Smith and Wesson Chiefs Special .45 ACP


August 16, 2012, 11:52 AM
Looking at buying one, curious if anyone who has owned or shot one and what their opinion of this pistol is?

I'm also looking at an original AMT back-up, but without having shot either, I have a gut feeling the S&W is the superior firearm.

Looks like the two I am watching will sell for about the same price of $350. Is that a good deal for either gun?

What say you?

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August 16, 2012, 12:22 PM
$350 is very good price for CS45.

August 16, 2012, 02:52 PM
Any experience shooting one Pablo? What do they usually sell for?

August 16, 2012, 06:55 PM
The first blued ones could be found on sale for $370, as I recall. I bought one right after the stainless version was released.

It was a real sleeper on the market. S&W didn't really have to do more than some token advertising and the CS9/45's sold pretty fast. (The CS40 was discontinued when the factory sold less than 100 units in what became the last year of the CS40's production.)

I remember calling around to some cop shops that sold different holster lines as LE dealers/distributors and being told they sold the CS45's as fast as they could get them. This was even after the CS45 was dropped from the commercial catalog and was still being produced for LE runs.

I've lost track of the rounds I've fired through mine over the years, but it's been used pretty hard. (The last time I ordered recoil springs I ordered them a dozen at a time for my CS9 & CS45, because I was tired of ordering them 1 or 2 at a time. I've gone through followers and mag springs for the CS45, as well.)

I've seen a couple of CS45 shooters unintentionally ... and intentionally ... allow their grips to become less stable and supportive, "breaking" at the wrist (not locked) and with a slightly relaxed grip, and experience feeding stoppages. No surprise, since diminutive .45's have generally had a reported history of being less tolerant to both shooter & ammo related influences than larger models.

The CS45 has its own specific 6-rd magazine. For a reason.

It differs from the "original" 4513TSW 6-rd mag in that it has a second set of pressed indentations at the bottom/rear of the standard pressed lips. The purpose of the second set of indentations is to create extra pressure against the top round, to help prevent it from being displaced forward under the increased recoil of the itty bitty CS45.

I was told by the factory that the secondary set of indentations was decided upon after production of the CS45 had already started (added to the mags as a revision). There are some early production mags that had the indentations added by a machinist, by hand, and then the new mag bodies received the indentations during normal manufacturing.

This image shows the 6-rd CS45 mag on the right, and a 6-rd 4513TSW mag on the left.

Magazines are just as expensive as they are for other S&W 3rd gen guns, and you can still order new ones from the factory.

FWIW, the late production (current) 3rd gen .45 magazines all use the same mag follower, spring & mag butt catch assembly. (The mag butt catch assembly is usually a blued metal plate, but they also used black plastic catches, as well. The metal ones threaded onto the spring, while the plastic ones had a crossed post that snapped into the bottom spring coil, and a solid post that snapped into the butt plate.)

The CS45 and CS40 used the same .45 frame, while the CS9 had a somewhat smaller frame & slide. The CS45 has a 3.25" barrel and the CS9 has a 3" barrel.

This is my pair of CS9/45's. ( ( (

As far as price? Probably set by the market in your area, I'd imagine ... and what you're willing to pay to own one. I kinda doubt you're going to stumble across a store with half a dozen of them NIB, after all. ;)

The CS45 was probably one of the best bargains to be had when it came to a rugged, reliable, subcompact, lightweight TDA (DA/SA) pistol.

They also made some early DAO guns, the MCS45D (Model Chiefs Special 45 Double Action).

You can read quite a bit about them over on the S&W forums, BTW.

August 16, 2012, 07:29 PM
I was drooling over a CS45 last fall at a gunshow, it was marked NIB $500.

August 16, 2012, 07:56 PM
My CS45 has been an interesting gun among the rest in my collection. Never really "excited" me, though.

The grip is a bit chunky, but I feel the Hogue panels are necessary due to the snap & whip of the .45 ACP. Since I require the little gun to be able to be run just as fast, accurately & controllably as I can run my larger .45's (1911's, P90DC, 4513TSW & M&P 45), I've never cobbled together a smaller & thinner "factory" type grip. Maybe if I were just going to shoot it slowly or even moderately paced for range use, but I want it to feel as close to the same to me, as possible, when I run it as fast & as hard as the larger guns (which have the advantage of having larger grips and weighing more). That makes the chunky rubber grips necessary, for me, at least.

I've fired my CS45 a lot more and longer than I've fired my CS9 ... but if I were only going to keep ONE of them, it would be the CS9, hands down.

I keep the CS45 just because I can use it well enough, and I've had it for several years. I also tend to like the lightweight (alloy framed) 3rd gen pistols, of which it's an interesting example.

I simply "prefer" the CS9. ;)

All things considered, I'd keep the 4513TSW over the CS45. They aren't all that different in overall size (3.25" barrel v. 3.75" barrel).

My original 4513TSW & CS45, both of which are 6+1 TDA .45's, for comparison.

August 16, 2012, 09:15 PM
I used to have a CS45, got rid of it only because the trigger reach was just a touch long for my small hands. It was a fine pistol, very dependable.
I still have my CS9, which I commonly carry. Super little gun.
From what I've seen around, $350 is a fine price for a CS45.

August 16, 2012, 11:38 PM
Wow, thanks for all the excellent info and the pics! I may have been premature on the price this gun will go for, but I'm very interested in it now...

Maybe not $500 interested - but I can see going as high as $425 give or take.

August 17, 2012, 11:21 AM
Great thread! I did not know about these pistols and they look like a fine alternative to my AMT .45 BackUp.

Think I'll be on the lookout for the gun and the magazines.

Outstanding info "Fastbolt".

August 17, 2012, 03:39 PM
Outstanding info "Fastbolt".
De nada.

I became interested in them when I first learned S&W had been working on developing an alloy-framed .45 3rd gen series (and ordered a 4513TSW when the first "original" ones were released). The CS45 seemed like a natural progression ... and I liked a blued one I handled which had been bought by a close friend.

It's just that the CS9 grip frame is just enough thinner and shorter to allow it to really fit my hand well. ;)

The CS45 was a really popular choice among a goodly number of cops who carried larger .45's on-duty, and a real sleeper on the commercial market.

FWIW, at one point I was told by someone at the factory that the CS45 had been developed around the 230gr ACP load, due to its significantly greater sales numbers being reported by the major ammo companies (compared to +P sales figures).

I don't shoot much .45 +P anymore, myself. I don't find much advantage in the slightly increased velocities to offset the typically increased felt recoil & muzzle blast. When I have used different +P loads in my own .45's, I've found they're much easier to manage when fired from the 4513TSW than the CS45, but that's me.

This is a picture from some older denim/gel block testing done at our range, using my CS45 for the test shots. The rounds were the older versions of the SXT/T-Series, both standard pressure and +P. Not much in the way of difference observed between the recovered bullets, and the +P only yielded something like an additional 37fps, if I recall correctly. (My notes are packed away somewhere.) Personally, I tend to think the better designed, more modern hollowpoint designs seem to offer some advantage when we're talking about reduced velocity numbers ... since the major ammo companies have realized the LE/Gov customers are going to be using shorter barreled plainclothes & off-duty weapons, and some of them have reportedly been tweaking their designs to take this into consideration.

I've also carried/used Speer's standard pressure 230gr GDHP and Remington's 230gr BJHP Golden Sabre (standard pressure/non-bonded) in my CS45, and even the old-style W-W 230gr JHP (also sold as their "Subsonic" bullet for a while). I prefer to use the better designed ones, given my druthers. ;)

August 20, 2012, 12:22 AM
Wow, over $600 and "reserve not met" - I think I misjudged that auction. My last bid was at $425... :uhoh:

August 20, 2012, 07:15 AM
Fastbolt, aren't the mags switched in the pic of the 4512 and CS45? I have 4 mags for my 4513TSW but the only curved bases I've found are the narrower style. I would like to find the wider curved bases but have had no luck. I tried a narrow curved base but didn't care for it. It's a great comparison of the two similar pistols. I've been looking for a CS9 or 45 to go with my 3913 and 4513 but I'm thinking now that I'll go with another 3913 or 4513. I want one to carry. The two 3rd gens I have are mint and want to keep them that way.

August 20, 2012, 01:25 PM
Good catch Racinbob. ;)

The magazines are the right ones for the guns in the pictures. I've switched the butt plates around on some of the magazines for my 4153/CS45, though.

The wide original TSW butt plates aren't curved like the standard one shipped on the current 4513TSW and CS45 mags.

Curved standard butt plate:

Original TSW wide butt plate which is flat in the front:

I was told some time ago that the original wide butt plates for the early 4513/3913TSW's aren't available as separate parts anymore, but I've seen them arrive on brand new 4513TSW 6-rd mags delivered from the factory.

August 25, 2012, 07:10 PM
fastbolt, is over $615 still a good price?

August 25, 2012, 07:21 PM
No way to give you a reasonable answer.

What are they selling for in your area, presuming they even have them for sale?

How much are you willing to pay to own one, presuming you're going to keep it for many years?

As I recall, before they were dropped from the commercial catalog they were listing much higher than that, and I seem to remember that the armorer purchase price was maybe close to $595-ish (often discounted 35-40% from suggested retail prices).

The magazines and recoil springs are still being produced (and they're specific to that model). I think the discounted armorer price is something like $28/ea for the magazines (and the retail pricing runs in the same range as Sig, HK & Walther mags :eek: ).

How badly you want one?

How many of them can you find in NIB (:neener:) or LNIB condition from which to compare and choose, and then try to talk someone down on the price because of competition?

Dunno the answer to any of those questions for you and your area ... Sorry.

August 25, 2012, 07:27 PM
It's 2012 - my area is the entire internet and I can find them online fairly easily.

So, you're saying $615 is not an unreasonable price.

August 25, 2012, 08:06 PM
If I didn't already own one, and I really wanted one ... and I knew they were an out-of-production item (barring any existing S&W customer agencies that wanted to have a special run made to complement an order for new 4566TSW's, perhaps) ... I'd be willing to pay that much for one. That's me.

I can't say whether that's a reasonable price for anyone else, though.

I do NOT keep up on local gunshop or internet pricing for firearms any more, so I have no idea what any particular gun may be selling for, new or used. I usually buy mine NIB or as factory demo's either from the factory or a designated LE distributor/dealer.

Buying used guns is a buyer-beware enterprise and past-time, you know. ;)

August 26, 2012, 01:43 AM
Buying used guns is a buyer-beware enterprise and past-time, you know. ;)

Yup, I've been very happy so far, buying from shows and online auction. Everybody I've had the pleasure of doing business with have been top notch folks.

Midway gives awesome service, Ruger and Para have been great, had a poor experience with Olympic Arms... overall, can't complain.

So far, so good.

August 26, 2012, 06:18 PM

Here's one asking $755 for a black version with four magazines.

Not gonna bid on it. There are at least four others listed on gunbroker right now...

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