By Chief Mike:
An Urgent Buy Situation
To kickoff this column I’m starting with an urgent best buy situation. At this writing, many police departments are trading in their third generation Smith and Wesson pistols for newer models. These are some of the finest duty pistols ever produced. Most will be in either 9mm or .40 S&W. Everyone needs at least one truly good handgun and this is a rare opportunity to find one at well below market price. New these MSRP from Smith for between $600 and $900. They will come in several varieties and it is important to understand these. Guns beginning with 59xx will be double stack guns that hold 14 or 15 round magazines. They will be in blue or stainless with either steel or alloy frames. There are many variations from traditional DA/SA to DAO guns. Again, these will be designated by the last two numbers and Smith offers many cross references. If in doubt, examine it or ask the seller. They also offered lower end versions as the 915 and 910. These were blue alloy frame guns and the only differences were a bit less machining on the frame and they only had a safety/decocker on the left side of the slide for primarily right handed shooters. The 910 also had plastic sights and was shipped with a 10 round magazine vs. 15 rounds. The 910 is currently in production at this writing. The 915 was only produced in the year prior to the now defunct Assault Weapons ban. My guess is that Smith did not want to bother renaming the pistol in 2004. The 910 is now MSRP at $617 new. The internals of these and the reliability etc are the same as any third generation Smith and Wesson 59xx series gun. These are full sized duty pistols with 4” barrels.
The thing about police guns is that they get carried daily for years but shot very little. This means that while they might see some cosmetic wear, they are usually good solid pistols with a lifetime of service left in them. Right now is a Golden buying opportunity for any of you who want a premium pistol at a rock bottom price. Many surplus distributors are now selling Smith and Wesson police trade ins in the $300 to $350 price range. Depending on model, this represents a savings of 50 to 70 percent over the cost of a new one.
My test pistol, also now my daily carry, is an S&W model 915. I spotted it on the used shelf at a local retailer and after modest bargaining purchased it for $295 out the door. The pistol has minor bluing wear on the front edge of the slide. Otherwise it looked new. This model has good steel sights, a fantastic DA/SA trigger and proved as accurate as I remember any third generation Smith. It came with only one mag. Spare mags are a bit pricy new at $39.95 retail so a bit more shopping was in order.
I went online and on one of the major gun boards posted a Want to Trade / Want to buy ad. In about two days I was contacted by a fellow who had two spare mags but had long ago traded the pistol. He was however now a revolver aficionado and was having difficulty finding speed loaders. I checked my great big box of everything and found two speed loaders for his K frame. A deal was struck and $3 in shipping later I had my two spare mags. I found a used but perfect condition holster at another shop for $10. MSRP on the holster is $37 new.
Total investment = $308.00
Total value if purchased New today = $734
Total Savings over New = $426
This represents a fantastic bargain over buying new. The added benefit is that parts are still in production and factory service is easily available. Any Gander Mountain can provide factory authorized service. This is a first line Duty pistol from a premium name brand and offers you the ability to have the best without breaking the bank. That leaves a whole lot of room to buy ammo.