Best Smith and Wesson auto

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I had basaaaad luck with a 5906. I’ll never trust those guns again. :(

I have had great luck with my 4013 as a ccw for many years. This is a S&W Third Generation auto that I’ll stake my life on :thumbup:

Stay safe.
I'm pretty sure the acknowledged best S&W auto was the Performance Center PPC-9...but they were pretty hard to come by

Of the regular production models, I think the distinction goes to the M-952-2...the ultimate evolution of the M-39 optimized for accuracy

I agree with your choices, but, as the owner of several variants of each, the quality is indistinguishable between the two models, in my opinion. I also wouldn't term the 952 "regular production." The PPC-9 and 952 were both pure Performance Center creations from the time when the PC was a true semi-custom shop building exquisite guns from the ground up instead of the lame marketing gimmick it is today. (When you consider the 9mm Target Champion variants, which were just the PPC-9 variants branded for the Euro market, PPC-9 production numbers may have actually been greater than 952 production numbers.)

I would put the 845 variants right there with the PPC-9 and 952. Really, any of the old PC semi-autos with Briley bushings are in the same lofty echelon of build quality and refinement. The 945 is stellar, but it doesn't carry the cachet of the other three "flagship" PC models, given its greater production numbers. (The old, pre-gimmick PC also had a number of limited runs of tuned-up regular-production guns over the years, and while these were a good deal more refined than their standard factory counterparts, they are still a long way from the level of the full in-house PC models.)
What kind of trouble(s) did you have with the 5906?
A bit of a story but I’ll condense it a bit:

1991 I was issued a 5906 with the adjustable sights after I was hired, beginning the 7th week of the academy. I swapped my SIG Sauer 226 that I started with and got a gun with a mushy trigger, sharper edges and few more ounces to carry. I got used to it because I had to. My range scores dropped a lot compared to my SIG scores, but I still kept it over 90%.

Fast forward a couple months later and we have a pass/fail final combat qualification; you fail and you’re dismissed from the academy. Those that failed would have to start it all over from day one, or find another career. You only have 6 rounds in the mag (some guys still had revolvers then so they kept it equal) and every round is accounted for. If the threat target isn’t struck with what would be an 8 ring on a B-27 it’s non-vital hit for zero, any bystander target hit is a instant fail.

I’m called on the radio. I drop my report form on the classroom desk, get in the car, drive lights/siren around the building, park. I enter the semi-darkened range where there are police lights rotating and a siren blaring. There are three pieces of concealment at 25, 20 and 15 yards set diagonally across it.

I move to the barrel at 25 yards, the rangemaster yells shots fired and fired a black powder blank from a shotgun somewhere behind me. The three targets turn and I put two shots into the threat target. They turn and as I move to the mailbox at 2.0 the rangemaster again fires blanks and turns the targets right as I drop to my knee. I fired my first shot at the threat target and the gun jams.

The extractor slipped the rim leaving the case in the chamber, the slide pushed the next round forward so it stuck against the case half out of the mag. I rack it several times. no luck. I can’t drop the mag because the fresh cartridge is held in place by the feed lips preventing the mag from coming out of the grip. This pos is completely locked up. I recall briefly glancing back in a panic at the rangemaster, he stood there with his arms folded and just looked at me.

I was so pissed I smashed the 5906 as hard as I could against the edge of the mailbox. The stuck round popped out, I racked the fired case out and got it running again. I ran to the next piece of cover, hit the threat target twice and the qual was over.

It only took a second or two, but 31 years later I can play it back verbatim with crystal clarity.

I was scored a 5/6, 100%, with the rangemaster commending me for thinking quickly to clear a serious jam. (The missing round wasn’t counted against my score.) I never told the range staff I was intending to break that gun so I’d never use it again.

I complained to the Department armorer and was issued a different 5906 after this incident and carried it on patrol. Same mushy trigger, same sharper edges that the other one had. About two years later several other training jams with other cops there caused the chief to allow us to buy our own guns and holsters. All but a small number of officers there immediately went to SIG or Berettas. I got my old SIG out and never looked back.

Some folks may like the larger all-stainless 5906, I have no problem with that at all. Myself? I’ll never buy or ever trust one again. :)

As I said above, I do like my 4013 though. :thumbup:

Stay safe.
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Even considering the new polymer stuff, the 1006 is the best. Any other company would have re-released it by now. S&W doesn't have an innovating or marketing bone left in its corporate body.
The only ones I currently own are are model 52-2 and 39-2. The model 52 is pretty nice... The only other S&W semi's I'd be interested in are the 952's or 945's. The model 10XX are interesting but the triggers on the ones I've shot/handled/considered buying are down right bad, and that goes for most of their guns in the same time frame. For the most part the 2nd and 3rd gen models are too chunky and the current crop of guns are about the most ugly of the popular brands on the market.
The only ones I currently own are are model 52-2 and 39-2. The model 52 is pretty nice... The only other S&W semi's I'd be interested in are the 952's or 945's. The model 10XX are interesting but the triggers on the ones I've shot/handled/considered buying are down right bad, and that goes for most of their guns in the same time frame.

Based on your preferred models, I would say your trigger criteria are far above the average shooter.
Possibly, But that doesn't mean the triggers on many of them from that era aren't really bad.

I guess it depends on definition of bad, and how that ties into your usage. I did have a trigger job done on my NIB 3914DAO, due to grittiness, but nothing else has given me any real problems with general trigger performance- both DA and SA. The only systematic issue I had noticed on occasion with individual guns is the trigger hooks dropping back into the grove when starting to take-up SA play, which is easily corrected, and not at all related to break point or weight.
FWIW the OP did ask about the best S&W semi autos.

Yes. You think the target models are the "best", which is fine. Another individual may think the 1066 is the "best" due to the power, size and controllability. Yet another may think the 39XX compacts are the "best" due to concealability. All very subjective.
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Thanks, excellent recounting, and I understand your reticence :D to rely on a 5906 again.

I'd wager you wrote excellent reports that kept you out of court, too!
Thanks. I always strive for accurate and complete reports, it does keep me from being subpoenaed for a lot of depositions, arbitrations and court appearances. :)

Stay safe.
Riomouse, Have to admit that if I'd had that miserable experience with 5906s, I'd probably never trust one again either. Never carried the 5906 as a primary weapon on duty, but the 5906s I've personally owned were as reliable as the P226s I did carry on duty.

Reference well written reports, my experience is consistent with yours.
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