Let's hear it for the S&W 39 series of pistols - Gun Hub
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Old 10-23-2015, 07:52 AM   #1
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Let's hear it for the S&W 39 series of pistols

Hey all,

I recently got some range time with a 2nd generation S&W 439 in 9mm. You know, the model 39 with the adjustable sights that has the big wings. Anyhow, just reminded me what wonderful pistols the 39 series were; ergonomic, accurate, reliable, good DA trigger, decent SA trigger, and just a joy to shoot.

Then it got me thinking about all the other pistols in the 39 series, my favorite being the 3913/3914 which was also made as the "Ladysmith"; just a magnificent little concealed carry piece.

And of course all the wonderful 3rd generation S&W's; they will be missed.

Just wondering if anyone else has any good memories of S&W autos before they all went Tupperware?
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Old 10-23-2015, 12:44 PM   #2
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Kevin Gibson,

Fwiw, I bought (Or rather "traded for", as I "traded in" an unfired Model 39 at full retail, against full retail for the SS pistol = GFC Co was NICE to LEO.) one of the very first Model 659 S&W pistols from GEORGE F CAKE COMPANY in Dallas for 155.oo plus tax (that was the FULL "police" price, then.), when I was attending the NCTRPA in Arlington, VA. ======> NICE handgun.
(The Model 659 wasn't yet for sale to civilians at the time. = Wishing that I'd bought a matched/consequitive-numbered pair but alas, I was paying for my EX's college bills & didn't "have the brass".)

Btw, I bought my first "new" duty revolver from GFC Co, a Model 64 "pencil barrel" & "fully polished" too, for 105.oo plus tax.
(Those were the days.)

yours, sw
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Old 10-23-2015, 12:59 PM   #3
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I bought a 39-2 in Dec 72. I sold it a few years later, the reach was too long for my fingers. I tried a 669 a decade or so later and almost bought it, but I was into 1911s big time back then.
Geoff
Who likes the later models with better grips.
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Old 10-23-2015, 01:48 PM   #4
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I bought a new Model 59 in 1979. I shot it a few times, then kind of lost interest. I wouldn't call it pretty, but it was businesslike, well-made, and reliable. I shot it a few times, then oiled it and put it back in the box for about thirty-five years.

In the interim, the composite revolution took place. Like almost everyone, I had to have one of the new Glocks, and found it quite impressive. Then, I was issued an H&K USP as my duty weapon. Except for the idiotic non-standard rail, the H&K is everything I could ever want in a service pistol. It's light, ergonomic, dead-nuts reliable, accurate, and drops all the brass in one neat pile, heads facing north.

One day I pulled the still-pristine Model 59 out, took it to the range, and fired it one last time. To me, it had clearly been outclassed by the composites...there just wasn't any justification in my mind for hanging on to a weapon that was heavier, more fragile, and harder to maintain. The guy who bought it was thrilled, and paid a decent price.

The 39/59 line is a venerable piece of Smith & Wesson heritage, and are well-built workhorses. However, I don't find them particularly handsome, and I don't see much heirloom quality to them. I've moved on.

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Old 10-23-2015, 06:33 PM   #5
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I had a ground floor seat for the Third Generation guns and wrote up several including the story In /The American Rfileman

Wayne Novak did quite a bit of work for S&W on the project. I was especially fond of the 3913 and came up with the idea of making one in .40 S&W. Novak built one for me with a barrel from Barsto. I took it to S&W and they shot high speed video of it. Then Novak did one for them. Some time later I saw a prototype they did but it never was produced. One of the issues was magazines. Later I found that Ramline magazines worked pretty well with just a little modification.

Later I had Wayne build a tricked out 3913 for me which was a carry gun for some time.

A friend at S&W ended up with the other gun and we beat each other up routinely because we both want to have them all.
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Old 10-23-2015, 09:35 PM   #6
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My first experience with the S&W 39 came courtesy of Uncle Sam. I'll give no names or locations, but those Model 39's became known as "Hush Puppies" and it is my understanding that the Government is selling them off.
After returning to America I purchased a Model 39 which eventually I sold to purchase a 14 Round S&W 659. This particular S&W 659 has significant sentimental value to me. The last time my Father went to a Pistol Competition (Spotted for) with me, I shot a perfect round. By that time my Father had Tremors so bad that day ended up being the last time we ever shot together. (Hindsight) He has since passed, but every time I touch that pistol I can hear him (Proudly) calling Bulls-eye after Bulls-eye. I haven't shot that pistol since that day. I have passed that pistol to Thing-2, and the next person that fired that pistol was my (Army Korea) Son-in-law that wasn't given the opportunity to play with pistols during Army Basic. His first pistol experience's came with me using an M9. He wasn't extremely proficient. That's when He was introduced to that Model 659. (No he didn't shoot a perfect round) but he was able to contain all his rounds inside the 9 Ring at 25 Yards, so I'm sure the pistol still works. Needless to say it has become His favorite pistol. With any luck I will be there to watch (Help Instruct) Thing 2's thing 1 & thing 2 when they become old enough to move from revolvers to semi-auto's. That will make four generations of this family to used that Gen II S&W 659, Not a purchase in my estimation.

Thanks for putting up with me on this one, you have no idea of how hard this disjointed emotion post was to type out.

Last edited by M118LR; 10-23-2015 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:52 AM   #7
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Great story, M118LR. It's amazing how much a gun can be imprinted with the thought of a loved one.
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:57 AM   #8
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Back in the mid-'70s, I had an early 59. Never shot it much, and never cared for the "feel" of it, but at that time just owning one was a status symbol, like owning a Smith 29 or a Python. Had to sell it due to dire financial need in '80 or '81 and even by then was able to reap a healthy profit over what I'd paid for it originally.

Just a few years back, I came into a trashed 59 and 5906 for almost literally a song. They both needed almost everything including barrels and slides but I got them both up and running for somewhere around $300 IIRC, maybe it was more like four pigs but still a good deal for two working pistols in the 21st century.

I still don't like the grip feel of the original 59, but its weight/balance give it very dynamic handling, similar to a LW Commander. The 5906's improved grip is a HUGE improvement, but its all-steel construction makes it feel clunky in movement (nice to actually SHOOT, though). My 59 has a superb SA trigger but a semi-wretched DA pull; the 5906's SA pull is only mediocre (very shootable, just not as nice as the 59's) but its DA pull is quite lovely and I'd compare it to a SW K revolver that's been tuned a little. I've never seen a better DA pull on ANY autoloader, and the guts are all factory stock--I know because I installed them myself.

I would LOVE to try a 5904--a lightweight 3rd Gen. That would seem to be the best of both worlds. Would even love to try a 3904, as that might fit my hand even better.

I've stated here many times that I still have yet to see ANY 9mm I liked any better for duty or carry than the 3rd-Gen Smiths.
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Old 10-24-2015, 05:03 PM   #9
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Thanks CaptainGyro, and everyone else. Sorry I hacked that post up so poorly. Perhaps it should have been left in the emotional footlocker, but I sure did Sleep Well once it was off my chest.

Can't wait till we get to the 645's! If it didn't have to be drilled for a tritium tube it would still be on the duty belt. My absolute favorite S&W Semi-auto.
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:14 AM   #10
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M118LR: Charlie started a thread a few weeks ago soliciting stories just like yours. You're not the only one who has "one good gun" that will always have a special meaning:

One good gun
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:18 AM   #11
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Charlie, didn't S&W have a very short run of 39s in .38 Spc. wadcutter? I seem to remember seeing one, but at my age memory plays tricks once in a while.
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmkersh View Post
Charlie, didn't S&W have a very short run of 39s in .38 Spc. wadcutter? I seem to remember seeing one, but at my age memory plays tricks once in a while.
Are you maybe thinking of the Model 52?

It runs in my mind that early on, Smith did very small numbers of a SA-only version of the 39 called the Model 44. Google turns up nothing on this, so maybe I'm misremembering.

I think early on they also did some steel-framed 39s, which are valuable collector pieces today.
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:45 AM   #13
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Snake, I think you got it right.
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:49 AM   #14
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csmkersh,

YEP. S&W made a goodly number of those pistols. = I was ISSUED one of them by the TXARNG's Marksmanship Director in 1987.
(I had, in those days, a HUGE quantity of .38WC ammo to "dispose of". And YEP, I disposed of it- all downrange.)
It shot BEAUTIFULLY & terminated any number of south Texas bunnies for the pot.= 148HBWC are DEADLY out to normal handgun range & B'rer Bunny is FUN to try to hit running through the brush out at the local ARNG maneuver area.

ADDENDA: At that same period, I had an Army armorer-modified .38SPL S&W Victory Model & a REALLY NIFTY 1911A! issued to me too & all the practice ammo that I wanted for FREE too.
(I mostly carried the S&W revolver on/off duty, as it was Texas state property & thus NOT on the federal property book.= Had I "lost" it, I would have had to pay about 40 bucks for it.)
I wasn't real happy when I had to turn the S&W semi-auto back in to the Guard's arms room. - They wouldn't hand receipt it out or transfer it on orders with me, when I was transferred to the Pentagon.)

yours, sw

Last edited by stand watie; 10-25-2015 at 04:04 PM. Reason: add
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Old 10-25-2015, 07:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stand watie View Post
They wouldn't hand receipt it out or transfer it on orders with me, when I was transferred to the Pentagon.
Blame me. I had a .45 on hand receipt and it was stolen. The CG wanted me busted but all that happened was I paid the Army $55 and change over 3 months. I was a Cpl/E4 at the time.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:09 AM   #16
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Top, the only 39 in .38 was a small number made for the Army in .38 AMU (a mostly rimless .38 Spec.). They then made Model 52s for the cartridge and they are Model -52A.

S&W also listed a single-action Model 39 called the Model 44 but Jinks states that few were made and none actually was marked 44.
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