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Thread: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 3rd Gen S&W

  1. #1
    Member Lyonsgrid's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    North Carolina

    How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 3rd Gen S&W

    Iíve been down this road a few times before. Iíve always had an irrational liking for 3rd Gen S&W semi-autos. They just never seem to like me back. Iíve sold off and traded several models over the years. This time is different, it has to be damn it. Iíve finally found a model that works and makes sense to me.

    The 5903 SSV (Short Slide Variant)

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    Only 1500 produced in 1990.
    Basically a full frame (alloy) 5903 mated to a shorty 6904 top end. Similar to the Beretta 92/96 Centurion or Colt Commander in concept, full frame short slide. Nothing really special since you can swap frames and top-ends and build your own. Still, I love the more obscure models and S&W made a ton of variants over the years.

    1- I like DA/SA pistols. My go to have been Beretta 92ís and this has the same manual of arms.
    2- Frame is alloy like the 92. The 5906ís (steel) frame guns just never worked and were too heavy.
    3- Full length frame avoids the dreaded pinky pinch reload and has a nice no snag bevel.
    4- 17 round Mec-Gar mags offer good capacity, reliability and only cost around $20 dollars.
    5- Support hand fits frame without interference with controls.
    6- Trigger is great, both single and double action.
    7- Straight style grip mimics the 1911 or Beretta 92 Vertec. Curved backstrap grips also available.
    8- Square trigger guard fits my support hand index finger grip. I cheat it forward and it fits the slight curve just right. I actually like the square guards.
    9- High grip is easy with the right sized beaver tail and total design.
    10- Solid reputation for reliability.

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    1- Part support is terrible.
    2- Aftermarket sights are few and nobody knows what fits what.
    3- Holsters are hard to source.
    4- Not crazy about two-tone.
    5- Reputation for just ďokĒ accuracy.
    6- Only hipsters and derps shoot 3rd Gens.
    7- No rail.
    8- Itís not a TSW or PC 3rd Gen.
    9- Miami Vice ended in 1989.
    10- Iím the only one who cares?

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    Mod 1:
    I hate ambi-controls. Thankfully, they made single sided safety assemblies. There are several versions out there spanning the Gen 1 Ė Gen 3 S&Wís. Some have thinner levers. The silver two-tone look had to go. I found a black single sided lever and installed it. Much improved mod for both carry and function.

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    This is a work in progress and Iíll update as I go along. I welcome any ideas, suggestions or insults.

  2. #2
    can JM hook you up with holsters?

  3. #3
    Site Supporter Lon's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    That's actually a damn good looking 3rd Gen. I love the looks of the 3rd gen guns, unfortunately I have trust issues with 3rd Gen guns. I had a 4044 as my first issued duty weapon. Was not a fan. I always thought the ASP conversions were cool.
    Formerly known as xpd54.
    The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions or policies of my employer.

  4. #4
    Very Pro Dentist Chuck Haggard's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Down the road from Quantrill's big raid.
    I had one of those for several years, it served mostly as a fanny pack gun. I like the size of it, but mine was marginal as far as accuracy.

    The same sights that fit the 5906 fit the 6906, and the 4006, etc., and that gun was well.

    The flush fit MecGar 17 round mags work really well in those guns.
    I am the owner of Agile/Training and Consulting

  5. #5
    Site Supporter
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    Nov 2012
    WA state
    Novak still makes 3rd gen sights.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Lower Michigan
    I'm too old to be a hipster. I've recently rediscovered these guns of the '80s and '90s. The design elements really are amazingly well thought out. I'm looking at 3 different models right now, two calibers, three levels of capacity and almost all the internal parts interchange. They point well and none of the controls get accidentally actuated or are hard to use. I could go on and on... but I will add that XS Big Dots are also available.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    S.W. Ohio
    Interesting combination of frame to slide.

    I'm not sure that I'd run a large amount of rounds through the gun though. Parts are harder and harder to come by. We would buy 9m extractors by the gross, as it was a slim part and prone to chipping and breaking. (I had one break in the field as I was shooting a dog that was chewing on me in a back yard once.) The alloy frames in the 6906's and later 6946's would start to crack just north of the 30k mark.

    I have to admit, back when we issued 5906's, had I came across one of these 5903SSV's, I'd have snagged one up for off duty carry.

  8. #8
    Member Lyonsgrid's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by breakingtime91 View Post
    can JM hook you up with holsters?
    I've contacted him about one. Trying to figure out which mold to send him. 6906 or 5906? Can someone confirm the square frame 5906 and 6906 have the same length dust cover? If so, I'll source a 6906 blue gun mold since it has the short slide/barrel.

  9. #9
    Member Lyonsgrid's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by rathos View Post
    Novak still makes 3rd gen sights.

    Sights are a nightmare on these guns. They made several front and rear variations over the years. This one has the later Novak rear style which is the best IMO. The dovetails are not the same and it's hard to find info on the specs.

    I have a 10-8 performance rear on the way (.140 black U notch) that is said to fit. I plan on pairing it with a high vis front Trijicon HD or Ameriglo. I'm prepared to do some fitting.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2013
    Today is the first day this week I have carried my 3913TSW rather than my Glock 19. I took it to the range Monday and it was like rekindling an old flame. Comfort, accuracy, trigger DA & SA, first shot on target it was magic. I only have one spare 7 rd mag. I need 15 rounds and 15 in a spare mag. I know I do the internet tells me so. Today I am carrying my 19. Then I read this ARGH!

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