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Practically Shooting

S&W Model 59


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Mags are interchangeable throughout the 59 line (59, 459, 5904, 5906).

The 39 and 59 went through some changes and updates through the years. The early ones got a bad reputation for what most back then vaguely called "jams", but S&W was committed to getting police to switch to autos and worked hard to fix them. Most of S&W's attention seemed to center around the extractor, and the extractors did change over the years. They started with a thin, flat, type (similar to a Hi-Power) and it got widened, and I think widened once more (although the second time might have coincided with the introduction of the 459/439/559/539. I'm trying to remember this off the top if my head, so might have missed another change in there.

Anyway, they made at least a couple of changes, and I remember getting the idea at the time they might be doing more harm than good. My thought was that while they were trying to get it just right, Joe Shooter had the impression the guns must be really screwed up to need so much changing. I do remember being in gun shops around 1980 and when the 39/59 was brought up, the consensus was that they were problematic. I also remember thinking that was probably unfair and maybe incorrect, even though I had never even knew anyone who owned one then.

Now after having a 39 briefly and a 459 for a while, I think I was right. I think S&W did have some trouble early on, got it fixed, but brought a lot if attention to it in the process. I know a lot of old hands still wouldn't touch one today.

I never had a 59, but did have a 459. It was OK. It was reliable, and shot well enough I guess but not the most accurate. The trigger was probably a big part of that. The SA pull was not great, but DA was not very good at all.

I had a Marlin Camp 9 at the time, which used the same mag. I had a 20-Rd mag (S&W or MecGar) that worked fine in both.

Truthfully, I'd rather have a 39. I've halfway been wanting a 39 in fact. I should have kept the one I had, but it passed through as I worked to trade for something else. I should have kept the two (not one but two) S&W 52s I had too, but anyway...

You see, I doubt I'd carry one (due to the trigger alone) so it would be a play gun. I always thought the 39s were good looking guns in blue with wood grips, and their grip frame feels really nice. It's right behind the HiPower/CZ75/Bren Ten in grip feel. The 59 feels pretty decent, but not next to a 39.

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I'm pretty sure all the 59 series mags are interchangeable.

How the heck do I buy a firearm from CDNN? Their site sucks (well the PDF catalog is pretty cool) - no info on ordering a firearm. I think I asked this once before....phone only?

Call them up and see if they have a FFL in your area already on their list. If not, you can get a dealer to fax them a copy of his FFL. Pay over the phone and they ship the gun to your FFL.

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Somewhere in the foggy, cobwebby, recesses of my memory, I may have once seen something about CDNN being a branch of a bigger operation. I want to say CDNN is the non-FFL side, which would account for the lack of ordering info. If you call as G-Man suggested, it would probably be the simplest route to figuring the operation out.

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The 469 is basically a chopped and shortened 459. I think they came out the same year (1981?).

While the 469 got rave reviews in all the gun magazines, I remember all the real gun-toters asking why S&W didn't base it off the flatter 439 instead. The later 3913, which was 39/439/639/3904 etc-based, was more like what they wanted.

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