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used S&W 4043 (DAO) or stick with Taurus/Ruger .45

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by chaim, Jan 24, 2006.

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  1. chaim

    chaim Member

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    There are several guns on my list to consider for my next gun. One catagory I was considering was a full-sized service pistol in .45ACP or .40S&W. The top choices in that catagory for me was a Taurus PT945 or a Ruger KP345 (with the Ruger being slightly in the lead).

    However, I recently came across a good deal on a used S&W 4043. It wasn't really on my list, but it is a full-sized .40S&W, it is alloy (lightweight like the other 2) and thus possibly carriable (when out of state), I've long wanted a S&W auto, it has night sights (great feature for a defensive gun), and all at a bit better than $100 less than either the Ruger or Taurus. Also, it is DAO which is a plus for these guns. I'm a fan of 1911s and thus feel a safety should be frame mounted, up should be safe and down fire. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of switching to a S&W style slide mounted decocker that works in the opposite direction (up is fire, down safe)- I'm afraid that in a high stress defensive situation I may revert to what I'm used to and even if I just leave the gun decocked I may try to deactivate the safety by sweeping my thumb down and thus activating it when I most need the gun. So, on a S&W I'd prefer DAO.

    The Ruger has the S&W style safety, and while the website shows it available with a decocker only, they don't seem to be available that way locally. Otherwise, it is a gun I've wanted since I first read about it and it feels great in my hand. Nice gun and to make it about ideal I can look into ordering it the way I want it with the decocker (though buying off the internet may not work due to MD's shell casing law- often manufacturers only ship guns with the fired casings to distributors that work within MD and NY, the two states with these laws).

    The Taurus safety is the better option for safeties for me (works like a 1911 safety, plus further down will decock the gun). It feels good in the hand, but not as good as the Ruger. It also has a reputation for hammer bite in people with "fleshy" hands, and with no place to try it out locally (no one rents them) I'm not sure I want to test it by buying it not knowing if it will work with my (thick) hand.

    So, I guess the question is, should I get this S&W or stick with my original idea of the Ruger or Taurus?
     
  2. Devonai

    Devonai Member

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    Have you tried the trigger pull on the Smith? I love S&W autoloaders but the DAO varieties I've encountered had heavy triggers. Obviously you could get the trigger worked on but that would add to the cost.
     
  3. pcf

    pcf Member

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    Smith has two different DAO variations, 1/2 and 1/4 precock. The older pistols have the 1/2 precock, have a longer slide and frame to shroud the hammer, and the trigger pull is about the length of a Glocks (only smoother IMO). New pistols use the same length slide and frame as the TDA pistols, and only have 1/4 precock, not as nice as the older pistols. In my experience Smith's DA trigger pull is excellent.

    Police trade in 4043s run in the $260-290 range.

    You can't go wrong with the Smith: reliable, tough, decent accuracy, and good triggers.

    Ruger ships every new pistol with a fired shell, regardless of intended market, buying one on the internet should not be problem. I do not know about Taurus.
     
  4. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Just judging by my Rugers I'd say you can't go wrong with a Ruger: Reliable, tough, and EXCELLENT accuracy with good triggers. But, I'm a Ruger guy...:D
     
  5. pcf

    pcf Member

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    I'll rephrase that, accuracy on par with other service automatics. (Decent compared to most revolvers....) There's nothing wrong with a Ruger, tho'.
     
  6. chaim

    chaim Member

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    It looks to be an older 3rd gen (not a "Tactical", no ugly accessory rail, noticable but not extreme holster wear). It was a police trade-in and the price range is about what you quote (but being online it will be just over the high end that you quote, by $10-20, after all the fees are added).

    Thanks for the info on Ruger shipping with a fired shell to all markets. That is useful info, though I still haven't seen the decocker only version of the KP345 on the net yet either. Of course, since I didn't think the net was really an option I haven't looked that hard yet (I've only looked on Gunbroker, no other sites, and I only occasionally do the search). I'll keep an eye out.

    I had a Ruger P89 once that was terrible on accuracy and I've met others with the same gun with the same complaint, so I'm not sure Rugers generally have "excellent" accuracy. However, the .45s do have that reputation (and a buddy had a very accurate P90 at the same time as I had the P89 and his was very accurate) and even the 9mm polymers (P95) have a decent rep for accuracy. I do believe that this will have better than acceptable service pistol accuracy based on that (being both a .45 and a polymer Ruger). The only other thing I want to comment on is the triggers- I don't like Ruger triggers very much (though being mostly a revolver and 1911 guy I'm spoiled- my "rough" trigger on a service pistol is on my very smooth CZ 75B), but luckily the KP345 seems to be the best of Ruger's triggers, though it still feels a bit "different" to me. So as part of your description of Ruger's strengths you actually included the two things that most concern me with that gun (one of those "opinions are like..." things I guess :) ).
     
  7. Moonclip

    Moonclip Member

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    I like Rugers more than most but I find accuracy in the P series guns to be hit or miss with not too great triggers. If the S&W is truly a good price I'd consider it if it has a decent trigger and if it is an older model and not one of the newer ones with that dumb tactical marking. Don't overlook the P945 either, I feel it is among the better Taurus offering and you do get a lifetime warranty and all.
     
  8. albanian

    albanian member

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    I think Berettas, S&Ws and Rugers are all Excellent in terms of reliabilty. I would give the edge to S&W over Ruger in accuracy overall. For the money, a good used S&W can be one of your best buys.

    I would pick any S&W over any Taurus. I don't repect Taurus but that is probably just because I have owned them.:rolleyes: Not talking about the Beretta copies, those are fine.
     
  9. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Interesting, I have a lot of respect for Taurus, but that is probably just because I have owned (several of) them. I have a Taurus PT140 Milennium Pro and have had 3 of their revolvers. I have not had any gun related issues with any of them (my PT140 got locked up once on a bad round which had the primer blow out and was otherwise severely underpowered/a dud round since the primer didn't ignite the powder- clearly an ammo problem).

    Anyway, I want real advice on my question. The quicker the better since the auction on the S&W is about to end (of course there are several out there right now like it so if I don't buy it now I shouldn't have too much trouble finding similar in the near future- heck even that one doesn't have any bidders yet so I may still be able to get the exact same gun even if I miss the current auction). I don't want a bash fest- I am familiar with all three brands and I'm very confident in all of their reliability (especially in the models I'm considering).
     
  10. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    So? Have your shop of choice special order one. Or use the safety to decock, then take it off safe manually.
     
  11. albanian

    albanian member

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    "I am familiar with all three brands and I'm very confident in all of their reliability (especially in the models I'm considering)."

    Then why the heck are you asking questions if you already know everything?:rolleyes:
     
  12. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    The 4043 can be improved greatly by installing a slightly lighter (less pounds weight) hammer spring.

    (I bought my son's duty gun when his department switched to Glocks, and it was fine except for a slightly heavy trigger. Came with night sights and 7 11-round mags.)
     
  13. Jiml3

    Jiml3 Member

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    The third generation S&W autos have a great reputation. I have a 9mm. 6906 that is excellent. Based on my experience with it, I would have no hesitation with picking up another 3rd generation model of a different caliber. At the time I purchased mine used, I sent it to S&W to have them replace all the springs,
    inspect it to determine if it needed any additional work, but to call me first with a price before doing it. I also asked if they could spiff up the exterior of the gun
    due to signs of wear. They cleaned it up and I was very pleased and it has not had any failures since that time and that was 10 years ago. They have a great support system.
     
  14. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Yeah, that was my first thought, though I would have preferred not to have to if I could help it, and it doesn't look like it is an option currently anyway. The decocker only version is not yet on the list of handguns approved by the MD State Police and I can't legally buy any handguns not on that list (only the regular and railed versions are currently on the list). So the decocker only may not be an option for a little while (until the committee votes to add it).

    I'll just repeat what I said in my original post about the DAO S&W since the same thing applies to a decocker only preference in the Ruger (and why I don't like simply using the safety as a decocker and taking it off safe):

    "I'm a fan of 1911s and thus feel a safety should be frame mounted, up should be safe and down fire. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of switching to a S&W style slide mounted decocker that works in the opposite direction (up is fire, down safe)- I'm afraid that in a high stress defensive situation I may revert to what I'm used to and even if I just leave the gun decocked I may try to deactivate the safety by sweeping my thumb down and thus activating it when I most need the gun. So, on a S&W I'd prefer DAO" (or in this case a decocker only in a Ruger).

    Of course, since it isn't on the "Maryland Handgun Roster" it may not be an option. It isn't entirely clear if MD would consider it a different model, but the fact that companies that want to sell here seem to see the need to submit ALL submodels available at the time suggests that MD would (case in point- the Ruger KP345 is one approved model, the KP345R is a seperate approved model despite the only difference being the rail).

    Well, maybe because even though I own or have owned guns from all these brands and am familiar with the general quality, I don't know much about the specific S&W, and I am pretty undecided which I'd prefer so I want feedback. I don't want brand bashing however.
     
  15. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    chaim:

    First off, I wouldn't get all hot & bothered over missing a S&W auto on an auction. There are a lot out there that have been traded in by police outfits. I see them all the time in the flyers sent me by dealers I have sent my C&R 03 FFL. Both .40S&W and 9mm are represented, with .45ACP S&Ws every once in a while.

    That said, I have the utmost respect for S&W autos (Sigmas excepted). Highest build quality, reliability, and accuracy you're likely to find on DA service autos. My opinion, of course. If I had to choose between S&W, Ruger, & Taurus autos I would choose in that order.

    Currrently, the price for a used S&W 4046 (all steel) from J&G Sales Shotgun News ad is $279.95. KY Imports has used S&W 4566 (DAO steel .45ACP) for $299.99, S&W 5903 (TDA, steel, 9mm) for $299.99, and S&W 4046 (DAO steel .40S&W) for $289.99. If I was in the market for quality used DA service autos, I'd give the 4566 a long, hard look.

    (I have a soft spot for the S&W .45ACP & 10mm DA autos. After that, I like their autos in 9mm. .40S&W gets short shrift from me. For whatever reason, I don't shoot it as well as .45ACP or 9mm.)

    I, too, have become spoiled by 1911s and S&W revolver trigger pulls. Most of the rest are gritty & nasty, in comparison.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  16. The Reverend

    The Reverend Member

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    S&W all day every day...
     
  17. chaim

    chaim Member

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    OK, on the auction the S&W didn't sell by the auction expiration and is still up for auction.

    I've pretty much decided to go with either the S&W or the Ruger. I love Taurus, I've had my eye on the PT945 for some time, but it doesn't feel nearly as good in my hand as this Ruger, as the S&W autos, or as most other Taurus autos do (the similar, but smaller, Taurus PT911/940 feels nearly perfect).

    I really like this Ruger, but then it is a new gun and will probably be available for a long time to come. Also, if I wait on the Ruger it may become available in MD in the decocker only model. But, I really like this gun, something I've never really been able to say about a Ruger (even the one I used to own), and I am a huge .45ACP fan. I've been interested since I first read about it, and drooling over it since I first handled one (I have to go to the display and handle one every time I'm at the range/gunshop).

    The S&W has the advantage of being a lot less money (before FFL fees and shipping it is about $200 less than the Ruger or Taurus), and it is a S&W (like I've said, I've wanted a S&W auto for quite a while). The night sights are nice, and if it proved reliable it would likely become my primary home defense auto immediately (though it would serve next to my Taurus 85CH and occasionally a larger revolver). It is a DAO which is close to a must for me in a S&W auto (I'd consider a standard S&W though, and I'm considering the decocker/safety Ruger above, since I no longer use my 1911 as my defensive gun very much- I could probably retrain myself away from the 1911 style safety and into not using a safety at all on my defensive guns, just I'd rather not in case I want to go back). I am a big fan of .40S&W, but more in carry sized guns. In a service sized auto it seems to lose some of its advantages- it isn't a .45ACP (less power) and has far less capacity than a 9mm (at 11 rounds in the mag of this full-sized auto it isn't that far from the 10 rounds of the similar gun in .45ACP and it is far from the 15-17 rounds of similar sized 9mms).

    One gun is in a general catagory (S&W autos) that I've long wanted. It is a good gun, in a good caliber (all service pistol calibers are though, IMHO), in a comfortable size, and well equiped to be my home defense pistol (DAO, night sights) and possibly occasional carry gun (though living in MD that isn't needed often, only when out of state and I have other guns for that).

    The other gun I haven't wanted nearly as long, but I've really been drawn to the specific model more than pretty much any gun before I've bought it, except maybe my CZ. It too is a good size for the range but still carryable when out of state. It is in a stronger caliber, but holds 3 fewer rounds (thus, kind of a 6 of one, half dozen of the other situation, in this case). It doesn't have night sights, I could always add them but this gun is already $200 more before shipping and fees (about $150 more after) and the sights would probably add about $100 more. It isn't available locally (yet) in the exact configuration I'd want (decocker only instead of safety/decocker) but if I buy something else now and wait on this one it probably will be available this way locally. Cost independent I'd probably go with this one (though the DAO on the S&W v. the decocker/safety on the Ruger might cause me to change my mind). Then again if money was no object I'd probably just buy both right now. However, right now I have enough to buy a gun if I want, but money for these kind of discretionary purchases is a little tight (I'm saving for grad school) so cost is an important factor.

    I really am having a hard time deciding.
     
  18. 355sigfan

    355sigfan member

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    You can't go wrong with the Smith: reliable, tough, decent accuracy, and good triggers.

    Ruger ships every new pistol with a fired shell, regardless of intended market, buying one on the internet should not be problem. I do not know about Taurus.[/QUOTE]

    You can go very wrong with smiths. The Troopers up here had tons of prolems with their 4006's their good paper weights and boat anchors but not my first choice as a combat pistol. Get a Glock or better yet a custom 1911.
    Pat
     
  19. ShelbyV8

    ShelbyV8 Member

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    If a 3rd Gen S&W will not work in Alaska I sure would not want a custom 1911. I have 9, 40. 45 and 45 Super in S&W have never had a malfunction in 15 years. I have never had a 1911 that wouldn't malfunction. The 4046 has a lighter, smoother, and shorter trigger pull than revolvers.
     
  20. 355sigfan

    355sigfan member

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    Well I have carried a Kimber Classic and currently Carry a Wilson Combat CQB as a duty weapon and both have proven reliable more so than my former issue Glock 21. And far suppassing the reliability of the Smith crap products. YOu must have had some crap 1911's. It happens. But personally I have never seen a Smith 4006 that would stay reliable in the conditions we face as leo's in Alaska. In fact my Wilson is reliable enough that I trust it with my life I can not say anything better for it.
    Pat
     
  21. pcf

    pcf Member

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    I'm suprised it didn't show up sooner, the buy a Glock or 1911 if you want a real "combat" pistol post, with no supporting evidence. Who'd a thunk'd it?

    I've heard a story about XYZ an agency that's had problems with every type of service pistol and revolver ever produced. Can you name a single popular service weapon that doesn't have reported list of problems? I'm sure there would be disagreement, but according to what I've read on the internet, you'd be a fool to carry a Kimber, Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Para Ord, Glock, Beretta, Sig, Ruger, Smith, Colt, HK, etc. All with little to back it up.

    Chaim,
    If you think you might have second thoughts about the purchase buy the Smith first, the only loss you'll take on it if you decide to sell is shipping and transfer fees. There's little loss of value when reslaing police trade ins.
     
  22. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    I have a 4043 and love it, bought it for home defense, no safty to worry about, I like the .40, ammo is cheap and I started reloading for it, since I also have a witness race gun in .40. My 4043 was a police trade in but supposely was never carried and sat in a desk drawer(almost perfect finish, no marks)so I paid a little over $300 to get the better condition.
     
  23. chaim

    chaim Member

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    That sure is a fact! I don't think you could be more right. If you pay close enough attention you'll see every brand has its naysayers.

    As for SIGfan's suggestions, I already have a 1911 and I will likely have more, I'm just in the mood for something else right now. For the Glock, there is only one that interests me- the Glock 26.

    That is a consideration I haven't really been thinking about, but too true. A used S&W should keep pretty much all of its resale, while a new Ruger will drop quite a bit in value should I by these guns and change my mind and want to sell. Heck, if I shop around a bit for one locally I may even be able to sell a used S&W for more than I pay if I find a good enough deal.
     
  24. 355sigfan

    355sigfan member

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    There are a lot of fine choices out there from Glock, Beretta, Sig, HK ext. I just don't care much for Smith Autos. Seen too many fail. Not just an irrational brand loyalty slam. But rather an opinion based on experience.
    Pat
     
  25. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I'm sure you have seen several Smiths fail, all guns fail. It is hard to overlook that personal experience and not overgeneralize. Most S&W owners (especially with the 3rd gen guns) find them extremely reliable, many 100%. At the same time, the reason there are people who denegrate every brand is because EVERY brand fails from time to time. People have had Glocks fail, and someone who saw a few may badmouth them. SIGS, HKs, and many others fail. The experience of people with military guns cause many people to badmouth the Beretta. Keep in mind that police use, just like military use, of a gun is very hard on the gun.

    I'll take CZs as another, more detalied, example. A quick look at a few of these boards will tell you that CZs are very reliable and they certainly are. However, they are certainly not infailable. A friend from TFL and THR who I got to know through PMs had many problems with his CZ 75B before he basically gave up on it ever being more than a range toy. Mine has between 5000 and 10000 rounds through it and has only had a handful of malfunctions (under 10). However, if you borrowed it the range session it had two in one session you'd probably have assumed it was junk. A buddy has done a lot of home smithing to his CZ 85 Combat. He's messed up some internal parts and needs to order some parts to fix it up. As a result of his playing around with it he's messed up the reliability until he replaces some parts. If you borrowed his gun at the range, or simply observed him, without knowlege of that fact you'd come to the conclusion that CZs were POC. There are many reasons one can have problems with a gun- a lemon, bad home smithing, numbers (any mechanical device will occasionally have problems, guns are no exception), the need for maintanence (say, worn springs). It would be easy to see some of those explainable problems and say the brand is bad, but in many/most cases you'd be wrong.

    I look at the vast majority of owners posting on these sites who are happy with their S&W autos, and especially the 3rd gen autos, and I have confidence that they are good guns.
     
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