I already own and love a 6" 686. I'd been wanting a Plus in a shorter barrel for my extended deep woods excursions. I waited for a while for a 2 - 3" 686 to come available, and bought this revolver in mid-February.
I didn't notice during delivery inspection that the front sight's pin is missing. I found some metal shavings where the front blade sight sits in its mount. It's probably related to the fact that the gun shot way low out of the box, like 6 - 8" low at 10 yards. A sight pin is a $2 part, and anyway, I'm planning to replace the front blade with Meprolight night sights, so I'm not concerned about this.
I've spent about 6 weeks with it now, put close to 1000 rounds through it. Once I got it sighted in, it shoots pretty well. It's not the long-range threat my 6" 686 is, but it easily groups a couple of inches at combat distances and it's a lot easier to carry.
The trigger is crisp and good, as you'd expect from an S&W, and the 3" barrel length gives it good balance. At 35 oz, it's heavy enough to absorb a lot of .357 recoil. I did a fairly exhaustive test with different brands and weights of ammunition and found it relatively pleasant and accurate with most 158g bullet weights. I've settled on Speer Gold Dots as a carry round.
The Remington 125g HTP JHPs shot pretty well also. This is an old-school, mean factory load, but the 686 is heavy enough that it's just spicy, not brutal. I think that would be your very best manstopper among commercial defensive ammunition. I'm going to stick with the Gold Dots personally.
In the woods, I carry it inside the waist, in the small of my back in a Triple K #314. Fits great underneath a long shirttail shirt and pack, but is still handy.
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]