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Question about the S&W IL

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by snakeman, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. snakeman


    Likes Received:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Wichita, Ks
    Hey Mas,
    I was at the LGS lookingaround today and found a S&W 686+ for a decent price. The only drawback to it was that it has the IL. The look of the lock doesn't bother me much. I am just concerned about the reliability of it as I have heard of them messing up and locking up the gun. There are plugs out there that can be bought and installed but you have to remove the IL.

    Now on to the questions.

    1) What is your opinion on the IL for a concealed carry or SD weapon?
    2) If the lock was removed and replaced with the plug, could you be hung out to dry by the prosicutor if you have to use the weapon?

    Thanks for all you do.

  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Likes Received:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Snakeman, a Google search will turn up lots of opinions on the IL, and some actual cases of problems. The problems I've been able to document are almost all involving very light guns (super-light 329 and Model340 PD for example) combined with very powerful loads (full power .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum), and one case of a Titanium 11-or-so-ounce .38 Special Model 342 locking up with +P+ .38 Special. I've not personally run across a case of an all-steel 686 locking up on Magnum loads or anything else.

    If opposing counsel in a shooting case wants to paint you as reckless and negligent, the argument that "this man is so irresponsible that he deactivates a safety device on a lethal weapon" is one that is likely to resonate powerfully with a jury of ordinary people who don't know much if anything about guns. That alone is enough to keep me from removing the IL.

    I personally own two IL-equipped late model S&Ws, a 340 M&P that I've shot heavily with +P and .357 Magnum ammo, and don't worry about at all, and a Performance Center Model 625 .45 ACP revolver that's had lots of 185000-194000 power factor ammo through it with no spontaneous IL locking in either gun.

    If it worries you, I think the best bet is to simply buy a good, used older model that was not so equipped at the factory.

    If it's important to you to deactivate the IL, go to every gun forum you can find and download hard copies of threads that discuss, and actually document, Internal Lock failures. Keep them handy to show why you felt the feature was dangerous and did not want to have it in a gun you might one day have to use to protect your family.

    Best of luck,