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Old 10-11-2017, 09:29 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Default Tell a story of your personal Performance Center epiphany

The idea here is to paint a picture of how you became aware of true PC pistols. (I'm talking metal handguns, put together one at a time in the actual Performance Center when it still existed, fine triggers & Briley spherical bushings and not silly ported fake "PC" Shields and M&P's and modern tupperware with the classic PC emblem applied like a ridiculous sell out)

Did you take a risk, take a leap with some big money back in the early-mid 1990's and spend $1,200+ on a single handgun without knowing what your money might bring?

Or did you get to handle one in a gun shop or gun show and actually FEEL the irrationally fine work in that slide to frame fit and that trigger?

Maybe you had a buddy that showed one to you for the first time and upon handling it -- you quickly realized that there was magic?

I'll tell my story in the next post. Please share your story also.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:03 PM
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In another thread about a 1076, I reminisced that my first foray in to a semiautomatic made by S&W was actually a 1006, handling and shooting one in the summer of 1992 and later buying that same pistol from my buddy some time in 1994.

That's right around the time when the first PC guns were hitting the scene and very close to when my SD-9 was built (but I have only had that for a year)

Back at that time I was absolutely a harcore handgunner and handloader and totally dedicated to the shooting sports but I wasn't making a lot of money and I was living a typical lifestyle for a 23-24 year old guy. Suffice to say, a high-dollar, high-end and supremely built target pistol like the guns about to come out of the PC simply did not appear on my radar at all. I honestly did not know that the PC existed or the iconic pistols that would soon be let loose in the world. By '97 I had gotten married and by '99 I became a father and though I still loved handguns and shooting, I was in no position to buy new guns.

By the time I actually "discovered" the true Performance Center pistols... the PC was snorting it's very last gasps of air. I had heard of the 952 and the 945 and I saw some of the 1911 pistols that S&W was now making but I had no idea that they were so elite, I only "saw" high price tags. Like many, I had set an artificial limit on what one handgun should cost any rational person and for me that number was probably $500-$600.

Bottom line? Up and down the entire catalog of purely fantastic pistols from the PC, very nearly every one was made and shipped before I actually had any idea of what they were and the joy one could bring to an enthusiast.

The first PC pistol I handled was in a local gun store in the spring of 2015. It was two of them, actually, a first-run 845 and a no-dash 945, 5" model. Myself and my nest shooting buddy handled each and we both agreed that we had NEVER felt any S&W that handled like these and we also agreed that between the two... well, the 945 was surely nice and gorgeous but it was an echelon below that 845.

Fast forward maybe a month and that same shop had sent it's crew and a bunch of great guns to our favorite gun show and both of those guns were there. With a fat wad and a willingness to part with it, my buddy made a play for that 845 and we were both geeked at the prospect of shooting it. I remember vividly that the pistol just felt amazing but STILL, I could not see myself spending that kind of money.

Two aisles over in the same show... another guy was offering a second run "Model of 1998" 845. Unlike the fantastic pistol my buddy just bought... this one was gun only, one non-PC marked magazine. Nothing else. We handled it, it too was inspiring, and we left it there, both wholly satisfied. My buddy liked his purchase and I couldn't see the justification in that money.

That night, I set about on the computer to learn more. It seemed like my buddy got a great buy on an amazing pistol. And one week later we got together for a range day and the first chance that either of us had to shoot a PC pistol.

Honestly, I almost felt just plain SICK to my stomach about the 845 that I fondled, handed back and thanked the dealer a week before. I was... horrified, honestly, that I walked away from that pistol.

It was a full SEVEN weeks before the next show at the same place. And that dealer STILL had it. And now I own it. And though I have had a whole lot of great luck in guns... that feat may take the cake.

So my first PC experience was two 845's and a 945. I finally tracked down a 945 of my own a couple years ago and it's a phenomenal pistol, but I still place it under my 845 overall.

Sorry for the extreme length of this story!
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:54 PM
HCH HCH is offline
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I wish I had one to tell.
Congrats on yours.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:26 AM
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About 1994/95 we had a group shooting USPSA at a local club......some shot it seriously; others shot it more like IDPA w/ carry guns and concealed carry.

A buddy who managed a LGS/Police Supply House... that was a Smith Stocking Dealer showed up one practice evening with a PC SD-9.....he shot it all that summer ....... the next summer he wanted to switch to a .40S&W...... sold me the SD9 and I continued to shoot it for about 5 years..........

Year or so later 96/97 ...... my buddy's shop had a 'used" Shorty9 for sale...which I bought........ as a hi-cap carry gun...... an upgrade to my 6906........

Over the next couple of years I bought another Shorty9 a IDPA 5906, and a CQB.45.


Fast forward a decade and I joined this motley crew and soon discovered how small the PC run of guns actually were..... like the PC Stocking Dealer Guns .... only about 500 in total .... with only 179 SD9s .

I still carry my Shorty9 from time time to time.................

Those 90s Performance Guns are true classics.hand built custom guns...... IMHO

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Old 10-12-2017, 04:13 PM
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Default It Was The Briley Bushing That Did It ...

Spherical, Titainium, tight tolerance engineering. Those were the things that created my epiphany about the Performance Center semi-autos.

I only have one, a Shorty Forty, the 36th one to be built after Paul Liebenburg slapped one down on the boardroom table and and said "here is the impossible".



My next goal is to get BAM BAM to sell me one of his PC9s.

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Old 10-12-2017, 06:45 PM
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Started out with revolvers and didn't even look into autos for a number of years. My first auto was a S&W 1911 full size followed by a Walther PPK/S just 'cause I had to have the Bond gun. My first 9mm was a 6906 I picked up for next to nothing...the hook was set. I really liked that gun along with a few other 3rd gens I acquired so when a Shorty 40 MkIII popped up I grabbed it...WOW! The hunt was on for a Shorty 9. Took a while but finally found one in NY of all places and snapped it up quickly. Those two remain my only PC guns but who knows about the future.

When you rack the slide on the Shorties it is quickly evident that they are a step up from the already great production models. It's not uncommon that I let the youngsters try my non-PC 3rd gens at the range and of course we all know the surprised reaction from those who never knew about them much less ever shot one. I tell them with a wink that these aren't even my best one's! The Shorties don't get out much.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:46 PM
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I found mine just because I went to the right place at the right time.

I went to Turners in San Diego to look at a Wilson Combat on sale. Well the store did not have it in stock but told me that the San Marcos store had them.

So off to the other store to check it out. As I approached the counter there it was, shiney new and marked down $200. One Smith & Wesson 945 with metal case and two magazines.

There was no hesitation as the salesman asked if he could help. I'll take that one!

Already having a 745 really helped and upgrading was so easy. I'm sure if I were ever to sell the 945 I could get all my money back as the quality still shows.

That's my story. Right place,right time,right price.

Bruce
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digiroc View Post
Spherical, Titainium, tight tolerance engineering. Those were the things that created my epiphany about the Performance Center semi-autos.


My next goal is to get BAM BAM to sell me one of his PC9s.

digiroc
LOL...that ain't gonna happen!!!!

One's been a good friend for 20 years ........ the other is still new in the box!

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Old 10-12-2017, 08:54 PM
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Most of the golden years of the PC overlapped the 1994 AWB..... always wondered why the PC never did a PC 3913 or NL .
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HCH View Post
I wish I had one to tell.
Congrats on yours.
Me neither. I slept right through the glory years of the PC pistols and now all I see are occasional .40 caliber PC pistols... usually the least desirable ones... and you know what my good wife has said about .40's.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:39 PM
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I bought my first non pc, a 5906, in 1989. I have several non pc, then about 4 years ago, I was at one of the large sporting goods stores that buy used guns. I thought a guy was selling a 6906, so I walked up the counter and made small talk. He let me handle it as he waited to close out his deal, and mentioned his disgust in the offer on his Shorty 9. His transaction complete, I attempted to buy the gun from the counter. I was told it was not ready to sell, and I should check back. Never saw the gun again. I started looking for PC guns. I bought a .45 CQB two tone.
Shot it a little, but was too nice to carry. I then bought an all black model, and thought " hey I have a nice pair." Then I bought another two tone with a little cosmetic wear, just to shoot it without guilt. Still looking for a idpa 5906 in 4" barrel that is nice, but not too nice to shoot. Really enjoying the three 45's, even if two primarily get looked at. I tell myself to balance enjoyment but remember they aren't making any more of them.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:08 AM
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My venture down the PC path started when I read posts from Grinder, CQB and Catshooter.

Being a fan of the 4513TSW, I wanted a Shorty 45. Around 9 years ago, I located a used and almost affordable example - a Shorty 45 MKII - in a pawn shop in CT.

After a quick telephone call, it was mine and in my hands a short time later.

A 4566 PC 45CQB followed and then the Prototype 45CQB used in the American Handgunner article.

Fine pistols. Those 45CQB's are the ultimate versions of the 4566 and 4563TSW. Regards 18DAI
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:42 AM
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Well, I can blame the Performance Center for getting me addicted to 3rd Gens, that much is for sure.

Mainly being a revolver guy, when I first came across a mislabeled stainless steel 45ACP at a rural gun shop I reluctantly asked to see it. I had never noticed any pistol like this before. Different features than a 1911. Humm...

I immediately was enamored with it's fit & finish. They had it tagged as an "850" as I recall.

I had heard of the Performance Center, for revolvers, but had completely missed the 3rd Gen Era being too busy working & raising a family. No $$ for fun stuff back then.

After some searching, & asking here, I confirmed it was a PC 845 Limited & promptly purchased it. Within a year I had found (11) standard production 3rd Gen's that "needed a home". And so it started.

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to come across a PC 40 Shorty Mk.I locally, which is my only other PC 3rd Gen, currently.

.

845 - (45 Limited)

(-09a)

Found a 845 (45 Limited) and....

.

.

Shorty 40 Mk.I (right side quarter view on SCSW#4)

(-01b)

It's a... Shorty 40 Mk.I (added LH letter)

.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:26 AM
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I used to be a revolver guy, then I started hanging out here. I posted a question, and Sevens pmed me. It's been uphill since then. I have a M52, which some claim started the pc era, but my only pc gun is a m945. I have never shot anything so accurate. You take it apart, and you can feel the fit and finish and the tight tolerances. I am looking for a m845 to fit in with my m645,745, and 945. That is my holy grail, it may take a while, but I'll get one.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:07 PM
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Terrific stories, one and all!

HCH: Hancock County is Findlay area? Seems plausible that we could meet up and shoot one day...? You could experience these things, might end up being a holy terror on your wallet...

Boy, I hope we can keep this thread alive. We really need to hear some tales from some of the guys who post here about their pretty -big- PC pistol collections.

For what it's worth... as folks always want to know...
I have taken four of my PC pistols from Gunbroker. You will typically require a mix of luck, quickness, guts and the huevos to spend some cash AND willingness to drop big money on a gun that you cannot handle first... believe me, I realize that scenario isn't for everyone.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:18 PM
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After reading this thread, I have a question for the Gurus on here. Is every 745, 845, and 945 a PC gun? What about 645's? I know that on many of the 3rd Gen models that PC guns were marked as such or were special editions, but I'm curious about the 2nd gens I asked about above.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:32 PM
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645 and 745 are production guns. They are fine guns, we all love 'em, I have two 745's myself and am a huge fan of this model, I love them a heap for a lot of reasons. But they are guns put together with minimal fitting from huge lots of parts. As such, they are nothing whatsoever like PC pistols.

PC pistols all start as oversized bloated forgings and slides and frames are matched up as a unit before the frame rails are even cut. The pieces barely fit together and are honed slowly by hand until their fit with each other is, well, ridiculous and inspiring. Drawing the slide back on a 645,745, 4506 or 5906/3913/915 or any of those production guns is a solid feel and a fantastic working, reliable and enjoyable handgun.

But when you draw the slide back on an 845, 945, 952 or the PC "Shorty" guns, you will experience a BIG difference. In a S&W, the only thing that feels similar is a Model 52.

And that slide to frame fit is merely the FIRST thing you notice of many things that set PC pistols apart.

Some folks may not easily see & feel what we see and feel. No shame... not all will appreciate what they bring. In those cases, for those folks, it isn't money well spent.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:44 PM
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About 10 years ago saw a LNIB 945-1 at a gun show for 1k. Not knowing but guessing it was a good deal, and after much hem-hawing around, brought home as the afternoon was winding down.

Shoulda left it there...it became the most expensive good deal I've bought. I mean you gotta have a back-up, and a spare, and oh that auction isn't high enough, think I need to make a bid. Oooohh, a 4006 Ltd, my .45s need some .40 company.

Yup, it got me hook, line, and sinker....and I had been content with my1911's til I found that 945. However; my Paul Liebenburg/Pistol Dynamics 1911 will keep up with my PC guns just fine.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:07 AM
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Got all 5 of mine (traded the CQB .45/ hated the Billboard) from the same Stocking Dealer/ Police Supply House..... they almost couldn't give them away in the 90s......there was a Recon.45 that was in the case for at least 2years....maybe longer. As they were listed at almost 3 times the price of a factory gun...... around $900 or so out the door.

Really a lot of the early guns ...... all the Shorty-40s and 9s were basically
"expensive" target grade duty guns..... even the SD guns were in many ways were ''chopped" (short butts/long slide) 5906s.Before I got my first Shorty 9 I'd sometimes carry it on weekends in a Sparks Summer Special when I wanted more gun than a 3913.

If I hadn't gotten the first two "used"...... would have probably passed all together on the PC guns. But the all stainless SD9 was still like new even after a summer of being shot once a week ....... the first Shorty 9 was still unfired anib...... I paid a premium over a factory new 6906......maybe $150/gun.... which has worked out to about $7.50/ year (Using the "BAM-BAM formula" as TISH likes to call it) that I've owned them.......

my only regret is not buying more.... but with 2 young boys joining the family in 97 and 2000 my 'shooting time" dropped off until about 2010.

Would have loved to have bought some of the later 3" PC revolvers.... but they were all "Ported"or had expansion chambers...WHY??....... I'd Magna-ported a 3" 65 in the 80s..... and swore I'd never do it again.......
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:07 AM
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Default My PC story.

I started as an FBI Agent in 1995. In late 96 or early 97 I was at the range and saw the senior firearms instructor carrying a 1076. I asked him about it and he told me how great it was and that these later ones had been worked over by the PC. I mentioned that it was too bad I could not get issued one. He said he had the last two unissued ones in the FBI inventory. I jumped at the chance and traded in my Sig P228. I carried it for several years and loved it.

So I had that sitting in my noggin for a long time. I later got into PPC shooting and noticed that the PPC9 was singled out as a gun that could not be used in the stock category. (Too good maybe?). At one of the meets I bought a 5 inch PPC 9 from another competitor. I shot it a little but decided the function did not get along with the 1911s I was shooting in other events. So I sold it to buy a revolver or two. Dumb. I later bought a SW1911 Pro that is fantastic shooting and supposedly has some PC tuning? I also have a 686 Competitor that is a PC gun. And I most recently acquired a 6 inch 952 Masterpiece and a 6 inch PPC9. Both great shooters and I wish I could find a 5 inch 952 for a decent price to complete my PPC PC stable.

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Old 10-14-2017, 02:09 PM
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Ha, it reads a little funny when you are patiently waiting for a decent price on a 5-inch 952 when you've revealed that you have both the 6-inch guns in 952 and PPC-9! (because those cost a mint!)

And would it be bad to point out that there are two versions of the 5-inch PPC-9? There's the more common long dust cover and the seemingly more rare short/square slide. The muzzle end looks just like the aforementioned SD-9/40/356 pistols.

You've got some KILLER pistols!
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:01 PM
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They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words:


This was my 1st PC gun. I bought it from a dealer that specialized in pre-ban black rifles during the Clinton gun ban. The dealer would buy whole collections to get at the pre-ban guns he wanted which were then advertised on the internet. All other guns were usually sold locally at very reasonable prices.

During one of my visits he showed me this Tactical .40. I didn't even want a 40 cal but the gun just oozed quality. Now it's probably one of the last guns I would ever part with.
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:54 PM
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Yes! Though I am not a huge .40cal guy either, I ~really~ wanted that pistol and thought I had a fighting chance at one a couple years ago on a Gunbroker auction. As it turned out, one bidder was willing to go more and I will always feel like I missed a good one there. And the drop-dead gorgeous two-tone reminds me of my 745's that I love. She's such a beauty!
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:59 PM
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Ha, it reads a little funny when you are patiently waiting for a decent price on a 5-inch 952 when you've revealed that you have both the 6-inch guns in 952 and PPC-9! (because those cost a mint!)

And would it be bad to point out that there are two versions of the 5-inch PPC-9? There's the more common long dust cover and the seemingly more rare short/square slide. The muzzle end looks just like the aforementioned SD-9/40/356 pistols.

You've got some KILLER pistols!
Thanks Sevens. I think I got a couple good deals on the 6 inchers. I did not know there were two versions of the 5 inch PPC9 though! Interesting. The 5 inch PPC9 I had came with a black plastic case that had a PC sticker on it. The 6 inch PPC9 I have came with a metal PC case. I am guessing the plastic case was sent out with the early PPC9s. I think the 5 inch I had had the short square slide. See pics.
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:08 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Yes, though I definitely don't know FOR SURE, that square-muzzle slide seems to be the more rare of the two offered. Beautiful!
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Old 10-14-2017, 07:10 PM
Stentor Stentor is offline
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As I started to explore and appreciate a wider range of handguns I stumbled upon S&W PC firearms.

My first PC pistol was a PPC9 (5 inch)--which got me hooked.

After that I picked up a very nice 952 long slide.

And I just got a 945 (no dash, stainless).

It's fair to say I have become a fan of the 3rd Generation PC pistols.
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Old 10-14-2017, 07:29 PM
EPGuy80 EPGuy80 is offline
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I don't have a PC gun. I really want one. But I want the never to be found Shorty 9. Gunbroker has a couple of Shorty 40's, but I'm not a huge 40 guy. I bought my 4013 because I wanted to be able to shoot 40 if I can't find 9. I was thinking about snapping up one of them, but I have a couple of friends that swear it's too much to pay for one. My main concern is if I do get one, I'll want to shoot it because I keep reading that it's awesome, but I won't shoot it because they don't make 'em like that anymore. Such a catch 22.
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Old 10-16-2017, 01:47 PM
Kevin G Kevin G is offline
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I wanted a model 52 when I first became aware of their existence. About 15 years ago I went to the LGS to look at a model 52-2. Young sales clerk mistakenly showed me a 9 mm gun tagged as a 952 And marked $825. Ended up buying the 522 I was seeking, upon getting home I researched the 9521, got on the phone for mediately, put it on hold and owned it the next day.
A couple years later, same LGS, a large Smith 45 in the case marked performance center 645 for $850. Store had a copy of the standard catalog was able to determine it was an 845 so I bought it.
Kevin
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:06 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Stories like that can STILL HAPPEN these days, I would just guess that it would be a much more rare occurrence. More likely to be a gun show find than a gun shop -- I think the internet has made these guns far more difficult to "hide." The 845 in particular is extremely good at hiding because it is one of very few S&W pistols that don't have a model number displayed on it anywhere. (well, the more limited second series does...)
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:46 PM
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I started shooting matches in 1979 with S&W revolvers. Don't do autos. Got tired of paying someone to work on them, then get it back and poorly done. I'm a tool & die maker by trade, so I started doing my own. There has been a learning curve over the years, but I could always end up with what I wanted, with quality workmanship.

You always pay for your education one way or another, in money, time, ruined parts, buying tools, etc. It has been a fun and rewarding journey though. I can now make a S&W revo into anything I want it to be and have a stable of premium, one of a kind, tack driving ones. For me, the real Performance Center is my shop. Been tuning and building all out custom ones for a long time. Just my personal ones though.

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Old 10-16-2017, 11:22 PM
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IIRC, it was about '99. I had gone to a gun shop I frequented to buy a Colt Special Combat Government. They usually had things like Custom Shop Colts, Ed Browns, etc. in stock. I noticed they had a PC 945, no dash, in stock. I don't recall if I'd ever even seen a 945 before. Anyway, as I was a regular customer, and assured them I'd buy it if I scratched it, they allowed me to field strip the Colt SCG and the 945. The difference in the fit of barrel/bushing/slide/frame between the two was obvious. The Colt seemed to have been assembled, like any other production model, not fitted. The fit of the 945 was more like SIG P210s I'd owned. No comparison in my mind. I went home with the 945. In the years afterwards, I bought several more Performance Center guns. Only have three PC guns left, but wish I'd kept them all.....

Added a photo of two of the three PC guns I have left, 4" and 5" DPA 5906s.
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:14 AM
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A couple years later, same LGS, a large Smith 45 in the case marked performance center 645 for $850. Store had a copy of the standard catalog was able to determine it was an 845 so I bought it.
I heard the new SCSW#4 now have a picture of one in it, making identification even easier.

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Old 10-17-2017, 09:52 AM
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My first PC pistol was a used PC9 that I paid $450 at a gun shop in the mid-90s. I was told the original owner said it was an inaccurate shooter. For the price, I also got a $100 IWB holster also. The original owners story was completely wrong. I put a set of Trijicon Novak night sights on it and carried it for many years. It was light, quick and easy to shoot a clean APOSTC score. It resides in the safe today.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:34 PM
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Not much of a story teller. The first PC auto that I shot was the 945. Great shooting pistol shoots better than me! Added a 952 long slide and an 845. Got to love the quality of the PC pistols.

945


952


645, 645, 745, 845, 945
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:36 PM
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Hi Sevens and all
Hmm, for me anyway, I'm not sure I'd use epiphany in context with anything other than religion but in the context of enlightenment yeah OK I'll go for it. I don't remember how it struck me but I knew of the PC guns and having more cash then brains I stumbled upon a 3566 and snagged it. Phew, that hurt! Since then I've purchased 4 more PC's (all the old stuff) and after that 3566 the others were cheap! How's that for a frame of reference. The PC-9 and PC-45 will probably go out the door one of these days and if I recall the PC-9 has not been fired but the 45 has but still looks new. Anyway they're great pieces and I should off the 3566 as it is unfired with like 6 mags and 1000 rounds of ammo but I just love that all stainless frame! Oh the humanities! Not much of a story but it's mine! Ha, ha!
All of you Stay Safe!
T & B
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