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Old 05-08-2020, 04:55 PM
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Purchased a used 469 around first of March. While in 10-day purgatory†at my FFL, the virus lock-down began and while I haven't shot it yet, I've been able to strip, clean, and lubricate it and do some†research on it on this site (and others).† Most all of the pics of the†gun†I've seen have s/n's beginning with the letter "A," yet, my†gun†has the following s/n:†TBD31##. (???)††Due to the way it was packed I suspect it might possibly have been ex-law enforcement or†military†issue but it bears no agency marking or ID numbers which might indicate that.
Mechanically†in good condition with strong†springs†- bright sharp†bore†-†no evident rust/pitting/corrosion/scratches, only normal holster wear to the†slide†bluing -†no signs of misuse or obvious drop marks, but the anodized†frame†does have chips and worn areas exposing the metal of the†alloy†frame. Appearance aside, I expect it will be a good†shooter†when I finally get it to the†range†and I intend to use it for for EDC.
S/N QUESTION: Can anyone tell my anything about the TBD prefix in the gun's s/n?
Any info, help, or advice gratefully welcomed and THANX in advance!
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Old 05-09-2020, 09:30 AM
PJO1425 PJO1425 is offline
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According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson (4th edition), TBD dates to 1987.
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by PJO1425 View Post
According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson (4th edition), TBD dates to 1987.
Thanx for its year of birth Actually it's the significance of the TBD letter prefix. Most all pics I've seen on-line are of guns with "beginning of the alphabet" serial numbers - and I'm in the dark as to what the TBD signifies????
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:52 PM
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Starting in the early 80's S&W began the 3 Alpha (beginning) S/N's. It started with AAA0001 and progressed from that. I think they went up to 99999 in each Alpha series. Now to complicate things S&W skipped some Alpha series, and blocked out some groups of Alpha series. For this reason it is nearly impossible to estimate the age of the guns without a "Letter". The SCSW4 (and SCSW3) have lists with year "ranges" but that iw as close as you will get without a letter.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:01 PM
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As suggested, I'm sending a rqst for a ltr to S&W.
MEANTIME -- fresh information rc'vd from "other" sources" have suggested that the unique "TBD" is an agency s/n of the contracting agency (ala: the Cal Hwy Ptrl 'CHP' s/n gunsl) --AND/OR-- that it represents an interim "transition" model filling the s/n gap betw the Gen 2 and Gen 3 guns. (????) Any comments gratefullyaccepted.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:51 PM
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Iím very sorry and apologize first, but.

I think I need an explanation why you are factory lettering a 469. Yes for sure the are fantastic pistols. The three letter prefix is a three letter prefix as far as I know, but I donít know much.

Iíve got a few that are close to your three letter alpha, none of them are special.

Let us all know what your factory letter says.

Jim
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Old 05-11-2020, 11:30 PM
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Hi, Bob!

Welcome to the Forum.

Sorry, but TBD doesn't mean anything.

S&W went from a single letter serial number prefix to a three letter prefix to allow themselves more flexibility and variety in numbering.

In some special order circumstances, S&W would assign a "custom" three letter prefix (such as CHP).

"TBD" simply came after "TBC" and before "TBE", and had no more meaning than that.

I have prefixes of "AJL", "TBL", "AYM", "TBH", "TED", TEV", "TFF", etc.

They all mean nothing.

John
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Old 05-12-2020, 02:42 AM
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John - - - Thanx very much for your very concise (and common sense) reply. While I hope to hear back from Smith, in the meantime I accept your reply as the gold standard. Sometimes the simplest answer is, in fact, the correct one. As many (both on this site and elsewhere) have posted, S&W sure seemed to go 'wonky' with their s/n's.

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Old 05-12-2020, 03:27 AM
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"Wonky" is an understatement!

S&W sometimes would hold a "block" of numbers in "reserve" for a future date.

They would also ship out of numeric order quite often.

It is not at all unheard of to find a consecutively numbered pair of pistols that shipped months (if not years) apart.

When asked about this haphazard use of serial numbers, S&W Historian, Roy Jinks is fond of saying, "S&W was in business to make a profit, not collectibles. They did whatever they could to get the product out the door."

Realistic, perhaps, but lacking the historical gravitas we collectors are likely to put on these things we find so special.

John
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