Tag Archives: S&W

S&W Goes Full Circle in a very Metal way

Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson is one of the oldest American gunmakers, only narrowly bested by Remington who claims a circa 1816 origin. While best known for their revolvers, Smith is also one of the oldest makers of semi-auto pistols in the world, having placed Belgian engineer Charles Philibert Clement’s interesting .35 S&W blowback autoloader into production in 1913. This later morphed into the Model 35, for obvious reasons.

The M1913/M35

Then came the Army’s canceled X100 program in the late 1940s and early 1950s to replace the M1911, which led S&W to release the Model 39 and super-size it (at the request of the Navy in the 1960s) to the Model 59.

Model 39 ad

In 1979, Smith & Wesson began to introduce a better machined and more evolved series of improved 9mm pistols while putting the Models 39 and 59 out to pasture. This saw the carbon steel-framed Model 539 (single stack) and 559 (double stack), the alloy-framed Model 439 and 459, and the stainless steel Model 639 and 659 (see = Reservoir Dogs) arrive on the scene.

Notably, the 459 competed against the Beretta 92 in the Army’s 1980s pistol trials, in sort of a repeat of the old X100 program, although it worked out better for Beretta than Smith.

Smith Wesson third generation “Wondernines” circa 1989

As S&W’s 2nd Gen 9mm pistols became an all-out hit with police forces across the country, Smith further refined their semi-auto pistols and expanded the number of configurations available when they introduced their 3rd Generation line in the late 1980s. In 9mm format, this included the 12 pistols in the compact Model 3900 series, another 21 pistols in the full-sized Model 5900 series, and 9 pistols in the Model 6900 series. Obviously, with some 40 different 9mm semi-autos in their catalog offering a variety of finishes, barrel lengths, magazine capacity, sights, and actions, Smith had a “Wondernine” for every occasion and customer.

Then came plastic.

The “SWock” or S&W Sigma series, debuted in 1994– and later spun off into today’s “value-priced” SD/SVE series– while the M&P line of polymer-framed striker-fired handguns hit the market in 2006.

Smith’s original 2006 ad for the M&P

Smith & Wesson is good about listing to user feedback and in 2017, after getting 10 full years of it on the original M&P series pistols, introduced the M&P M2.0 which upgraded nearly every aspect of polymer pistol.

Today, technically Smith’s 6th generation (or 7th if you count the early Clement guns) of semi-auto pistols in over 109 years, the M2.0 M&Ps are at the top of the company’s food chain when it comes to fully evolved handgun designs.

And, true to form, they have now come full circle by taking the M2.0 M&P9, dropping the polymer frame, and swapping it for one crafted of T6 aluminum. The new M&P9 M2.0 METAL is still striker-fired but is optics-ready and, with a Tungsten Gray Cerakote finish, has a unique aesthetic from America’s oldest pistol maker. Still capable of fitting standard M&P9 compatible holsters and using the same magazines, the gun offers a more rigid feel for those who are fans of the model but don’t love the “whip” of a polymer-framed firearm.

The new S&W M&P9 M2.0 METAL runs a 4.25-inch barrel, for an overall length of 7.4 inches. Weight is 30 ounces, unloaded. By comparison, the standard polymer-framed M&P9 M2.0 with the same sized barrel and magazine runs 24.7 ounces. (Photo: S&W)

More on the move back to METAL in my column at Guns.com.

For those who always wanted a Bull Shark Gray S&W

Smith & Wesson just dropped a new M&P Spec Series gun, an M2.0 Compact, that runs a factory threaded barrel, is red dot-ready, has 23-round mags, and uses a “Bull Shark Gray” scheme.

All this is very anti-S&W-like, and the 9mm doesn’t look that bad.

The M&P Spec Series kit includes an M&P knife that features a 4-inch Tanto-style blade, window breaker, and seat belt cutter. The folder has an overall length of 9 inches. Plus, you get a die-struck M&P Spec Series Challenge Coin. It all comes in a custom-fit case. Oh yes, there’s also the two 23-round 9mm magazines and one flush-fit 15-round magazine as well. (Photo: S&W)

The MSRP on the limited-edition Spec Series Pistol Kit is $799, which is almost double the amount of a standard M&P9 M2.0 Compact, but you don’t get the threads, the shark, the coin, the optics cut (chicks dig optics cuts), the extendos, or the blade for that price.

More details in my column at Guns.com.

You get an optics cut! You get an optics cut! Everyone gets an optics cut!

Smith & Wesson continues with the industry-wide trend towards carry optics by adding new M&P9 M2.0 variants with factory MRD cuts.

The two new pistol variants– the full-sized and Compact M&P9 M2.0– ship complete with Smith’s C.O.R.E. system of seven mounting plates, allowing the user to mount a wide variety of popular micro red dot optics. Tall optics/suppressor-height three-dot sights co-witness through MRDs. A further upgrade is the company’s new M2.0 flat face trigger, a design that S&W says optimizes trigger finger positioning and delivers consistency for more accurate shot placement.

Which has to be a good thing, right?

More in my column at Guns.com.

Ask Yourself One Question…

Smith & Wesson’s large N-frame revolvers are a favorite among handgun hunters, competitive shooters, and classic wheel gun enthusiasts.

With a basis in the old school circa 1908 Hand Ejector First Model “New Century” double-action revolver, the first handgun chambered in .44 S&W Special, this early S-frame morphed during World War I into the Model 1917, chambered in .45 ACP, and a series of similarly beefy descendants such as the Model 27 – the world’s first .357 Magnum – and, the subject of our tale, the hand-filling Model 29.

I recently got to handle these bad boys while I was in the Vault in Minnesota. There is a reason these have been in production for over 60 years.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Or are you happy to see me?

One of the oldest forms of walking around with a concealed handgun, the practice of pocket carry has been around for centuries and is still alive and well today but needs a few tricks to pull off properly.

While owning a gun isn’t for everyone, the prospect of carrying a gun when outside of the home is for an even smaller subset of the population. Keeping with that mantra, toting around a gun in your pocket is really not for everyone. Some will advocate against it, full stop, while others have successfully used the method for years and it is their primary method of carrying.

I weigh the good with the bad, in my column at Guns.com.

Glad Big Blue is getting with 2019

For the past two years, I have probably spent more time with my S&W M&P9 M2.0 4-inch Compact (what a mouthful!) than any other pistol I own.

In all, I’ve dropped more than 4K rounds through it with no issues worth noting and, on most days, it is my EDC in addition to whatever gun I am T&E’ing at the time (yes, I believe in the concept of the New York Reload aka “dressing for success”).

My M2.0 chilling, also, forgive the homage to Alex Colville’s The Pacific. 

I personally think the M2.0 4-inch Compact is a Glock 19 killer as it does everything the G19 can, only slightly better from the factory. With that being said, I am glad Smith finally figured out that they should market an optic-ready model, able to take a variety of seven different red dots, with an MSRP of around $600~.

More in my column at Guns.com

From Hush Puppy to Starsky & Hutch

In the late 1960s, Smith & Wesson started a project to provide Vietnam-deployed SEAL Teams with a modified S&W Model 39 9mm pistol that included a slide lock and threaded barrel for a suppressor as well as a 14+1 magazine capacity, a big jump from the Model 39’s standard 8+1 load.

The gun, intended for NSW use to silence sentries or their dogs, became dubbed the “Hush Puppy.”

Note the chest holster…Hush Puppy inside

Well, by 1971, Smith thought the basic model, sans suppressor-ready features, would make a good gun for LE and the consumer markets and introduced it as the more polished S&W Model 59, which soon saw some serious success in the hands of Disco-era police, including a regular appearance on cop shows of the era.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Stopping in at the Navajo Lodge, 80 years ago

In April 1940, Russell Lee, a 37-year-old prolific shutterbug who worked for the government’s Farm Security Administration, crisscrossing the country to document American life, stopped in at the Navajo Lodge along U.S. 60 in Datil, New Mexico.

Pretty cool looking place. A rustic relic of the Old West filled with Navajo rugs, trophies, furniture crafted long before the days of pressboard IKEA junk, and guns. Oh, the guns.

Speaking of guns…check out this gun rack.

How many can you name?

More details after the jump to my column at Guns.com.

Smack talk, 357 edition

In the summer 1988 issue of American Handgunner magazine, Ruger hyped their then-new GP100 revolver as being thicker and beefier than “an ordinary .357,” showing their frame next to that of a Smith & Wesson Model 686. The argument being that thickness= strength.

Smith, on the other hand, fired back in the next issue, complete with a Ruger-shaped burger including the company’s distinctive grip panels.

Sonny Crockett, is that you?

In the early 1980s, S&W was producing a series of “second-generation” semi-auto 9mm pistols that followed up on the company’s earlier Model 39— itself the first non-European designed 9mm produced for the U.S. market– and Model 59 offerings. These included 8+1 shot single stacks like the S&W 439/639 and the “Wondernine” 14+1 double stack S&W 459/659.

These double-action models, with alloy frames, were light and, using a slide-mounted safety/decocker, safe for new users. As such, they proved popular with not only consumers but also law enforcement agencies looking to upgrade from .38/.357-caliber wheel guns.

However, there were no comparable .45ACP pistols in the lineup.

Enter the S&W Model 645, baby.

With a production run that only lasted for two seasons of Miami Vice, the S&W Model 645 is a solid classic.

More in my column at Guns.com

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