Opinons on the S&W 3913TSW?


March 28, 2004, 01:20 PM
I'll be looking to buy another compact later in the year. Does anyone have any experience with the S&W 3913TSW -- is it a good gun or better deals elsewhere?

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March 28, 2004, 02:47 PM
Ita an absolutely wonderful little gun but the "deals" question depends on the price....anything over 450$ for a NIB gun is not a great deal. Ive seen them without the rail for around 475$ and thats about an average price.

So price would dictate the last part of this.........how much is it?

March 28, 2004, 03:21 PM
The 3913, and all of its model variations, is one of the most under-valued 9mm pistols on the market. It's probably the BEST 9mm S&W has ever produced ...

The TSW versions do offer some interesting "advantages", if you will ... no matter if you chose an early "pre-railed" model with the shortened grip frame, or one of the newest TSW's with the standard grip frame and the rail.

The value of the "accessory rail" notwithstanding ... most folks either like it, or don't ...

The TSW offers "Box Type" frame rails, which do offer some advantages in potential accuracy regarding slide & frame fit, but still offers the reliability for which the late model S&W pistols are noted. These are larger dimensioned frame & slide rails, and also extend to the "rails" in the dustcover.

The visual chamber inspection port (in the rear of the barrel tab) is a handy thing to have ... I use mine on my 4013TSW more than I'd expected.

The TSW model barrels were originally slightly modified to allow for slightly delayed unlocking, which can offer some lessened perceived recoil. Not a big deal with the 9mm for many shooters ... and I haven't asked to see if the later production standard model variations (908/908S) have received the same treatment by this time.

The current production TSW slides, last time I checked, were pre-milled and drilled to accept the optional Spring-Loaded Decock-Only assembly, instead of the standard Manual safety/Decocker assembly. This option requires a factory techician or armorer to install it, as the sear release lever must be checked against the new part for tolerance in decocking "timing". The sear release lever may have to be replaced to accomodate the new decocking assembly, and the sear release lever is one of the few parts that still requires "fitting" in most pistols.

I have a friend who owns an early 3913TSW. He likes it a lot. He's exceeded 10K rounds through it, and his pistol has given him perfect functional reliability, even though he doesn't clean it as often as he SHOULD. :uhoh: :scrutiny: He claims it gives him a reason to visit and have me inspect the pistol every few months. :rolleyes:

This is the same guy in whose SW99 pistol frame I once discovered SAWDUST when I inspected it. (Not in the bore, by the way). He gave me one of those, "Oh yeah ...", and proceeded to explain how he'd been doing some fence building on some property and hadn't yet gotten around to cleaning his pistol. His, "What's wrong? It's still working fine ..." reasoning is always good for a butt chewing from me, but I think that's one of the reasons he enjoys visiting. ;)

I know another guy who owns a 3913 from the very early days of production, and who'd quit counting the rounds he'd fired through it over the years for training and competition, although he said he knew he'd fired more than 10K rounds, and that was a few years ago ... and his pistol required some new parts due to wear, and some new magazine springs. I ordered approx $100 in parts (my cost) and he was back in business ...

I don't shoot my 3913 as much as either of my friends. I only have somewhere between 5-7K through mine, I think ... but that's because I own and shoot quite a few pistols for work, and the majority of my 9mm gets fired through my issued 6906 ... approx 30K+ and counting (although I've replaced some parts as preventive maintenance, and finally chipped an extractor and broke a trigger play spring at one point).

If you go over to the S&W forum, you can find some more owner experiences, in addition to folk's opinions to be found here ...
Go to the Semiauto Pistols section ...

It would be a hard choice to decide between one of the new 908S models, and a new 3913TSW. If I was buying another one, and I had the money for the TSW, that's what I'd buy. But, there's nothing "wrong" with owning a 3913/3914/908/908S, either ...

I'd like to add a new 3913TSW, or maybe even a 908S, to my safe someday. Compared to my late production 3913, the newer production methods are producing some very nicely machined and finished pistols. They've made a great pistol model even better ...

Of course, I'm biased toward them. I think the 3913 platform, in all its models, is probably pretty much state-of-the-art when it comes to a metal-framed, TDA, single-column magazine, reasonably compact 9mm defensive weapon. It balances well, fits a broad spectrum of people's hands, and offers a reasonable balance between compactness and "effective" caliber. About the only "improvements" I think merit some consideration are night sights and Hogue grips.

Not a bad pistol ...

Ala Dan
March 28, 2004, 03:34 PM
Hello Ms. Mastrogiacomo My Friend-

I will have to agree with the comments of our friend
fastbolt. I had a co-worker who bought one of
the original S&W model 3913's. The gun performed
flawlessly; and I had considered one myself, but I
spent all my money acquiring other SIG's at the time.
I don't think you can go wrong with a tactical series
3913; as I defintiely believe they are a lot better than
the companys Sigma's!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

March 28, 2004, 06:09 PM
Thanks for the replies. I've considered getting something like this down the road but I want to check it out in the shop first to see how it feels. Does anyone know how the trigger pull is? I might also look at the 908 which from what I can tell is not very different from the Lady smith version.

March 28, 2004, 06:15 PM
Yeah, I have one. It's great. I don't carry it anymore, my G26 hides a little better, but when I had just gotten my carry permit, I carried it for 2 years. It's very accurate and has never jammed. Mine is one of the eariler models without the rail and I wouldn't have it any other way.

March 28, 2004, 06:27 PM
I can't get new Glocks here and the 26 is a rare and extremely over priced find; I refuse to pay it. I do have a refurb 19 though, but until the laws loosen up, I'd like to find another good compact.

March 28, 2004, 10:20 PM
They`re great little guns. Accurate,reliable,slim and lightweight. There are also a lot of Police trade ins available from distributors like KY Imports and CDNN for really good prices. If you decide to go that route there`s also another option,the 3913. It`s the DAO version of the 3913. They have a nice short,smooth DA trigger and smooth sided slide (no safety lever) which makes them even nicer to carry. S&W recently decided to sell DAOs to law enforcement only so trade ins are the best source for them. You can still find those for $350. Marcus

March 28, 2004, 10:57 PM
Mastrogiacomo: The 3913TSW pre-rail model I have is a gem. I like just slightly better than my Kahr k9 or K40. SLightly. The only reason the 3913TSW has the edge is the safety lever. It is also lighter than the all steel Kahr. If you can find one, buy it. I paid $400 for mine, unfired with 2 mags. I was very happy.

Alan Fud
March 29, 2004, 03:31 AM
Actions speak louder than words ...
... I own not one or even two but three of them.

March 29, 2004, 10:02 AM
I bought a 1994 manufacture 3913 with box and one magazine at Four Seasons for $375. It was absolutely mint, and the rail doesn't make sense for me. Excellent pistol.

Bought new mags on eBay for $22-25.

March 29, 2004, 02:35 PM
The Gen 3 S&W autoloaders are great pistols, and the TSWs are the best of that group.

Having said that, I've never warmed up to the grip on the 3913. You should try it yourself to see whether it does, or doesn't, agree with you.

My other half-beef about the Gen 3 S&Ws is that there is a really large number of little parts in these pistols, even compared to Berettas or SIGs and especially compared to Glocks. You ain't gonna detail-strip one of these without a lot of tools and time. The thing that always struck me was that you can't even change the rear sight without having springs and plungers going everywhere. :uhoh:

March 29, 2004, 03:03 PM
How does it compare to a Sig P239 9mm?

March 29, 2004, 03:58 PM
How does it compare to a Sig P239 9mm?

Personal preference issue, mostly ...

I've shot a couple of the smaller SIG 9mm's, and they're improved their ergonomics when it comes to grip and trigger reach. Nice, reliable weapons. I know one of our folks that owns one and really likes it ... but he's been trying (unsuccessfully) to talk me out of my 4013TSW.;)

I've never warmed up to the grip on the 3913

I agree when it comes to the stock grip, as it comes from the factory. This is one of those pistols which can really benefit from the addition of a set of Hogue grip panels, for many shooter's hands.

You ain't gonna detail-strip one of these without a lot of tools and time.

Okay, I have the advantage of being a factory trained L/E armorer for a few of the S&W pistols, including the TDA models ... but it generally requires only 2 different sized pin punches and a plastic mallet ... and less than 5 minutes ... to completely detail strip a S&W TDA pistol. (You can eliminate one of the pin punches if you use a paper clip to depress the ambi lever plunger). This is sans the extractor ... unless it requires repair, which adds a couple of more minutes, a 4 oz. ball peen hammer, a suitable "starter" punch and a different pin punch ... or the rear sight, which generally isn't necessary unless you're replacing the rear sight, or one of the springs & plungers located under it. The only time I've really had to replace one of those springs was when one of them had been damaged when a rear sight had been previously installed, and the top coil had been bent/twisted out of shape.

I have to say, though, that "detail stripping" any semiauto pistol generally isn't recommended by most of the manufacturers unless the person has been properly trained. While liability concerns are obviously involved ... it's also often the case that there are simply many things that aren't often fully understood by most folks when it comes to the design, operation & functioning of many semiauto pistols. Even "trained armorers" can become distracted, fail to remember a proper method of disassembly/reassembly for a part(s), or just plain make a mistake when inspecting, diagnosing, repairing or "detail stripping" a pistol ... and either cause the pistol to become unserviceable, or damage it. Obviously, someone without proper training to perform these actions may stand an increased chance to do something incorrectly, which may adversely affect either the proper functioning and/or the safety of operating the weapon ...

The thing that always struck me was that you can't even change the rear sight without having springs and plungers going everywhere
Ditto when I detail stripped the slide on my P-90 ... ;)

When armorers for different agencies, and for different weapons systems, get together and chew the fat, it's interesting to hear about some of the things that occur ... and especially how we all seem to share the burden of having our different modern weapons rendered unserviceable, upon occasion, by the line troops. Wanna see how fast a toy can be broken? Give it to a 5 year old ... Wanna see how fast a modern, finely produced semiauto pistol can be rendered unserviceable ... either by neglect, improper shooter maintenance or "tinkering"? Issue it to a cop ...

Don't bother countering with the "usual" claims that some pistols are "perfection", either ... These things happen with ALL pistols. I was talking to a Glock armorer with another local agency, and he was telling me how their new G22's, which were bought new last fall, to replace their previous G22's (10+ years old) had all had to have the front sights replaced ... loose ... and then when one of them started exhibiting frequent malfunctions on the range, it was discovered that a rear slide rail had broken off ...

I've talked to armorers for SIG, Beretta, Glock, and S&W ... and other Colt rifle & Remington 870 armorers ... and none of us are ever going to be lacking for work as long as our weapons are in the hands of the ordinary cop.:)

These are just machines, you know ...

March 29, 2004, 10:58 PM
Can't really comment on the 3913 TSW..but I just recieved my 908S carry package today. The "value line" version of this model I believe...with an included holster.

Will test fire tomorrow (Tuesday the 30th).

Initial observations: obvious differences are plastic/polymer sights (but quite functional), plastic/polymer guide rod, less rounded slide shape, not as high quality finished (in direct comparison to 3913 at store), and no cool Tactical stampings on the slide. Not so obvious differences...well...there not so obvious so I just don't know (at least I am honest). In direct comparison you can tell there is a difference between the TSW and the Value line.

Removing direct comparison and evaluating the 908S on its own merits....I am quite pleased just the same. Operation is smooth as silk, trigger is crisp out of the box (single action dry fire), having very small hands the grip fits me perfectly (a big issue for me), although the sights are generic plastic/polymer they are fine and I wouldn't have known that this might be an "issue" had someone else (here) not brought that up. It is very light, compact, and does in fact appear well made. Grip appears to be about the same width as my Bersa Thunder, the same overall length as the Bersa Thunder, the slide itself is beefier, and it is slightly taller than the Bersa. Came with 2 mags..1 with pinky extension type bumper and 1 without. Came with form fitted Uncle Mikes Kydex (?) belt holster that it snaps into and is stays put. It is definately designed to be a no nonsense compact that CCW's very well to be sure.

Will test fire tomorrow to test function. I won't say "accuracy" cuz' I am not that good of a shooter yet. The only time I put 1 ragged hole in the target is when I fire only 1 shot....and then take the target down. But some groups are better than other groups depending on which gun I fire...so I will see how this fairs.

March 29, 2004, 11:03 PM
I'll have to keep my eyes open for this gun at Four Season on the used market. Hopefully it'll happen...but then I've been waiting on an Argentine Sistema to show up for a couple of years now...:(

March 30, 2004, 04:11 PM
Test fired the 908S today. 100 rounds of Winchester White Box FMJ...zero malfunctions. Not a single one. Perceived recoil was mild..pleasant even. Started off printing low and left...normal for me to be somewhere I am not suppose to be until I settle down. Once I did settle groups centered. At about 15 yards I was shooting as accurately as I do with my KP95 using the same ammo at the same distance (I have had the Ruger for a long time so this is good). On the shots where I knew I did everything exactly right it was bullseye (2x2) city. Unfortunately, I need a lot more practice so I can do this all the time. So...the 908S appears to be absolutely reliable, significantly more accurate than I am, light and easy to CCW, and an overall great bargain.

Based on my experience so far...would definately recommend the more upscale 3913 TSW for sure. And if you want to save some money for ammo then the 908S is a great alternative.

YMMV. :)

March 30, 2004, 08:23 PM
Depending on the cash situation, both the 3913TSW and 3913 Ladysmith are on the approved list, so you should be able to find them new also.

March 30, 2004, 10:16 PM
Yes.....I have a 3913tsw with the accessory rail.I absolutely Love it.One sportscar of a pistol!

March 30, 2004, 10:43 PM
Does the Ladysmith version have the rails too, or would I get lucky?

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