Reader’s Gun: Smith & Wesson Model 410 Pistol

Having grown up around numerous firearms (most every member of my extended family is a gun owner), it was never really a question of if I would purchase my own gun, but when. Even though I had obtained a concealed carry permit in my early twenties, I didn’t bother purchasing a gun until I was 26 and worked in an extremely dangerous part of town. After doing a bit of research, I decided I wanted something with more capacity, stopping power, and safety than the .38 caliber revolvers most of my family carried. But I didn’t want to break the bank buying one. Beating the rush by exactly ten days, I walked into a local gun store and paid just over $400 for a brand-new Smith & Wesson Model 410 pistol on September 1, 2001.

The gun was chambered in the new-for-the-Nineties .40 S&W cartridge omnipresent in today’s police holsters. The company called the weapon the 411—until the Federal Assault Weapons Ban reduced its magazine capacity by one. The newly christened 410 was the big brother to the 9mm Model 910 that rounded out Smith & Wesson’s “Value Line”. Only the 910 survive today; it’s the last of S&W’s regular-production metal-framed pistols.

Based heavily on Smith & Wesson’s original post-WWII semi-auto (the Model 39), the 410′s “third generation” design is the company’s latest (and perhaps final) evolution of a hammer-fired, traditional-double-action, semi-automatic pistol. If you’re not familiar with traditional double action, it’s sort of a hybrid between a single-action-only pistol like a Model 1911 .45 Auto and a double-action-only gun like a Glock.

After you insert a loaded magazine and rack the slide to chamber a round, the hammer will be in the de-cocked position (assuming the thumb safety has been left engaged). The thumb safety’s engagement blocks the firing pin and fully disconnects the trigger from the firing mechanism.

Disengage the thumb safety and the gun is ready to fire a double-action shot—as soon as you pull the (fairly heavy) trigger.  After firing the first shot double-action, the hammer will be automatically cocked by virtue of the slide’s rearward travel during the previous shot. This makes each subsequent shot a single-action affair with a much lighter trigger pull. (The first shot can be made single action by disengaging the thumb safety and manually cocking the hammer.)

If you want to stop firing before the magazine is empty and return the gun to a safe condition, re-engaging the thumb safety simultaneously de-cocks the hammer and disconnects the trigger. This without causing the gun to fire (though a round will remain in the chamber). If you press the magazine catch button and release the magazine, the Model 410 is completely inoperable. Even if there’s a round is in the chamber, the weapon will not fire; a feature rumored to have saved the lives of police officers wrestling with gun-grabbing perpetrators.

Although it might sound a little tricky, loading and firing the 410 is only slightly more complicated than today’s double-action-only handguns. The payoff: several of the 410’s safety features provide assurances sadly lacking from newer design’s passive safeties. For example,the Model 410 can be made ready to fire with the same singular thumb movement as a far-more-dangerous “cocked and locked” 1911 .45 Auto.

There’s a similar safety advantage over modern double-action-only guns: if my trigger was ever unintentionally pulled (God forbid), nothing would happen as long as the thumb safety was engaged. The same can’t be said for a Glock, which has no external safeties.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, safety is one of my top priorities. But so is being able to deploy my gun at a moment’s notice. I consider the Model 410 an excellent compromise between these competing priorities.

Of course, there are downsides to an older design like the Model 410. I typically shoot better groups with Springfield XDs and Glocks than I do with my Smith & Wesson. Recoil-wise—especially compared to modern polymer pistols—the 410’s metal frame is unforgiving. Again, the long, high-effort double-action trigger pull doesn’t do you any favors in the accuracy department, either.

As you can see, I’ve added Hogue rubber grips. They’ve reduced the gun’s kick considerably, and increased my level of physical comfort while shooting the gun. Accuracy is also improved; I’m consistently capable of attaining close groupings at self-defense distances.

My Model 410 is more than sufficient to protect myself and those I care about. Add to that the fact that I’ve only had half a dozen failures-to-feed (and no failures-to-extract) in nearly 3,000 rounds and you can see why I consider this solid, old design the perfect gun for me.

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About Don Gammill Jr.

Don Gammill, Jr. is a freelance writer, educator and part-time musician living in the metropolitan Atlanta area. He acquired his interest in firearms from his family, with his WWII combat veteran grandfather being the most instrumental in fostering both a keen interest in, as well as a healthy respect for, guns and how they are situated in society. Although he is a proud gun owner and a practitioner of legal concealed carry, he doesn’t consider himself a “gun person” per se; with a greater interest involves how people relate to guns – especially people who see guns as foreign, often scary/over-politicized icons of danger.

34 Responses to Reader’s Gun: Smith & Wesson Model 410 Pistol

  1. avatarjay says:

    I have to agree with you on everything about the s&w model 410. This weapon is one of the greatest pistol i have owned. Trigger pull feel comfort knock down power it gets respect. I still have factory grips how much did the hogue grip cost you. email me back maalman@hotmail.com

    • avatarmike says:

      i just got last new one anywhere. it was made in 2004…very dusty….but brand new in box.

      love this gun…have 4 mags for it..two for practice and two loaded w/ golden saber hollowpoints for home protection. light, accurate and good value for the money

      • avatarDon Gammill says:

        I was wondering when Smith & Wesson quit making them. The 9mm version seems to be the only 3rd generation all-metal semi-autos S&W current sells (other than the 1911s and Performance Center models).

        My regular carry ammo is ultra-light-and-fast Cor-Bon 135-grain jacketed hollow points (1325 fps muzzle velocity and 526lbs. instrumental energy); however, I've also carried 165-grain Speer Gold Dot hollow point ammo, as well. The Cor-Bon stuff is really hot, and I've put less than 100 rounds of it through the gun over the years, but it always feeds, fires, and ejects flawlessly.

  2. avatarDon Gammill says:

    It's been a while, but as I recall, I paid about $15 for them at a local gun show (and only $10 for my cheap-but-functional nylon holster).

  3. avatarMike Ault says:

    Just picked up a used SW410. It seems to shoot down and to the right. I can adjust the to the right with the windage adjustment on the sights and compensate for the down part. It fits nice in the hand well and I really didn't notice and hard recoil.

    One odd thing, mt magazine only holds 7 rounds. The indicator on the side says ten, but only 7 rounds fit. Has anyone heard of this? Is there something I need to do to load 10?

    Thanks!

    • avatarDon Gammill Jr. says:

      Hi Mike,

      My gun has always shot to point-of-aim fairly well (especially at the shorter distances I usually practice), so I don't know what to tell you about that.

      However, regarding the magazine, I would check the spring and the follower to make sure they're both assembled facing the right way. (I believe the mag will actually partially load with the follower in backwards).

      If you can't find anything wrong there, just spring (pardon the pun) for a new magazine at a gun show or online. Most S&W 3rd Generations like this used the same .40 S&W magazine, so you should be able to pick one up for $30 or less. Since such a high percentage of malfunctions are magazine related, investing in one (or more) that you have no lingering doubts about should be an easy decision.

  4. avatarMike Ault says:

    Would the 910 magazine fit in the model 410? Since the 9mm is slightly smaller than the .40 the difference in diameters might prohibit a full 10 rounds of .40 in a 9mm magazine even though it would feed and work….

    • avatarAndy Man says:

      There are very few cases in which magazines are interchangeable across calibers (.40S&W<–> .357 SIG being a notable exception). I do not believe 910 mags are compatible with the 410. Try the 4006/4003 mags which are currently on sale with CDNN for only $9.99 (factory used) or around 30 bucks new anywhere else. These are 11rd mags and will more than suffice! Good luck!

  5. avatarArcelio says:

    Best gun i ever have, never mised fired with over 4000 rounds.can some one tell me where i can find parts for spare.

  6. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    “Recoil-wise—especially compared to modern polymer pistols—the 410’s metal frame is unforgiving” Don, are you saying that recoil is worse with this pistol than your XD? If so, I find that interesting. My SIG pistols shoot much softer than my equally calibered polymer guns. I’m doing a write-up on a friends CZ75 SP01 Tactical and I can barely notice any recoil, so much so that I thought the first round was a squib!

  7. avatarPhil says:

    Great article. I have owned my SW – 410 for several years. It is very accurate and I have never experienced a “Fail to Feed”, however, I am far from 3000 rounds fired.

    I find the recoil somewhat hard, but can be on target quickly after each round. Also, as you said, the double action is heavier than single action, but with that knowledge, I am prepared on the first round.

    I have resorted to factory rounds only, due to the fact that some reloaders tend to over charge the round, resulting in flat primers. I was afraid that I would damage my gun, so quit using the reloads (I don’t own a reloader).

    I agree that rubber grips are better and am planning on buying a set for my 410. I have a nice SW67 38 special. I replaced the factory grips with a set of Packmyers. They are great grips allowed me to shoot a near perfect score. Prior to swapping grips the gun would mover around a bit in my grip durring rapid fire.

    Anyway, great article and I look forward to reading more of your articles.

  8. avatarDRC says:

    I purchased a 410 in 2000, and I’t remains my favorite handgun. The gun fits my hand like a glove, and although I don’t shoot it very often, It’s a dream to operate. Recoil is noticeable, but the 40S&W is a powerful cartridge, so It’s “tollerated”. I have a Glock in .357 and I must say, the recoil is down right violent! No malfunctions with the 410, and for the price (around $450.00) I am very satisfied!

  9. avatarthat guy says:

    Half a dozen FTF in 3000 rounds is totally unacceptable. I have had four Beretta 92-Fs over the last fifteen years, encompassing over 50,000 rounds, without a single FTF, or failure to eject, for comparison. I like the 410 (series 59), but Sig, Beretta, and Rugers are far better pistols.

  10. avatarDonny says:

    I have the 9mm 910 model and Im looking for the model 410 40 cal please email me if anyone has one for sale. I would also like to find information on what grips I can change to and how to go about changing them for both pistols. Thanks Donny Adcock. email reece1011@aol.com

  11. avatarDavid says:

    the model 410 i have is in 99.9 perfect condition. looking for best offer.

  12. avatarTommy says:

    I have the S&W model 411 (same as 410 only holds one more round). I’ve had it since new Aug.’99 and have never had ANY FTF or FTE’s. This is a very reliable weapon and I would have yours checked out by a gunsmith to see what’s wrong with it. Model 411 mags swap easily with the 410′s and give you 11 +1 capacity. The snappy recoil is because the .40 S&W is a high pressure (36,000 psi) cartridge as opposed to a .45acp’s 21,000 psi. I have’nt found the Smith’s recoil to be any different than any other pistol firing the same cartridge.

  13. avatarBurgess says:

    Great pistol. Very reliable, I have owned it for around three years not a single jam even with a few reloaded range rounds here and there. Yes the recoil is strong, it’s a .4o cal, gonna kick a bit. I plan on getting the Hogue rubber grip for it, may look into the packmyers as well. Did see a few tuxedo (stainless steel slide with steel pins black hammer and etching, black frame) custom paint job on a few. Looked pretty amazing for a good ole’ solid steel semi-auto. Some even had wooden grips with the tuxedo finish that I prefered. Excellent purchase, I will never part with it.

  14. I purchased a S&W 410S stainless steel with alloy frame last year online & it was in excellent condition at $400.00 with 2 mags + shipping & FFL transfer. Not sure of its age, ser.# BDJ4024 but it is very clean, shoots great at “self defense” distances. I like Corbon 135 gr. JHP 1325 mv – 526 me. Have recently run some Underwood 135 gr. through it at 1500 mv – 675 me, extremely hot but feeds well & penetrates deeply into phone books. It feeds well with S&W mags. I have trouble getting more than 8 or 9 rds. in pro mag magazines even with UpLula loader. Makes a nice CCW gun with DeSantis mini slide # 086 belt holster. I would like to find some higher capacity magazines for it.

    NLG

  15. avatarDave says:

    I came across this article and agree 100% , I have a 410 all black since May of 1997. I only added a Hogue glove grip. Like to do what you did and get the full rubber grip. Over 8,000 rounds in 15 years, I can only remember the jam very rarely, always the magazine feed and ejection 3 or 4 times, I think the rail gets dry and black after a while, I oil it up on the range and clean it when I get home. I only clean it 3 or 4 times a year, it depends. At 25 yards, it shoots very consistently, at 50 yards separates the men from the boys. Lol Man with the least points buys lunch.

  16. avatarleon says:

    I have a 410 model 40 cal s w for sale. I tried to sell it but the gun shop had wanted to give me $75. for it n still have it so if an want to buy it I can make arrangement for it to be sold by bullet hole gun store in bellview new jersey. I bought it 2007 new fire it twice.

  17. Please include the cost of shipping as I know what the FFl transfer fee to be. Thanks

  18. I have a S&W 410 and I found the recoil to be surprisingly light. Actually less than several of the .380s I have. I guess it is all in the eye, or hands, of the beholder. I am no strong man but seriously, the felt recoil was so mild as compared to say a 38 special, it was like firing a pellet pistol. Accuracy in certainly not National Match certifiable but respectable given free hand firing.

  19. avatarChris Phillips says:

    I purchase my 410 new in 1997. It was the first gun I owned. I still have it and it shines as it did the day I bought it. I have had a problem trying to find todays vaule for this gun. Would you know or recommend a free website where I can obtain this information?

    • Chris, guns are like automobiles, once you take them off the lot, the value plummets. I looked for my later edition of my blue book of gun values but could not find it but my 2009 edition of “Firearms” list the value at $400 for one in excellent condition. Take it for what it is worth, but I would suspect that to be about right given that inflation has not been too great. It would have been worth more a couple of years ago when hand guns became scarce.

      I do not know where you live but the laws of your state could also be a determining factor in value. The S&W is a nice firearm, not really considered a collectible but I like them a whole lot better than the polycarbon models of today. I think it is S&W’s last all metal semi-auto.

      As for value, it is worth what you are willing to take for it. If you sell it to a dealer, he is going to low ball you because he has to make a profit. If you sell it at auction, you are going to pay anywhere from 10 to 30 percent for their efforts. If you put in in an on line action or seller like gun broker, There is the cost of shipping and FFL transfer fee.

      I would say realistically, $300 would be a reasonable price but if you found a neighbor or co-worker who was looking for a nice home defense piece, you could well get $400 for it but the competition starts to get a bit stiff around that price range.

      Just like trying to sell your used car, no one will pay you what you think it’s worth but will overpay from a dealer. I hope this helps…

      • avatarleon says:

        gd day Gill I have to sell it through a gun store because I am living in New Jersey and the law does not permit me to do so.

  20. avatarKT says:

    I have a 411 I bought at the Bullet Hole in Belleville as well. I bought mine twenty years ago and only have fired it occasionally. It’s a great gun. I think the 411 was one of S&Ws first attempts at a steel/polymer gun. I have started to get back into shooting and am waiting for my m&p 40 to arrive. On the fence about keeping the gun and upgrading the grips, or selling it. My son shoots with me now and I do like the safeties for that reason. My new pistol only has a trigger safety. That is going to take some getting used to.

    I am glad I found a forum where other people appreciate the value of the 410/411.

  21. avatarJared says:

    So I just bought a s and w 411 and cannotfind any info on them besides the fact that its basically the same as the 410 any comments??? And finding it a little difficult to disassemble…

  22. avatarKT says:

    Jared,

    Here is a link for a YouTube video of a model 410. It’s an interesting video and the guy breaks the gun down and puts it back together. The 410 and the 411 breakdown the same way.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rUqYoZZoKb0

    • avatarDave says:

      Good link, KT. Pulling out the slide lock at half cock is the hardest to do without maring the finish. I have use a wood chopstick with a flat edge, also used a wooden popsicle sticky to pry it out. Amazed what home made tools you accumulate in your cleaning kit.

  23. avatarKT says:

    Correction on my first post. I never really paid much attention to the material used for my pistol, it not a polymer, I think its a lighter grade metal. In the 410 video, the guy says it’s an aluminum alloy. So I guess that’s the same on the 411. There is so little info available on the specs for the 410 or 411.

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