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Old 10-04-2012, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bruno2 View Post
I've not seen much mention of mod.5943? does anyone have A opinion or information? + or -?

Mechanically, the 5943 offers all of the same features as any of the other full size, original double column 9mm’s that were part of the 3rd Generation line except for their trigger mechanism and the components related to it.

You probably already know this but the base gun in the line (the 5906) was what was called (in the 1990’s as other options became available and a need for differentiation became necessary) a “Traditional Double Action” pistol. This was because it offered a long and relatively heavy, revolver-like “Double Action” trigger stroke for its first shot when starting from the hammer down position. This was followed by a shorter “Single Action” stroke for every additional shot fired from the self-cocked (function-cocked) hammer position and before the gun was somehow “decocked” to the hammer down position. That “decocking” was generally accomplished by the shooter’s manipulation of a combination manual safety/decocking lever that was mounted on the rear side(s) of the slide. This functioning had been “traditional” within the Smith & Wesson line since the introduction of their single column Model 39 in the early 1950’s.

The 5943 was a departure from that “tradition” in that it offered a shorter but still somewhat revolver-like stroke for not just the first shot, when its hammer was carried in a down but fireable condition (a somewhat different condition than the 5906 in that it was not all the way forward as it was in the 5906) but for every shot that followed. The 5943 also lacked that “combination manual safety/decocking lever” that “was mounted on the rear side(s) of the slide” on the 5906 and other Traditional Double Action guns in the 3rd Gen Series because it wasn’t necessary. With the 5943 in its fireable condition, you just pulled the trigger when you wished to shoot the gun and you stopped pulling the trigger when you were done. There was no need to “decock” and just like the revolvers of that era, there was no manual safety.

The lack of that “combination manual safety/decocking lever” is why “RufusG” somewhat misleadingly states that the gun is “narrower than a 5906”. For without its user-operated pads or paddles on each side of the slide (protruding substantially from each side of the slide), the 5943’s maximum width (at that point only) is less but at every other measurable point along the two pistols’ surfaces, they are identical in regard to thickness. So the grip frames are the same and the holster choices are the same (except for allowances in over-the-hammer retention strap lengths that might be required in some holster designs because of differences in hammer profiles, their hammers'“at rest” positioning, and the rearmost slide lengths between the two guns).

Note that I am not saying that “RufusG” is intentionally attempting to mislead or misdirect you in this regard. He is not; for in fact, he is correct. The maximum width of the 5906 is greater than the 5943 but only at one, very localized position. It is not a bigger or bulkier gun and that is all that I am pointing out.

It should also be noted that “RufusG” is very correct about the aluminum-framed 5943 being “lighter than a 5946” (its stainless steel-framed counterpart). As a full size carry gun, it’s a dream. And while recoil management and tolerance by the shooter will always be subjective (what one person barely notices can be completely unacceptable to another), I don’t think that there is much to complain about here. Admittedly, I shot one very regularly over a several year period so some people would say that I just got used to it. But personally, I don’t think that there was much to get used to in terms of increased recoil due to the lighter weight.

I also wouldn’t worry about the gun’s projected lifespan because of that construction either. Certainly as a machined and assembled piece of “machinery”, anything can fail but again, after having shot a number of aluminum-framed 3rd Gen guns extensively for a number of years, I don’t think that there is anything to worry about regardless of some of the things I have seen posted in other threads on this site.

To me, your biggest concerns here would be if it fits your hand, if you like the way it feels, and if you like the way the trigger operates.

For a double column gun, it is not exceptionally big or clumsy but you still have to be able to wrap your hand around it and reach the trigger in manner that will allow you to operate it correctly. You need to check for that.

As to “feel”, the gun is normally found with a curved backstrap, one-piece grip (which is probably the better shape for a pivoting trigger DAO gun) but the factory's straight backstrap version will also fit and might work better for you, depending on what you prefer. Also fit-able to the gun are the now-discontinued but still somewhat available Uncle Mike’s three-piece grips with a backstrap that’s sorta half-way, in-between the two Smith types. Readily available are the Hogues, which, if you have a big hand are significantly larger than either the factory or the Uncle Mike’s versions. So it appears that there are a number of things you can do in an effort to tailor the gun to your hand.

The main thing however is the actual operation of the trigger. As a gun sold by the factory as being “Double Action Only” it is obviously “Double Action” for every shot but its travel is much shorter than the first shot on the “Traditional” model I described above and its overall movement is not at all like the follow up Single Action shots on those guns either. Does that make it bad? Of course not. And if you look at some of the threads on this Board here dealing with Pistols, you will see that a lot of people actually prefer it over the “Traditional” guns. It’s just “different” and you simply need to know that going in and make up your own mind in regard to whether or not you like it or if it is “right” for you.

That said, I hope this helps and I hope that it is “right for you” for as both “RufusG” and “snw19_357” correctly point out, it was a “Neat pistol…” for which “You could make an argument that it was the overall best 3rd gen double stack…” and that “…there just aren't a bunch of them floating around” because it “…was only cataloged for the year when they made a bunch of different model 3rd gens…”.
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