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  #1  
Old 01-12-2011, 08:53 PM
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Default Experiences with S&W stainless steel .45's

This thread is in response to a forum members request regarding S&W .45 use,

In the summer of 1985 I was assigned to a twenty man surveillance unit[SIS]. Prior to this I had spent nearly eight years as a SWAT operator and tactical firearms instructor.
The surveillance teams primary handguns were S&W .38 revolvers. SIS had experimented with the Colt 1911a1 .45. Several members told me they didn't feel comfortable carrying a handgun "cocked and locked". Besides my full time duties as a surveillance detective, I became the SIS firearms and tactics instructor. In late 1985 or early 1986 I obtained a prototype S&W Model 645 for testing purposes.
One or two training sessions later "almost everyone" agreed this was a .45 pistol they wanted to carry! Permission was granted by the "brass" and 18 members of SIS purchased S&W Model 645's for duty use.
Members of the unit went through an intensive training and qualification process before the weapons were deployed in the field.

Sidenote: SIS had "flirted" with the 1911's because no one felt the .38 special was an adequate caliber if your primary job was to confront armed criminals. The shotgun got used alot!

The first field use of the Smith .45's was in November of 1986. SIS confronted several armed kidnap suspects-one went the hard way, the others were captured and the victim was recovered. After this incident everyone had night sights installed on their guns.

SIS continued to carry the various models of S&W .45's-645,4506,4566 and 4516's until about 2003 when they switched to Glock .45's.
The various smith .45's with one exception worked very well. Members of the unit were required to fire 100-200 rds per month in training. The only model we had regular problems with was the 4516. S&W replaced the original 4516's we had [approx. 10 guns] with new ones. We had fewer problems with the second batch, but they still didn't function as well as the other models.
We had only two shootings with the 4516's, that I recall. In one incident the gun worked fine and the other the gun malfunctioned. We had several shootings with the 4" and 5" guns with no problems.

The S&W stainless .45's served us well for many years.

Stay safe, John Helms
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:08 PM
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Agree 100%! I've had both the 4506 and my current 645, both are boringly reliable and accurate enough their intended purpose! Dale
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:58 PM
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My 645 has been rock solid dependable as well. More than anything else, it was the gun responsible for my infatuation with Smith & Wesson firearms...
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:02 PM
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What problems did the SIS have with 4516?
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:18 PM
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I remember the early production 4516's having reliability issues (not sure if it was a gun issue or a magazine issue). They used to be marked to use only a specific magazine in them.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:26 PM
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The most common problem with the 4516 is failure to feed,face it you can only make a spring that a few inches long so powerfull ,double spring whatever,the slide functions so fast that the mag spring cant keep up , then add that the gun is lighter ,shorter grip etc, the alloy frame guns are worse,1911,4516,whatever make.If you are standing,2 hand hold, concentrating on your grip you can make them function pretty well,then change to bailing out of a car, combat situation ,slightly loose grip ,tired mag spring ,etc and you have a problem, .45 s were meant to be a med to large size pistol not micro or mini. John, hope you are enjoying retirement,take care, Bob

Last edited by CALREB; 12-19-2013 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:14 PM
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CALREB is right, feeding problems. Live rounds would get caught in various positions in the chamber/breech face area. Somethimes it would be ball ammo other times it would be hollow points.

CALREB knows what's he's talking about--he's worked on more than one of my guns!

Bob, I'am loving retirement--didn't stick around there too long!

JH
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:10 AM
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I am not nor never was LE, but I experienced the same with the 4516-1 I used to own. I sent it back to S&W and they fixed it, but I never trusted the gun after that and ended up selling it. I have stuck with the 645 and recently, the SW99 in 45.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:38 AM
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Howdy from Texas, LA retirees.

Couple of questions.

Were you all taught to carry the SW 45s (3rd gen) in a certain way?

decocked and blocked (meaning decocker lever down)
decocked and ready to go

waistband carry, holsters, fanny packs?

what was your duty ammo and was it effective through auto windshields?

What was the reason for the switch to Glocks? entire dept switch?

The same goes for 1911s, you start cutting barrel length and shortening springs, reliability can be reduced and in a major police operation....you want the odds in your favor.

thanks in advance
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:21 AM
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SW CQB 45,

hammer down/decocker up

inside waistband or concealment belt rig w/thumb break strap

Started with ball ammo, then went to Speer 200gr. hp[flying ashtray], then to Federal Hydra Shok 230gr., and then to Federal 230gr.+p Tactical Bonded. We went to the Tact Load because it does a better job of getting into a car[including glass] than anything else we tested in .45.

SIS was the first outfit on LAPD to use Glock .45's. Lighter weight, more rounds, light rail, very reliable, one trigger action - not DA/SA.

SIS membres now have the opportunity to carry the city issue Glock .45 or a 1911 style .45--times change and so does the make up of units.

JH
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:25 AM
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I love Smtih 45's, I've had or own 3. First was a 1987 mfg 645 that I truly loved, I remember lusting after one since I was in HS. They were always out of reach at the time, traded for one in 07. It was fantastic but a 629 no dash appeared and alas the 645 went away. I've since replaced it with 2 4506's and they are my go to 45 ACP's. Accurate to a fault and they feed anything and everything that I've tried even SWC loads. My 4506-1 is my handgun I carry when my 357 snub isn't quite enough.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:49 AM
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What a great thread!

I've hoped someone who has been there done that would tell us about LAPD SIS S&W 45 useage.

S&W 3rd generation pistol detractors often say; "If those pistols are so good, they would have been used by elite teams."

Well, they were - and are. Heres your proof. For those that may not know, the LAPD Special Investigations Section is the elite of the elite. SIS hunts the worst of the worst, catching them in the act. Gunfights often occur.

The Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy have sent their special operators to SIS to be trained in surveillance techniques.

1/74SIS was there a particular S&W 45 favored by SIS? What model did you use? Did anyone stay with the 645? What grips did SIS use? Were any SIS detectives still using S&W 45's when you retired?

Thanks so much for giving us an opportunity to learn about S&W 45 useage by such a distinguished unit! Regards 18DAI.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:57 PM
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18DAI,
The initial guns were all Model 645's. That's all they made at the time. As time passed members of the unit started buying 4506's and then some of us purchased the 4516's for back up and off-duty. Several years before going to the Glock the city purchased Model 4566's for everyone in SIS.
None of the guns had light rails. Several folks with big hands liked the black rubber grip panels. I think most of us just used the original grips that came on the gun.
I liked the balance of the 4566's the best. I purchased more than one 645, only have one left---it's been around the block a time or two!!! I also have a 4506 that I carried usually between the front bucket seat and center console-so it would be near my right hand. Hard to present a holstered pistol while seated in an undercover car, wearing a shirt over the holster and often haveing a seat belt on.
We actually had several attempted carjackings of members of the unit over the years. Suspects would see a nice new car with one or more people in it and decide they wanted it at gun point--never worked out the way they wanted!
My original Model 645 is the gun I carried the most, it's also got more rounds down range and more tales to tell.
The whole unit starting carrying the Glock .45 approx. 2003. The Glocks were city issue, everyone got two. No one was carrying S&W .45's in SIS when I retired in 2006.
As I indicated in a prior post they can carry Glock .45's or 1911 style .45's now.

JH
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
What a great thread!

I've hoped someone who has been there done that would tell us about LAPD SIS S&W 45 useage.
Thanks so much for giving us an opportunity to learn about S&W 45 useage by such a distinguished unit! Regards 18DAI.
I concur. I have always wanted to know the history of police issued S&W guns, especially the autoloaders. Great behind-the- scenes and first hand accounts here. Love it!
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1/74SIS View Post
SW CQB 45,

Started with ball ammo, then went to Speer 200gr. hp[flying ashtray], then to Federal Hydra Shok 230gr., and then to Federal 230gr.+p Tactical Bonded. We went to the Tact Load because it does a better job of getting into a car[including glass] than anything else we tested in .45.

JH
thanks for the info. I too liked the Flying Ashtrays. They were snappy and accurate.

I was at an ATK ballistic test about 3 yrs ago and Fed 230+P bonded performed better than Gold Dot. it was even cheaper in price, but our Admin chose GD...go figure. ATK who sells both Fed and Speer was pushing the Federal back then.

take care
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:42 AM
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Interesting info on the LE/field use of the 4516. Up until late last year I carried a 4516-1 as my EDC and some times a light duty gun. When I first got it I had extraction trouble from the chamber on spent rounds. Cleaned up the extractor with a stone and it cleared up. Have use orange, yellow and current black follower mags in it and have had zero troubles since. Granted mine is a 4516-1 and I assume the 4516 the SIS used where no dash guns.

Great thread. Can't wait to see more posted!
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:32 AM
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This wont be nearly as interesting....the Clarke county GA police department issued Smith 681s to regular uniformed guys in 1987...including me.....the SWAT guys about that time switched to a department issued 4506. Non Novak sights, square trigger guards. Swat were the only guys allowed to carry any sort of auto loader for years. Issue ammo was the Remington 185 gr JHP+P. HOT stuff. Armorer got some heavier recoil springs for the 4506s. Along about 1989, the drug squad bought some 6906s with some seized funds and traded in their 3 inch 13s (buy back was $90 each). The revolver ammo was Winchester 125 gr JHP+P in 38 special. Dont recall the 9mm ammo for the drug guys. Along about 1991, the voters combined the Athens govt with Clarke Co govt....APD had been issued the new 5906 loaded with +P+ Federal BPLE for a few years. That opened the door for us Clarke County revolver guys to go buy our own Smith autos. I ran out and bought a 645, traded it for a 4576 with the decocker, then carried a 4563 the remaining years there. Department issue by 1992 then was the 4006 with 155 gr Silver tips. Issued ammo by then for 45s was 230 gr Hydra-shok. I NEVER....never had any of the Smiths fail in any way shape or fashion in over 20 years at that agency. The ACCPD has been issuing plastic for years now....the SWAT guys were the last to transition from their 4506s to the Glock 40....the new bloods liked the Glocks....... Fast forward to 2011...I now work for a small yet forward leaning agency, the Oconee county GA Sheriffs office and am privileged to carry a Smith Melonite 1911 NFPS and Titanium firing pin. Georgia Arms 185 gr +P. No problems what so ever as of yet.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:57 AM
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Very interesting info 1/74SIS. Thanks!

I am currently qualified on the 645, 4516-3 and 4566. Next qualification period is in March. I plan to add a 4513TSW to my ticket.

Like you I favor the 4566 over the others. I have two versions currently, one is silver stainless, Novak night sights with spurless hammer, and decock only from the factory. One slick pistol that conceals easily.

The other is a melonite coated black 4566, Novak night sights and factory decock only as well. These were specail orders for law enforcement agencies. One was a maritime unit in New England and the persistant rumor is the US Marshal Service SOG ordered them as well.

What were the 4566's the city issued your unit set up like? Laser etched markings or standard roll marks? Do you recall the serial prefix? Ours are a mix of "VCJ" "TDM" and "TDP".

Did SIS use a particular holster? Were your mag pouches single or double?

I've heard of various users having issues with the 4516. I understand the 4516 no dash had "slide inertia" issues resulting in feeding problems, but my understanding is that these were cured by a new slide and new mag followers in the 4516-1.

I have a 4516-3 (revision 4 with laser etched markings). I have over 5000 rounds through it and at my last qualification had my first feed issues with it. During a meal break, I contacted member Fastbolt and he advised me as to the possible causes. One particular mag had a weak spring and was the problem.

calreb - Do you recommend using the Wolff extra power spring for the recoil and mag springs on the compact 45's?

My aluminum framed 4513, and my Shorty 45 have never bobbled.....yet. I have not many rounds through either yet.

If forced to pick a favorite S&W 45 I would have to say the 4566. It is not any heavier than a 1911 and does everything well.

1/74SIS did you hear that the LAPD Chief has reinstituted the S&W 45 Decocker School? Starting last August anyone trained on the Glock can privately purchase a 4506, 4566 and 4513 and attend the decocker School to transition from the Glock to the Smith.

My contact in the gang unit told me eight of his guys attended and transitioned. He is keeping his Glock 21. He told me the 4506 and 4566 were about evenly split.

Thanks again for providing us so much great info. you should write a book! It would enhance your retirement!! Regards 18DAI.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:02 AM
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the 645s and the 4 digit 45 series pistols are exceptional pistols imo.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:20 AM
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st regis that was VERY interesting info! Thanks for sharing it!

I had a 4567. Beautiful pistol that I had to let go to feed the divorce attorney. I plan to get another this year. Regards 18DAI.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:42 PM
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Hello,

18DAI:
1.The city guns had Novak style night sights, with stardard S&W roll marks.[ My personal 4506 and a couple of my Smith revolvers have the 2.SIS logo engraved on them].
3.Don't recall the serial number prefix.
4.SIS did not have a particular holster. I believe I used Ted Blocker and Aker holsters.
5. Mag. pouches were either single or double, detectives choice. I usually wore one, but that would be adjusted based on the case we were working. I normanlly wore one .45 and spare mag or mags, had something else on my ankle or pocket, another .45 between the seat and shoulder weapons in the back seat.
6. Chief Beck seems like a good man. I've seen him wearing a S&W .45 uniform. He may have started a school for officers that haven't been trained on the DA auto. Sounds like something the department would do--good idea--bet I haven't heard.

JH
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:14 AM
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I think what SIS is saying...

You cut barrel and spring length and combine that with non traditional shooting positions and add the stress of a deadly encounter and the shorter guns have a tendacy to malfunction.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1/74SIS View Post
CALREB is right, feeding problems. Live rounds would get caught in various positions in the chamber/breech face area. Somethimes it would be ball ammo other times it would be hollow points.

CALREB knows what's he's talking about--he's worked on more than one of my guns!

Bob, I'am loving retirement--didn't stick around there too long!

JH
John, does this mean you're not retired??? Say it ain't so.

Charlie Varga
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:52 PM
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CALREB does using Wolff extra power mag springs alleviate the feed problems with the sub 4" 45's?

What do you recommend to insure reliability in the 4516 models? Thanks for your time! Regards 18DAI.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:26 PM
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While I'm not CALEB, and I'm sure his experience in the inner-working of 4516s surpasses mine, I've carried one on-duty for a while.

When I started carrying it the armory replaced the magazine springs with Wolff +10% magazine springs (same spring as the 4506) and replaced the standard factory 15 pound spring with the Wolff 19 pound spring. They also polished the breachface until it was like mirror, but made sure not to remove enough metal to affect headspacing.

The pistol works flawlessly, but it worked the same before the work was done.

Quote:
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CALREB does using Wolff extra power mag springs alleviate the feed problems with the sub 4" 45's?

What do you recommend to insure reliability in the 4516 models? Thanks for your time! Regards 18DAI.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:37 PM
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Thanks Leiden!! I'll order some of those Wolff mag springs this week!

My 4516-3 is too sweet a compact 45 to do without! Regards 18DAI.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:46 PM
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I forgot you have the -3 and have the two spring recoil system. I wish I could convert my -1 to the newer system. When I spoke to S&W about it they told me to buy a M&P .45.

Even with the +10% magazine springs they're not over hard to load.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:40 AM
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1/74SIS great post, nice to hear about your experience with the S&W 45's. I'm 19 year veteran LE Officer in Ohio, we now issue the Glock 22 40, but many Ohio LE Agencies still issue and use the 4506 and 4566. They are getting hard to find here in Ohio! Stay safe!
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:24 PM
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We carried 645s and 4506s and 4516s for detectives for years. No problems whatsoever with exception of the silly screw on the safety of the earlier 4506s. Nothing a little blue locktite wouldn't take care of. Now we carry Glock 21SFs and 30SFs...No problems there either but those old S&W 45s were SOLID guns.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:09 PM
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I've been gone from the forum for a while, but this thread caught my eye straight away when I checked in today. I've been interested to see some experience info. with stainless Smith .45s, so I'm delighted to see this discussion. I have a 4596, which I carried as a duty weapon for 12 years. In that time the weapon was, and still is, astonishingly reliable. I also own two 1911s and a Glock 30 and like them all very much, but I would still --- without hesitation --- select my 4596 as the one to bring to the party.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:58 PM
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1/74SIS can you share a few more experiences with us? Regards 18DAI.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:34 PM
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When I entered LE in 1977, we had to carry revolvers. Being raised by a military father, I had an inherited love for the 1911. I tried my best to convince my Chief that we needed to move into the 20th Century and issue (or at least allow) autos. While I pressed hard for the 1911, he wouldn't go for it. He finally allowed me to look into other autos, but they had to be steel-framed, .45 ACP, double action and American made. That was about the time S&W introduced the 645. I tested one and immediately went out and bought my own. After revising the firearms policy, we were allowed to carry, and eventually issue the 645.

I began to look for a compact DA .45 for off-duty and plain-clothes use. About that time, the 4516 came along and I went out and bought one. Both the 645 and the 4516 would feed empty brass, and I never had any problems with either of them. When the 4506 came out, I sold the 645 and got one. I loved these pistols, but started having trouble with malfunctions related to some magazine issues. S&W replaced the magazines with one containing a newly designed follower. This cured the biggest part of the problem.

We decided it was time to test other pistols due to the mag problem. The Chief told me to make sure to check the Glock. I told him that it did not conform to our policy. He insisted we test it anyway. To make a long story short, they G21 shot astonishingly well and was reliable, not to mention the increased capacity. We then adopted the G21, and the S&W pistols were removed from our issued weapons inventory.

After all these years, I am still required to carry a Glock on duty. However, I got to really missing my old S&W .45's. I ended up finding a 4566, a 4516 and a 4553. I can happily report that I have found them to be everything I remembered. I particulary like the 4566 and carry it off-duty alot. These are great guns.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:02 PM
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I really like my 645's.
They are becoming my main carry pistols when a 49 in the pocket seems a little too little. I'm working on making a Sparks VM-II and a Tucker HF-1 work with them for EDC in various dress situations. They are the "poster child" of reliability in .45acp.

Steven B.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:20 PM
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My father gave me a 645 that he bought years ago and never fired it. I have taken the gun to the range many times with my reloads and I have never had a problem with the gun, it's very reliable accurate and heavy!!!
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:48 AM
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S&W read these posts, take note, offer the 3rd generation 45's again!
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:24 AM
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This might start a flame fest like it did on the "other" board, but anyway....my agency recently switched to the M&P full size 45 from the 4566....and most of us want to switch back. Every single one of our M&Ps has been replaced. The first issue all at once and many guys are on their third pistol. Finish chipping off, failures to feed, to fire, sights falling off, magazines failing, magazines rusting.....funny thing is not one 4566 was ever replaced or had these issues. I personally own two 4506s and a pristine 1006.....and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:53 PM
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S&W read these posts, take note, offer the 3rd generation 45's again!
It wouldn't hurt my feelings. I had an 4586 until it was stolen last August. It was large and heavy, but was a fine shooter and range gun. A month ago I decided my 1911 collection was complete, so I started looking for 3rd gen S&W's with alloy frames. I bought a 4043 that functioned well [don't they all] but had some holster wear for well under $300. An hour with some scrub pads and polish and it looked great, but the NS's are a bit dim. I still prefer the 45, so last week I bought a used 4563TSW that was advertised as excellent throughout with bright NS's. He didn't lie. I paid more because of the condition, but when I got the pistol yesterday there wasn't a mark on it and the interior was pristine. It didn't look like it had ever been carried and shot little if at all. It came with all the original equipment and three mags. Thursday I found a brand new 470S at a small store in MA. It had been overlooked in a dist's warehouse, so I bought it. None of these guns cost anywhere near the original prices and I have my collection of 3rd gens started.

BTW, I have a M&P c 45 that has been perfect and is very accurate, but it just doesn't feel like the metal pistols.
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  #38  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:01 PM
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Haven't had any experience shooting one , but I held a 4566 at Cabelas today and it fit my hand like a glove. I need to win the lottery.
Although as he was putting the mag back in after I handed it back the baseplate popped off and the spring and baseplate went shooting onto the counter.lol
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:28 AM
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Not so much about using a steel 3rd gen .45, but here's an interesting experience I just had with my 4506 while on-duty... I just cleared an assist to another agency that involved a few of us from the Sheriff's Office. A supervisor from the police department came straight over to me to get a situation report and to see what we were going to do, instead of going to our supervisor, who was standing next to me. Later on I asked that police supervisor why he came to me and he said because I was wearing leather gear and carried a 4506, whereas everyone else was wearing Bianchi Accumold and carrying a Glock. He figured I must have been around a long time, and naturally the ranking officer, as I had what he called a "steel .45."

Interestingly enough, I've had this happen before. I guess what we carry says something to others.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:27 PM
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Not so much about using a steel 3rd gen .45, but here's an interesting experience I just had with my 4506 while on-duty... I just cleared an assist to another agency that involved a few of us from the Sheriff's Office. A supervisor from the police department came straight over to me to get a situation report and to see what we were going to do, instead of going to our supervisor, who was standing next to me. Later on I asked that police supervisor why he came to me and he said because I was wearing leather gear and carried a 4506, whereas everyone else was wearing Bianchi Accumold and carrying a Glock. He figured I must have been around a long time, and naturally the ranking officer, as I had what he called a "steel .45."

Interestingly enough, I've had this happen before. I guess what we carry says something to others.
Ya' know, that's kind funny you should say that. Here in my part of the world every agency and their brother issues glocks. My agency and two others in the metro area allow officers to carry what they want. I've carried an HK, 1911 but I've been carrying three different TSW's (three different guns for three different seasons) for quite some time now. I've discovered over the years that cops and everyone else always look at the holster and what's in it. Every time I go downtown to book someone I get quizzical looks every time I either put my gun in or take my gun out of the lock box. And, when I'm questioned about what I'm carrying my answer always seems to either astonish, amuse or baffel. The "why do you carry that" question always gets asked. And my answer is simple: The first handgun I ever owned and carried as a rookie was an early model 5904 and I guess I just have an affinity for 3rd Gens. I know my Smiths work everytime I pull the trigger. Sure they bobble every now and then but what gun doesn't? Besides, if I ever run out of ammo, I can crack your skull with it. Can you do the same with your glock? My guys call me "old school" not because of my age but because I wear leather gear and carry a steel gun. And, I must say, that I am flattered.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:07 PM
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Lieden,

I know what you mean. I was at our show one time and saw Puyallup (Washington state) cop. Of course I instantly look to his gun - it was large stainless 3rd gen Smith in leather.

We struck up a converstation, and during it I noticed his badge #, it was #1. I had figured he was old school, and I was right!

His pistol was a 10 mm and he carried four mags. I sure wouldn't have cared to get into a figth with him, that's for sure.


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Old 02-23-2011, 01:21 AM
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I hope the LAPD Officers that are switching back to the S&W 4506's are able to find some pistols in great condition! They seem to be hard to find here locally.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:19 AM
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Haven't had any experience shooting one , but I held a 4566 at Cabelas today and it fit my hand like a glove. I need to win the lottery.
It wasn't the Lacey Cabelas was it?
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:21 PM
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Negative, Richfield, WI
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:42 PM
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Whenever I take my Model 645 to the range, people always comment on how nice it looks and how well balanced it feels. The folks who have shot it always mention the lack of recoil and ease of aiming and quick recovery after firing. Great gun!!
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:05 PM
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This thread does my heart good. I'm glad to see the 45 Smith's highly lauded as they should be. I've said it on this forum no less than twice before and so say I again that the 4506 I have has been the best 45 by any manufacturer I've ever had-bar none. No other pistol I've owned in this caliber(or any other) has been as reliable as the 4506. Now going on it's 21st birthday since I bought it, I relish it more than i did when I first bought it in Spring 1990. If I could find another like it that was in the condition mine is, I'd scarf it up in a heart beat.

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Old 02-27-2011, 09:13 PM
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This thread is in response to a forum members request regarding S&W .45 use,

In the summer of 1985 I was assigned to a twenty man surveillance unit[SIS]. Prior to this I had spent nearly eight years as a SWAT operator and tactical firearms instructor.
The surveillance teams primary handguns were S&W .38 revolvers. SIS had experimented with the Colt 1911a1 .45. Several members told me they didn't feel comfortable carrying a handgun "cocked and locked". Besides my full time duties as a surveillance detective, I became the SIS firearms and tactics instructor. In late 1985 or early 1986 I obtained a prototype S&W Model 645 for testing purposes.
One or two training sessions later "almost everyone" agreed this was a .45 pistol they wanted to carry! Permission was granted by the "brass" and 18 members of SIS purchased S&W Model 645's for duty use.
Members of the unit went through an intensive training and qualification process before the weapons were deployed in the field.

Sidenote: SIS had "flirted" with the 1911's because no one felt the .38 special was an adequate caliber if your primary job was to confront armed criminals. The shotgun got used alot!

The first field use of the Smith .45's was in November of 1986. SIS confronted several armed kidnap suspects-one went the hard way, the others were captured and the victim was recovered. After this incident everyone had night sights installed on their guns.

SIS continued to carry the various models of S&W .45's-645,4506,4566 and 4516's until about 2003 when they switched to Glock .45's.
The various smith .45's with one exception worked very well. Members of the unit were required to fire 100-200 rds per month in training. The only model we had regular problems with was the 4516. S&W replaced the original 4516's we had [approx. 10 guns] with new ones. We had fewer problems with the second batch, but they still didn't function as well as the other models.
We had only two shootings with the 4516's, that I recall. In one incident the gun worked fine and the other the gun malfunctioned. We had several shootings with the 4" and 5" guns with no problems.

The S&W stainless .45's served us well for many years.

Stay safe, John Helms
This tends to support Clint Smith's statement (at least I think it was him) that you should not go under Commander length barrel (4 1/4 inch) if you want reliability.

There is just not enough room for the slide to cycle as far back as necessary and slide velocity is not controlled sufficiently to insure that the next round gets topside in the magazine before the slide runs forward right over the top of it, resulting in a failure to chamber a round. Yes, they can be made to work, but springs must be replaced so often that many makers supply additional springs when the gun is new. Best to stay away from such finicky arms when your life is on the line.
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:26 PM
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This thread does my heart good. I'm glad to see the 45 Smith's highly lauded as they should be. I've said it on this forum no less than twice before and so say I again that the 4506 I have has been the best 45 by any manufacturer I've ever had-bar none. No other pistol I've owned in this caliber(or any other) has been as reliable as the 4506. Now going on it's 21st birthday since I bought it, I relish it more than i did when I first bought it in Spring 1990. If I could find another like it that was in the condition mine is, I'd scarf it up in a heart beat.

Wow! Your 4506 looks like a .45 version of my 3913, quite a bit different grip-wise than my 645...
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:26 PM
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so did the 4513's have similar issues that the 4516's did?
I'm considering a 4513 or a 457 for a CCW...
Thanks
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:10 PM
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I have used only two S&W all steel 45's, the 645 and 945. Both have been suoer reliable feeding anything from 185 gr. LSWC to 230 gr FMJ's. I use the 945 for bullseye pistol matches and some pistol games. The 645 is used in some pistol games and is carried in my car.
I recently purchased he full size M&P45 which has proven to be equally reliable but with a very gritty trigger.

Last edited by TSQUARED; 02-28-2011 at 07:13 PM.
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