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Wonder Nine Service Semi-Autos

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Recoil Sissy, Jan 3, 2009.

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  1. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    Years back, police departments traded in their plain Jane service revolvers for semi-auto wonder nines. The used revolvers hit the market in mass and depending on condition a person could buy them all day long for $220 - $235 a pop. From what I understand, the finish usually showed some holster wear but the guns were mechanically sound and usually were fairly lightly shot.

    Now I’m starting to see some of the wonder nine replacements getting replaced. Most seem to be S&W models like 3913 compact, 5904, 5906, 669 compact, 6904 compact, and 6906 compact*. Depending on model and finish (blued or stainless), 90% condition guns appear to be going for $329 to $349 each. 80% condition guns are about 10 bucks less.

    *There are other models but I’m a south paw and only listed those with ambidextrous safeties.

    I’m considering one for a truck ‘carry’ gun. Shooting would mostly consist of getting proficient with it. Function and reliability are paramount.

    Unfortunately, I have minimal first hand experience with these wonder nines and don’t have access to any for comparison purposes. So... I’m interested in opinions.

    Are these pretty decent guns for the price?
    Do any of the models listed stand out as better or more desirable than others?
    Are any notorious for some problem or other?
    Is there any major advantage to a compact (or non-compact) over the other?

    Thanks in advance,

    sissy

    FWIW, I wear a size large glove but I don’t have long fingers. From a size perspective, single stack .45’s fit better than double stack.
     
  2. capvan

    capvan Active Member

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    I've owned a 5904 since they first came out. Flawless operation, digests anything I put into it, including hollow points. Only problem is that when you see "fits 5900 series" on current holsters, etc., they are NOT talking about this gun. Finding one of the new-style holsters (form-fitting) took some efforts and returns.

    Email direct if I can be of more help.

    Bruce
    KB1IIX@arrl.net
     
  3. 682LINY

    682LINY Member

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    I have carried and shot a 5906 for 10 years,,,,have had zero problems,,,,it is on the large side,,,it is heavy,,,it does hold 16 shots,,,,and hits what I aim at,,,,look at the last statement,,,,that is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING,,,,reliable is good too, but 16 misses is not better than one hit
     
  4. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    Blackshear, Georgia
    I have a 5904 which I love and have had zero problems. I also have a p226 sig which is also a good gun but prefer the 5904. Both have adjustable night sights. I am not a very good pistol shooter but can shoot a six inch group at 50 feet with either of them but feel more comfortable with the 5904. Jackie B.
     
  5. gotbass

    gotbass Member

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    I have a 3913 which I use as carry gun until summer really sets in. I like the fact that it is single action after the first shot.
     
  6. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    Gentlemen:

    Thanks to those who have responded.

    Has anyone had experience with used guns resulting from police department trade ins?

    sissy
     
  7. Savage99Stan

    Savage99Stan Active Member

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    I have an old model 39, one of the original ISP issue guns. Lots of blue wear, came with six magazines, has the ISP number along with the serial number. Bore is flawless, slide to frame fit is good. Carried a lot, shot little. So old, it is a 39 with no eng. change no. Feeds, shoots, fine. So it is a single stack, I don't care. Just a fun gun to plink with and shoot the occasional pin match. Bought it for $250.
     
  8. Baber

    Baber TS Member

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    I am a little sour on these guns since I had a brand new 39 throw the ejector out through the port and disassemble it self in my hand after about 100 rounds. The pin that hold the hammer, ejector worked out and everything kinda crumbled in my hand. Sold it and never looked back.

    Tom
     
  9. Sky Buster

    Sky Buster Sky Buster TS Supporters

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    Most of the police trade-in guns are shoot very little. Most departments
    only qualify 2-3 times a year. Holster wear is the issue but it's only
    cosmetic. The S&W 3rd generation guns are excellant guns. All 3rd gen
    pistols have four digits in the model number. 5906 4006, etc.
     
  10. Savage99Stan

    Savage99Stan Active Member

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    TBaber...I'd almost bet that the 39 you had was made during the infamous days of the BangorPunta ownership fiasco. Our shop had to return about fifty percent of the Smiths we received for timing, cosmetic, and other issues. We also had a heck of a time getting rid of the "related" merchandise we had to buy to get a smith. Example: a 29 was about $225 dealer cost, required you to buy $440 in related junk to get it...alcan shells branded S&W, leather, plastic, mace, the crappy S&W shotguns and so on. I've had a number of 39s....original and last run and the first ones were the best, deteriorating into the early seventies. I wish I had my all steel one back. sorry about your bad experience.
     
  11. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    Nashville Tn
    The Smith Gen III is a good basic gun, but I do not like;

    1. The magazine disconnect.

    2. Two different triggers to master.

    3. The 5900 series gun is HUGE.

    4. The safeties are monstrous and will occasionally come off the gun.

    5. Reassembly is tricky. Total disassembly is not recommended.

    6. The grips hold parts in the gun. Damaged grips can kill the gun.

    I prefer the "simple as a brick" Glock. So easy even an old trapshooter can train with it. (giggle)
     
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