Modern Firearms - S&W 39, 59 and others
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Smith&Wesson classic semi-auto pistols (USA)

Smith & Wesson mod. 39 - 1st generation 9mm

Smith & Wesson mod. 39 - 1st generation 9mm

 

Smith & Wesson mod. 59 - 1st generation high capacity 9mm

Smith & Wesson mod. 59 - 1st generation high capacity 9mm

 

Smith & Wesson mod. 659 - 2nd generation high capacity 9mm

Smith & Wesson mod. 659 - 2nd generation high capacity 9mm

 

Smith & Wesson mod. 3913 - 3rd generation compact 9mm

Smith & Wesson mod. 3913 - 3rd generation compact 9mm

 

Smith & Wesson mod. 5906 - 3rd generation high capacity 9mm (S&W 4006 in .40SW looks almost the same)

Smith & Wesson mod. 5906 - 3rd generation high capacity 9mm (S&W 4006 in .40SW looks almost the same)

 

Smith & Wesson mod. 4506 - 3rd generation .45ACP large frame with old style, high profile sights (S&W 1006 in 10mm auto looks almost the same)

Smith & Wesson mod. 4506 - 3rd generation .45ACP large frame with old style, high profile sights (S&W 1006 in 10mm auto looks almost the same)

 

Click here to see exploded view of the S&W mod.59/659 pistol

Click here to see exploded view of the S&W mod.59/659 pistol

 

Buy Smith-Wesson pistols at Impact Guns online store

The history of the post-World War 2 S&W semi-autos began from its famous model 39 pistol, the first productional Double Action pistol made in USA. The development ot the model 39 began in 1949, and first production pistols saw the market in 1955.
Basically, all later S&W centerfire semiautos are further developments of model 39. Model 39 was recoil operated, locked breech firearm, utilising Browning High-power type locking principle and double action trigger with slide-mounted safety switch, also working as a decocker when switched to "safe" position. In 1970, S&W introduced model 59, a high-capacity (double stack magazine) modification of the model 39. The other difference between mod.39 and 59 was that mod.59 featured straight backstrap while mod.39 featured curved backstrap. Those two models formed so called First generation of S&W semi-autos. Both model 39 and model 59 are discontinued from production since 1980 or so.

Second generation of S&W semi-autos was introduced in 1980 and was separated from 1st generation by introduction of the three digit model numbers and different frame materials. All 2nd generation semi-autos were built on mod.39 and 59 basis, with double stack magazines and traditional double action triggers with safety/decockers. Many 2nd generation handguns featured high profile sights with ajustable rear sight. All 2nd generation S&W pistols, as well as 1st generation ones, featured three piece grips (metallic backstrap plus two sideplates, made fromm wood or plastic).
The key to understanding 2nd generation model numbers is following:

First digit of model number - frame material:
4xx - aluminium alloy frame
5xx - carbon steel frame
6xx - stainless steel frame

Second and third digits of model number - capacity and frame size:
x59 - 9mm high capacity (double stack magazines)
x39 - 9mm standart capacity (single stack magazines)
x69 - 9mm compact size high capacity (double stack magazines)

Second generation also featured some odd models, such as mod.745 and mod.945 single action, chambered in .45ACP. Most of second generation S&W pistols are now out of production.

Third generation of S&W semi-autos was introduced in 1990 by four digit numbered models. The third generation also introduced ambidextrous safety/decocker levers and double action only and decocker only models. Other innovations were new chamberings (.40 S&W, 10mm auto and .45ACP) and new Novak lo-carry three dot combat sights. The three-piece grips were replaced by polymer, one piece wrap-around grips.
The 10mm auto pisols, built on large .45ACP frames, were adopted by FBI and some police departments, but didn't caught the market and were discontinued from production in mid-1990s. The .40SW caliber line, on the other hand, was built on the 9mm frames, and still in production.
Later, S&W improved the third generation with introduction of TSW (Tactical Smith&Wesson) modifications, that featured acessory rail, mounted under the frame, ahead of the triggerguard.

The key to third generation S&W model numbering is as follows:

First two digits - caliber and frame type (for 9mm only).
39xx - 9mm single stack magazines
59xx - 9mm double stack magazines
69xx - 9mm compact, double stack magazines
40xx - .40 S&W
10xx - 10mm auto
45xx - .45 ACP

Third digit - trigger type and frame size
xx4x - DAO
xx5x - DAO, compact
xx8x - DAO

xx2x - DA w decocker
xx3x - DA w decocker
xx7x - DA w decocker, compact

xx0x - DA
xx1x - DA, compact
xx6x - DA, large frame

Fourth digit - Frame material (all models had stainless steel slides)
xxx3 - Aluminium alloy frame
xxx6 - Stainless Steel frame

List of major models of S&W semi-auto pistols
Please note that this listing may be incomplete.

 

Generation Caliber Model Material
Frame / Slide
Lenght, mm Barrel lenght, mm Weight, gramms Magazine capacity, rounds Comments
First 9x19mm Luger 39 Steel / Steel 192 102 780 8 out of production
First 9x19mm Luger 59 Steel / Steel 192 102 840 14 out of production
Second 9x19mm Luger 459 Aluminium / Steel 192 102 n/a 14 out of production
Second 9x19mm Luger 559 Steel / Steel 192 102 n/a 14 out of production
Second 9x19mm Luger 659 Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel 192 102 n/a 14 out of production
Second 9x19mm Luger 469 Aluminium / Steel 175 89 730 12 out of production
Second 9x19mm Luger 669 Aluminium / Stainless Steel 175 89 745 12 out of production
Second .45ACP 457 Aluminium / Steel 184 95 812 7 compact model
Second .45ACP 645 Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel 225 127 n/a n/a out of production
Second .45ACP 745 Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel 219 127 1065 8 single action
out of production
Second 9x19mm Luger 908 Aluminium / Steel 173 89 670 8 compact model
Second 9x19mm Luger 910 Aluminium / Steel 187 102 790 15 (10)  
Second .45ACP 945 Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel 222 127 1176 8

single action
custom mfg

Third 9x19mm Luger 3913/3953 Aluminium /
Stainless Steel
171 89 700 8 compact model
Third 9x19mm Luger 5906/5946 Stainless Steel /
Stainless Steel
190 102 1072 10  
Third 9x19mm Luger 5903/5943 Aluminium /
Stainless Steel
190 102 809 10  
Third .40 SW 4013/4053 Aluminium /
Stainless Steel
171 89 750 9 compact model
Third .40 SW 4006/4046 Stainless Steel /
Stainless Steel
190 102 1058 10  
Third .40 SW 4003/4043 Aluminium /
Stainless Steel
190 102 800 10  
Third 10mm auto 1006 Stainless Steel /
Stainless Steel
225 127 n/a 9 out of production
Third 10mm auto 1076 Stainless Steel /
Stainless Steel
200 102 n/a 9 out of production
Third .45 ACP 4513/4553 Aluminium /
Stainless Steel
196 95 800 7 compact model
Third .45 ACP 4566/4586 Stainless Steel /
Stainless Steel
200 108 1094 8  
Third .45 ACP 4563/4583 Aluminium /
Stainless Steel
200 108 856 8