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Old 11-19-2011, 11:09 PM
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Default S&W CS45...Tell me everything.

I just found and put money down on a like new, CS45, I will be using this as my CCW concealed weapon.

I am interested in learning as much as possible about this
fine little weapon. I have several payments left to make on it before I can take it to the range and give a report of how it does.

I have ordered some recoil springs from MidwayUSA , because I'm sure the one in it is at least 5 years old, also a new guiderod
when they arrive. Any other parts I should try to have on hand so that I can keep this pistol functioning for many years to come?

Here are some photos of the lil' beauty.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Last edited by Kahului46; 11-19-2011 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:39 PM
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Very nice! Looks to be in excellent condition. I have the CS in 9, 40 and 45, they are great guns. Like you, I replaced springs on all of them as soon as purchased and bought a few extra, they are pretty cheap. Don't know how many mags you have but its always good to have a couple extra. Only other thing to consider is a set of Big Dog Delrin grips to replace the Hogues. Big Dog is a forum member so not too hard to find, has his own website but the name escapes me. They run 100 bucks or so but really slim down the grip width to make this very concealable gun even moreso. Most (myself included) don't feel any control is compromised by switching to them. Only other thing to think about adding is maybe Trijicon night sights. Hope you are as pleased as most CS owners seem to be when she becomes yours. Good luck.
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:36 AM
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Congrats on the new CS45.

They were generally considered a real sleeper in the world of .45 shooters.

Yours appears to be from the later part of the production period, as it has steel sights, an ambi-safety/decocker and the newer slide which didn't require the angled relief cut under the ambi lever for removal of the safety/decocking assembly. (Mine was from an earlier production period, and came with the plastic sights & single-sided safety/decocker. I had to have the right side of the slide filed & cut by hand to make clearance for adding an ambi lever when I installed the spring-loaded decock-only assembly, so the ambi lever could be removed during disassembly of the slide.)

Having extra recoil springs on-hand isn't a bad idea if you plan on doing a lot of shooting. The spring for the CS45 is painted green (the CS9 is red) and can be bought from S&W for about $3.26/ea (plus shipping, etc). While the armorer class gives armorers the same recommendation for recoil & mag spring replacement in the CS series as in the other 3rd gen guns (meaning every 5 years or every 5,000 rounds), I prefer to lean toward sooner replacement because of the increased slide velocities and the short single flat-wound recoil spring. I typically replace mine either every year or so, or every 800-1200 rounds, give or take. (I know folks who have gone longer, even beyond the factory recommendations, but I'm a bit more conservative when it comes to really small pistols that are subjected to stiff recoil forces. )

The newer guide rods have been coming with the steel plunger instead of the black plastic one, but I don't really have a preference one way or the other. The plastic plunger's tip can get a bit chewed up a bit with frequent field-stripping, while the steel plunger's tip may get a rolled edge that may eventually require very cautious dressing. I've used both.

The magazines for the CS45 are specific to that model in that the magazine body has a set of extra indentations to the rear and bottom of the standard pressed lip indentations. They're put there for a reason, which is to help prevent the top round from being displaced out from under the feed lips by the little gun's heavier recoil (compared to the heavier 457/4516/4513TSW/4566TSW's, etc). They make the mag a little harder to load (and manually unload). However, they also seem to do their job of providing extra resistance to the rise of rounds between them during live-fire, balancing the actual recoil forces and mag spring tension against their resistance to provide optimal feeding timing during live-fire.

(BTW, the black followers, springs, butt plates & butt plate catch assemblies are the same across all the 3rd gen .45 mags. It's just the actual mag body that's made differently for the CS45.)

Something to keep in mind is that as with virtually all the other really reduced size .45's out there, shooting the CS45 is best done with good grip technique, meaning a firm grip and a locked wrist. I've seen an occasional shooter unintentionally relax their grip, or allow their wrist lock to "break" at the wrong moment, and induce a feeding stoppage. (I prefer to call it a grip support/stability issue instead of "limp-wristing", since it can happen to even big, strong men. ) That said, I've even had it happen to me when I was rushing things and got distracted over the years.

I tend to like shooting 230gr loads in mine. When I was first discussing the then-new CS45 with someone from the factory many years ago, I was told they'd used 230gr loads for all of their in-house testing when developing the gun. When I asked why they chose that bullet weight, and hadn't used +P loads, I was told their earlier marketing surveys (and info from the major ammunition companies regarding sales) indicated the 230gr load was far and away the most common choice of .45 shooters, so they used it for their R&D.

The gentleman was curious how my own CS45 did when using +P loads, since they hadn't been using it back then during development. I've run 185gr +P and 200gr +P through my own CS45, but I decided against using the +P loads for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the +P loads produced noticeably more felt recoil in the little lightweight gun. More than when shooting my 4513TSW. That required some additional focus on recoil management & controllability, especially during rapid shot strings for demanding courses-of-fire. I liked the better controllability (in my hands) of the standard pressure 230gr loads.

Secondly, the increased slide velocities seem to change the timing of the slide's cycling in my hands. Faster cycling (of course). Since smaller .45's are already sometimes prone to be a bit less tolerant of shooter & ammunition issues, I decided I didn't want to introduce any further potential conditions that might have an adverse influence on optimal feeding.

I stopped worrying about whether the 230gr bullets might expand when fired from the short 3.25" barrel after I loaned my CS45 to some testing done several years ago at one of the factory mobile gel events. They used my gun to fire a couple rounds of standard pressure and a +P SXT/T-series into a gel block covered by 4 layers of denim. Now, there's certainly no guarantee that any bullet will ever expand when fired out of any particular gun into any particular target medium ... or more rounds fired out of my gun on different days into different gel blocks might do the same thing ... but the newer bullet designs do seem to have generally benefited from LE/Gov demands for better performing rounds. The following pics are of the T-series rounds fired from my CS45. You guess which is which ...

The standard pressure round did 802fps/13"pen/.76" exp and weighed 234.3gr

The +P round did 839fps/12"/.77" & 235.2gr

I'm one of the folks who happens to like the thick and chunky Hogue grips. Yes, they can stick to clothing. (But I learned to deal with that back in the days when I was using rubber grip stocks on my revolvers. )

Yes, they feel a bit unwieldy in my hands when just standing "on the line" holding the gun.

However, once I start shooting ... they do their job and the gun doesn't shift, slip or move in my hands. They also don't seem to lose their grip when my hands are sweaty or really wet, either. (I like the slightly smaller version of the Hogues on my CS9, FWIW, as it exactly fits my hand.) Suit yourself.

Sights are a personal preference. I've tried some different ones over the years. The standard Novak Low Mount 3-dot sights do allow for some good practical accuracy. Anything else is a matter of personal preference, experience and whatever whim may be involved. Again, suit yourself.

Okay, those are some of my thoughts and experiences. I'm certainly not an expert on them, but I've owned one for several years and have been doing a fair amount of shooting with it. Having been a S&W 3rd gen pistol armorer for a while, I have a lot of respect for the 3rd gen guns in general, and the CS series in particular.

I could ramble on about other stuff, but you probably get the gist of my thoughts about them.

Congrats again.
Ret LE Firearms inst & armorer
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:12 AM
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The only thing I would get is a set of BigDog grips.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:21 AM
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Default thanks for the great info!


WOW! Now that's what I call a post and a half!

I take it I did all right then as far as she looks and price?

I really like the way the weapon fits my hand. The grips are a non-issue with me. I have a Ruger P90 with simillar grips and I like them very well.

I appreciate the time taken to impart all of the info you have shared with me about this fine weapon. It seriously looks like it had less than 20 rounds fired thru it. There is no discernable barrel wear.

I will take your advice to heart about my grip with this lil' beasty. I have seen in other posts that it is mild in recoil considering it's small size, I guess attributed to the metal frame and slide weight.
Thanks also for the info about possible manufacture date, later production...when was this model discontinued/stopped production? I am trying to figure out just how old the weapon is and how old springs are. I will do a comparison with the new and old springs when I get the and the gun home, and see if there has been some compacting of the spring length.

What knowledge would you have of the extractor life on these ?
I have read how the extractor is a factory installed part because of the necessary fitting of it. I ask because I wonder if I should just use brass ammo, if the cheaper ammo with steel casings will prematurely wear the extractor out or cause damage. Thoughts on this ammo issue? I'm sure I will be using a lot of winchester white box until I become comfortable and proficient shooting her.

The examples in your pics of expanding vs. FMJ? really drive home the point of why use it when the regular ammo expands almost the same?

Last edited by Kahului46; 11-20-2011 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:28 AM
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There's something wrong with the left side of that grip.
I will echo the recommendation to get Big Dog grips for it immediately (if not sooner). I have Big Dog grips for guns I don't even have, only because I assume I will have them one day.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:04 AM
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Great find, it looks mint. I'll echo the suggestions of the Big Dog grips. They feel more comfortable than the stock grips to me.

While I have more .45s than I could possibly rationalize, the CS is the only one I carry concealed. It is too big, in my opinion, to carry IWB; so mine sits OWB about 4 o'clock. Love it, and I'd put it up against a Colt, Para or Kimber any time.
NRA Lifer Since 1971
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:34 AM
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I've had mine for almost ten years. It's cycled every brand of ammo I've ever shot in it - including CCI shots shells (!) - with zero problems whatsoever.

The only dislike I had with the pistol were the factory magazine butt plates. I had a serious "pinky" issue with them.

I stumbled upon a thread in this forum years ago and someone posted the part number of the butt plate shown in the above photo and I rounded up as many as I could. It made a huge accuracy improvement with me.

Sorry, it's been too long ago and I cannot find the part number right now. Maybe another poster has it and will post it. Some guys just Dremel-ed the factory butt plates down.

Auction websites will be a good friends to you for holsters as a lot of holster manufacturers have either quit making holsters for the CS45 or they only offer limited production.

I've posted this list before of the various holsters I have that you can search for if you're interested:

Shoulder Holster: Gould & Goodrich # 804-400
Ammo Carrier: Gould & Goodrich # 3
(you can use either a G&G harness or just about any other leather harness with the above G&G leather products)

Open Top OWB: High Noon # CS (pictured)

Thumb Break OWB: Gould & Goodrich # B802-451 or Desantis # 085 S5

IWB: Don Hume Open Top Clip Style: H715M # 28CS-45

Count me as another one that uses the factory grips. The CS45 is a dependable little pistol in my book and I know you'll enjoy yours.


Last edited by Nimble, Jack B.; 11-20-2011 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:34 PM
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You're welcome.

It's not that the little CS45 has really heavy recoil, but apparently more that S&W felt it had enough more recoil than their other lightweight .45's, that they decided the revision to the magazine body was necessary. I find mine produces more felt recoil than my 4513TSW (an original model with the cutaway grip and 6-rd magazine), but it's not like it's "too much" for an experienced .45 shooter.

As a matter of fact, the change in the CS45 mag body occurred after the guns and mags had already been in early production. The company changed the production of the mags, but they told me they out-sourced the mags that had already been produced to a local machine shop to have the secondary indentations put in them.

The rubber grips can take on a slightly blemished appearance, in much the same way that rubber revolver grips used to become slightly discolored. Nature of the material.

The normal service life of the S&W pivoting extractor seems pretty decent. I've been told that they can become work-hardened over the course of time and use. The guesstimate given to me by one of the company people many years ago was that an extractor might start to chip or the spring become weakened out around 10 years (of use; being left loaded all the time in LE service) or 10,000 rounds. Over the course of helping support about 500 early 3rd gen guns, I noticed that we started seeing some chipped or broken extractors, or weakened extractor springs, out around the 12-15 year point (no telling how many rounds through the "average" issued gun). Many of those older guns were still running with the original extractors & springs when they were finally taken out of service, though, after just about 20 years.

I had one 6906 that developed a chipped extractor after around 12,000 rounds, but that was only what I'd fired through it, and didn't count whatever the gun had seen fired before it had been issued to me. (The extractor was still doing its job, even though chipped, and the gun was extracting normally. I just noticed the condition during an inspection.)

I wouldn't be surprised if the newer production extractors (made since the late 90's) provide longer service than the older ones.

The extractors are considered fitted parts, as they typically have to be filed so fit a particular slide. This requires a set of gauges consisting of a Go/No-Go bar gauge (check extractor hook reach) and a force dial gauge (check the spring tension).

The CS45 & CS9 were dropped from the commercial catalog a few years ago, although like the TSW production, I was told they remained available to LE/Gov agency customers for special order. (The CS40 had been dropped prior to that point due to lack of sales.)

The grips are going to be a personal decision. I recommend shooting the gun before deciding, myself. It was originally explained to me that the reason they originally had Hogue design the stock rubber grips was due to marketing survey indicating customers liked their rubber grips better than the stock Delrin grips, and they felt the soft rubber grips helped absorb and mitigate the increased amount of felt recoil produced by the little guns.

While I don't find the stock Delrin grips to be "bad" on my 3913 & 4513TSW, I've long since switched to Hogues on the 3913, and I modified a set of standard 4516/457 Hogue grips to fit my 4513TSW (since the grip is different than the current production 4513TSW that uses the 7-rd mag). Trying both types back and forth over the years, I've consistently found the rubber grips to provide for less potential slipping & shifting, especially when my hand was really wet or cold. I installed the Hogues on my issued 4513TSW, as well, since they gave me increased control when running the gun through demanding courses-of-fire in cold & wet weather.

Like the days of the rubber revolver grips, though, it can take some adjustment to using them under clothing, since the soft rubber can catch and pull on loose garments. It's all a compromise that really needs to be decided by each owner/user.

The mag butt plates shown in the other photo is that of the older 4513TSW 6-rd mag.

The standard curved butt plate:

The "flat" original TSW butt plate:

Although I've seen several new "old/original" 4513TSW mags shipped in recent years (meaning with the old butt plate), the customer service folks tell me that the butt plate is no longer available as a separate part. Maybe they have just enough to use on assembled mags for a while to come. Dunno. I just switched them on some of my mags because I have a lot of mags for both my old-style 4513TSW and my CS45.

Remember to clean and lubricate the CS45 before your first range trip. Make sure the mag bodies are clean & dry (in case the original owner left the shipping oil to congeal inside the mags). The alloy frames work best when they're protected from friction against the steel. Don't use an excessive amount, though, or allow it to run down inside the firing pin channel (meaning under the manual safety assembly, or up under the plungers in the rear of the slide, or down into the front or rear of the firing pin). It's one thing to have enough on the rails to be able to see and touch it to confirm its presence, but another to have so much that it runs & drips under gravity.

Keep the extractor and its hook dry, but brushed clean.

The "inside" of the frame (fire control parts) doesn't require lubrication (aside from an occasional small drop on each side of the hammer, at the bottom where it rubs inside the frame, but not so much that it will run off the hammer and travel elsewhere). It just collects fouling and can eventually congeal into a sludge that can interfere with freedom of movement of the parts.

Use good quality factory ammunition. I've typically used whatever was being issued for duty, or for training/quals (if it differed). I over the years that has involved using 230gr loads of a variety of makes, including assorted ball (FMJ), Winchester USA45JHP ("white box"), Winchester SXT/T-series, Remington Golden Sabre (non-bonded) and Express JHP, as well as some of the other assorted loads I tried and/or used for off-duty and range practice.

Enjoy the little gun. It's not like they're going to get easier to find.
Ret LE Firearms inst & armorer

Last edited by Fastbolt; 11-20-2011 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:21 PM
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Hey all,
I called S&W to find out the manufacture date of my CS45.
Turns out it was manufactured in October of 2006.
Helps explain why it looks so new. I don't think it has had 50
rounds fired thru her, maybe not even 20!
Anyone Know when they stopped making these?
The customer service at S&W was very friendly and informative.

Can't wait to take her to the range!
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:48 PM
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Default Smaller folk beware

Years ago I bought a CS45, thinking it would be a perfect carry gun.

Then reality set in.

While I am very tall for a woman (6') I'm pretty fine boned (for a gal my height, anyway.)

I simply could not get it to function reliably. However hard I gripped it, however tight I held my wrists and arms, it seemed to think I was limp wristing it. Persistent stovepipe jams.

I wasn't. None of the guys at the range who tried it had any problem. Then I realized they all had wrists about as big as my ankles. I eventually traded it in on a beautiful model 25-2. Not much good for concealed carry, but I sure can shoot it (Once I replaced the ginormous factory target grips with something more sensible for my hands.)
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:48 PM
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Kahului46, great looking CS45. Where are you in Fla?! Great information!
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:22 PM
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S&W stopped producing the CS series pistols in 2006. So, your Oct. 2006 produced CS45 is late production, indeed !

Congrats on the VERY nice CS. I have a CS9 myself.....and I love it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:26 AM
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I saw one at my LGS for 300 but passed it up because I bought a 4006 that was tuned by SW for the same price. Would of bought both, but apparently I have to buy gifts for the wife during Christmas. Who knew?
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