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Smith & Wesson Semi-Auto Pistols Other Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic Pistols from the 1950's to Present


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Old 03-29-2021, 08:33 PM
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Three years ago I acquired a Smith & Wesson 4506, as chronicled here: Getting my Crockett on.


I purchased this pistol strictly out of nostalgia. I thought they were uber cool back in the heroic age, when guns were steel and giants walked the earth. I'd shot one once back then, perhaps one magazines worth and that was it, so I wasn't very familiar with the type. Being a poor young sailor with two babies to feed, I couldn't hope to afford one so I moved on. Then, I found this first one in good shape, with a decent price and decided to treat myself. The more time I spent with it the more I liked it. Accuracy was good, reliability was outstanding and I really liked the way it handled. I also found that it carried and concealed rather easily, being pretty flat, especially with the factory grip module in place. On that last point, I find it conceals better than a 1911. This all meant I started to have the rather strange thought of making this my standard carry piece.

The main obstacle to this was that I only had one pistol. I prefer to have multiples of whatever I carry. A carry, a trainer and a spare, as it were. Soon after, I acquired a 4566 and while a nice piece in its own right, it isn't quite the same. Also, being a slightly later production sample some of the parts don't interchange between the two. The latter point was important to me, since I was intending to utilize a long out of production firearm as a carry weapon, compatibility of parts was a factor. I then started searching for another early production 4506. Over the ensuing three years I had absolutely no luck in my search. I couldn't find another 4506 at any of the prepandemic gun shows I attended, or in local shops. My search resulted in only two 645s, one at a show and the other in a local shop. One looked like ten miles of bad road and the other had been "worked on" at the kitchen table by some worthy who obviously doesn't see the same person we do when he looks in the mirror. Both at rather laughable prices. I found my lack of success a bit strange. A large Sheriffs Office a couple of hours north used the 4506 as their issued sidearm for a long time, but I'd only come across my first purchase (which I suspect came from that source).

I finally decided to resort to something I've avoided for years: Gunbroker. I've always been very uncomfortable purchasing a firearm I can't handle first and Gunbroker pricing usually seems a bit, well, proud to me. Still, I was having absolutely no joy locally, so desperate times, desperate measures and all that. I quickly found several later production -1 variants, but that wasn't what I was looking for. Then, I was GB surfing and this popped up...................



Exactly what I was looking for, in nearly mint condition. The "Buy Now" price was twice what I'd paid for my first one three years previously, but it was in excellent condition. After seeing what other samples were going for I knew it would quickly jump past the "Buy Now" price. Nothing's ever cheap on the GB and with current social conditions, prices aren't coming down any time soon. Besides, how often do you find a first year production 4506 in cherry condition? They're not exactly falling off the Smith & Wesson tree anymore. All things considered, I quickly decided to carpe diem this baby and hit the blue button.



I have to say, my one and only GB experience thus far was highly satisfactory. The seller was communicative and quickly shipped the pistol the next day and it arrived three days later. The seller had included almost fifty photos on the auction page, so the gun was well represented. There appeared to be something covering several areas of the pistol that looked like either a like speckling of rust or dried up oil. Happily, it proved to be the latter as I suspected/hoped. Once I cleaned it up, other than a few light handling marks it appeared to be new and nearly unfired. The pistol came in an early blue plastic factory box, which isn't the appropriate one for this vintage. However, I wasn't concerned with collectability with this piece so the box is immaterial. The two magazines that accompanied the pistol were far more welcome.



My first pistol, with the adjustable sights, will serve as my trainer and the new one will be for carry. Number One is in good shape, but it's an old LE gun and isn't minty like Number Two. The 4566 serves as my travel gun. It has the highest degree of holster wear (also LE surplus) and I picked it up from a pawnshop for not much. If I'm across the country and have to relinquish my weapon to evidence custody, that may not even be worth going back for and there'll be far less nashing of teeth over it. I recently made a one day, eighteen hour road trip to Illinois. The 4566 rode in a Galco Miami Classic there and back and served very well for the intended purpose. The trigger on Number Two is smoother than Number one, which isn't bad either. I've started using a sixteen pound hammer spring combined with a fifteen pound recoil spring. The combination results in a very workable trigger and a nice flat slide impulse, on a gun that's already the softest shooting .45 I've ever used.



So, the big question is........ Why on earth would I be adopting a weapon for carry that's heavy, low capacity and long out of production? Totes cray cray some of you may say. The simple answer is, I like it. I've always preferred full size handguns for carry and the 4506 is certainly "full size". The weight isn't a concern for me. I've carried a five-inch, all steel 1911 on my own time for decades. I also spent a good deal of my life living with forty pounds of gear strapped to my person for long periods of time. Any handgun and a reload or two simply doesn't register. The capacity matches God's Gun so that's a non starter argument for me. The type is long out of production and no longer supported by the factory and this is a legitimate concern. Because of that last point, I've spent the last three years accumulating multiples (read that as bags full) of anything that can conceivably break or wear out. Unless I bulge a barrel or crack a frame or slide, I should be good to go. The last point is another reason for multiple samples.

Yes, I know this is a rather eccentric, even hipster choice for a carry gun. But, the 4506 is a solid, incredibly reliable shooter and we interface well together. All that is combined with the fact that carrying it simply pleases me and the older I get the more important that becomes. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Last edited by Trooper224; 03-29-2021 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 03-29-2021, 09:42 PM
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[QUOTE=Trooper224;141110762
Yes, I know this is a rather eccentric, even hipster choice for a carry gun. But, the 4506 is a solid, incredibly reliable shooter and we interface well together. All that is combined with the fact that carrying it simply pleases me and the older I get the more important that becomes. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. [/QUOTE]

I couldn’t agree more. My 4506-1 was my daily, (when I “needed” it almost 30 yrs ago,) carry and a great choice. Perfect in all regards and checked ALL the boxes.

I did replace it for carry with my 4516-2 which was replaced with my 4513TSW.

Even with my Galco shoulder rig the 4506 is heavy, for me. Forget about it’s OWB holster.

For me I just remember the fine times I had depending on and carrying my 4506. It was a very fine choice and still could be I suppose.

Thanks for posting your “story” and perspective.

Jim
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Old 03-30-2021, 03:17 PM
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Very nice collection of 3rd Gen 45s you have there Trooper224! Congrats!

I carried a 4506-1 for several years as a duty gun. It makes a fine duty pistol. In fact, it is still carried as a duty gun, currently, by LAPD officers. One or two of whom are members here.

As you point out, the 645 and 4506 no dash are the same weight as the vaunted 1911. Which I read and am told is the "...choice of professionals...". Not this professional. Make mine a 4506. Or 4566. Or any 3rd Gen 45 actually. On reliability alone.

In semi retirement I still carry a 4506-1 occasionally. Although you are more likely to find me with a 4566. And these days, as I am old, tired, fat and getting lazy, a 4563TSW - rail free of course.

The weight of the 4506 and 4566 series guns never bothered me. A good holster and belt negating it. With an Aker Flatsider on a G&G gunbelt, it just wasn't an issue, for me.

As far as support or parts, as my friend CALREB, a retired LAPD armorer has pointed out, these pistols don't break. That mirrors my 26 years of experience using them. The only problems or parts breakages I've experienced were with the compacts - 4516 and 457. And those parts were easily located and sourced online. As to manufacturer support, well, I could care less what they do. I've not been a customer of theirs for over two decades. And we are fortunate here to have member BMCM who can do magic with repairs if needed.

Enjoy those fine 45s! Regards 18DAI
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Old 03-30-2021, 04:00 PM
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My current LEOSA carry gun is my S&W Model 645.

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