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Old 02-08-2012, 11:00 AM
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Default US Customs Service 686 CS-1

This is not meant to be a definitive thread on the US Customs Service 686 CS-1 revolvers. This thread is a distillation of information I have gathered on this, and other boards. As well as from folks who were there and know about these fine revolvers.

A great deal of the information in this thread was provided by SmithNut, in threads on this very board. I cannot locate these threads, many from 2003 to 2006. Sadly, one of the last exchanges I had with SmithNut was when I posted that the older CS-1 threads were "pruned". SmithNut declared that to be "misinformation". In any case, I cannot locate them. If anyone can, please provide links to them in this thread.

If you have additional or conflicting information, by all means please post it here. If you were a Customs Service officer or employee please join in the conversation and relate what you know.

The information I am posting is from hundreds of pages of 686 CS-1 threads I printed at the time, and filed over the years. It is only from the public posts. Not PM's or Emails.

Thank you SmithNut for all of your expertise that you so willingly shared with us and your patience in answering our endless and sometimes repetitive questions about the CS-1 revolvers.

Lets start by defining what a 686 CS-1 is.....and is not. The 686 CS-1's were NOT Performance Center guns. The Performance Center had not been created yet when the CS-1's were produced. The 686 CS-1's were factory guns made to the US Customs Service specifications.

Made in 1988 according to the SCSW, 1987 to 1992 according to various other sources, the 686 CS-1's were 6-shot 686's made in three barrel lengths, 3 inch - 4 inch and a small quantity (unknown how many) of 6 inch guns for the Customs Service pistol team.

The 686 CS-1's were finished in a dull gray bead blast finish with flash chromed hammers and triggers. They featured a narrow black blade front sight (1/10) and plain black rear sight. The firing pin was mounted on the hammer. All three barrel lengths featured a round butt grip frame. All the 686 CS-1's delivered to the Customs Service were shipped with Pachmayr RB Compact grips. More on the grips in later posts.

Last edited by 18DAI; 02-08-2012 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:16 AM
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Default THE 686 CS-1 GRIPS

Many threads asking about the CS-1 grips were posted over the last decade.

SmithNut told us that the actual service guns were delivered to the Customs Service wearing Pachmayr Compact round butt grips with a "window" in the bottom.

These Pacmyar grips were created specifically to meet the Customs Service contract - which stated that the installed grips must allow viewing of the revolvers serial number.

Early production Pacmayr compacts did not have medallions - BUT - evidently SOME later examples DID.

Overun 686 CS-1 guns were sold directly to distributors wearing wooden magna style round butt grips with S&W medallions.

I have yet to locate a copy of the Customs Service request for proposal. I can tell you that it called for specific demonstrable accuracy and durability - above what the standard production 686's delivered.

So the rumor of these CS-1's being "better made" and having "DX" accuracy is likely true. Periodically a 686 CS-1 was selected from a production lot and required to demonstrate the durability and accuracy requirement. If it failed to do so it was sent back to S&W and a subsequent example pulled and subjected to the same test. We are told that there were few that failed - but there were a few examples.

More in a bit....
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:50 AM
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Interesting.
What is the difference between. CS-1 "M" vs CS-1 "2M" ?
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:38 PM
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Default Markings and boxes

There has been alot of discussion over the years about the markings on the Customs service 686 CS-1's. Some of it has been incorrect.Obviously all the Custom Service CS-1's have the "CS-1" stamp inside the crane area. There has been much confusion and conflicting info on the "M" and "2M" stamps.

SmithNut told us back around 2005-6 the following info.

The production of the 686 CS-1 occured during the recall for the L-frame hammer nose bushing. At that time there were over 4500 686 CS-1's in service. S&W had incorporated the recall modification in production. So some of the 4500 in service revolvers were modified, and some were not.

The US Customs Service decided to do the recall modifications on the in service guns at its Glynco GA facility. S&W sent four factory armorers to Glynco GA. All the in service CS-1 revolvers were run through the inspection. Those that were found to already have the modifications were given a "2" stamp to the left of the "M" stamp. The unmodified guns were corrected and given the "M" stamp.

For those interested in whether their 686 CS-1 saw actual service, without lettering it, SmithNut suggested the following. If your 686 CS-1 has a "2M" stamp and is wearing Pacmayr Compacts it is a pretty good bet that yours is actually one of the CS-1's that saw service. SmithNut also suggested lettering the gun for verification of same.

Boxes - I have seen much about the 686 CS-1 boxes. Yes, it appears that the majority of the blue folding cardboard boxes with the white lettered "revolver" on the cover, that the 686 CS-1's shipped in, were indeed destroyed. However not ALL of the boxes were destroyed. Many were not. The two 3 inch 686 CS-1's I own/had both came in their original boxes. No tools were included in either. Both had the original warranty cards and owners manuals. The first one had a small red sticker on the top of the box. Handwritten in black ink was "Treasury $421". Both Julian dates were for mid 1988.

If you have the matching box for your CS-1 check your Julian date code under "spec order" and let us know what yours says.

It is possible that S&W made new boxes for the 2500 used 686 CS-1s that were at the factory under the Sales Exchange program - and subsequently released directly to distributors, when Customs transitioned to the S&W 6946.

Of course all the overuns were shipped with CS-1 markings and in brand new boxes as well.

We will tackle numbers produced next.......
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:25 PM
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Default Numbers of 686 CS-1's produced

This is seemingly a moving goal post situation. Numbers from one source conflict with other numbers provided from very reliable sources. I will lay out what numbers have been provided. Perhaps someone with access to the US Customs Service records will reconcile these figures from the official records.

In a 2005 post the total number of 686 CS-1s, in all barrel lengths, was quoted as 7,850. This number was attributed to the factory historian Mr Roy Jinks. The poster claimed to have lettered his 3 inch CS-1.

In another 2005 post SmithNut tells us that the number of 3 inch 686 CS-1s made was 3,281 and 5,419 of the 4 inch CS-1. He goes on to say that the CS-1 configuration was quite popular and S&W made it available to other agencies as well as the public. S&W produced 3200 additional 686 CS-1s - 1600 3 inch and 1600 4 inch and released them directly into public distribution.

So not counting the 3200 "overun" guns released, there is a discrepancy of 850 between the Jinks letter number and the 8700 number.

As to surviving original "issued" CS-1s, SmithNut again provides much interesting information. Approximately 2500 686 CS-1s were released through the Sales Exchange Program before then Attorney General Janet Reno ended that program and ordered federally owned service weapons destroyed rather than sold. Additionally some 686 CS-1s were returned to the factory for service/repair and were released into distribution rather than being returned to the Customs Service.

It is an educated guess that perhaps this account for the relatively frequent appearance of 686 CS-1s bearing the 2M stamp and still having original matching boxes.

So counting the 3200 overuns and the 2500 used CS-1s sold to distributors we have a pool of approximately 5700 potential 686 CS-1's out there.

I've no idea how many 6 inch 686 CS-1s were produced for the pistol team. Perhaps a SWCA member can post some info or a picture here for us.

Last edited by 18DAI; 02-08-2012 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:48 PM
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I assume there is no mention of the CS-3 on purpose here.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:03 PM
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Great info!
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:11 PM
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Well....this thread pretty much is a......reprint of 686 CS-1 information. I don't know very much about the CS-3. It was similar to the CS-1 in appearance. I do know that the majority of CS-3s were made and shipped to Wischo, a European distributor.

I'm told they did not sell well and a number of them were re-imported to S&W who sold them to US distributors, complete with the import marks below the barrel. Some had "Security Special" laser etched on the sideplate.

The CS-3 does not seem to command the same interest or price point as the CS-1.

There was a lot of 3 inch 686-4's that APPEAR to be CS-1's but are not. They are grey bead blasted with 3 inch barrels, a thin black blade front sight with no insert, new style angled thumb latch, hammer mounted firing pin and traditional cylinder stop.

I'm told these were made up in a batch of between 500 and 1500 and may have utilized left over CS-1 barrels. Product code is 104237 special order 0300. Serial prefix on the one I observed was CBB. One collector says they were done for Lew Horton. If anyone has more info on these I am interested. Regards 18DAI

One other note: In several of the old CS-1 threads a member here named kuglespritz, a former customs service officer, posted very interesting information concerning how these revolvers were utilized. He also posted a few times looking for his old service revolver - a 4 inch 686 CS-1 serial number BAC 0456. If anyone knows where this revolver is please contact kuglespritz. He was a SWCA member. I'm sure they must have some way to get a message to him. Thanks!
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:57 PM
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In 1989 I purchased a CS-1 3inch from a local gunshop here. It appeared to be brand new and was in the blue and white cardboard box. It had regular service stocks on it and had a couple of the round "dot" stickers stuck to the gun and grips. If I remember correctly, it did have all the paperwork and the tools in the box. The gun shop had several of them in 3 and 4 inch lengths. I do remember it wasn't cheap, I think I paid about $350.00 for it then. The reason I bought it was I had seen a very good article in a gun magazine about these revolvers, I think it was written by David Steele. I had it for a very short time and sold it to a co-worker who was here while his wife attended law school and they moved back to their home state shortly after I sold it to him. I have had a few since then but that was the only one I bought "new" with all the tools and box. If I knew what they would be bringing today I would have kept all of them.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:54 PM
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I have two. Both with known history to day one. I am the 3rd owner of each. The first I bought from a LEO who got it from his brother who was with the Customs office, it came in a brown box, with compact Pachmayers with medallions. Second came from a member here who got it from a friend NEW at a gun shop. It wears Magna's. Both have the 2M stamp.
I PLAN on getting them both lettered but guns, ammo, and grips keep pushing them back.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:23 PM
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18DAI, thanks for compiling and posting this information!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
...If you have the matching box for your CS-1 check your Julian date code under "spec order" and let us know what yours says.
8062.

has "2 M" stamp, box includes tools. shipped 3/4/88
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:07 PM
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Mine has original box "2M" pach compac with window and medallions.
Spec order # 8251 product code 104228
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:10 PM
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I purchased mine in 1993 for $285.00. It came with the Pachmeyer grips (I think, as I replaced them years ago.) It is marked under the yoke CS-1 first line, second line is a lone numeral 2, and the third line is MOD. 686. Under the grips on the left side is a large letter S and a small round paper sticker with "33" printed on it. On the right side is a letter V in a circle and a triangle with a 1 inside and partially stamped over that is a heart shape with a 6 inside. The SN is AYU09XX which if I am reading the S&W catalog correctly puts it in 1987. It came in the blue and white S&W box with the SN printed on it, Product Code 104229 and Julian date of 9229. The upper left corner of the label has a 2 in a circle and there is a word "Features" with a letter M above. The revolver came with Millett sights which had never been zeroed as I could not raise the rear sight enough to get it to POA. I had to take quite a bit off the top of the front sight. It shoots like a dream and I carried it on duty until our dept dictated semi-autos.

If anyone cares to comment I am curious as to the Julian date and also the Millett sights. Thanks...........keep shootin'
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:27 PM
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Of the two I have the only thing they have in common, under the grips, is they are both stamped 7843 on right side.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:00 AM
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I don't have the original receipt at my fingertips right now, but this is what I do have: Original price of the pistol was $369.00; BNIB is a MOD.686 marked CS 1. The inside frame is also marked 2 M, with the "2" being distinctly stamped deeper than the others. The pistol came with a 3" barrel and Pachmayr/Compac grips with medallion and cut out for serial number viewing. Inside the grips, appear the marking SK- 2 and WR below the "2".
The original blue cardboard box in mint condition with label in tact. 002 is the Model No.Serial No. is AYU0741, Product Code is 104228 and Spec. Ord. is 8266. Features is M. In the box is a Safety and Instruction manual (generic) marked 4/87 and a Warranty sheet marked 03342 REV 2/87. Tools included are a rod, brass brush, cleaning swag and a neat Sight Adjustment key.
My pistol is BNIB with a very faint turn line from factory test firing and probably less than twenty dry firings. The sights are standard S&W adjustables with black black rear blade and pinned black ramp front sight blade. Finish is frosted stainless.
I read about the CS 1 series way back when in an issue of Combat Handguns. That article included photos and specs on what made this series what it was. I'll locate that article as well as the bill of sale and get back...
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Last edited by demkofour; 02-13-2012 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Added information...
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:37 AM
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As a former Special Agent and firearms instructor for U.S. Customs, I think I can lend a little light on the subject of the CS-1.

The CS-1 was the brain child of Mr. Mark Humphyville. He was hired as a firearms expert by former Commissioner William Von Raab. Mr. Humphyville had come from the Aberdeen Proving Ground staff. He had no law enforcement experience, and very little handgun expertise.

Mr. Humphyville belived that the .357 Magnum cartridge was the best "one shot stop" capable handgun. And without any law enforcement experience, he had no idea what it took to carry or conceal a large frame .357 Magnum revolver, in the line of duty.

Mr. Humphyville set the specs for the new revolver as it had to have a 3 or 4 inch barrel, and have a useable service life of 10,000 rounds of duty .357 Magnum ammunition. S&W put their bid in with their standard 686 revolver in both barrel lengths. Mr. Humphyville was also a national match high power rifle shooter, so when he looked at the factory specs for the 686, he felt the tolerences were not close enough, and drew up specs with much closer tolerences. He did this, believing that the CS-1 would be more accurate, like a match grade rifle. S&W developed the gun, and the contract was awarded to them.

At the time the guns came to the field, the Customs Service was using a 60 round qualification course. Most agents who carried revolvers, were carrying the .38 Spl +P+ Treasury round, instead of full house .357 Magnums. (The Treasury round preformed very well, and produced much less recoil and muzzle flash.)

When the CS-1's came into the field they were looked at as being too big and heavy for many agents to conceal or carry. Since most of the Special Agents work is done in plain clothes, the large, heavy revolver was just not a welcome sight. At the time the Customs Service policy allowed agents to carry personally owned handguns. So many agents opted to carry personally owned weapons.

Then came the malfunction problems. With many agents using the Treasury .38 round in their CS-1s, a new and serious malfunction began to arise. With the closer tolerences that Mr. Humphyville designed, the unburned powder from the Treasury load, would build up under the extractor star during firing. This would cause the extractor star to begin to push out from the cylinder face, and cause the cases to press against the frame. This caused the CS-1 to first have a very heavy trigger pull, and then eventually lock up completely. I have seen this happen many times during the 60 round qualification course. Causing agents to have to stop, and remove the unburned powder from under the extractor star, before being able to complete the 60 round qualification course.

This was unacceptable is a duty handgun. The CS-1 were recalled for repair to the Customs Firearms Program staff located at Ft. Benning, GA. The guns were modified, and sent back out to the field. However most of the agents chose not to carry the CS-1 due to it's large size, and reputation for not being reliable. (The recall seemed to cure the malfuction, but by then, most agents did not want to rely their lives on one.)

Approximately two years after it was introduced, the CS-1 was replaced by the S&W 6906 9mm pistol for all Special Agents.

To my knowledge, there were approximately 3,000 3 inch and 3,500 4 inch guns purchased on the contract by U.S. Customs. After the guns were replaced in the field, there were many sold during the exchange sale program. Lew Horton purchased many of them, and my 3 inch gun was one of them.

The Customs Service never did allow their Agents or Inspector to purchase the guns directly from them. Many Agents who wanted their guns, placed their business cards in the gun, when it was returned for exchange sale. Very few ever got the chance to buy their gun from a distributor.

After Janet Reno stopped the exchange sale program, many for the guns were sent overseas to some friendly governments, as part of foreign aid packages. Some were modified to only shoot Simunition cartridges, and were sent to the field offices for use in training. Alas, I do believe many were destroyed by the Clinton administration.

I enjoy my CS-1, and it was one that was recalled and is now a reliable handgun in my collection.

Last edited by vegasgunhand; 02-13-2012 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:20 PM
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Dingle D**n.........thanks vegasgunhand, good writeup. It also explains a problem I had when I carried my CS-1 on duty. As noted above I carried mine for a period before my department specified semi-autos. On one occassion of a night qualification my CS-1 started to get very difficult in DA. I had to finish the course by cocking for SA for every shot and I came close to not qualifying. When I got it home and checked it out there was unburned powder under the ejector star. After that, I kept it scrupulesly clean and never had the problem again but I would wipe under that star every chance I got. Still a great gun and I wouldn't consider parting with mine. Keep shootin'
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:55 PM
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I bought one from an L.E. on my department for $300. He didn't know what it was and neither did I. I traded it for a GSG .22
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:55 PM
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I would be very surprised if any more than 2,000 ever got sold on the exchange sale to the public. They are really pretty rare.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:10 AM
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Default Production Question

So; I got my used 3" CS-1 in January. I finally sat down and read all of these posts tonight. Before I post my question, here are some answers as requested by 18DAI: 686 CS-1, 3" barrel in blue/white box. Product code 104228, Julian date (Spec. Ord) 6307. Serial prefix is ANE. My revolver came with the box, standard 686 manual, warranty card and cleaning kit. The crane shows CS1 and in smaller letters Mod 686 below. On the yoke (I think I'm using the correct termnology) there appears to be the alpha/numeric X6735 stamped at the factory. Just above that - upside down and looking like a late engraving/roll mark is the number 813. No M or 2 visiable. The gun came in standard wood w/medalion Magna grips.

My question - should the Pachmayr grips been on the gun or included in the sale? I was going to buy new ones to make it period correct. However, if this gun didn't have the Pachmayr grips when it was shipped from the factory; I'll use the money towards a set of Ahrends retro combat grips.

Any feedback would be appreciated!!!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:21 AM
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Default CS1 in Vienna

Hello to all CS1 Owners!

I bought this Gun a few Weeks ago from a Gunsmith in Vienna(Austria). #BAU1000, Product Code 104228, Spec Ord.:0074. I am not sure, is this a Overrun or a real Customs Service Gun?Next Month it comes to a Refinishing, than it looks Brand New.Here some Pics:




Last edited by Frangible; 09-26-2012 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:02 AM
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My LNIB CS-1 three inch is 2M and is in orignal factory box with manual and warranty card. Wood magna grips are on the gun.

I dont see how it was in service since I bought it NIB at the local store.

The action SEEMS to be MUCH, MUCH better than on any factory revolver I ever owned. MANY people value 3 inch CS'1 revolvers not for the fact that they are rare, but because they EXCELENT guns to shoot and carry.

Last edited by MP1518; 09-26-2012 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:37 AM
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I ordered the 4" version from Bill Hicks, a distributor that I believe is in MN. Had it shipped to a local FFL here in WV. It was nib with magnas and round butt. Serial was AZB 7299. Sold it a few years later, dang it!
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:33 PM
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I remember ads for these in Shotgun News years ago.
Wish I had bought one but had no available gun cash at the time.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:57 PM
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I really miss the CS-1 I had & later sold off..
It was a great shooter & carry piece for an L frame..
Found a old picture of it & had to share it..
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:57 AM
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I inherited a 3" CS-1 with the 2-M stamp several years ago. It came with the box and the following information;
serial #: aywoxxx
product code#: 104228
Spec Ord#: 8063
Up above where it says Model No. in the top left corner of the label, it has 893.
The box is in great condition and come with the wax paper and generic S&W safety and instruction manual.
If anyone is still following this thread and could tell me if this was a service-used/issued revolver, it'd be greatly appreciated.
It also has the medallion RB grips.

Last edited by Grousehawker; 03-30-2013 at 03:17 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grousehawker View Post
I inherited a 3" CS-1 with the 2-M stamp several years ago. It came with the box and the following information;
serial #: aywoxxx
product code#: 104228
Spec Ord#: 8063
Up above where it says Model No. in the top left corner of the label, it has 893.
The box is in great condition and come with the wax paper and generic S&W safety and instruction manual.
If anyone is still following this thread and could tell me if this was a service-used/issued revolver, it'd be greatly appreciated.
It also has the medallion RB grips.

Only way to tell where it was sent is with a letter from S&W. However since you have the matching box it is probably 99% that it was a overrun gun. The ones that were sent to the Custom Service Armory in Georgia traveled a long ways before they were finally released to the public.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:05 PM
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What was the "fix" for the unburned powder under the extractor star? Did the malfunctions only occur with the "Treasury" load? Or was it a general problem for all loads shot?
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:24 PM
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i have a 4"with box and magna's...excellent information here!
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:47 AM
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My 3in CS-1 factory letters to 1986, shipped to Glynco. It has a serial number prefix of ANA. which as I understand it, also comes back to 1986. My factory letter indicates it was shipped with Hogue grips. They would have to be wood? since Hogue did not make the "goodyear" type grips back then. I got it in 1997. Traded a 2in model 10 and $50 for it. The gun shop owner and I did not know that it was anything "special" at the time. I tried to trade it for a 4in 686 a few years later and was told by one of the biggest/oldest gun dealers in my area that "Smith and Wesson never made a 3in 686". He told me it was cut down and would not trade with me at all. I was not happy and never went back to his shop...but I did do the research and turns out he did me a big favor!
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by possumdog View Post
My 3in CS-1 factory letters to 1986, shipped to Glynco. It has a serial number prefix of ANA. which as I understand it, also comes back to 1986. My factory letter indicates it was shipped with Hogue grips. They would have to be wood? since Hogue did not make the "goodyear" type grips back then. I got it in 1997. Traded a 2in model 10 and $50 for it. The gun shop owner and I did not know that it was anything "special" at the time. I tried to trade it for a 4in 686 a few years later and was told by one of the biggest/oldest gun dealers in my area that "Smith and Wesson never made a 3in 686". He told me it was cut down and would not trade with me at all. I was not happy and never went back to his shop...but I did do the research and turns out he did me a big favor!
Interesting. I have 2 CS-1's. One is a BAU, and one is a AYW. Looks like they made the 3281 of these in different production runs.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:43 AM
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Factory letter...the second paragraph is interesting. Vague description of the grips that came with it.

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Old 03-31-2013, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jughed440 View Post
Factory letter...the second paragraph is interesting. Vague description of the grips that came with it.

Hmmmmmmm. Your AYD, and my AYW were delivered to civilian shops. My later BAU was delivered to Customs Service.

So instead of the LEO's getting their guns and the remainder going to civilians, with this it was the opposite?
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:19 PM
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Hmmmmmmm. Your AYD, and my AYW were delivered to civilian shops. My later BAU was delivered to Customs Service.

So instead of the LEO's getting their guns and the remainder going to civilians, with this it was the opposite?
Hmmm is right...Good question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
...As to surviving original "issued" CS-1s, SmithNut again provides much interesting information. Approximately 2500 686 CS-1s were released through the Sales Exchange Program before then Attorney General Janet Reno ended that program and ordered federally owned service weapons destroyed rather than sold. Additionally some 686 CS-1s were returned to the factory for service/repair and were released into distribution rather than being returned to the Customs Service.

It is an educated guess that perhaps this account for the relatively frequent appearance of 686 CS-1s bearing the 2M stamp and still having original matching boxes.
maybe mine could be part of that group (???)...and I noticed that Grousehawker's (post # 26), with a AYW prefix, was shipped the day after.

Last edited by jughed440; 03-31-2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:42 PM
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Guys, I have absolutely no technical knowledge to contribute to this particular thread. I'd just like to say "thanks" for the enormous amount of fascinating info posted here about this S&W service revolver. Despite being a fan of the service revolver, and owning a few damned good ones myself, I never knew S&W built them to custom TOLERANCES, let alone variations in stocks/grips, sights, hammers/triggers, and barrel length. Now I find myself wanting a CS-1........
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:39 PM
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This thread impelled me to search my notes on my sole 4" CS-1. I found a notation quoting Roy Jinks, taken either from an old Forum post or Journal article, that 3,281 3" and 5,419 4" models were produced (with some CS-2 and CS-3 variations), and another FWIW notation (non-referenced) that approximately 950 were released for commercial sales.

For the data-collectors: my sample, s.n. ANC 88xx, 686-1, is a standard matte-finished 4" round-butt CS-1 with a pinned black Baughman front blade, black rear sight blade, and RB walnut grips.The box label reads 104229, SO 6164, and a Julian date of June 13, 1986. I purchased it in January 1987 from the local factory S&W distributor/GS.

There is another story buried somewhere in the Forum archives recounting that a great number of the US Customs withdrawn-inventory went to the crushers and welding torches during Slick Willy's administration, as referred in the above posts by the USCS agent that carried them.

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Old 04-01-2013, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by vegasgunhand View Post
When the CS-1's came into the field they were looked at as being too big and heavy for many agents to conceal or carry. Since most of the Special Agents work is done in plain clothes, the large, heavy revolver was just not a welcome sight. At the time the Customs Service policy allowed agents to carry personally owned handguns. So many agents opted to carry personally owned weapons.
What weapons did agents use instead of the CS-1s?
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:17 PM
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jughed440 when I began this thread SmithNut was not present. I am glad to see that he has returned to the board. I started this thread because at the time, there were many questions about CS1 revolvers and little in the way of answers provided. As I stated previously, I provided ONLY information from past posts/threads that was no longer available. No personal correspondence or Emails.

SmithNut is the expert on the CS1 revolvers, as well as almost all things S&W. I am but a lowly end user who accumulates revolvers.

Hopefully SmithNut will see your questions and provide better information than I am able. Regards 18DAI
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:20 PM
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Default Serial numbers...............

It scares me when someone labels me as an expert... makes it so they might think I know something.... big stretch. 18DA1, thank you for keeping the old info alive with this post, appreciate your efforts.

The CS-1 was a fascination to me when they were first hitting the streets, made possible through the "Sales Exchange" program that the US government ran back then. That practice was terminated by Ms. Reno during the Clinton administration, as I was told by folks at Glynco back when I was looking for info on this model.

When they came out I started out doing research for an article that I drafted but never published, so my info is a tad dated as it was assembled in the late 1994, early 1995 timeframe.

A general comment about serial numbers..... When S&W went to the new 3Alpha4Numeric numbering system they migrated all production to this methodology. With rare exception, reserved serial number blocks are not seen outside of the Performance Center runs. This means that you will see guns in a specific shipment with numbers that may not even be close to each other as they are assigned somewhere in the production run and may not necessarily be consistent within a model, frame size, etc., You may find a 3Alpha4Numeric number for say a M36, with the next number being assigned to a M5906, or some other permutation. Again, this is a general statement, with standard production guns I'm sure there are some reserved blocks assigned to specific production guns, but it's not often seen.

The reason I mention this is due to the questions about the CS-1 serial number questions above need to be considered with respect to how the factory assign s/n's (see above paragraph).

In my limited research back in 94/95, I saw many s/n prefixes on some of the guns my local dealer(s) got, with no specific pattern. I found one of my note files with some of the guns I inspected in the NW and location where they shipped are noted below:

Serial Number Brl.

BAU1002 3”

Shipped to US Customs
Glynco, GA
8-17-88
Factory records show 3”, RB
------------------------------
ANE6585 3”
Shipped to Joe Parker, Director
US Customs
Glynco, GA
10-14-86
Factory records show 3”, RB
------------------------------
AWP2235 3”
Originally shipped from factory July, 1987 (to Customs)
Returned to factory March, 1988
Shipped to Ellett Brothers
Cape Bend, S. Carolina
May, 1988
-----------------------------
AYD4957 4”
Shipped to Accu Sports
Ohio
Shipped 12-18-87
Factory records show 4”, RB
-----------------------------
BAU1106
Shipped to US Customs
Glynco, GA
9-24-88
Factory records show 3”, RB
-----------------------------
AVE9293
Shipped to Joe Parker, Director
US Customs
Glynco, GA
10-14-86
Factory records show 3”, RB
-----------------------------
BAB8029
Shipped to US Customs
Glynco, GA
3-15-88
Factory records show 3”, RB

As you can see from the limited sample above, the ship dates of the ones we saw initially up here were scattered in the 86/88 timeframe, and serial number prefixes included ANE, AVE, AWP, AYD, BAU, BAB...... all over the place as I would expect given the s/n assignment methodology the factory was/is using since converting around 1980 to this system.

By no means is this definitive, but it's indicative of what I think you'll find with the CS-1 gun serial numbers out there.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:48 PM
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Thank you SmithNut for the education you provided ALL OF US on these fine revolvers. Were it not for you putting up with our endless questions, I'd have missed out on this fine 686 variant.

As always, I have one more CS1 question.

Has anyone a copy, or has anyone read the actual US Customs service requirements for accuracy and durability required of these 686 CS1 variants? Thanks! Regards 18DAI
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SmithNut View Post
It scares me when someone labels me as an expert... makes it so they might think I know something.... big stretch. 18DA1, thank you for keeping the old info alive with this post, appreciate your efforts.

The CS-1 was a fascination to me when they were first hitting the streets, made possible through the "Sales Exchange" program that the US government ran back then. That practice was terminated by Ms. Reno during the Clinton administration, as I was told by folks at Glynco back when I was looking for info on this model.

When they came out I started out doing research for an article that I drafted but never published, so my info is a tad dated as it was assembled in the late 1994, early 1995 timeframe.

A general comment about serial numbers..... When S&W went to the new 3Alpha4Numeric numbering system they migrated all production to this methodology. With rare exception, reserved serial number blocks are not seen outside of the Performance Center runs. This means that you will see guns in a specific shipment with numbers that may not even be close to each other as they are assigned somewhere in the production run and may not necessarily be consistent within a model, frame size, etc., You may find a 3Alpha4Numeric number for say a M36, with the next number being assigned to a M5906, or some other permutation. Again, this is a general statement, with standard production guns I'm sure there are some reserved blocks assigned to specific production guns, but it's not often seen.

The reason I mention this is due to the questions about the CS-1 serial number questions above need to be considered with respect to how the factory assign s/n's (see above paragraph).

In my limited research back in 94/95, I saw many s/n prefixes on some of the guns my local dealer(s) got, with no specific pattern. I found one of my note files with some of the guns I inspected in the NW and location where they shipped are noted below:

Serial Number Brl.

BAU1002 3”

Shipped to US Customs
Glynco, GA
8-17-88
Factory records show 3”, RB
------------------------------
ANE6585 3”
Shipped to Joe Parker, Director
US Customs
Glynco, GA
10-14-86
Factory records show 3”, RB
------------------------------
AWP2235 3”
Originally shipped from factory July, 1987 (to Customs)
Returned to factory March, 1988
Shipped to Ellett Brothers
Cape Bend, S. Carolina
May, 1988
-----------------------------
AYD4957 4”
Shipped to Accu Sports
Ohio
Shipped 12-18-87
Factory records show 4”, RB
-----------------------------
BAU1106
Shipped to US Customs
Glynco, GA
9-24-88
Factory records show 3”, RB
-----------------------------
AVE9293
Shipped to Joe Parker, Director
US Customs
Glynco, GA
10-14-86
Factory records show 3”, RB
-----------------------------
BAB8029
Shipped to US Customs
Glynco, GA
3-15-88
Factory records show 3”, RB

As you can see from the limited sample above, the ship dates of the ones we saw initially up here were scattered in the 86/88 timeframe, and serial number prefixes included ANE, AVE, AWP, AYD, BAU, BAB...... all over the place as I would expect given the s/n assignment methodology the factory was/is using since converting around 1980 to this system.

By no means is this definitive, but it's indicative of what I think you'll find with the CS-1 gun serial numbers out there.

Good read. Interesting that S&W, though they had a contract with Customs, sold handguns meeting those specs to the public BEFORE the contract was filled to Customs.
LOGIC, though that is rarely used with S&W, would dictate once you got a contract you filled the contract, so you could get paid, before civilian sales................wait. Did I just answer my own question? If S&W knew they weren't going to be paid till after all the guns were delivered, 2-3 years, interrupting Gov guns to the civilian market would get them paid NOW, instead of 2-3 years. HMMMMMMMMMMMM

Bob
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
Has anyone a copy, or has anyone read the actual US Customs service requirements for accuracy and durability required of these 686 CS1 variants? Thanks! Regards 18DAI
From my original notes:

On April 9, 1985, after a year in the writing, Custom’s Service Armorers in Glynco, GA. published a specification defining the Service’ needs for a .357 Magnum Revolver (Revolver, Caliber .357 Magnum, Double Action, 6 shot Commercial). Part of the specifications required that the revolver had to pass a 10,000 torture test using full power loads. I used to have a copy of the RFP that was let that led to the CS-1 Contract, but after a move 6 years ago it's buried somewhere.... I've looked several times but have not been able to locate it, one day.....

Other notes, of interest:

The first CS-1 was indicated to be ALA0000 (never formally confirmed), and delivered to the Head of Customs at the time.

One gentleman I talked (name withheld) was a Defensive Equipment Specialist/Armorer for the Customs Service during the trials of the CS-1. He mentioned to me that he installed 6" barrels to 4-5 CS-1's for the Customs Service Shooting team, as well as 2 1/2" barrels to 2-3 revolvers for use in Combat Match competitions. All these Shooting team guns had Patridge sights installed, unlike the 3" and 4" issued guns. Interesting in thinking of this that 1/10" wide Patridge sights are hard to come by so my supposition is that the 2 1/2" and 6" barrels he mentioned would likely be standard production barrels with the 1/8" wide blade slot... Just a wild guess, unless they were able to buy a small quantity of these barrels from the factory with the narrower slot milled in .... interesting... ! I guess if anyone ever finds a CS-1 marked gun with a 2 1/2"" or 6" barrel and the front sight is 1/10" wide we'll know...

The 686 CS-1 was originally ordered to be deployed to Inspectors of the Customs Service . Up until this time, the Inspectors were not all armed. When the CS-1’s were being deployed, it was decided to deploy universally.

In general, the 3” guns were first issued to supervisors, while the 4” guns went to others. Later practice saw the barrel length left up to the different Port location supervisors.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TST View Post
What weapons did agents use instead of the CS-1s?
At the time, and until 1994, the Customs Service firearms policy allowed Agents to purchase, qualify with, and carry personally owned handguns. There were approximately ten different manfacutures that were on the approved list.

The requirements were revolvers 2" to 4" barrel, in either .38Spl or .357 Magnum. Six shot revolvers were considered a primary handgun, five shot revolvers were back-up or undercover carry only.

Semi autos had to be .380 (back-up or undercover carry only), 9mm, .40 S&W, 10mm, or 45ACP. And they had to be from the approved list. Double action, or Striker-fired pistols only. We were prohibitied from carrying single action (1911) pistols.

Once a local firearms officers examined your personally owned pistol, and you qualified with it, you were approved to carry it on duty.

In or around 1994, Ray Kelly became the Commisoner of Customs. When he found out that we could carry personally owned handguns, and he freaked out. He immediately ordered Glock 17s for uniformed inspectors, and Glock 19s and 26s for Agents. Once all Inspectors and Agents were trained and issued Glocks, he killed the personally owned handgun policy.

Last edited by vegasgunhand; 05-02-2013 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithNut View Post
From my original notes:

On April 9, 1985, after a year in the writing, Custom’s Service Armorers in Glynco, GA. published a specification defining the Service’ needs for a .357 Magnum Revolver (Revolver, Caliber .357 Magnum, Double Action, 6 shot Commercial). Part of the specifications required that the revolver had to pass a 10,000 torture test using full power loads. I used to have a copy of the RFP that was let that led to the CS-1 Contract, but after a move 6 years ago it's buried somewhere.... I've looked several times but have not been able to locate it, one day.....

Other notes, of interest:

The first CS-1 was indicated to be ALA0000 (never formally confirmed), and delivered to the Head of Customs at the time.

One gentleman I talked (name withheld) was a Defensive Equipment Specialist/Armorer for the Customs Service during the trials of the CS-1. He mentioned to me that he installed 6" barrels to 4-5 CS-1's for the Customs Service Shooting team, as well as 2 1/2" barrels to 2-3 revolvers for use in Combat Match competitions. All these Shooting team guns had Patridge sights installed, unlike the 3" and 4" issued guns. Interesting in thinking of this that 1/10" wide Patridge sights are hard to come by so my supposition is that the 2 1/2" and 6" barrels he mentioned would likely be standard production barrels with the 1/8" wide blade slot... Just a wild guess, unless they were able to buy a small quantity of these barrels from the factory with the narrower slot milled in .... interesting... ! I guess if anyone ever finds a CS-1 marked gun with a 2 1/2"" or 6" barrel and the front sight is 1/10" wide we'll know...

The 686 CS-1 was originally ordered to be deployed to Inspectors of the Customs Service . Up until this time, the Inspectors were not all armed. When the CS-1’s were being deployed, it was decided to deploy universally.

In general, the 3” guns were first issued to supervisors, while the 4” guns went to others. Later practice saw the barrel length left up to the different Port location supervisors.
To clarify a couple of things. Prior to the CS-1 Inspectors were armed, depending on their duty stations. They were not classified as full time law enforcement officers, so they could not carry weapons off duty. They were issued several different S&W and Colt .38 Spl revolvers, depending on the region they were stationed in. It was left up to the Reginal Commisoners as to who in their Region would be armed on duty.

The 3 inch CS-1 went primarily to Agents and Air Interdiction Officers. There may have been a few that were given to Inspectors, but nearly all Inspectors carried the 4 inch CS-1.

After the CS-1 was taken out of the field, several were converted to allow only Simunition rounds to be inserted in the cylinder, and they were sent back out to the field for force on force training. They were subsequently replaced by the Glock 17T pistols for force on force training.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:44 PM
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Guys: Thanks for keeping this thread alive. I just found a CS-1 with the 2 and M marks as described above. Clearly it was a Glenco modified gun. I did not get a box or papers with it. It appears to not have been fired much at all. The only thing I am unsure of is the chambers, all six are perfectly chamfered, like you would see on Performance Center gun. I am not sure if that is a part of the original specifications or not.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by F224 View Post
Guys: Thanks for keeping this thread alive. I just found a CS-1 with the 2 and M marks as described above. Clearly it was a Glenco modified gun. I did not get a box or papers with it. It appears to not have been fired much at all. The only thing I am unsure of is the chambers, all six are perfectly chamfered, like you would see on Performance Center gun. I am not sure if that is a part of the original specifications or not.

I am on my 3rd CS-1 3" and none had recessed cylinders......BUT that doesn't mean S&W didn't make it that way. Get it lettered.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:32 PM
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They are not resessed, just competition chamfered, for easy reloads. I am thinking some one else did it along the way.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:43 AM
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Thank you SmithNut!! Best regards, 18DAI
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:58 PM
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The January, 1988 issue of SWAT also had a good article written by a Shawn McCarver.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:11 AM
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Having seen so many threads on the CS-1 over the years, this evening I queried a friend (a retired Customs Service firearms instructor) about the CS-1.
After a roll of eyes he replied how many agents disliked the guns, complaining about the weight compared to their beloved K-Frames. Said they were called "boat anchors".
He went on to detail the circumstances that led to many of them being given to the Haitian Police.
That said, I'm quite fond of my 3" 686-5+, but usually carry a 12-3!
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