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Old 08-12-2017, 05:45 PM
coach1551 coach1551 is offline
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Folks, we like to get all your opinions on S&W 945 vs S&W 1911 both Performance Center autos? Don't be shy! Thanks,
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:49 PM
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They are both great guns. I would not hesitate to grab either one.
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:00 PM
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I have neither shot nor even actually had the pleasure of handling a PC 1911. But I have had lots of rounds through four different 945's including the one that I'm lucky to own.

Probably should define which PC-1911 you're talking about...
The earliest S&W PC 1911 pistols? Or these ones they offer today? They are two different animals.

Part of what I absolutely love about my 945 is that it's exclusive. Only Smith & Wesson made these pistols, and only the Performance Center. There must 35 different outfits spitting out piles and piles of 1911 pistols. 1911's are fantastic and popular for a host of reasons, and I'm not bagging on them because they are phenomenal handguns.

Exclusivity? Few handguns have less exclusivity than a 1911. But a PC-945, now that's something rare and special. Take your -945- to the range and you'll be the ONLY guy shredding the bullseye with a 945.

I love mine and would be thrilled to add another.
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:56 PM
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What Sevens said plus they come in four barrel lengths--5" Match, 4" Combat, 3.75" Compact and 3.25" Ultra Compact. They have the Briley articulating barrel bushing and no barrel link. Made in very limited quantities. I have had nine and only shot the 4" Combat and 3.75" Compact. The best shooting 45ACP I have ever shot including a 70 series Colt Gold Cup. For strictly shooting, I like the all stainless steel Combat and for carry, I like the lighter Compact with the alloy frame. I have four now, one Compact and three Combats.

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Old 08-12-2017, 11:08 PM
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I have the 945 no dash 5" & since I got it I have taken it on every range trip. Ok so I got it only 4 or 5 months ago but it's that fantastic of a gun to me that I just can't leave it home when I go shooting. Beautiful to look at quality craftsmanship & fun to shoot & as mentioned earlier accurate. I would love to find an original 1911pc as I have heard only good about them also but to pick one would have to be the 945.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:22 AM
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Thank you for your valuable input! Reason is I have seen two S&W 945"s the past week. A 945 4 inch and a 945-1 5 inch. I have heard that you can only use 945 mags? I did notice that the 945 has mags with two cuts on them. The 945-1 has only one. Does that mean you could use S&W 745 mags with the 945-1 0r later issued 945's? I have a 745 and want to retire it. Have looked at the new PC 1911's. Thanks,
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:50 AM
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The S&W full size magazines for the 645/745/4506 are the same size and work effectively the same. The magazine itself for the 4" and 5" 945 is basically the same magazine but with the notch cut higher to engage the latch which is located higher on the 945.

Early 945 pistols were shipped with the dual-cut magazine and these happen to be stamped with lettering that says "Warning: Model 945 only" but this dual-cut magazine works just fine in any 645/745/4506 or full size 4506 variant.

Later 945 pistols shipped with a magazine that had just one single notch.

My theory? When the PC first crafted the brand new 945, they decided that it made the most sense to use magazines they had -- the long established 4506 mags. I think the PC took a large supply of 4506 magazines and added the second cut for the early guns.

Later, after ensuring they would go forth with the 945 project, magazines were made in the typical manufacturing process and these were cut during stamping with just one cut for the 945.

You can carefully add a higher cut to a 4506 magazine... assuming you do it carefully and in the correct place. When done properly, it works perfectly well.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by coach1551 View Post
I did notice that the 945 has mags with two cuts on them. The 945-1 has only one. Does that mean you could use S&W 745 mags with the 945-1 0r later issued 945's? I have a 745 and want to retire it. Have looked at the new PC 1911's. Thanks,
Okay, a few different things here. First is that the no-dash 945 and the 945-1 pistols definitely use the "same" magazines or wholly compatible ones. The only difference between the no-dash and the dash-1 pistols are aesthetics and the addition of a firing pin lock on the 945-1 models. The firing pin lock is actuated by the grip safety, much like the Swartz-design that S&W used in their 1911 pistols before the E-Series guns.

Magazines: earliest mags had a dual-cut, these are marked "for 945 only" but will work in all 4506/745 and full size S&W .45cal variants. Later 945 magazines have only the single higher cut on them, these will not lock in to 4506 pistols. No outfit ever made an aftermarket 945 magazine. I have heard of some folks occasionally having success by calling S&W and asking for 945 magazine availability. I have never tried.

You asked about 745 magazines with the 945. Well, you would have to alter them exactly the same way you would alter a 4506 magazine. It would be my position that while the globe is nearly over-stuffed with 4506 magazines, the 645/745 magazine is in much shorter supply. The 645/745 magazine and the 4506 magazine are 100% compatible, they merely look different and are made of different parts.

So it would be my position that if you wish to alter magazines for proper 945 use, a 645/745 magazine would work but I would rather grind on a 4506 magazine and keep the older magazines original.

Also, I simply cannot condone any plan which includes the directive "retire my 745." The 745 is a fantastic, fun, and also "exclusive" pistol! I can't see many good arguments for -NOT- taking one along on a range day!
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:47 PM
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In pitting a 945 up against a 1911, I'm firmly in the camp of the 945 for reasons I outlined above. Now for an angle from the other side, just because it's fun to keep discussing these great pistols.

The 1911 certainly has it's share of talking points up against the 945. The 945 is great looking pistol and it evokes thoughts of a 1911, but it simply isn't one. We S&W guys often like to say that it's a "hybrid 3rd Gen crossed with a 1911" but I can't really say that's the truth... I think what we really have in a 945 is a pistol that looks more like a 1911 than a 3rd Gen does.

The 945 has basically ZERO aftermarket grip options. The 945 is larger in most every dimension than the 1911, and this will matter a lot to many different shooter's hands, especially if nothing feels more "right" than a 1911. The 945 doesn't share hardly any parts with a 1911, and if you tinker with your handguns, that is one of the most enjoyable things a 1911 brings -- the ability to personalize your gun with parts you like most. Certainly helps when you find some mechanical issues that need attention.

A big issue well detailed in this thread already is that 1911 magazines practically grow on trees while 945 magazines are scarce. 945 guys are in far better shape than S&W Model 52 guys for sure, but the 1911 magazine market is totally easy in comparison.

While I don't think it's a big deal... the 1911 is certainly easier to field strip, mostly because dealing with the (fantastic!) Briley spherical bushing in a S&W PC gun is a bit of an art. Like I said just above -- I truly don't believe this is a big deal, but we still live in a world where tons of people don't like a Ruger Mark I-II-III because they are convinced that it's "too hard to put back together after cleaning." Just stating that if we are comparing the 945 to the 1911, this is only fair... the 1911 is easier to deal with for most folks in a field strip.

The 945 is very much -OUT- of production. The other very sad angle is that as each day goes forward, S&W basically knows LESS about it and how to help with it as their knowledge base on our favorite guns continues to grow toward retirement.

Yes, I would choose the 945 every time over a 1911 again and again, but there are still certainly many solid arguments for choosing a 1911 over a 945.
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:11 PM
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Looks like your going to have to try both models now! See what YOU like and don't like!
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:44 PM
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Lots of great details in this thread, but without picture or two it is worthless!

This is a interesting Video which was more about the Performance Center - but the guns they were making that day were 945's and it is a great look at parts of the production process.


Can you tell which one gets my vote?

Oh and there is this:

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Old 08-14-2017, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for the video. I had read that the 945 was made that way now I got to see a little. As far as takedown I can fieldstrip my 945 in about 15 seconds which is faster than I can do a 1911. Reassembly since I have learned the technique to put the barrel back in I put my pinky finger through the front & into the Briley bushing so it guides the barrel & lines up the bushing to accept the barrel. The rest of the assembly is quick also & the slide stop goes in easier than a 1911.
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:09 PM
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That video is great and it makes me want another model 945. Thanks for sharing.

I was on the phone with the factory today and they said they had some 945 mags for sale, about $50 each with shipping.

And I kinda agree the 945 is easier to take down. I'll call it a 50/50 split. The first time I wrestled with the Briley bushing was the worst, but after several tries later it's pretty easy now.
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:13 PM
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Bench rested my Paul Liebenburg built 1911 against my 945... The 1911 squeezed out groups about 1/4" smaller at 25yds. Still like my 945's more.

Does a Pistol Dynamics built 1911 count as a "Perfornce Center" gun if it was the same guy at a different company?

I have spare 645 mags that I cut the extra slot in them...they work just fine in the 945. I do notice the mag springs are stronger in the factory 945 mags, but they were police surplus 645 mags that may have just been very tired?
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:06 PM
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I would certainly guess the 645 springs were simply long in the tooth and there's no evidence that I have ever seen to suggest that a 945 magazine spring is different in any way whatsoever from a 4506 spring. Of course, a 645/4506 could be separated by a couple decades of production, they certainly could have evolved over time.

A Liebenberg 1911 is an -extremely- rare bird, I wouldn't guess there to be but very few in existence, it certainly is no manner of an "offered product" by a large scale manufacturer like Performance Center pistols. And while Liebenberg was obviously the driving force behind the PC, there is (perhaps likely?) a lot that came out of the PC that may have not had anything to do with him since he left the PC before the PC was all shut down.

There's so much mystery behind the Performance Center, I would totally love a huge book (size of th SCSW4) that was ~100%~ about the PC but I fear such a gem may never exist.

In any case, no -- myself, I would not consider a Pistol Dynamics 1911 to be a PC gun but that's just my opinion.

I would love to hear more about that pistol for sure!
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:34 PM
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I am fortunate enough to own four different 945's, a 945 5" barrel, a 945 Combat 4", and a 945-40, and a 945 Micro 3.25". The 1911 is one of the greatest handguns of all times and will probably always be popular, but I have to admit to a preference to the 945.
Not to belittle them, but 1911 are all over the place while the 945 is much more scarce. It is a beautiful design to look at and handle.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:35 PM
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Have a 5", 4", and 3.75, all in .45. The 5" is bullseye level accurate and very easy to shoot. As mentioned above it has some things 1911esque about it but the grip angle is different and it is bigger. The build quality is obvious and it just feels "put together".

The smaller guns in alloy frame are similarly built, and are the softest and smoothest shooting compact 45's I've ever fired. I've fired a lot of compact 45s over the years. These are winners.

Holsters are tough to come by.

As far as comparison to the PC 1911s, I'd say this. I'm a 1911 guy, have owned a lot of stock, semi-custom, and full custom 1911s. I have fired the PC 1911s and came away unimpressed. They are accurate and they run but they just don't have the build feel, or feel when running of other high quality 1911s. Plus I'm not fond of the PC1911 aesthetics.

Some of this is subjective but shooting impressions are important. That's what draws me back to the gun.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:44 AM
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I had a 945 years ago. I'd gone to a shop I frequented to buy a Special Combat Government from the Colt Custom Shop. They also had a 945 in stock. They allowed me to field stip both just to have a look at what I was buying. The 945 was finely machined and precisely fitted in all respects, the Colt, not even close. The decision to buy the 945 was not a difficult one. The 945 was accurate and functioned flawlessly. Only gripe I had was, at the time, S&W could not supply any extra magazines for the 945. A gun I should have never sold in any case.

BTW, I later owned two of the Colt Custom shop guns. Neither fitted to the same standards as the 945 and other Performance Center guns I owned.
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:48 AM
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Does the scarcest of them all, the 845, get in honorable mention?
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:27 PM
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[

A Liebenberg 1911 is an -extremely- rare bird, I wouldn't guess there to be but very few in existence, it certainly is no manner of an "offered product" by a large scale manufacturer like Performance Center pistols. And while Liebenberg was obviously the driving force behind the PC, there is (perhaps likely?) a lot that came out of the PC that may have not had anything to do with him since he left the PC before the PC was all shut down.

In any case, no -- myself, I would not consider a Pistol Dynamics 1911 to be a PC gun but that's just my opinion.

I would love to hear more about that pistol for sure![/QUOTE]

I was working at S&W when Paul was there. he's a great smith and many PC ideas and techniques came from Paul.
I have several 945's including one made as a T&E gun for LAPD Metro SWAT. They only made 5 of them. They were all black, fixed sights and light rails. They shot great and the only reason they didn't buy them for SWAT was the availability of holsters. All 5 guns were sent to me for delivery to SWAT and I picked them up when they were through with the T&E. They all went back to the factory---except one. I left it on my sample account until everyone seemed to forget about it, then I bought it. I still have it along with the original letter I wrote to LAPD introducing the gun. Kinda cool. I also have two of the first 1911's sent out to the sales reps for their sample accounts. They were made with Briley barrels and both shoot like target guns. They are consecutive serial numbers.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
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Does the scarcest of them all, the 845, get in honorable mention?
Kevin, it should. I have one of those and boy does it shoot. I really love that pistol.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
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Does the scarcest of them all, the 845, get in honorable mention?
Well, it should get far more than an honorable mention -- mine is completely amazing. But then, it's not exactly being specifically excluded, it just wasn't part of the conversation.

FWIW, the .40 Limited is more scarce. Sure, not a .45, but it's like a twin of the 845 in a different chambering.
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:17 PM
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I have both style mags and didn't even know it so I guess it doesn't matter.
I remember when I got the 945 I was a little disappointed because I thought it would be like a 952 but in 45. It is big so it took a little time to get my grip just right but when you do it is terrifically accurate. Certainly outshoots any other 45 auto I have.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:49 PM
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Heh, if you want to keep it that way, definitely do not get yourself an 845!
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:54 PM
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In regard to mags for the 945. I made a simple fixture set for my mill and was able to turn 4506 mags into 945 mags the same way the factory does. I had a ton of 4506 mags and now have a enough 945 mags to keep me happy.
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:15 PM
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I HAVE OWNED 845, 945 AND PC1911. THE 845 WAS HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE THE OTHERS IN ACCURACY AND FUNCTION. THE 945 WAS TOO BIG. THE PC1911 WAS OK, JUST OK. JP

P.S. THE 845 IS THE ONLY 1 I STILL OWN.
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