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Old 08-15-2017, 11:13 PM
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Hello everyone,

New to the forum, but definitely not to Smith and Wessons. Had a 637 and SW40VE, currently have a nickel plated Model 13-3 with burl wood grips that is my BABY. But I digress.

I've always wanted a solid metal Smith and Wesson auto, one the older ones...believe they are called third gens, maybe? Either way, I've wanted one ever since I had a pulse but for some reason fate never sent one my way and other DA/SA distractions from Bersa, Walther, and even Sig that I've added over the years have all been nice but didn't fully help that want.

Gunbroker to the rescue. Got a good condition (NRA overall condition good, bore very good) 915 with no magazine for $225. Add shipping ($22), NIB mag ($30 shipped), and FFL fee ($30) and I'm at $307 out the door for this Smith. I felt like that was pretty good, what are your thoughts?

I'm a little early in posting, it's not here yet, so no pics of mine... it I did attach a screen cap of the listing showing a representation of the 915's condition on the listing. I'd usually wait until I got it, but this is a decades long want, so I'm a little excited.

Thoughts on the price and the gun? As a daily carry? Assuming I love it on arrival and testing as much as the last third gen I handled and fired (5906) it's going to be my go-to for darn near everything.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:19 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

The 915 is a great pistol.
Everything you need and nothing you don't.
Accurate, bet-your-life reliable, and it looks great while doing it! (Thanks, 18. )

I bought a good condition 915 a year or so ago and paid $380.00.
I felt the price was a little high but it included a like new set of Crimson Trace wrap-around Laser Grips, which I valued at $100-$150 and which fit all of my full size 3rd gen double-stack 40s&w and 9mm pistols.

John
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:48 PM
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I think the 915 is a nearly perfect pistol with the exception of the blank pre-Novak style rear sight. Trijicon SA04 night sights will literally transform this pistol.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:46 PM
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Ah, the 915! I bought one when they first came out. It's probably one of the most underrated Smith autos ever produced. To date mine has had approximately 50K rounds through it. Never a never a fail to feed, never a fail to fire or fail to eject. So accurate it's almost boring to shoot. Mine is one of my go to guns when I know I need a gun that's going to work, EVERY time. And, it has the three locking lugs, not two like the 910 that replaced it. You got a great gun at a good price. Enjoy it!
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:46 PM
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Was that a CDI listing? I've been hesitant to order one. Let us know the condition when you receive it.
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:58 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies! Really glad to hear your opinions of the 915, I'd honestly never heard of it until I saw the listing and did a little research. Even the guys at my FFL were excited about it!

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Originally Posted by TNZ71 View Post
Was that a CDI listing? I've been hesitant to order one. Let us know the condition when you receive it.
It is indeed! This was their "Grade B" listing, couldn't find an "A" or I would have jumped on it. The "B" is only $20 more than the "D", but the Cs and Ds were ROUGH looking on the outside, looked good inside. The "B" seems to have what I'd call minor normal holster and shelf wear outside and nearly perfect within. That's just going by the listing photos of course, I'll know more once I get it.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CelticSire View Post
Ah, the 915! I bought one when they first came out. It's probably one of the most underrated Smith autos ever produced. To date mine has had approximately 50K rounds through it. Never a never a fail to feed, never a fail to fire or fail to eject. So accurate it's almost boring to shoot. Mine is one of my go to guns when I know I need a gun that's going to work, EVERY time. And, it has the three locking lugs, not two like the 910 that replaced it. You got a great gun at a good price. Enjoy it!
50,000 rounds through the alloy frame of a 915!!! Thanks for the information. I always wondered about high round counts in the alloy Smiths. Obviously S&W knew how to design alloy framed guns.
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Old 08-17-2017, 12:05 PM
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The 915 was the first pistol I ever purchased way back in 1993. Ive probably only fired 2k rounds through it but it's been 100% reliable. The only thing I never liked were the sights but last year I sent the slide to Novak and had low mount three dot sights installed. I own various Berettas, CZs and S&W semis. The 915 is still probably the one gun I'd never sell.

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Old 08-17-2017, 02:00 PM
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50,000 rounds through the alloy frame of a 915!!! Thanks for the information. I always wondered about high round counts in the alloy Smiths. Obviously S&W knew how to design alloy framed guns.
Interesting how in the 1984 Army pistol trials, Smith was eliminated for having a frame crack under 5,000 rounds. Other than the backstrap, 459 frame and 915 frame are probably what, like 99% the same? I wonder what changed in the intervening years. Maybe the difference between standard 9mm and +P? Just bad luck?
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWater View Post
Interesting how in the 1984 Army pistol trials, Smith was eliminated for having a frame crack under 5,000 rounds. Other than the backstrap, 459 frame and 915 frame are probably what, like 99% the same? I wonder what changed in the intervening years. Maybe the difference between standard 9mm and +P? Just bad luck?
I'm thinking the difference is either luck, ammo, or a combination of the two.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:57 PM
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I wonder if it might be possible to open a discussion without anyone taking offense... guess we'll see.

I'm a hardcore S&W 1-2-3rd Gen guy with lots of pistols that fit under the umbrella. My knee-jerk reaction is to question a 50,000 round count. To be crystal clear, --NO-- I am not saying or even suggesting or hinting the round count that CelticSire has on his 915. But for the record, I will say that 50,000 rounds through a handgun is nowhere near typical.

For a gun used in competition, with heavy weekly practice and matches -- yes. For most shooters outside of competition, that's an extremely high round count. At half of retail, that's five thousand dollar of ammo.

S&W 1-2-3rd Gens are extremely well designed, durable guns that most gun owners will not wear out. Average gun owners just don't shoot often enough and hardcore enthusiasts like you, me and all that participate in forums definitely ~DO~ log enough shooting to wear out a handgun but we never actually wear out a handgun but almost none of us has the self control to stop buying more more MORE guns, so we rarely funnel all that ammo at one handgun.

Can a 915 go 50,000 rounds? Evidence here says YES! But me personally, I think you'd make a hazardous bet to suggest that alloy frame 1-2-3rd Gens will all go 50k.

If we could poll everyone that's ever posted in these pages (we can't but...) the results would show that more folks have cracked alloy frame 1-2-3rd Gens than guys who have logged 50k or more rounds in a single alloy framed S&W 1-2-3rd Gen.

Most likely failure point would be a frame rail or a crack running from the slide stop hole to an edge.

And for sure, guns will vary by size, ammo, preventative/pro-active maintenance and by luck.

My opinion? Expect a 915 to be a heckuva solid pistol and a phenomenal deal for low money, but don't necessarily expect a 915 to run 50,000 rounds with a frame crack.
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Old 08-19-2017, 04:39 PM
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Hey guys, sorry for the slow reply! I tried to respond to your questions once before, but it looks like my posts have to be moderator approved since I'm new. Sorry about that, but thanks again for all your input! To answer TNZ71's question, yes, it is a CDI listing. What they consider grade "B", couldn't find a grade "A" or I would've jumped on it. Anyway, it's here and here are my impressions and pictures.

To be honest, when I first opened the box, I was disappointed...not in the gun but in the condition. Not what I would have considered B grade. Very dirty, dinged up, and the slide release was rusty. And when I say dirty...I mean filthy, like someone had shot 1,000 rounds of the dirtiest ammo they could find and just left it. I wish I'd taken some before shots, it was pretty sad looking.

However, after a little time in my "ICU" she's looking a lot better. Mirror shiny barrel bore and feed ramp with strong rifling, all the components are clean and in good condition if showing a little wear from use (slide rub, etc). Even the slide release cleaned up, fortunately it was just surface rust and it looks much better now.

So now we're just left with a bit of outside wear from holster use...after a lot of intensive therapy, I'd be comfortable calling it a grade "B".

I haven't had a chance to shoot it yet, but my impressions are good. Size is good, feel is good, weight isn't as bad as many would say. My model 13-3 is a CHUNK by comparison. I think where this gun really shines though is the trigger. You third gen veterans already know what I'm talking about, but this is the most phenomenal DA/SA trigger I've ever felt. Like it's made by a Swiss watchmaker. I'm really excited to take it out on the range.

I got another magazine for it, a Gould and Goodrich leather OWB holster (have the same style for my large Model 13-3 for CCW, works great for me), and Sig Sauer V-Crown 9mm to load it with for carry after some range testing. Not counting the ammo, I'm at $352.00 for the gun, two mags, and the holster. Still feel pretty good about that, and the condition of the gun was worth that amount in the end.

Range report coming soon!

New Model 915-img_3515-jpg

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Old 08-20-2017, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
I'm thinking the difference is either luck, ammo, or a combination of the two.
That was one frame that prematurely failed.
I wonder how may M9 slides were scrapped early, due to slide replacement protocols of the late 80's and 90's?
The 915 has a reinforced dust cover built into the frame.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:30 PM
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Welcome, the 915 was my first firearm and I am keeping it.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:08 AM
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Member ISPcaptain told us about a 5904 that went 60K rounds, and was still running. I have a 910 that was abused for the first 10K rounds - no grease, same recoil spring - and it went approximately 29K rounds before the frame cracked.

I dont doubt a 55k round count on a 915. With proper maintenance it seems very possible, if not probable. My 0.02 Regards 18DAI
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:23 AM
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915 AKA OP...............

The 915 is one of my favorite Smith autos..... I found one in a LGS in alittle better shape than your's ..... story was, a Security Guard/Armored Car gun...... I cerakoted the frame in a titanium gray to get a two tone look...... $75.

Also, IIRC, Mec-gar is still selling 17round mags for the 59xx/915 guns. Only mags I use other than factory.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:54 PM
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Me again, back after some range testing! Things went pretty dang well, ate my Sig V-Crown carry ammo as well as many rounds of WWB. Probably put about 150 rounds through it. My "OEM" mag has a significant rattle when fully loaded that the Mec-Gar does not. Still feeds fine, but due to the rattle, it's likely to ride in the mag pouch as the spare. I need to check out those 17 rounders, BAM-BAM.

Accuracy was perfect (as much as my skill could allow, anyway). Sights are weird in practice as many of you have said, but despite that they function well. I was shooting sub 3-inch groups at 15 feet freestanding, which on my scale is pretty dang good. Hard to find a gun I'm that accurate with right out of the box, only other two that have ever been for me were my Colt 1911 and 1943 built Walther P.38, so I'm hanging on to it!

So it's earned a spot in my carry lineup, the primary one it would seem! With that in mind, it's in pieces again for a little extra TLC so it can endure the rigors of daily carry. Fully disassembled cleaning, some synthetic lubricant on the tracks, and touching up the spots on the slide and frame that need it (Aluminum Black & Perma Blue). Pics coming once it's done, but so far it's looking great.

Smith and Wesson sure made a winner here, I wish they'd bring these back! I admit to owning a Glock, but it probably wouldn't be in my safe if S&W was still making these.

Also, I regret to say my bug isn't gone. Now I want one in stainless.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:03 PM
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Hello again, and thanks for all your continued input! This pistol is a winner for sure.

Range trip went well, shot my carry ammo and WWB round after round with no issues. About 150 rounds all in total. Grouping was good for the first time out (for me!) and is on the short list of pistols I seem to just naturally *work* with. Everything came very naturally and the trigger really shone on the range. Sites are odd in practice as others have mentioned but function well anyway. My Mec-Gar mags have a rattle to them with my carry ammo for some reason, but that's a separate thread topic.

So, the 915 has earned its spot into my carry lineup, most likely as my primary just given how naturally it works with me! So, with that in mind, back to the workshop it went to get the full treatment of everything I could throw at it. I may have mentioned this before (not sure) but I have a very small side business restoring firearms, mostly for friends.

New Hogue grips, complete disassembly, cleaning, and oiling (synthetic on the high wear spots), new springs all around and a full frame and slide finish restoration while disturbing the original finish as little as possible. End result brought it to dang close to LNIB condition, pictures are attached. Being a carry gun I don't expect it to stay this nice, but at least it'll start out with the odds in its favor!

Please excuse the white lettering, have never been particularly good at it but it seems to be popular. It's not permanent.

So that's it, all in all, a heck of a gun for the $225 I spent on it (plus accessories!). Only bad side is that this gun didn't really curb my desire for a third gen, so much as change it. Now I want a stainless 5906.

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Old 08-24-2017, 01:49 AM
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Oh yeah, the S&W Model 915, a real sleeping beauty - way underappreciated.

I liked the one on the bottom that I bought in 2008 so much, that when I ran across the one on the top earlier this year at a fair price and great condition, I had to jump. And you know what, if I come across another one for a fair price in pristine condition, I'm not sure I could resist. I'm sooooo weak.


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Old 08-24-2017, 06:52 AM
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Oh yeah, the S&W Model 915, a real sleeping beauty - way underappreciated.

I liked the one on the bottom that I bought in 2008 so much, that when I ran across the one on the top earlier this year at a fair price and great condition, I had to jump. And you know what, if I come across another one for a fair price in pristine condition, I'm not sure I could resist. I'm sooooo weak.


I've accumulated 3 over the years........ would have been 4 but sold the second one to a good friend who needed/wanted a hi-cap 9 for... LOL... Y2K.

One is in my carry safe the other two are almost LNIB and are on standby reserve!!!!!!
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:08 PM
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I like the so called "Value Line" of 3G Smith's. I have a 908 (my most recent aqusition) two 915s, a couple of 411s and two 457s.


915s


457s


411

Great weapons. Reliable, accurate, point well. Truly a Value Line.

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Old 09-17-2017, 09:36 PM
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I don't guess this thread really needs an update, but...man I still love this gun! I've probably put 5-600 rounds through it all kinds of varying types and qualities of ammo and it's just been great. Carried it a lot too...open, concealed, on trips, to the gas station, hiking...again, it's an all around terrific pistol.

Been carrying it in a Tagua holster, not a very well known brand but they've always worked well for me. Better, even, than the Gould & Goodrich I originally bought for it.

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Old 09-17-2017, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
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I like the so called "Value Line" of 3G Smith's. I have a 908 (my most recent aqusition) two 915s, a couple of 411s and two 457s.


915s


457s


411

Great weapons. Reliable, accurate, point well. Truly a Value Line.

digiroc
Digiroc, I really like the two tone 915! Is it cerakoted? Who modified the stocks?New Model 915
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Old 09-17-2017, 11:26 PM
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Who modified the stocks?
They look like KSD grips.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:26 AM
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Digiroc, I really like the two tone 915! Is it cerakoted? Who modified the stocks?New Model 915
Yes Cerakoted as I bought it. I added the KSD wooden stocks as I thought they would look nice on the gun. I swapped the slide from the other 915 with the adjustable rear sights on it to make it a range gun.

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Old 10-09-2017, 08:58 PM
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For 915 owners who do NOT like the clunky rear sight, Novaks in Parkersburg, WV will mill the cut to receive a new Novak lo-mount sight (with or without night sight lamps) for a reasonable fee. Email them at novaks@novaksights.com for a quote...

I had this done to my 915 (which I recall cost me around $275 from a LGS in Norfolk, VA).

I also had Novaks install new sights on a 5906... and they likewise did a great job for a reasonable price.

Full disclosure: I have no relationship with Novaks.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:15 PM
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The sights on the standard 915 are the weakest point of that model. I put a set of Trigicons on the all black 915 pictured above.

It was an auction buy, imported by C.A.I. out of Georgia, Vermont. I'm was told it was imported from Israel where it served in the IDF. The frame that came on it was the Cerecoted tan frame, probably to cover frame wear.

I found the other 915 in very good condition in a LGS ($350 as I remember) with the adjustable sights on it so I bought it and swapped the slides to make a range gun and a carry/truck gun shooter out of the two 915's.

Here is the shooter in a left hand Kydex holster to be back-up to my 547 The 915 is carried in the small of my back while the 547 rides AISW:


"Going Heavy"

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Old 10-11-2017, 01:09 PM
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At this stage it probably doesn't matter but if you need more magazines? Midway has had them on sale for the last couple of months. These are S&W factory mags. You can also use Megar mags. Also good quality. My 915 came with one Smith and one Megar and both worked well. I have added both types as found on sale and have no regrets.These are listed as fitting the Model59 but will fit many different Smiths, including the 915. I also have a couple of 411s which are the same basic gun except in 40 S&W. All great guns and underrated. I much prefer my 3rd gen guns to the M&Ps that I also own.
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Tulsa Gunshow this Saturday: Model 63, Model 60, Model 351PD, Model 500 retiredsquid GUNS - For Sale or Trade 1 04-08-2010 04:29 PM

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