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Old 08-02-2020, 07:08 AM
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Default Help me decide: S&W 5906

My local gun store here in The Netherlands offers a Smith & Wesson 5906. It is a variant with the adjustable sights/protective ears, square/large triggerguard and the steel/flash chromed hammer and trigger. At the price of €275 it's a steal...

I haven't seen/held the pistol yet, but I consider buying it. Lately I have been cured from my 'all guns must be black and polymer' vision. Currently I own a 686 and a CZ 75b New Edition.

One thing is holding me back though:
Many years ago I owned a 5906...it was worked on: single action only trigger with an insanely short reset. The sights we're of the BoMar kind. I really loved this pistol for the way it was made; all steel construction, looks and the way it felt in my hand. I liked it better than my all steel Sig Sauer P226.
There was however one downside to this particular 5906: it keyholed like Tartarus and wouldn't shoot consequent groups. I knew this when I got the pistol from a shooting buddy who was bored looking for the right loads, COL and such.

In the end I got rid of this particular 5906. I am wondering the 'gunsmith' who worked on this 5906 did a bad job...at the time I was a novice shooter.

In my country one may be permitted owning firearms for sports-/targetshooting. CCW, HD, SD with firearms is prohibited.

I would like to ask the experienced 5906 shooters/owners/gunsmiths about the accuracy of this pistol. Does it shoot acceptable and consequent groups at, say, 25 yards? I use reloads, so what kind of bullets does it generally like or dislike? Are there quality differences between the different versions of the 5906?
Of course I understand that this pistol was made to always work and go 'on patrol'. I am not expecting hole-in-hole accuracy from a servicepistol...however my past experiences with the 5906 make me wonder if I should buy this one.

I shoot mainly service-like disciplines where the 10-zone is roughly 4 by 6 inches.

Looking forward to your replies! Thank you.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:34 AM
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Your expectations are correct about accuracy, the 5906 is not a target gun. It's reasonable that if you do your part, it will stay in a 4X6" center at 25 yards. The 5906 which I own would not shoot cast bullets with any accuracy, improperly sized or reloaded, wrong powder load, don't know. It shoots jacked rounds just fine. As noted the trigger reset is phenomenal. At the price, I say buy.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:11 AM
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Dear Jaap,

Hello from Virginia. It’s good to hear from the land of dikes, windmills and tulips. I’ve loved visiting your beautiful country, although it has been many years now.

The price you are seeing on that 5906 would be most attractive even translated to dollars if the gun shoots well. Magazines are becoming somewhat expensive here, especially original factory ones... does the one you are looking at have more than one? Prices for spare mags become a serious consideration.

An original, un-altered 5906 should easily be able to shoot to the level you describe. Is the one you are looking at currently at a store with a range? Can you test fire it (even if you have to pay a fee?) This could put your mind at ease and even prevent a costly mistake!

Good luck with your search and keep us informed of the outcome. You might even post a picture if you buy it; we love pictures here.

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Old 08-02-2020, 08:15 AM
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I think the 5906 is a great gun, great to shoot and reasonably accurate, I belive with the smallest exception, that anything gun can be accurate. Its dependent on the shooter. Even better with an adjustable sight models..

At 325 America dollars I would grab it just because thats a phenomenal price just to have it around...

Good luck from Florida !
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:30 AM
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Default Perhaps......

Perhaps this one could be worked on by a good gunsmith. I can't imagine there being a 'bad' 5906.

I have a 5943. I wouldn't pass that up.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:36 AM
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I had two of these in the early 90s and found them both accurate and reliable. I do not like 9mm, and quickly moved on.

Interestingly, I used one of these to hit (not topple) 200 meter rams at a handgun metallic silhouette range near Raton, NM using Speer 125 grain lead round nose bullets and 4.5 grains of Unique powder.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:48 AM
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An unaltered 5906 should be expected to shoot to a reasonable level of precision, with adjustable sights allowing for acceptable accuracy. This 5906 has a Bar-Sto match barrel installed. But, I would also expect the original barrel to keep most all shots in the black at the same distance.



It seems there’s always one shot which wanders away from the rest.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exchipy View Post
An unaltered 5906 should be expected to shoot to a reasonable level of precision, with adjustable sights allowing for acceptable accuracy. This 5906 has a Bar-Sto match barrel installed. But, I would be surprised if the original barrel couldn’t keep most all shots in the black at the same distance.



It seems there’s always one shot which wanders away from the rest.
What kind of rear sight is that? Gotta be aftermarket.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:52 AM
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That is a very good price for an early version of the 5906. I would be hard pressed to not buy at that price. As for accuracy, my experience with S&W pistols is that, unless you get a Performance Center model, they are service grade handguns. That means 6 inch groups at 25 yards is acceptable.

Key holing is usually an indication of an oversized bore or undersized bullets.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:03 AM
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What kind of rear sight is that? Gotta be aftermarket.
That rear sight is an MMC, unfortunately long discontinued, with the white dots blacked out. The front sight is a Novak .245” white dot.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:13 PM
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Yes, I would buy that 5906.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:42 PM
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Buy it.
I've had four 3rd Gen. 9mm; 5903, 5946, and x2 5906s. They shoot about as good as any of my stock polymer S&Ws. I noticed that all four of mine seem to shoot better with 124 grain ammo.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:55 PM
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I have 2 5946's, a 5903, and a 4566. I would buy another just to have a source for spare parts if need be. A $350 5906 would be a no-brainer.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:37 PM
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I have owned my 5906 since the early 90's. Great targeting at 25-27 yards...tears a target up. I have several other automatics, though this o s my favorite!
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:43 AM
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Thank you all for your helpfull input. I will be checking this pistol out and when it finds it's way to my gunsafe, I'll be sure to post a few pictures in this thread!
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:05 AM
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Jaap, I have a bias for all steel guns at the range. The factory condition 5906 is a standard US police pistol that officers relied on for their lives. As mentioned. it is not a target pistol, but is reasonably accurate ("Combat Accuracy") for a handgun though I might choose another weapon for the biathlon or as a sniper weapon. The factory SA/DA trigger on S&Ws is now intuitive to me. I hope that you are as pleased as I am with this firearm.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:55 PM
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Jaap, I've owned both production and Performance Center 5906s. The production version is a reliable, heavy duty pistol. With the factory barrel in the production version, I would expect the gun to be capable of 4" or less groups at 25 yards with jacketed bullets. I tried, but never had much luck with cast bullets in the 9MM with factory barrels. I don't think BarSto makes barrels for the 5906 anymore, but the Barsto barrels I've used in the FN/Browning Hi Powers shot cast bullets very well.

TW, I prefer adjustable sights in general, and actually prefer the winged adjustables as on the 5906 you're considering. At the price you mention, I'd buy it...
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:59 AM
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The longer I am reading/looking at pictures on this forum...the more I believe I am living in the wrong country hahaha. Over here you can legally own 5 firearms for a sportspermit. If one can motivate he needs more than 5 there are possibilities to own more, but that is rare. If one has a hunting permit, one can own 6 firearms (double barrel shotgun or bolt action only).

Over here...where not as free in the 'gun department'.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaap from Holland View Post
The longer I am reading/looking at pictures on this forum...the more I believe I am living in the wrong country hahaha. Over here you can legally own 5 firearms for a sportspermit. If one can motivate he needs more than 5 there are possibilities to own more, but that is rare. If one has a hunting permit, one can own 6 firearms (double barrel shotgun or bolt action only).

Over here...where not as free in the 'gun department'.
Sadly, our freedom seems to be waning.
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Old 08-04-2020, 10:22 AM
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Buy it. You will not be disappointed.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:22 PM
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There was however one downside to this particular 5906: it keyholed like Tartarus and wouldn't shoot consequent groups.
You should probably get some sort of prize just for being the first person to use the word "Tartarus" in this Forum! I had to Google that one...

Hopefully this 5906 doesn't give you any problems like the last one you owned. Did that one also have the squared trigger guard and adjustable sight? Which do you prefer?
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:20 PM
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Well...we're here to learn ;-).

My previous 5906 had the round triggerguard. Sights were not original. LPA/BoMar like rear sight and a steep orange front sight. I think the round triggerguard looks better.

Why was the triggerguard changed from square to round? And were the adjustable sights optional? Or did S&W stop producing guns with the adjustables? Since it's a dutygun, fixed sights are less prone to breaking.

Since we're on the subject of dutyguns and adjustable sights: a few years ago every policeofficer in The Netherlands carried the Walther P5. I believe this pistol is a somewhat rare firearm in the USA? The P5 had a windage adjustable rear sight. When on the range you could ask the instructor to change the rear sight out for a higher or lower one. The P5's were great pistols to shoot. Despite the 8 round capacity I never felt undergunned. Never had issues.

Nowadays we're issued the Walther P99QNL. Like a PPQ, but with a triggersystem which had second strike capability. That's the P99Q. The letters NL stand for some minor demands/wishes the dutch police had regarding the pistol. Great gun also...but it's black and polymer ;-).
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:07 AM
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The S&W Model 39 was designed with a round trigger guard. The square, or hooked, trigger guard came about with the 2nd generation pistols, the x39/x59/x69. This was during a period when S&W was competing for the U.S. Army's contract for a 9x19mm, high capacity pistol to replace their M-1911-A1 and to have more commonality with NATO countries. The 459 was not selected by the army, but when S&W introduced the 3rd generation pistols, they received an even longer, hooked trigger guard for better use when wearing heavy gloves. After about 2 years, the hooked trigger guard fad was out of favor and S&W rounded the long trigger guard to create the "long round" trigger guard. That only lasted a couple of years and S&W went back to a round trigger guard that was much closer to the original Model 39/59 guard. The trigger guard changes can make finding holsters for S&W pistols a real challenge.


The fully adjustable rear sight was an option on the full size 2nd and 3rd generation pistols. The sight is well designed and the protective ears or wings, whichever you prefer to call them, do a great job of protecting the sight from damage. This sight was originally designed for Model 39's used by the U.S. Navy Seals.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
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In my country one may be permitted owning firearms for sports-/targetshooting. CCW, HD, SD with firearms is prohibited.
So let me ask, If a bad guy breaks into your home, with malevolent intent, you are not allowed to engage him with a firearm??? How is that even possible? Sounds like the left wing here- call a social worker. What can you do to defend yourself from intruder/attack? Be Safe,
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:30 AM
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The answer to your question is no. Let me explain. Because this must sound crazy for most people living in the USA.

First off: comparing our countries regarding firearms/self defense is like comparing apples to oranges. Your constitution gives you the right to keep and bear arms....even to the extent of defending people against a tyrannical government. Our constitution doesn't have anything like that.

Guns in the USA are part of the society. Over here this is not the case. Ask a random individuel about guns and the first thing they say: guns are dangerous, scary, people shouldn't be allowed to own them, should be forbidden etc. People over here now guns from the movies.

By law all firearms are forbidden. There are, however, exemptions: sportsshooting and hunting. For sportshooting you have to join a shootingclub. After 1,5 years membership one can apply for a permit. If you are a hunter you have to pass an hunting exam (mostly about environmental laws) and you must show you have a hunting ground.

The police issues the permit after research and backgroundchecks. If there is the least doubt the request for permit will be denied.
Before issuing the permit the police comes to your home: for a talk and to check if you have a decent gunsafe which must me bolted to the floor or wall. Guns and ammo must be separatly stored. So a loaded gun in the safe is forbidden. Storing guns and ammo outside the gunsafe is also prohibited. These measures are there for several reasons: to prevent misuse of the firearm by others than the permitholder, to prevent accidents, preventing theft, to prevent using it for anything other than sports/hunting. Carry of a firearm in a holster is also prohibited. When going to the range guns and ammo must be transported in a bag of case, unloaded.

The police checks this every once in a while (unannounced). The just show up and ask to come in for a check. If you refuse repeatedly...well chances are they revoke the permit.

So...back to the 'defending/engaging a violent home invader'. You are not able to with a gun; since the gun is not 'bedside table' stored. When waking from that 'bump in the night' getting to the gunsafe in the dark, loading your gun and confront the invader.

I don't know how everything is on your side of our planet. Over here people invest in good locks to discourage burglars/home invaders. Al my windows/doors are made of polymer with steel liners. When I turn a key, it locks or unlocks 3 bolts. Getting in my home without a key is very difficult. So...a burglar looking for a score will probably go for another house which has substandard locks.

I'm a LE for almost 20 years now. From my experience: if there is a burglar/home invader who makes the mistake trying to enter a home when people are present they are very young, stupid and/or unexperienced. They scare away at the first sign of trouble. When there is a true violent home invasion it's most of the time criminals going after criminals...or true 'hero's' going after the elderly.

Most home invasions occur when people are not home. Another reason for the obligation to store your guns in a safe, bolted down.

That being said: using force/violence is only allowed for police. A civilian doesn't have any right by law to use force. If you do, you can appeal a certain law. This law states, simply said, that you had to use force given the circumstances, to prevent harm to oneself, another person or goods. A judge will review the case and will pass judgement if this appeal is just or not.

To give an example: a couple of years ago there was a jewelry store being robbed. The store was owned by a married couple. They were robbed a couple of times. The couple purchased a firearm (illegally) to defend themselves. Which I can fully understand by the way. Then they were being robbed the husband was being injured (shot or stabbed, can't remember) the wife took out the gun they bought and shot and killed one of the robbers. This was an incident which dominated the news for a time. In the end they only got a fine for the possession of an illegal firearm. They were not being found guilty of manslaughter/murder.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:03 AM
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Thank You for the info. I could never live in a society like that. Be Safe,
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:39 PM
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Jaap, thank you for the explanation. It seems one rule does apply on both sides of the Atlantic: Better tried by 12 (American Jury) than carried by 6 (Pall Bearers). I think many of us easily bought more than 5 guns a year. Sometimes in a month. My collection is modest by forum standards, but would land me in jail in Holland. Many folks here also only know guns from movies and fear them. Does anyone there argue that only law abiding citizens follow gun laws? With the changes brought on by immigration creating a more diverse population like the US, is there a movemenent to relax gun laws? Stay safe.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:23 PM
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There are no bad 5906's! There is bad ammo, bad magazines, bad maintenance and technique!

I'm in the "fixed sight" camp for combat firearms! Mine have fixed "nite sites"! (4566, 5906 duty weapons years ago!)

Buy it! Love it! Shoot it!

Smiles,
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:21 PM
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Jaap from Holland Jaap from Holland is offline
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So...this week I went to my LGS to check the 5906 out. Turns out the gun had a lot of scratches, nicks and dings. Only 1 magazine too. Too much for my taste. I didn't buy it. First of due to the looks and secondly: if one treats his gun this way....one can only wonder what happened to it. Too bad....
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  #30  
Old 08-10-2020, 12:15 PM
deanodog deanodog is offline
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I love all the 3rd gen autos.
Help me decide: S&W 5906-ukboigsg-jpg
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  #31  
Old 08-10-2020, 01:34 PM
BillBond BillBond is offline
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I owned a 5906 back in the 90's. The two things I remember most is how heavy it was and how horrible the trigger felt when firing double action.
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  #32  
Old 08-14-2020, 05:09 AM
European European is offline
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Jaap, hello from Belgium.

Although you have decided not to buy this specific 5906, you may consider buying a third generation S&W pistol at another occasion. I own a 915 and a 6904 and both are reasonably accurate, although neither of them has a target trigger pull.

In my opinion, however, the all-steel S&W pistols in 9 mm Parabellum are unnecessarily heavy. An alloy gun in this calibre is perfectly controllable and if you keep it lubricated it is also durable.

You already owned a 5906 so you are aware that the part of the grip that is just under the trigger-guard is quite rough and can be uncomfortable for some shooters. This was my case (I was developing a callous in my middle finger) so I asked my gunsmith to file it carefully.

Concerning gun laws, they are better over here than in the Netherlands, as we do not have a limitation on the number of firearms that we can own (sport / recreational shooting and hunting being the main reasons to own them). Collectors can even own fully-automatic firearms and shoot with them once a year. If when you apply for a permit you indicate that the reason to do it is self defense / home defense your application will most likely be turned down. However, the most important question in the written test that must be passed to get the permit is precisely about that topic (you may give the wrong answer to some other questions but not to that one). The right answer is basically that a home invasion constitutes an attack and the dweller is entitled to defend life (not property) using proportionate means. The law protects the dweller even more if the home invasion occurs at night as in such case there seems to be an assumption that there is attack to life (I am not a criminal lawyer though). Over here we also have to store guns unloaded but I think this question is already anticipating the possibility that a gun owner uses it as last resort for home defense, in the same way that one can have a butcher’s knife at home and use it in such situation for something other than beef cutting...

Last edited by European; 08-14-2020 at 05:33 AM.
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