S&W Auto Question


Tom B
July 12, 2003, 07:32 PM
This question is in regard to S&W Autos with the aluminum frames. A good friend of mine who owned gunstores for many many years told me that these pistols tended to wear rapidly (frame) and begin to lose accuracy quickly. To owners of these guns with alot of rounds thru them - Any truth to this?

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July 12, 2003, 08:03 PM
Nonsense. Most of my experience has been with a 6904 that I shot the hell out of some years back (shot about 20000 rounds over 5 years). This and the 6906 are popular issue weapons with local PDs and I know of one LEO pistol instructor that put 20,000 through his issue gun while he had it and it was 8 years old when he got it. Yes, the finish was just about worn shiny. The gun was slick and the frame rails were smoth. Small indentations were apparent where the holster retention system interacted with the frame. Both of these guns were maintained by S&W certified armorers. Basically, the guns were checked regularly for wear and recoil spring replace regularly. Extractors adjusted, firing pin replacement and spring replacement, that kind of stuff. I'll have to check and see what the standard is for recoil spring replacement, but I changed mine every 5000 or so rounds (call me paranoid). I know some 1911 buffs who advocate spring changes every 2000 rounds. The guns held up well and were still accurate when retired (I sold mine), my buddy turned his back in to upgrade to an all stainless full-size pistol (far as he knows his 6906 is still on the street). Keep the loads sane, change the recoil springs regularly and you shouldn't have any problem for 50,000 or so rounds. The frame will eventually wear until it cracks, but I've only seen this happen irregularly. I'll see if my friend can give me a figure on the average life they get out of PD guns.

July 13, 2003, 02:58 AM
As with any firearm, the ammo that is shot through it will influence how it will wear. Stick w/ primarily standard pressure 9mm for practice and mix in occassional practice w/ your carry ammo & you'll be fine for many many years.

July 13, 2003, 04:10 PM
I'm vaugely recalling someting about a specific run of aluminum frame pistols S/W sold to a PD several years ago that did wear out pretty quick and were replaced by S/W.

Maybe your friend is thinking of that???

July 13, 2003, 04:15 PM
I bought a PD trade-in 6906 from CDNN a few months ago. It shoots great, very accurate and reliable. It is my current CCW.

July 14, 2003, 12:46 AM
city PD here uses em, i saw a discussion on em at tacticalforums.com a week ago, nobody said anything bad about em, they do look nice

July 14, 2003, 02:25 PM
We carried 5904's for a while, and they certainly did not wear out quickly at all. They are handy, and carries about as well as the Commander. Not as good as my Hi Power though ;)...

July 15, 2003, 12:13 PM
Any truth to this? NO!
Shoot well

July 15, 2003, 01:17 PM
Abuse is what kills S&W autos, and it takes a lot of it.
With normal care, you would have to shoot a lot to wear out a 3rd gen smith.
An awful lot.
I'd guess that they break mostly due to being dropped, or field-stripped incorrectly.
They have recalls on some smith autos for being dropped on the grip, and the grip breaks, the mainspring loses a mounting point, and the gun is unable to fire.
Just because of that, I would upgrade the grip to aftermarket.
You'd have to drop it pretty hard, and it would have to land just right.

July 15, 2003, 08:22 PM
They have recalls on some smith autos for being dropped on the grip, and the grip breaks, the mainspring loses a mounting point, and the gun is unable to fire.

I remember this. Was a long time ago. You can tell whether you have the old grip by looking at the bottom of the grip. If you see a dimple just to the rear of the D shaped hole, you're ok. I replace the grips on any S&W as a matter of course. Some of the PD turn-ins have really raunchy grips on them and factory replacements are cheap. Hogue grips are also a nice upgrade. All my S&W 3rd gens have them (except my 6906 - only style available is wrap-around which I hate so I stayed with factory).

July 16, 2003, 12:29 AM
They have recalls on some smith autos for being dropped on the grip, and the grip breaks, the mainspring loses a mounting point, and the gun is unable to fire.

SouthpawShootr is right ... that was a long time ago, and the grips were changed. Also, the tell-tale "dimple" in the bottom of the grip may be located to either the "front" or the "rear" of the D-shaped hole in the bottom of the grip, behind the magazine well.

The very few S&W aluminum frames we've seen exhibit excessive wear just coincidently seemed to be pistols which were always pretty much "bone dry" regarding lubricant being present. Shooting an aluminum framed pistol sans lubrication, especially on the rails, isn't the best way to prolong the service life of a pistol ...

The rails on my issued 6906, through which I've fired somewhere around 15K rounds ... standard pressure, +P & +P+ ammunition ... don't appear that much different from pistols of the same age, carried by folks which only shoot 100 rounds per year because we order them to qualify.

Proper maintenance isn't a luxury, you know ... and proper lubrication is very important.

I have a friend who shoots box-stock 4003TSW's for competition, and the last time I spoke with him he said his pistols probably don't exhibit much more apparent "wear" than my 4013TSW ... and he's fired more than 25K through at least one of those pistols, while I've only fired about 3K through my 4013TSW (I don't shoot that one much).

I'm still trying to wear one out, but it's difficult to do when you properly inspect, clean & lubricate them ...

July 17, 2003, 12:18 PM
Recently I was told by a gun store clerk, when I asked him what he thought about S&W autos, "they make great revolvers". This was at a well-known, reputable gun store, and the guy was was pretty attentive, seemingly honest, and spent all the time we needed to help us evaluate a number of different guns. I think this was his honest opinion based on some experience, at least. His first auto was a 6906, which is what I have. I trust my life to mine, but he was really down on his. He said that he thought his poor accuracy with the gun was his own fault, until he got something else (a SIG, I think), and then he realized it was the gun. My 6906 is dead-on accurate, and it is an older PD trade-in.

Is this the luck of the draw, or is there truly no accounting for taste?

Mike Irwin
July 17, 2003, 01:02 PM
I've said it many, many times.

In my opinion, S&W has produced the best revolvers ever to see the light of day.

Their semi-autos are largely.... uninspired, and uninspiring.

July 17, 2003, 02:45 PM
Mike, you need to get a 3913 and a 4506. If either or both of those don't do anything for you, then I'll know something is wrong with you.

Mike Irwin
July 17, 2003, 03:03 PM

I've also publically said many times that the 3913 and the 4506 are the best of the S&W bunch, and the only S&W semi-autos I'd have any interest in actually owning.

But they're still basically uninspired semi-automatics.

July 17, 2003, 08:00 PM
Those 3913's are handy. I don't know what it is about them, but they are nice. Accurate, reliable, and so on too.

July 17, 2003, 09:29 PM
I have a 3913TSW (pre-rail series). I've carried it a few times, but like my 6906 better. Over the last few years I've come to favor DAO models. I have several now and want to get a 6946 in the future. Sadly, this will have to be a used model since S&W has seen fit to discontinue this one. I plan to use my 5946 or 5943 for IDPA.

July 19, 2003, 02:42 PM
I had a 5904, and it shot alright, was 100% reliable, just no personality, and it didn't do any one thing any better than any of the rest of my guns.
Most of them seem to have strengths where they leave other guns in the dust.
But the smith had nothing that it was really good at.
I sold it to a friend, in good condition, with hogue grips, an uncle mike's kydex style holster, and 2 hi-caps for $200.00
Think I screwed him? :p

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