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That’s right. GunUp managed to get its hands on a passel of these 9mm stainless steel beauties. Smith turned out the 5906 semi-autos from 1989 to 1999 and they were very popular with LEOs. They’re DA/SA, hammer-fired, come with a 15-round magazine, wrap-around grips, a 4″ barrel and a thumb safety. Think of them sort of as a Smith Hi Power. Shooting 9×19 from this all-steel gun, you won’t even notice recoil. And at $349 shipped to your FFL, it’s a steal on a solid gun you’ll pass down to your children.

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  1. A dead-nuts-accurate and reliable pistol made from an amazing material called “metal” and not from plastic? How quaint.

    • Well, “metal” if you don’t count the grips, magazine base, and magazine follower.

      I agree they are generally good/great guns, and a fine value at that price-point, with one caveat: if you (like me), wrap a lot of finger around the trigger (fingertip actually wraps around and slightly behind the trigger) when shooting a DA auto, then you might not like the shooting/handling characteristics of these pistols.

      The trigger travels almost to the frame before releasing the hammer to fire, and as you can see from the photo, the sides of the frame inside the trigger guard are not beveled inward (magwell portion of the frame is very thick), so if you draw and fire quickly with too much finger(tip) curling around the trigger, your fingertip can hit the frame and stop the trigger travel before the pistol fires. This happened to me while shooting a combat-style pistol match, and I struggled a bit to get the pistol to fire, initially not knowing what was wrong. After I figured out what the problem was (my grip/technique), I decided these pistols were not a good fit for me, and sold the one I owned.

      Small potential problem, but significant enough I thought it should be mentioned.

      In any case, for slow-fire, non-defensive, target-shooting-only use, it would be fine.

      • Cops and “civilians” used Third Gen Smiths to good effect for many years. The 9mm pistols are almost without recoil, making follow-up shots very easy. For self defense, Gen3 Smiths are very effective. They’re heavier than plastic Perfections, though, so people will need a good belt and holster combo.

        • I agree, as long as folks are aware of potential problems and can check to see if they are affected. I consider it to be similar to how some folks get “bit” by slides, or chewed-up by the hammer on a Hi-Power; as long as you know there might be a potential problem, you can make a more informed choice.

          I have used, and will continue to use, 3rd/4thGen S&W autoloaders, although I stick to the single-column models with the thinner frame, to avoid the problem listed above.

          I don’t generally consider the use of any autoloading pistol issued by Law Enforcement in the 1970s-80s as any kind of an endorsement for ergonomics, as back in those days, cops generally didn’t have an option to pick and choose what pistol they got to carry. I also currently don’t endorse ANY DA/SA pistol for serious defensive use, over the fine striker-fired and SA choices we have nowadays. The DA/SA was fine for the revolver-transition era; that era has passed, and there are no longer any good reasons to select one over the other choices.

          As Col Cooper said, the purpose of shooting is hitting; and in the real world, hitting is MUCH easier with a Glock/M&P than ANY pistol with a DA/SA action type.

          IMO. YMMV, but it shouldn’t vary very much.

        • What about for a DA/SA that can be cocked-and-locked? Such would be functionally almost identical to a true Single Action, except that it also has second strike capability.

        • You’ll never get completely around the choice of easy to carry or easy to shoot.

        • SteveInCo
          I also prefer the SA/DA. I have a little Bersa 22, Looked at almost an identical model in 380. It was also SA/DA. If it had been a 9, I would have grabbed it.
          I believe some of the striker fired pistols now have second strike capabilities. The Taurus “Slim” comes to mind, however I’m not sure that it is striker fired.

        • “As Col Cooper said, the purpose of shooting is hitting; and in the real world, hitting is MUCH easier with a Glock/M&P than ANY pistol with a DA/SA action type.” Nope. A CZ75, the pistol that Col. Cooper viewed a the best of the wonder 9s, will shoot circles around most M&Ps and ANY Glock. The Sig P226 ain’t too shabby too.

        • Jim, a CZ75 probably does shoot well if you start off cocked-and-locked (not an option for most of the other DA/SA guns), but if you shoot it DA-first-shot, SA-subsequent-shots, then it forces the same DA/SA transition that vexes the shooters of all other DA/SA pistols, and you’re right back to square one with poor practical accuracy. And when it comes to carry, the CZ75 weighs more empty than a Glock does fully-loaded, so it’s really apples and oranges.

          Yes, I’ve seen more than a few SIGs that will shoot wonderful groups in SA mode; I’ve even trained with a few of them. If you want to limit the choices to the special SA-only SIGs with a cocked-and-locked option, or the old/original Beretta 92 with frame-mounted safety, enabling C&L carry, I can go for that; but DA/SA, with the shooter using it as such? Nope, sorry. I’ll stand by my comments.

        • Cz-75s generally come in both a cocked-and-locked safety model and aone with a decocker. The decocker is probably the best one you could have (it doesn’t leave the gun in a state where it won’t fire, unlike most (e.g., current model Beretta 92s and this smith and wesson), but it does leave it half cocked so the DA pull isn’t quite as bad as it could be.

          That being the case I fail to see the bloody point of a CZ-75 derived pistol (or the P-07 and -09) with a decocker. (The 07 and 09 are the polymer-framed models; the gun ships with the decocker *and* the parts to convert it to the correct safety-cocked-and-locked configuration.) There is a perfectly safe technique for decocking the cocked and locked almost-a-single-action CZ-75B (and others of that line), and no real reason you should want to do it. But you cannot cock-and-lock the decocker models (CZ-75 BD, et. al.)

        • Steve, can you share that perfectly safe technique? The only thing that comes to mind is the usual “thumb on the hammer, and slooooowly let it down” approach, but I consider that inherently unsafe.

        • DJ9, I fail to understand how using a DA/SA places the shooter at a disadvantage. If you practice the DA pull and the second shot transition to SA (just like you’d have to practice taking the safety off on a C&L SAO) how is the option somehow automatically inferior to the system of your preference? I’ve tried them all extensively and I can’t see any system as BETTER than another, they’re all different and have their own benefits and drawbacks.

        • @int19h. I take my right thumb off the left side of the grip (this description is assuming right handedness, flip it if you are a leftie). You can then put it between the hammer and the back of the slide, with the joint closest to the tip on the left side, and the next joint on the right side, Thus you are using the second bone of the thumb to block the hammer rather than trying to hold it back (which as you are aware can slip). Pull the trigger, the hammer will release but it will only travel a tiny bit before being captured by the thumb, since you have it wedged in there fairly tightly. Release the trigger once you feel the hammer release from the sear. You are now in a state where the hammer is mechanically free to continue swinging forward, but you are NOT pulling the trigger, which is what a decocker does. Remove thumb. Hammer will now swing forward, but since the trigger is not depressed, the gun won’t fire. The hammer will stop at the half-cock position, at least it will on a CZ-75; I do not know about other types. I’d experiment with an empty gun, obviously, before trying this with some other hammered gun. And practice it “dry” even with a CZ-75. I hope my verbal explanation is clear, because my photograph-and-put-on-computer skills are weak.

          Though I maintain with a cocked-and-locked pistol there’s almost no need to decock it while it’s loaded.

        • Dan A,

          I guess I’d have to ask you to list the actual benefits of the traditional DA/SA action, because I really don’t see any. The longer/heavier trigger pull is usually offered-up as a benefit (usually by administrators/chiefs) as it MAY reduce SOME inadvertent/accidental firings (it certainly can’t/won’t in the cases where the trigger is being pulled on purpose, such as during a startle reflex), but it is a major drawback when it comes to actually using the pistol as a weapon to hit your target. The two different trigger pull weights and distances are the primary cause of misses, with the shooter either jerking/slapping the first shot off-target low and to one side due to the heavy/long pull, OR, touching-off shot number two before they are ready due to the comparative lightness of the SA pull weight and short trigger travel. Yes, in theory this can be minimized by practice, but what I’ve seen in the real world, is the practice doesn’t always “take”, because sometimes you are shooting two shots one DA, one SA, and other times, you may need to shoot two shots that are both SA (later in the incident). Managing the two (or even 3!) different trigger pull weights and lengths under stress, remembering whether or not you decocked part-way through an incident, groping for the trigger which may be way forward or far to the rear in the trigger guard depending on where you are in the DA/SA mode, are all completely unnecessary. Dedicating extra brain cells to monitoring and managing your pistol in a gunfight, rather than using those same thought cycles to solve tactical or strategic problems, can put you at a severe disadvantage. We can only manage so many things at one time, and making your pistol as easy and reflexive to use is one way to minimize distractions and keep your focus on the fight, not on fighting with your pistol.

          Modern pistols with no manual safety lever, short-and-firm-but-manageable trigger pull, the same trigger weight and pull length for every shot, a short and distinct reset of the mechanism (even if you don’t consciously use it, it helps prevents you from chasing the trigger all the way to the front of the trigger guard every shot), and no forgetting to decock before holstering after a stressful incident, makes successful and accurate use far more likely under any conditions.

          And no, I don’t consider how often people shoot themselves while loading, clearing, practicing, qualifying, or disassembling their pistol as a deciding factor in which pistol to choose. These are things that take place under relatively calm conditions, and therefore are far more likely to be controllable, than how well the person performs under stress and conditions mostly out of their control. If the person has safety/handling problems on the range or during administrative loading/clearing, I start to wonder if they should be carrying a pistol at all.

          Finally, I must tell you that I have personally seen more accidental and negligent weapon discharges with so-called “safer” pistols (those with thumb safeties, grip safeties, and long/heavy 1st shot trigger actions) than I have with Glock-ish type pistols. I am of the opinion that these so-called safety features actually make some people more careless in their gunhandling, because they think the mechanism can/will save themselves, from themselves.

          You shouldn’t have to fight a pistol’s multiple trigger pull lengths/weights to hit the target just because other people were careless in the past. The only safety that counts is between your ears; guns are only as safe as the person who’s holding it. A well-trained person can shoot anything safely, and an idiot or distracted person is cannot be made less stupid or dangerous by putting a harder-to-shoot pistol in their hands; however, ANY shooter can be made less effective by giving them a pistol that is harder to shoot and manage under stress.

      • In any case, for slow-fire, non-defensive, target-shooting-only use, it would be fine.

        This only applies to your particular situation due to your fingertip. Doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else.

        • Don’t believe I ever indicated it would/should apply to “everyone else”, so I’m not sure where you got that impression.

          But it MIGHT very well apply to some folks with larger hands, long fingers, or a similar shooting technique. It is for those folks that I wrote the post.

          This potential problem is also very gun-specific; I’ve never experienced any troubles with SIGs, Berettas, Rugers, or any other DA/SA autopistol, only the double-column-mag S&W models.

    • With that logic, why did we ever get rid of the model T. The abacus worked really well for years, who the hell needs one of those fancy pants computers? Its called technology, probably why we wear kevlar these days instead of plate armor.

    • They’re cop guns. Probably means carried a lot, and shot once a year for qualification.

      I bought one a few years ago from someone else. Mine was in pretty good shape on the inside, and looked like new on the inside. Good gun for the price. I sold mine when I got offered a price well above what I paid for it. YMMV.

      • That’s exactly what it means. Most of these guns have less than 2000 rounds down the barrel. They’ll show so signs of holster wear but will function just fine.

  2. I have a slew of these 3rd gen S&W’s, including a 5943 (double action only). I may buy one here as well.

  3. First 9mm I ever shot, my buddy bought his used form a cop that was issued an M&P.

    Great gun, more accurate that any of my auto loaders.

    May have to raid the piggy bank.

    • Yeah, buying used, I’d really want to see pics of at least one gun from this batch, rather than the manufacturer’s stock photography. Pretty good price, but if I were shopping for a metal-frame DA/SA 15-shot 9mm, I think I’d pony up another hundred bucks and get a brand-new CZ-75 Compact.

        • In my neck of the woods, CZ 75 prices have soared and finding one for under $600 is difficult. If you find a good internet price, I bet you’re still looking at $500.

        • There are five or six places online that have the CZ-75 Compact for around $450. With shipping and FFL fees, you might be getting closer to $500, but those charges would also apply to this 5906, so that’s a wash – still only a hundred bucks difference.

      • Man, I’ve been looking for a CZ 75 compact for a REASONABLE price (under 500) for three years. I finally got one last week, it’s great. It’s the perfect size for a carry gun IMO, the biggest downside is that the SA trigger pull is gritty and awful. “Combat accuracy” is no issue but if you’re going for tight groups on paper you may need a gunsmith.

  4. Bought two LEO 4006’s in .40 cal. and appreciate them both. The 5906 is a soft shooter with decently accuracy. It isn’t all tactic oil like many of today’s guns, but it’s built well. I may but one if my home repairs don’t cost too much.

    • “Tactic oil”? I’ve bought a couple Mosins that were covered in tacky oil, but this is the first I’ve heard of the “tactic” kind… 😉

      • That last post of mine was borderline retarded. I’m sneaking in posts whilst painting the inside of the house whilst the 18 month old is screaming. Incidentally, autocorrect doesn’t like “tacticool”.

        • “Incidentally, autocorrect doesn’t like “tacticool”.”

          You can “train” the TTAG spell-check. Select “Add to Dictionary” in the drop-down.

          I just trained it to accept “Tacti-Tard”. Your miles, etc.

    • Love my 4006. Also my 4566. Third Gen SW’s are reliable, good trigger and full o’ the beef. Now where is that elusive 1006 I need?

  5. Any pistol that can pass a 10K round 8 hour meltdown test & no problems is good enough.

    • I’m just imagining a pile of 10,000 rounds of brass at the feet of whoever did that test…

  6. I wouldn’t mind adding one of these to my collection, but A: I already have an all-steel 9mm and B: I don’t have the cash right now.

  7. Good guns. The long trigger was meant to help LEO’s transition from S&W revolvers to semi-autos. IMO, these are the semi-autos LEO’s should be shooting rather than Glocks.

    • I used to live next to an Austin PD detective back in the 90’s. They transitioned from S&W Model 10’s to these. APD officers could carry darn near anything they wanted (Agency approved brands, but there were plenty) as long as it wasn’t SAO. Even so, most officers that came onboard after the transition just stuck with what was issued. I don’t know about accuracy, but they had a reputation for being tough and not all of Austin proper was urban so the officers appreciated something that could get wet and dirty.

      As for the detective, he was actually in the gang unit and the 5906 was his sidearm of choice since he didn’t need to conceal. He liked it just fine.

      I ended up working for the city later and dealt with a lot of police. Saw plenty of Glocks and quite a few officers chose to purchase Berettas, but the 5906 was still solid enough that it was more common than anything else being used and never heard any complaints about it except for some real old school guys who preferred their .357 Magnum wheel guns. The one guy I knew personally who carried a Glock, did so because S&W didn’t offer a double stack .45 ACP.

      It wasn’t common just because it was issued. Almost no one carried the Model 10 when it was the standard. Most of them kept them at home or in a glove box and bought their own.

      By all accounts a good sidearm. No idea what they transitioned to after they were discontinued.

    • Perhaps it would warm the cockles of your heart to know that thousands of LEOs are still packing 4006 TSWs. Mine has a streamlight TLR-1s on the rail.

  8. Decent guns for the money, although if you want a more modern design you can get a new zastava cz 999 for about the same price.

  9. Stainless boat anchor… And that is why I love to shoot mine. Bonus… You can bludgeon the bad guy if you run dry! Stay away from mags that aren’t S&W or Mecgar!

  10. I’ve had one for years–also a police trade-in. Recoil is indeed light, but muzzle flip is significant. I have not been able to make it malfunction, even with deliberate limp-wristing. Very user-friendly. Easy to maintain, except that removing the grips requires a punch and is a bit of a pain. The only downside to the mechanics is significant trigger take-up in single action, and the reset is not very firm.

    I’m not sure what “slightly used” means, but it’s easy enough to replace basic parts (grips, springs, etc.) to make the gun pretty much like new. Factory and aftermarket mags are plentiful. Mec-Gar makes a flush-fit mag that holds 17 rounds.

  11. Maybe I should get one and trade it to my son and get my Makarov back. Is that a decocker/safety or just a safety? Rebounding hammer?

    • Decocker/safety. If you put it “on safe” when cocked, the hammer will fall to a nearly-fully-down safety-notch position. It will stay on-safe until manual pressure is applied to move the safety to the “off safe” position. If the pistol is not cocked when the safety is applied, nothing obvious happens externally, but the trigger is internally disconnected from the firing mechanism (if you pull the trigger, nothing happens).

  12. I know this is a pipe dream, but I’d love to find a 1006. That was a hoot to shoot, especially for a new guy!

    Now about this flinching problem I have…

  13. I still own the ancestor of this model, the Model 39 with aluminum frame. I used to fire 9 MM surplus ammo, available for about .03/round through it. Lots of recoil. Looking back, the ammo was probably sub-machine gun loads. They were sure hot enough.
    Sorely tempted to try the same model in stainless steel (with normal 9 MM ammo).

  14. As a minor bonus, the Marlin Camp 9 and one version of the Sub2000 accept the S&W 59 series magazines.

  15. Found plenty on gunbroker for that price. Found one locally on armslist for a few bucks more but no FFL fees or shipping so a wash. May get this and swap the night sights from my 5943 (DAO) and then sell that for same price.

    I know 5943 is “rarer” but wondering if worth it to get a 5906. I have a 4506, a 4553TSW and a 3953 (DAO) also. Love 3d gen smiths

  16. Was just looking on GunBroker and there seems to be plenty for sale in that price range or less, and you can see pictures. These might be great for the condition, but I’d want to see some pics to drop average money on a used firearm. If they were asking $200 I’d buy it just because it’s cheap, but not at $350.

    Also, if you’re going to carry around a 2 1/2 pound (loaded) handgun, I’d like a little more barrel, especially in 9mm.

    • “model 10 wasnt .357, 38spl am a fan of S&W until they sold out”

      If that was a reply to me, I wasn’t saying the Model 10 was a .357 Magnum. When the APD was issuing the Model 10 a lot of officers ditched it and bought their own weapons. The real old school guys tended to carry a variety of Smiths or Rugers in .357 Magnum. Eventually some officers began adopting various 9’s and .45’s. I think there might have been a 10mm floating around here or there but rarely.

      The only officers carrying the Model 10 were those that couldn’t afford to get something else yet. No one carried it if they didn’t have to. At the same time, Travis County was issuing the S&W 686 and continued to do so even after Austin switched to the 5906. Like the police, the county was fine with deputies purchasing their own and I think they had even fewer restrictions.

      Personally, I like the Model 10 but I also don’t think I would carry it if I had a choice either.

  17. I must be the only one that never liked the stainless line of smiths. too delicate with too many small parts. the 40s and 10mms? utter messes…

    smiths transition to the M&P is lightyears superior in every conceivable way.

  18. I really like the 5906, it can be accurate out to 50 yards and more with slow fire. Also like the lighter 5903 model. Wish I’d known about the railed versions before buying, though. For the money they’re good b/c mags are cheap at about $20 for 15 rounders that work flawlessly. But they aren’t current production, so that may not last. If you can find them for $350 and under, they are a steal. At $400, fair. Above that spend a little more for a Sig P226 used (CDNN has them for $500ish often) or a G17. Unless you need the ambi safety/decock. YMMV.

  19. I have a few and shot a bunch more. These are well built and will last longer then you. Don’t think that a trade in gun was shot little. I have seen some that were worn out, frame hammered down beyond reason from use. Others are like new inside. If you can’t inspect it you are taking chances.

    They are very accurate and have great follow ups with low recoil, because they are HEAVY. Not a good choice for concealed carry. More of a car or home defense gun. Lots of parts available and fairly simple to work on. The prices have zoomed in the last year and expect to pay $400 and up for a true low use one, even more for one that was never in duty and comes with original box and papers. There are great investments and will keep going up as plastic guns become worn and less desirable on the used market. Every collector should own one.

  20. You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the article you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they
    believe. All the time follow your heart.

  21. Should I want to order a pistol,how would I go about doing that?What steps do I need to take?

  22. To All,

    I was a lawman when the Model 59 & the 5906 were new & I still prefer the “double-stack” S&W models for DUTY carry & the Model 39/639 for concealed carry to ANY “plastic b@st@rd.”
    (To most LEOs of my generation, G- – – k still spells “CHEAP JUNK”.)

    Just the opinion of an “old but not at all bold LEO”.

    yours, tex

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