of the 60-18 I could find. GM, just let me know if you want me to take the pics down.