3rd gen S&W as cpl - please educate me


May 4, 2012, 09:41 AM
Hello all,

With a rather large Michigan gun show coming up this weekend, and my CPL class coming shortly after, I am in the market for an edc. I love my p95, but it's too large for me to conceal comfortably. I have been looking at some smith 3rd gens as an option... but I do know as much as I would like about them. Does anybody here have any experience with them? I am particularly looking at 6906's and 3913's. I am really looking for info on reliability, carry comfort, price ranges, etc.

Thanks so much guys and gals, Have a great weekend!

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May 4, 2012, 10:40 AM

Well, if reliability is your first priority, then you can find no better choice than a 3rd Gen Smith..

I've had, or still had, a 3913, 3913LS, 5906,6906, CS9, CS45. (Well, actually i still have them all with the exception of the CS9 because I sold only because I had several other compact 9's).

Here's my take on the 6906 vs 3913.

The 6906 is a double-stack, thereby "thicker" than the slim 3913 (or 3913LS). The downside is the thickness, the upside is a greater capacity.. In fact you can use the 15rd mags from the 5906 (w/SW mag adapter) and you get a 16rd capacity.. Nice for a self defense firearm. I actually prefer the feel of my 6906 WITH the 5906 mags, and the appearance is absolutely factory.

The 3913 is a single stack.. Easier to carry concealed in an iwb holster if that's you thing.

Both pistols, in my experience, have been absolutely reliable, and if you do your research you'll find reliability is a given in these fine pistols.

For me personally, I prefer the "looks" of the 3913LS over the 3913, but that's just me. Both are excellent pistols.

I believe the 3913 has ambi-decockers (safety's) while my LS on has it on the left side (for righty's).

In fact my "bump in the night" nightstand choice is my 5906 w/Crimson Trace Laser.. It's big, it's heavy, but recoil is almost non-existent and it's tack driver (using the laser), and a pleasure to shoot.

As to which of the two (3913, 6906) 3rd Gen Smiths to buy?

IF I were buying one or the other, knowing what I know from having the opportunity to shoot and carry both choices I'd recommend the 6906 over the 3913 (or even the 3913LS)

Here's why.

I have pretty much standard sized hands, and the 6906 just "fits" MY hands better than the excellent single stack 3913. The 6906 has roughly 50% greater capacity (using the adapter and the 5906 mags), and in a self defense firearm, MORE capacity is a good thing.. :D

I'll try and attach photos of my 6906, one with the factory fingertip mag & ten round capacity, and the other with the mag adapter and the 15 rd. mag of the 5906. As I said before I actually prefer the "feel" of the 6906 with the larger mag, and as you can see in the photos using the larger mag actually "looks" normal.

It's my opinion that 3rd Gen Smiths are highly UNDERRATED, under appreciated, and very reasonably priced..

Getcha' one or two, you won't be disappointed..

Good Shootin'




May 4, 2012, 10:42 AM
If you can find one, buy it. I'd go for the 3913 personally.

On the off chance you don't like it, you shouldn't have trouble finding a willing buyer to take it off your hands.

May 4, 2012, 12:01 PM
For carry, I prefer slimmer guns. The 3913 would be my choice. But you can't go wrong with either.

May 4, 2012, 12:04 PM
Wow, thanks guys.

PX15, that was awesome of you to lay that out for me. I am looking for IWB, but I am a big guy so the 6906 may be the right choice for me. Is there a reliable source for these? Does anybody know the average price?

I feel that after looking at the countless number of lcp's/9's, kel-tecs, shields, glocks, etc., that this is the route to go for me.

I love this website. Thanks guys.

May 4, 2012, 12:13 PM
I feel like CDNN has them occasionally. (cdnninvestments.com)

May 4, 2012, 12:25 PM
I actually just checked, and they do have some. The 6906 is running $329. I didn't see any 3913's, though.

If I wasn't moving in two weeks, I'd think about buying one. Those things are built like tanks.

May 4, 2012, 12:49 PM

Actually I bought all of my 3rd Gen Smiths from CDNN.. I've had very good luck with them, and never been dissatisfied with the gun I got or the price I had to pay for one.

I would suggest one more thing. The gentleman try and hold both a 3913 AND a 6906 before opening his wallet. Either pistol will do a great job, but actually holding one in the hands before buying is always a good idea.

Of all my 3rd Gen Smiths the one my wife has placed "dibs" on is the 3913LS.. She loves that sucker, I think mostly, because of it's appearance. I like the LS, and have only run around 50 rds thru it, but I can never part with it on the "off chance" JoAnn might want to shoot it again....:barf:

I only have one 45ACP, and that's the CS45... I really, really like that pistol as well.




May 4, 2012, 12:57 PM
Of course. If he can find both of them to fondle at the gun show, great. At least, now you know of a general price point for the 6906.

May 4, 2012, 12:59 PM
I would look into single-stack alloy-framed 45x or 45xx series guns. These come with six, seven, or eight shot magazines and can be had for $350 to $550 depending on model designation. I had 457 and 457s and both were reliable easy to shoot firearms. Don't be afraid to look at some others. I just looked over S&W 99 caliber .45ACP in top shape. While grip is longer then ideal for CCW it is nice to have couple of extra rounds when things go bad. The caliber and rounded slide design puts it above original design which is Walther P99.

May 4, 2012, 01:13 PM
Smalls, I'm headed to Birch Run tomorrow to try and check them out - I Hope to find one up there.

May 4, 2012, 01:15 PM
I carried a 5904 IWB often with no problems.

May 4, 2012, 01:28 PM
Good luck!

FWIW, if I couldn't find them at the gun show, I'd order the 6906 from CDNN. If it doesn't feel right, they're easy to sell, and you'll easily get what you paid for it.

Or if you find a 3913 at the gun show, I'd buy it, and sell it if you don't like it.

JMO, though. I wish I had time this weekend to make it up to Birch Run.

May 4, 2012, 01:30 PM
Here's my little stash of 3rd Gen's (P7 must be lost)? Plus another photo of my 3913.




May 4, 2012, 01:34 PM
I'll take that p7 off your hands, since it's obviously the red headed step child of your collection :D

bdb benzino
May 4, 2012, 01:50 PM
I recently just picked up a S&W 6946, the DAO versiion of the 6906 with no external safety. I love it! The trigger pull is fairly hard but really smooth and short, making it rather nice IMHO.
The one thing I do not like about the S&W 3rd gens, is I am used to the other style of safety where you swipe down to fire and up to safe. So I love the 3rd gen S&W's but have always been bothered by the safety, so when I found this DAO 6946 with out an external saftey, I was all over it. It has turned out to be the best of both worlds.
Now if I could only find a DAO 45 S&W gen 3!

May 4, 2012, 02:13 PM

Alas, that HK P7 was sold to finance the purchase of a new Boberg XR9-S (Onyx model).

Actually, I had three "A" Grade HK P7's, and they were excellent pistols, but I just never "warmed up" to the squeezecocking aspect. I sold one to buy a new HK P2000sk (V3), and that was a very good trade off.. I got a TDA platform (my favorite), and greater capacity. Using the 13rd mags from the slightly larger P2000 (w/Xgrip adapter) got me three extra rounds, and for a carry weapon, more capacity is a good thing. (As I mentioned earlier regarding the 3913 vs 6906).

I sold a 2nd HK P7 to finance my new love for lever action rimfire rifles (primarily older Marlin 39's). Since I have several other compact 9's, that too was a good trade off for me.

I believe the HK P7, Walther P38 (or P1), Browning HP and of course the Colt 1911 are all classics and a person who loves guns needs to at least have the opportunity to hold and shoot an example of all 4.. I have done so, but they were all sold to finance something else.. (Walther P5, another goodie).

My daily cc choice is my Seecamp LWS380... I really love that little sucker. You can carry it concealed, easily concealed in almost any pants in any weather... It just disappears in a rear pocket holster.

Best Wishes,




May 4, 2012, 02:21 PM

Regarding the direction of the 3rd Gen Smiths safety/decockers?

I'm an old fart, and I was raised to never apply pressure to the trigger of any firearm until I was ready to shoot something, so I let the heavy da first round of my 3rd Gen Smiths be my "safety"... I don't even put the safety on, I just leave it off.

I believe many old farts like myself, most of who were raised on double action revolvers ignore the popular "keep your finger off the trigger entirely" line of thought that is in favor now.

I've always believed the best place for MY trigger finger is ON the trigger if I seriously think I might want to shoot something.

I know that's not "politically correct" in today's "crib to the grave" safety conscious society, and I have no problem with anyone who does "keep his/her booger picker parallel to the triggerguard", but that's just not me.

IF you overcome the heavy first round double action trigger pull of a 3rd Gen Smith, by accident, you are seriously too stupid to be carrying a loaded pistol..:banghead:

IMO, and no offense to anyone.

Best Wishes,


May 4, 2012, 02:23 PM
I've never actually shot a p7. I think they're one of the nicest looking pistols ever, and although I don't completely understand how they work, it intrigues me. I need one to yank apart for myself :evil:

May 4, 2012, 02:36 PM

I have already said I think HK P7's are absolutely top quality classics.. Additionally I've always considered the HK P7 as the bench mark for accuracy in 9MM pistols. (It was a surprise when I found out my HK P2000sk was equally accurate).

Now, having said that.

They are heavy, and worse, top heavy... For anyone not familiar with the way the squeezecocking aspect works, it's entirely different, not in a bad way, but I think that a person who depends on a pistol for self defense is better served sticking to pretty much one type.. OR, if the HK P7 was to be a person's ONLY self defense gun, and that person became comfortably familiar with the squeezecocker it is a very, very good pistol..

HK P7's are prone to heat up pretty bad after about 3-4 mags are fired in succession, which is absolutely no problem for a carry pistol. But if you were at the range you'd have to let an HK P7 "cool down" after you shot it too much at one time.

I think the HK P7, when hard chromed and wearing Nill wooden grips is absolutely one of the most beautiful pistols ever made.

All to say, IF a person had plenty of disposable cash and could afford more than one pistol the choice of a 3rd Gen Smith for practical use, and the choice of an HK P7 for pleasure plinking would be ideal.

I'm very happy I had the opportunity to own and pleasure plink with my HK P7's, I just think for practical self defense use, there are better choices.

No offense to HK P7 lovers.:D


May 4, 2012, 02:44 PM
It's on my short list, but I'll probably keep my 1911 for carry.

I agree with you about the safety on the 3rd gens.

The Lone Haranguer
May 4, 2012, 07:27 PM
I have owned Third Generation S&Ws (5904, 6946, 3913LS). I have never had any kind of malfunction with any of them. The accurate - more so than the full-size models - light and slim 3913 is my pick of the litter. Its slimmer grip fits my hand much better than the somewhat large double-stack models.

May 4, 2012, 10:39 PM
at, 5/5/12

I have both the 3913 and 6906/6904 as well as a number of other 3rd gen SW's. I carry both but find that with my medium large hands (glove size 8) that the 6906/6904 fits me best. I have thousands of rounds through each with no problems.

For carry I prefer the hammer down on a loaded chamber with the safety off as do most of the other posters here. Having the decocker/safety on the slide keeps it out of the way for me as I use a high-thumbs grip. I prefer the slide mounted safety over the frame mounted ones.

SW 6906/6904's (same as the 6906 except for a blued slide instead of stainless) can be found frequently on www.gunbroker.com. I usually get mine from Coles Distributing and have had good luck with them. Coles has a number of 6906's for $338 now on GB and 6904's for $288. Either is a tough deal to beat. I didn't see any 3913/3914's from Coles but there are some by other sellers for what I think is too much money.

Good luck in your search. Third gen. SW's are great pistols.

best wishes- oldandslow

May 4, 2012, 11:45 PM
Lots of good stuff already here, so the only thing I'd add is this:

Consider the pistols that you've owned/shot/carried in the past. If you're like me and your training has mainly been on a Glock, then seriously consider the DAO versions of the 69xx series (6944 and 6946, if I'm not mistaken) or the 39xx series (3953 and 3954). If you haven't trained with the safety/decocker, either swiping it off to fire and/or remembering to decock after firing, it's just one less thing to go wrong when it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

I own a 6906 myself, but don't carry it for the reason above -- I've trained too much on (and carry) my Glock 26. (In fact, I just requalified today on the US Navy pistol qualification course, and it was trying for me to remember to decock the M9 before I reholstered after each string of fire.) I am on the lookout for a 6946 myself for this very reason.

Good luck!

May 5, 2012, 07:17 AM
I have a 1006,1066,1076 and a 1026. All built like tanks and great shooters. The 10mm isn't for everybody however.

Smith builds great firearms

The Lone Haranguer
May 5, 2012, 08:48 AM
One type I have not tried is a full-size but single-stack 9mm, e.g., the 3904 or 3906. I suspect one of these might fit my hand best of all, and you still have ten rounds topped up.

Cocked & Locked
May 5, 2012, 09:33 AM
Like other folks, I've found 3rd generation S&W's to be very reliable.

My two favorites for concealed carry are the 9mm 908 DA/SA Compact single stack and the 6946 DAO Compact double stack...both fitted with Trijicon Night Sights.

S&W 908


S&W 6946


May 5, 2012, 09:36 AM
Look online and there are a ton of California DOC trade in 6906s and 3913s. I bought one and I LOVE it. Its an amazing pistol and a perfect every day carry. The 6906 is a little thicker and the double stack smiths tend to pinch my finger if I don't hold it just right. I have NO issues with the 3913. You might not have any issues with the double stacks. I haven't heard to many people complain about that issue so it could be just me.

May 5, 2012, 04:24 PM
My first handgun was a model 39-2 in nickel that i purchased new when I used to live in New York state.I miss the feel of that grip and I'm looking for another.;)

May 6, 2012, 03:32 PM
Well, I struck out at the god awful gun show yesterday. Had a few tables not even know what a 3913 was.

Oh well, my neighbor is a LEO, and she said she would ask the guy that handles their department trade ins.

Thanks for all the help guys!

May 6, 2012, 06:29 PM
Look on Gunbroker. There's several listed along with a 3908 which is the DAO version of the 3913. The 908 is another great choice.

May 6, 2012, 06:49 PM
I think I currently have nine third gen Smiths. 3913, 908, three 5904s, 4013, 4006, 410, and 4506.

I honestly like the 908, 5904, and 4013 the best... but that's just me.

I find them in pawn shops, but have found the best deals and highest quality examples buying FTF locally by monitoring a local gun-forum B/S/T board. I've bought a few police-trades online too, with the best success from Chestnut Ridge Supply. I did get one 3913 from them that had a shot-out barrel though. I traded it in a couple months later at a LGS and got more in trade-value than I paid for it.

The good news here is they definitely have a following (I'm just one of many 3rd Gen fans), and they are therefore easy to flip and get your money back or more.

May 6, 2012, 09:05 PM
I think I currently have nine third gen Smiths. 3913, 908, three 5904s, 4013, 4006, 410, and 4506.

No 10XX? Shame! :neener:

May 6, 2012, 09:14 PM
Haven't run across one yet. ;)

May 8, 2012, 11:21 PM
Well, It looks like these are going to be a little out my my price range. Only one I have come across was on my state gun forum and it was $550. I guess the hunt is still on. Does anybody know about the 669?

Looking at this one: http://www.armslist.com/posts/392223/detroit-michigan-handguns-for-sale-trade--s-w-9mm-model-669--martin-55lb-bow--leupold-vx-i3-9x40

May 9, 2012, 07:45 AM

CDNN is your friend...:D


May 9, 2012, 08:15 AM
I think you are right, I'm just a little nervous about doing it that way as it's sight unseen, and I have never done an FFL transfer. The hunt is still on, it looks like one sold on my local forum last month for $375. Wish I was in the market back then.

May 9, 2012, 09:23 AM
Any S&W 3rd generation will serve you well for years to come. Here is my stable: 645, 5906, 4516 and 6906


May 9, 2012, 09:30 AM
Just got a line on a 3914 for $300. Probably going to move on that asap.

Thanks Guys

j frame
February 12, 2013, 11:08 AM
Reviving an old thread; where do you guys with the 69 series S&Ws get the grip adaptors to go on the 59 series mags to make them look "normal" in the 69 series gun? I've got a 6944, and I want a couple of 59 series mags to go in it, but only if I can make it look like they actually fit there.

February 12, 2013, 11:16 AM
Don't forget about the 915. I bought mine new about 20 years ago and I wouldn't part with it.

February 12, 2013, 12:33 PM
I have a 5906 and rely on it for HD. It's a great gun. DA trigger is about 11lbs but very smooth with no stacking and the SA pull is just over 3lbs.

February 12, 2013, 12:39 PM
J frame, the Kel-Tec P-11 uses 59 series mags, and they have the adapters. That's the only place I've seen them, but they haven't been in stock for awhile.

I've been waiting on them to come in to use my 15 rd mag in my S&W 469.

Cocked & Locked
February 12, 2013, 01:32 PM
Reviving an old thread; where do you guys with the 69 series S&Ws get the grip adaptors to go on the 59 series mags to make them look "normal" in the 69 series gun? I've got a 6944, and I want a couple of 59 series mags to go in it, but only if I can make it look like they actually fit there.

They were available directly from S&W not long ago and probably still are. Also can usually find them on Gun Broker as 59 series mags with the adapter intact and sometimes just the adapters.

Try those suggestions. If you can't find them send me a PM and I will attempt to help you find some.

that will let you comfortably use mags for these...


in these....


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