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Which S&W Auto Loader to buy?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Anna's Dad, Mar 7, 2009.

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  1. Anna's Dad

    Anna's Dad Member

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    I'm thinking about acquiring a steel or alloy Smith & Wesson auto loader in 9mm as a friend for my polymer M&P. There seem to be some pretty great prices on used Smiths.

    There are so many different models out there I don't know where to begin so I figured I'd solicit opinions from my THR friends. Looking at the CDNN catalog, for example, I see 5906, 910, and 908. Logging on to Smith's site, I can add 3913, 5903, 952 and CS9. I'm sure there are probably many other older models as well.

    Do you have a favorite metal framed Smith auto-loader and, if so, why? Are some of them to be avoided for any reason or are they all pretty much on par in reliability and performance?

    This would be primarily a range / fun gun for me. I'm not sold on a particular action type, size, weight, capacity, material, etc. All I know for sure is I'm not interested in polymer nor a 1911-style gun at the moment.

    Love to hear some opinions.
     
  2. THE MACHINIST

    THE MACHINIST Member

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    5906

    5906, owned one, it was one of the most accurate guns i ever shot ,it was also the heaviest. i wish i kept it......oh it was a police trade in with novak night sights.
     
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    the best out there is the 952 which will give the Sig 210 a run for it's money. i like the balance of the longer slide/barrel better and the action comes already tuned most of the way
     
  4. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Most of the remaining new metal-frame pistols are in TSW trim. You will pay dearly for a riveted-on, vestigial gadget rail and the word "Tactical" emblazoned on the slide. Used older ones are in abundance. My personal favorite is the 3913.
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    it has been my experience that the TSW guns and Performance Center guns are more than just gussied up versions of their autoloaders.

    their frames and slide are spec'ed differently

    more like a BMW "M", a Benz "AMG" or a Lexus "F"
     
  6. Rob P.

    Rob P. Member

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    Alloy S&W choices are 3913 or 6906. Both are compacts (3913 is single stack 6906 is double stack.) You can get either for under $500. For this price you're looking at used guns but you can find nearly new in box ones for that price too.

    5904, 5906, etc are a full sized versions. Like has been said, they are heavy. The trade off is that they are dead on reliable, like almost all S&W's.

    I daily carry a 6906 in an IWB holster without pain or discomfort. 12+1 is a good feeling.

    I would not daily carry a Performance Center handgun. They are nice, but for daily carry I want something absolutely reliable, trustworthy, TOTALLY factory stock with no modifications or tuning, and "disposable" in the event that I have to use it some day.
     
  7. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    I've owned a few -- sold'em. From my experience, if the grip doesn't fit you, keep looking. If you need the metal Smith, get the one that fits & feels best for you ;)
     
  8. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    3913LS.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    My Favorite

    Hard too find, but I favor the old Smith & Wesson model 39-2 in 9m/m~! ;) :cool:

    FWIW, Best $150 I have ever spent, in my entire lifetime.
     

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  10. 41 magnum fan

    41 magnum fan Member

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    My pick would be the model 39-2.This pistol fits my hand better than any other auto_Other good choices are the 439,539 and 639.
     
  11. roborobb

    roborobb Member

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    SW 1911 commander in Scandium frame and stainless slide. What a beautiful gun! Eats anything you put in it without a burp.
     
  12. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    Is their a budget range ?


    Personally, I'd like a NIB 908 for CCW.

    Randall
     
  13. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    As a range gun, the 5906 would be tough to beat. They're accurate, ergonomic and probably one of the toughest 9mm handguns ever built. You really can't hurt them.
     
  14. broken

    broken Member

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    .....

    ill take my 5904 over any other maker,i just used a electric sander on the back palm swell to make it straight like the .40 caliber smiths.then i stippled the back to a medium sandpaper finish,feels great in the hand,5904/5906 great guns i paid 269.00,got to fish through a box full of police trade ins.good luck.
     
  15. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    Back in the the day (about 1986 or so) I was all about hi-cap and bought IIRC a 459, the 14+1 9mm. Right there in the case were about 10 model 39s. They were beautiful with pretty wood grips, very ergonomic, but they were single stack and that wasn't cool enough for me so I bought the 459 which was a good gun but had a grip like a 2x4. Of course I sold that about 4 or 5 years later to get on board the bus and buy a 2nd Gen Glock 19...which I still have and like.

    But...with hindsight, I wish I had bought one of those beautiful 39s which of course were about 100 cheaper than the 459 as well. Oh the folly of youth. I am quite sure I'd still have that but who knows.
     
  16. Storm

    Storm Member

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    For range and fun I'd recommend the 5906 (higher capacity) or 3906 (single stack) which are full sized guns and all stainless steel. The grip is more slender on the 3906 which might be good depending on hand size. Both guns are outstanding. Being all stainless they will be heavier which isn't a bad thing for the range if the guns will not be carry guns. Also, if you pick up a police trade-in gun the stainless frame will allow you to do more to re-furb the gun, much of it easily done with Scotch Brite pads and steel wool/Brillo pads.

    While many go for the 5906, I think that the 3906 is the real winner here, by a nose, assuming that higher capacity isn't a priority.

    If you have any notions of carry then I'd look at the 3913 or CS9. Either of those guns, especially the 3913 (a classic) would also make a good range gun. The 3913 is an exceptional gun and a very smooth shooter. I'd give it the edge to the SIG 239, and that is a great gun.
     
  17. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    Are the 39s Steel or alloy frame? I was thinking Steel.
     
  18. brin747

    brin747 Member

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    I just picked up a 6906 on Saturday. I had been looking around for one and found it at a local shop for $450 with three factory 12 round mags. A bit pricey but it's in nice shape and I know the 12 round factory mags are expensive. It fits my hand perfectly and from dry firing it points very well. I can't wait to get to the range with it.
     
  19. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Very few S&W model 39's were all steel; most where alloy framed weapons. :scrutiny:

    FootNote* - a total of 927 units were produced in the mid 1950's, but were not
    actually sold until 1966.

    Source: Standard Catalog Of Smith & Wesson 3rd edition, by Jim Supica and
    Richard Nahas
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  20. Anna's Dad

    Anna's Dad Member

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    One of the best things about this thread is that there seems to be a lot of love for a variety of the models. That makes me think that whatever I choose, I'm probably going to be pretty happy.

    I wasn't even aware of the model 39-2, so I'll definitely do a little research on that one.

    As to budget, I don't have a set number, obviously like to get the most bang for my buck but if I fell in love with a particular model, I'd be willing to pay more of a premium if necessary.

    I must say that I have liked the look/feel of some 3913 models I've seen at gun shows in the past. Heck, I wouldn't even mind if it said "Lady Smith" on the side like that beautiful pic posted by Geronimo45! :D

    Thanks for all of the information on the different models so far. I've got so more homework to do, but I really appreciate the education.
     
  21. PX15

    PX15 Member

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    FWIW:

    For those 6906 lovers out there, consider increasing your capacity from a factory 12+1 to 15+1 by using the 5906 (15rd) mag with the S&W grip extender.

    I personally prefer the "feel" of the grip of the 6906 w/the adapter & the 5906 mag over the standard 12+1...

    Just another option.. Three extra rounds is never a bad thing...:)

    Best Wishes,

    Jesse

    [​IMG]
     
  22. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    If you plan on carrying concealed and want a reliable, compact pistol that has ample ammo on board, you could do a lot worse than toting a Smith 6906.
     
  23. sdj

    sdj Member

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    A fine choice; gets my vote, too.
     
  24. Snoogens

    Snoogens Member

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    Purchased a 908 back in Sept for $395 or so...this weapon has been reliable as the sunset with any type ammo shoved into it! Also, it has been very accurate and easy to shoot, due to the heavier frame. As an added bonus, it is simple to clean and maintain. But one thing I feel I must mention that is of importance here is the fact that when buying any Smith and Wesson gun, you will have the added benefit of aftermarket part/accessory availability as well as S&W service, parts and support, which are 2nd to none!!!
     
  25. piranha45

    piranha45 Member

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    I have a 5906. It is a great weapon; awesome trigger, good capacity, rugged as a tank. Very easy to be very accurate with it.
     
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