Author Topic: Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?  (Read 542 times)

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Offline Metal Wonder Nine Guy

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Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« on: June 29, 2019, 01:02:24 PM »
I posted this on the Beretta forum recently, so I figured I'd post this here.

So Classic Firearms recently had a large shipment of 5906's. Being a fan of DA/SA autoloaders, I have thought of eventually getting one. However, I've heard mixed things about the 59/5900's reliability.

One such example I have heard was from an older friend who joined the DEA in 1971 right after he finished his USMC flight service in Vietnam. His unit was issued model 59's and a year later, their department had to send back their 59's to S&W because of frequent failures to feed. Apparently, there were issues with the feed ramps and the department's issued JHP ammo. I know this issue was eventually fixed, but these early failures seem to dog the 59's reputation. The first post in this forum post illustrates the early issues with 59's and 39's.

http://smith-wessonforum.com/smith-w...s-w-459-a.html

So for you folks who have shot or owned these pistols, what do you think of them?

Offline Ruber

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Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2019, 03:29:18 PM »
I really enjoy the later made 59’s.  I’ve run everything through them from bulk 115 to the Win 147gr hp’s.

Reliability is relative to the individual, in my experience, they feed, cycle, and go bang as much as any of my other guns.  And ya, I consider my favorite 59 to be more reliable than my favorite 75.  Not true across the board though.

Parts are becoming less available, though still in good supply from third party vendors.  If you do get one, pick up a spare set of springs and firing pin.

I do prefer the first gen guns as a shooter to the third gen, much better triggers.  No firing pin block in the first gen guns, not sure if that is of importance to you.

Like CZ75’s, I am always on the lookout for a good deal on 59’s

Offline jwc007

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Re: Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2019, 04:02:28 PM »
In general, yes!  The 5900/5906 series served the Illinois State Police well for many years during it's issue with many Patrolmen opting to purchase their issued Pistol and Magazines when the agency transitioned to the Glock 22 and the, then trendy, .40 S&W Cartridge.  Also note that during their service, these Pistols were fed a steady diet of +P+ 115 grain Ammunition from various makes and took it very well.

Parts that have occasionally required service have been Ejectors, Extractors and Extractor Springs, and regular replacement of Recoil Springs.

It should also be noted that the earlier S&W 469, 559, and 669 series Pistols were very good Pistols also.  One of my relatives still carries an S&W 669 as his EDC and it continues to serve very well.

I had an early S&W M39 that proved to be a real lemon, barely feeding FMJ-RN, and it's ejector broke after about 300 rounds.  Sent it back to S&W twice for repair, then after it's second trip back, traded it off for an S&W M19, which also proved to be a Lemon.  This was back in the Bangkor Punta Days when S&W quality was quite problematic.  I wound up arming myself with a used WWII Walther P-38, which I still have, along with two post war Walther P-38's.

Later on S&W stepped up their designs and quality and more local agencies adopted the second and third generation 9mm, .40, and .45 Caliber Pistols, and doing some gunsmithing for a local gunshop, I occasionally serviced them.  Also later on, I acquired an S&W 4506 which proved to be a very good .45, but I preferred my EAA/Tanfoglio Witnesses to it, so it was sold off to an S&W Collector.

IMO, the third generation S&W 9mm handguns are very good, but you are better off with a Cz75 pattern handgun.
"Easy is the path to wisdom for those not blinded by ego." - Yoda


For all of those killed by a 9mm: "Get up! You are not dead! You were shot with a useless cartridge!"

Offline SI VIS PACEM PARRABELLUM

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Re: Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2019, 06:23:50 PM »
My first semi auto pistols were 3rd gen S&W's and if they were/are nothing else they are as reliable as the rising and setting of the sun. My lowly model 915 would function on ANYTHING even semi wadcutters without EVER choking.

Offline Sango

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Re: Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2019, 07:26:29 PM »
My first semi auto pistols were 3rd gen S&W's and if they were/are nothing else they are as reliable as the rising and setting of the sun. My lowly model 915 would function on ANYTHING even semi wadcutters without EVER choking.

Same here. Was my first semi automatic, still have it, still functions 100%, never had an issue with mine
I’ve got a few CZ’s...

Offline DOC 1500

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Re: Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2019, 09:22:56 AM »
 I'm new to the  S&W world of pistols but from what I've learned on the S&W forum and doing a lot of research myself, the  3rd Generation series semi pistols, are some of the best on the market. The TSW model is built even more robust. I have a 4006 TSW built like a tank.
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Offline v35

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Re: Are Smith and Wesson 59/5900 series pistols reliable?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2019, 07:55:00 PM »
One such example I have heard was from an older friend who joined the DEA in 1971 right after he finished his USMC flight service in Vietnam.

That date kinda struck me as oddly familiar, because I remember Nixon announcing the consolidation of several agencies forming the DEA. In fact it was July 1, 1973... 45 years ago today!

Strange how your mind works...