4043 thoughts?


Kilted Cossack
July 24, 2008, 11:00 AM

I have never owned a S&W metal framed automatic. (No particular animus here, it's just how things worked out.) Lately I've found myself thinking about picking up a S&W 4043 (or 4046), and thought I'd ask for your input.

The motivations are multifarious (and multitudinous? and many?). First off, it was, after all, S&W who introduced the .40 S&W, and the 3d Gen guns were designed around the .40. Secondly, I'm on the verge of concluding that for a .40 S&W, I want a steel pistol and not a polymer wonder. (But I do like polymer 9mms and .45 ACPs, so there.) Third, the 3d Gen S&W DAOs "sound good" to me---a slick-slide, steel or alloy self-shucker from a quality American manufacturer (with a really good warranty just in case). And, last but not least, there's a bunch of ex-cop 4043s and 4046s floating around for decent prices now.

This would not be my "only pistol" by any means (there's a couple of 1911s, a couple of Glocks, a couple of HK P7s, and a whole raft of Colt double action sixguns). It would probably not be my carry gun. It would be a range blaster, and a fun artifact.

Here's what I am expecting: I'm expecting a reasonably soft-shooting .40 S&W, with all steel construction, steel magazines, good if not match grade accuracy (since I'm certainly not a match grade shooter). I'd expect a "short-ish" double action trigger pull that's smooth. (I know or understand that it's not a true double action, but a partially reset, and thus doesn't allow second strike capability.)

So . . . if you've got trigger time with steel S&W .40s, or DAO S&Ws, I welcome your input and commentary. Am I right to be expecting these things? What am I overlooking? Also, I'm not particularly interested in alternative brands----this post is about, and my interest is in, the 3rd Generation, steel frame S&W .40s.

So . . . whatta y'all like about the 4043? Or 4046?

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July 24, 2008, 01:28 PM
The closest I came to a 4043 is the original 4006. I picked up a few of the Alaska State Police or Trooper guns when Davidson's was reselling them. One was NIB and the other had wear that looked like it came from being carried. The latter was also filthy when I bought it. After spending some quality range time with them, I remembered why I am not a big fan of the S&W 3rd Generation pistols. The ergonomics for me just do not work. The factory (Xenoy??) grips were too slick, and I felt like I was gripping an oily block. One of the guns came with Hogue grips (the one that had carry wear), and it felt a lot better in my hand. I also shot better groups with it. Still, I was not going to give up my .40 S&W 1911 for it.

As far as function, the 4006s were great. No failures of any sort. The DA pull was smooth and long. The SA pull was decent. Gun was heavy enough to make recoil not an issue. Accuracy was acceptable for a service pistol. A better shot would certainly shrink my groups.

My conclusion: a good pistol for somebody else.

July 24, 2008, 08:25 PM
I love my 4043, It took awhile to learn to shoot DAO, but once learned, it made shooting single action easier. I like having no safetys to worry about, also never had a FTF. I keep it as a house gun. It came with hogue grips that work real well.

The Lone Haranguer
July 24, 2008, 08:47 PM
What you have - or will have soon - is a "Third Generation" full-size, .40 caliber, 11-round magazine, DAO, aluminum alloy frame and stainless slide. The DAO trigger on these is a little bit different. You may have noticed that the trigger sits a little further back in the guard than a standard DA/SA Smith. This is because the hammer - this gun is not striker-fired - starts out from roughly a half-cock position, which reduces both the reach and the stroke, but not the pull weight very much (it is about 8 lbs.). A little bit of the spurless hammer will stick out of the slide at this time. The hammer requires the action of the slide cycling to reset - if you have a dud cartridge or other failure to fire, you must shuck the slide and eject the cartridge. At this time the hammer will be flush with the slide.

As long as you like the DAO trigger, you will be getting a durable and reliable gun. I own or have owned several of these "old-school" Smith pistols, and never had one malfunction, ever. The gun will likely come with a thin, flat-sided and flat-backstrap grip. If you don't like its shape, you can easily swap out the arched-backstrap grip from any "third-gen" Smith of the same frame size, or use a Hogue grip. Magazines should be easily available but will run you $35-ish. And all these guns have magazine disconnect safeties.

July 24, 2008, 09:31 PM
I had a 4046...it was the only 3rd Gen DAO S&W I didn't care for...so I sold it.

I have the following in all stainless: 1086, 1046, 4586, 4556, 4546 and a pre-rail 4056TSW; and the following with alloy frame: pre-rail 4053TSW and a 6946.

If you are looking at a .40S&W, the pre-rail 4053TSW is truly awesome, and could very well become your carry piece.


Price is right too:


Kilted Cossack
July 24, 2008, 09:47 PM
varoadking: I see that, umm, you kind of like the DAO Smiths. What did you dislike about the 4046? The weight, the double-stackiness?

And I'll be honest, one of the reasons I was thinking "all steel" in a 4046 was because I just don't enjoy shooting the .40 through light guns. Today used (first) a 2" Cobra and (then) a HK P7 for carry.

TL Haranguer: Many thanks---that was the kind of info I was snooping for!

Kennedy: For some reason, I, umm, am able to shoot decently, more easily with a DAO system, and like the idea of an uncluttered slide and frame. Many thanks!

Farscott: I'm a wee bit concerned with ergonomics myself. Then again, if it doesn't fit my hand, I can either a) chuck it into the safe or b) sell it. Thanks for the info.

July 24, 2008, 10:54 PM
Ive got a 5946, had it about 10 years. I use it for my house gun. Havent had any issues out of it. I prefer the DAO myself, I changed the grips out with a set of hogue is all ive done to it.
Ive been looking locally for a 5943 but havent found one yet.

July 25, 2008, 06:10 AM
varoadking: I see that, umm, you kind of like the DAO Smiths. What did you dislike about the 4046? The weight, the double-stackiness?

Yes indeed, the DAO 3rd Generation Smiths are likely my favorites.

I was unable to shoot the 4046 well. I forgoten that I'd also had a 5946...didn't shoot it well either.

Could have been the individual pieces. The ergos were no problem.

I have no issues with my similar sized 10mm's and 45's though - go figure.

If this is an all around gun, the 4046 or 4053 may serve you very well, as will the 4586 and 1086. Go smaller for carry. No need to go bigger...the 1046 and 4546 are HUGE! This is my full size 1046...there were only 151 ever made:


Lemme know if you buy a 4046 or 4043...I have plenty of factory magazines I can make you a deal on... ;)

July 25, 2008, 07:52 AM
Well I could use some factory magazines for my 4046!

July 25, 2008, 09:25 AM
I see that, umm, you kind of like the DAO Smiths. What did you dislike about the 4046? The weight, the double-stackiness?

The grip width on the double stack 40xx series is the same as on the double stack 59xx series (they use the same grips) and I find that, with the straight back factory grips, the ergonomics are excellent. The DAO 3rd Generation pistols are even better because the trigger reach is shorter than on the TDA pistols (at least for the first DA shot), but the DAO pistols do take some getting used to; shooting them is like shooting a smooth but somewhat stiff DA revolver. Yes, the triggers can be slicked up and the pull lightened somewhat by swapping out for a lighter mainspring (available from Wolff), but going too light can result in reliability issues. Once you get used to the trigger these pistols are remarkably accurate.

Regardless of the model, all S&W 3rd Generations are great pistols. Some are just greater than others!

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