S&W 945 Compared to High End 1911's


October 12, 2003, 01:24 AM

How would you all say that the S&W 945 compares to the high end 1911's that are out there on the market? I know it is not a true 1911 and there are differences, but some people who have had them prefer them to the 1911.
I have never had the chance to handle one, I have handled and owned many 1911's over the years, never a semi-custom though. I have read several times that owners of the 945 say that they perform better than many of the high end 1911's currently produced. What has been your experiences with them? Do you have any or have you shot one?
Performance wise, how do you think the 945 compares to a Springfield TRP, STI Trojan or similar priced 1911's?
From what I have seen, those that have them love them and wouldn;t trade it for any 1911. You have to admit, it is a strinking looking pistol.

What'cha think about the 945 vs. High End 1911 shoot-off?


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October 12, 2003, 03:43 AM
They are a finely made pistol - I nearly bought one, the same with the 952. Due to their size, though I tend to think of them as being a pure target gun.

October 12, 2003, 11:44 AM
It may not technically be a 1911, but it's close enough that I have the serious hots for one. Every one I've handled and/or fired has had a very high level of fit and finish; very impressive pistols.

October 12, 2003, 02:23 PM
I think the best way to tell is have a master class shooter shoot them side by side. The guns will shoot very well- a shooter in our pistol league uses one and usually shoots 595+/ 600 everytime. It's a darn accurate pistol.

October 12, 2003, 06:58 PM
I have both the S&W 945 and S&W 952 they are great handguns.

The 945 is very well fit, accurate, and a very reliable 45. Its draw backs are it's 8 round mag as well as its proprietary parts. You're not slipping anything, off the shelf, onto a 945.

The 952 is even smother then the 945. It has been an incredibly accurate handgun that has shot everything I asked it to, very well. I bring this gun to the range, as a back up, if I need to shoot better then the guy next to me and the gun I using isn't doing the job.

I don't have a full size 1911 to compare the 945 with, but I have a Para Ordnance P-16 as well as a Colt defender. Bot are accurate but take a back seat to the 945 and 952.



October 13, 2003, 12:36 AM
I have a shooting buddy that got a 945 a couple years ago and has let me put a few rounds down range w/ it. You know, it's a sweet pistol & very unique in its appearance & handling. In short I like it alot. As for high 1911s. I like those too. One of these days, I'd like to have me one of each :D

October 13, 2003, 03:14 AM
I have some extra cash stowed away for a 1911 purchase and I had been looking at different ones trying to make up my mind and I decided to try and get some opions on the 945. I read a lot of reviews in years of past magazines that I keep and also on the S&W forum. I have to tell you that I have read almost no negative comments about them other than the mags are expensive and parts will not interchange with the 1911.
The people that have 'em, love 'em. I am wondering if I should get me some of that mojo?


October 13, 2003, 06:21 PM
There's a 945 sitting in the case at the local Gander Mountain. I've handled it and the fit and finish is second to none. I think it's marked $1150. I don't have a 1911 and really have no desire to own a .45 acp but the S&W 945 could change that. It's that nice.

I've been wanting a 952 though.


Robert inOregon
October 13, 2003, 10:59 PM
You'd have to spend almost twice the price on a 1911 before you can match the features, fit and finish of a 945 Smith.

October 13, 2003, 11:12 PM
Oh, I dunno... There are plenty of STI, Wilson and Baer 1911's that fall in the same price/quality category as the 945. None of them have those funky, funky fish scales, though... :uhoh:

October 13, 2003, 11:31 PM
I own a 945 and it is a great shooting pistol. You'll find it feels somewhat different in your hand because of the size of the pistol being a little bigger than a 1911. It also won't fit in many holsters made for the 1911 unless the holsters have a lot of adjustment.

I have shot only a few hundred rounds through mine but have had "0" malfunctions as far as feeding and ejecting. It did tend to occasionally drop the hammer when I released the slide (though it never fired when this happened) but S&W fixed that problem at no expense to me.

Robert inOregon
October 13, 2003, 11:51 PM
None of them have those funky, funky fish scales, though...

Actually buyers can now choose between fish scales and waves. :cool:

I would consider the Trojan line at STI in the same category, but finish quality on their entry level gun compared to the Performance Center. Its not there! And things like Stainless steel finish and custom CNC machining start to add up quick. Trojan line guns are not as tight, no Briley bushing and lack cool factor.


October 14, 2003, 08:48 PM
I hope the 945 is a good gun. I have an all steel, 5", black, with scales that should be in next week. RSR has the silver guns for under $1100 NIB last I saw, so they run less than most name brand 1911's, even the Valtro is more expensive.

minnesota oldie
December 22, 2003, 01:18 AM
I now have about 400 rounds through my 945 and I'll take it any day over my Kimber gold match. I like my glocks, I love my Kimbers, but this gun is in a class of it's own. I'm sure that you would have to shell out a lot more then the 1100 or so dollars for the 945 to get a 1911 of it's quality.

December 22, 2003, 06:53 AM
Id say the 945 is a stellar gun....shot 1 in my lifetime. The accuracy was and still is much better than I can shoot.

As far as the STI comparison...Ive had 2 of those and Id say the fit and finish on the Trojan is a very very equal comparison with the S&W......

The Trojan is the gun I miss the most................

Shoot well.......

December 22, 2003, 07:36 PM
There is no comparison. The 945 rules them all. I feel sorry for all the folks who bought something else. If I wasn't from Kali I would be selling my Colt and Kimber now. As it is, I want to hold on to every gun I have.

If you want your 945 small, there's this alloy framed 3.75 bbl baby:


First group I ever fired out of it. The flyer was from the unexpected kick of the lighter frame :D

May 12, 2005, 10:24 PM
Just saw this old thread and wanted to add that over the years I've had 3 945s and have never seen another handgun that equals its good looks, quality workmanship, accuracy and reliability. I almost passed out with joy this week when I found and reacquired my 4" SS 945 that I'd foolishly sold several years ago. Dennis

May 13, 2005, 12:11 AM
The highest grade 1911 I have is a Custom Shop Kimber Gold combat but I will tell you out of the seven 45's I own or any that I have shot thus far the PC945 is without a doubt the most accurate (as is my 952 for 9mm).

I also find it smoother shooting than a 1911 and very easy to keep on target when firing at a quick pace due in part to a lower bore axis and more mass to the slide.

I love 1911's and have many more on my to get list so please don't anyone take this wrong; one of the things I like most about the 945 is that while styled similar to a 1911 it's not just another 1911, with more manufactures of 1911's out there than I can count the 945 is a welcome change along the lines of an extremely accurate 45.


May 13, 2005, 12:18 PM
They're nice guns but I don't like the grip angle. I guess I'm too used to the true 1911 platform.

May 13, 2005, 12:44 PM
945 -The Roll Marks blow chunks. :uhoh:

Aside from that and the lacerate your fingers fish scales on the 945, they are a super nice handgun. Assume the same with the 952, although I haven't examined one. I have the Model 52-2, which is the blue steel single action 38 Special Wadcutter. You cannot outshoot that gun, I don't care who you are!

Your friends will be envious if you get either one, imho. :)

Sean Smith
May 13, 2005, 01:51 PM
Trojan line guns are not as tight

Based on the Trojans I've handled, I'm not sure that's really possible, without the gun not working at all.

Walt Sherrill
May 13, 2005, 02:20 PM
None of the guns mentioned are what I'd call HIGH END guns.

That's not meant as criticism of the guns mentioned or of the 945. The 945 compares favorably with most of the guns I've seen and shot that can be bought for less than $2000. I think in that sense, they're a bargain.

(But I'm also beginning to think that the SIG GSR I bought recently is maybe an equally good deal. The 945 is prettier, though.)

Sean Smith
May 13, 2005, 03:22 PM
None of the guns mentioned are what I'd call HIGH END guns.

The "high end" does go pretty high.... some people drop $4,000 on more elaborate custom jobs. :eek:

None of which is to say that the S&W isn't an excellent gun for the money. :)

Father Knows Best
May 13, 2005, 04:28 PM
O.k., I'm not familiar with the S&W 945. From the pics, it sure looks a lot like a 1911. Can anyone tell me what separates a 945 from a 1911, in terms of design, dimensions, operational characteristics, etc.?

DT Guy
May 13, 2005, 04:50 PM
Note the grip angle, and the difference in the tang. Also, it takes a different magazine (probably the only downside to the whole gun) and many internals are different.

IMHO, they solved enough of the 1911's inherent weak points (plunger tube loosening, hand size issues) and improved the 'feel' of the gun enough that it could never be accepted by dyed-in-the-wool 1911 fans.

I still plan to acquire one when the opportunity presents.


May 13, 2005, 05:54 PM
I don't like them at all.



May 13, 2005, 09:30 PM
Did you say S&W 945?


May 13, 2005, 10:44 PM
IMO they compare pretty well. My very 1st target shooting the 945.


It only gets better from there...


May 13, 2005, 11:51 PM
At the rear of the slide there is that "slightly oblong round area" which almost looks like it is a filler for where a slide mounted decocking lever would go.

What is the reason for that?

Old Fud
May 14, 2005, 04:06 AM
Ed Brown does the fish-scale thing.

Recommended list on both the 945 and the 952 (see S&W website) is over $2000, so you are comparing it to the Ed Browns, Wilson Combats, Baer specials etc. Not to the Colt Gov't models and the like. In fact, not to the S&W 1911's either.

Tell me again, why would you want something that looks like, feels like, shoots like, but ISN'T a 1911?

Conversation piece, perhaps?


May 14, 2005, 09:39 AM
GunsAmerica (http://www.gunsamerica.com) ads go for around $1200/1500 for a NIB 945, about the same for the 952.

That puts the guns in the same range as Kimber's higher end Gold series.

Not to offend anyone - beauty is in the eye of the beholder! - but I always thought the grip on these S&W's looked too squared off, as I find their other autos do so I guess that's not surprising. Having owned 1 S&W semi-auto, I'd have to bet they are reliable though.

Personally, I like the look of some high end 1911s more than the 945. The 952, IMO, is a nicer looking gun.

May 14, 2005, 07:37 PM
Tell me again, why would you want something that looks like, feels like, shoots like, but ISN'T a 1911?---OLD FUD
Because it feels better, shoots better, and looks better IMO.



May 14, 2005, 11:39 PM
Tell me again, why would you want something that looks like, feels like, shoots like, but ISN'T a 1911?
(1) Variety. I have a few 1911's in different calibers already.
(2) Before S&W caught on, this was selling for like $1100, when it could easily compare, in terms of fit and function, to a $2000 1911.

May 15, 2005, 07:03 AM
Its because the 945 is one of those rare pistols that looks, feels and shoots like magic was used in its creation! Dennis

August 12, 2005, 06:55 AM
At the rear of the slide there is that "slightly oblong round area" which almost looks like it is a filler for where a slide mounted decocking lever would go.The M945 is, partswise, derived from the M4506, and the slide appears to be machined from the M4506 base forging. The M945 does not use the swinging link version of the Browning recoil-operated design; it uses S&W's interpretation of the Browning design.

To me, the interesting thing about the M945 is that it attempted to take the best of the 1911 (that great trigger, the feel in hand, the location and function of the thumb safety lock) and the best of S&W 3rd Generation autos (reliability, less expensive to manufacture, the S&W approach to fieldstripping) and put them together. As such, this pistol has a few quirks, one of which is the area for the slide-mounted decocking/safety levers, which is filled with the plugs used on the DAO pistols. It took me some time to get used to the look; of course, shooting helped immeasurably. :)

The way rounds feed from the magazine to the chamber in the M945 looks to be an improvement. I am not too fond of the firing pin safety activated by the grip safety because it makes reassembly a bit more difficult. The grip safety needs to be released in order for the slide to be slid onto the frame. The Briley spherical bushing, while helping provide amazing accuracy, can be a bear during reassembly. The grip angle of the M945 does not quite duplicate the 1911, and the grip frame is a bit longer than the 1911.

All in all, the M945 is a very interesting pistol.

August 12, 2005, 08:53 AM
My friend has a 945, it is strictly a target gun, but you really have to try one out at the range to appreciate how accurate they are.

August 12, 2005, 09:39 AM
I have to ask this question and it's not a slap on the gun, but if it such a "great gun", why don't they sell many? At least I don't see them on the range or in shops!

I remember reading a great review in American Handgunner a while back!

Pricing is in the range of a lot of 1911's. No doubt, not being a 1911, could hurt sales for some, but I know a lot of competition shooters that use what they feel is the "best gun" and couldn't care less about "original/traditional 1911's, history, etc, etc.

Perhaps S&W didn't market it properly or at all??

August 12, 2005, 09:46 AM
The 945 a S&W Performance Center gun, strictly limited production. The list price is over $2k, so obviously that is going to limit the number that are out there. I've heard that Bullseye shooters have been using them with relatively minor modifications needed to be competitive.

August 12, 2005, 01:03 PM
I have to ask this question and it's not a slap on the gun, but if it such a "great gun", why don't they sell many? At least I don't see them on the range or in shops!
That's a good question. The probable reason is that it may not be better than a well-made 1911 in the $2k price range; but before the price increase to more than $2K, it was a real bargain at $1200. But even then the reason it was not as popular was probably because it was not a 1911 and, hence, the parts are not as available. It is also a little heavier and bulkier than a 1911.

If I'm buying now, I'd most likely get an Ed Brown or a Wilson CQB over the S&W 945, at the same price range. But nonetheless, the fit and finish of the S&W 945 is on par with the $2K 1911's, IMHO.

August 13, 2005, 07:17 AM
You probably don't see them in the shops because they sell the ones they get. Shops do not buy these by the gross.

They are still a limited production gun.

Here is another.


August 13, 2005, 08:42 AM
Is there any way to have an arched mainspring housing on a 945?

August 13, 2005, 09:09 AM
What is it like to field strip a 945? I still consider take down on a 1911 to be a bitch compared to most semiautos.

August 13, 2005, 10:18 AM
What is it like to field strip a 945?
Just like field stripping a CZ or HK. Not like a 1911 where you'd have to remove the bushing first.

Here's mine:

August 14, 2005, 01:23 PM
All the pictures I've seen of the 945s have had target sights. Do any come with combat sights?

August 14, 2005, 04:08 PM
This one does.



August 14, 2005, 04:17 PM
Do only the little bitty ones have them?

March 17, 2007, 10:44 AM
I own a full size 945 as well as Kimber custom, a Colt Combat Commander and a Para P-12. I know that none of these are comparable to the Smith, but friends own Wilsons, Brown and Nighthawk 1911s that I've fired. There is no comparison as far as fit and finish. The Smith's slide to frame fit has no discernable play, and moves like it's on ball bearings. After more than 5000 rounds of full power factor 200 GR SWCs and some 230 GR ball, the fit is still the same. I can't say the same for any of the 1911s that I mentioned - they have all displayed some loosening after a similar amount of use. I love my Kimber, and use it for IDPA competition, and the trigger pull is better than the Smith. After all of the use (10,000+ rounds) the trigger stll weighs 3 pounds plus or minus a couple of ounces. My scores are higher with the Kimber, and it just feels better in my hand than the Smith, which is bigger and blockier. Holsters are a problem with the Smith - if you try to use it in one made for a 1911, it will slow your draw, because it fits too tight. It weighs a few more ounces than the 1911s, which I think required a change to the IDPA rulebook when it first came out. At today's prices, the work I did on the Kimber (melted BoMar, checkered front strap, fiber optic front sight, long trigger, trigger job on the original hammer and sear, a set of Nowlin springs, ambi safety and a Briley bushing) it's still much cheaper than the Smith was. Despite the fine fit and finish of the Smith, I like the Kimber better, and shoot better with it. It makes you wonder why Smith came out with a line of 1911s, huh?

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