S&W model 59 review - the pistol that changed the game in 1971
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    S&W model 59 review - the pistol that changed the game in 1971

    My gun store buddy always keeps an eye out for older good condition pistols for me. He recently picked up a beautiful model 59 at one of the gun shows and held it back for me. Thank you Don.
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    The model 59 was a follow on to the first S&W semi auto 9mm, the model 39. It was designed for the U.S. Navy as a large-capacity version of the S&W Model 39, the basis of their Mark 22 Hush Puppy suppressed pistol. which was evaluated by the Seals, but not adopted. The model 59 came to market in 1971 and was replaced by the 459 in 1982.
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    The 59 shares many similarities to the 1911 A1 including a barrel bushing. However the safety is a de-cocker and is located on the slide, there are a few other differences internally. But to just look at it - the resemblance is there. So why do I call it a game changer? This was the first American designed hi capacity 9mm pistol (mostly - there were a few others, but they were clones of European models). Up until this time the revolver and single stack 1911's ruled both the consumer and law enforcement community. I did research - but if I am incorrect please let me know. What I find interesting is, this pistol is essentially a double stack 1911 in 9mm made in the 70's.
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    Here is how it looked today after running 94 rounds of WWB and multiple reloads. Now for the specs:

    S&W model 59 Weight 31ozs with an unloaded mag
    DA trigger pull = 10.5lbs SA trigger pull = 4.5lbs
    DA trigger pull distance is 5/8" SA reset is 1/16"
    width is .94" at the slide width at the grips is 1.37"
    the model 59 is 7.5" long height is 5 7/16"
    Slide is carbon steel Frame is aluminum
    rear site is windage adj only front site is a ramped blade
    safety/decocker on the slide also has magazine disconnect safety
    uses a 14 round magazine standard US mag release on frame
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    The 59 uses a 3 piece grip system, two plastic panels with an aluminum back strap. This particular pistol shoots like a dream, exceptional recoil control, great sight alignment, positive mag release (not swappable), and has vertical lines on both the back and front straps. I had no failures during today's shooting session.
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    After about 80 rounds, I adjusted the rear sight a bit to the right and found the center bullseye. This target shows both DA and SA shooting, along with several double taps. Just like a 9mm 1911 the model 59 is a very accurate shooter. Even in today's windy and dreary conditions. It is hard to hit a paper target moving in the wind, but this excellent S&W shooter was up to the task. I would rate this at 85% NRA condition. There is some wear to the aluminum back strap, magazine body wear and a few light scratches on the plastic grip panels. No wear on the slide, and slide bluing is in near new condition. Very little wear to the internals, I did do a complete tear down and clean up before shooting. FYI - think twice about doing that yourself. The extractor pin is a bear to re-install. All internals are in like new condition. Overall I really do covet this beauty. The model 59 was used by my uncle Cale when he worked as a detective in Wichita PD, I have fond memories of his and get to rekindle those memories every time I hold it. As with all quality surplus/used old iron, the prices just go up as availability dries up. Current prices for a very good condition 59 with two factory magazines are going from $450 up to $800. I payed $300 for mine, but only because my buddy likes to see me smile. Thanks for sharing my trip down memory lane, and consider picking one up for your collection.
    Last edited by silverstring; 12-09-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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    I agree, a very historically significant pistol and although a little "dated" in design, still a very fine sidearm. Every S&W pistol fan should have one.
    I also have to agree about pricing. I bought one in comparable condition to yours about 4 years ago for $210.
    Probably never see those kinds of prices again.
    jwc007 and silverstring like this.

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    THANK YOU! For sharing, interesting and educational, as always!
    silverstring likes this.

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    This made for a nice bedtime story. I love my early generation S&W's. Thanks for your effort.
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    I have owned one since around 1980. Hundreds of rounds through it with all types of 9mm ammo and never a failed round. About 5 years ago I bought another Model 59 at a estate sale that was a safe queen. It still is. It came with the original box, instruction manual, warranty card, wire cleaning brush and two mags. I really like them but there are a few haters out there also. Have fun and enjoy it.
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    Congrats on your new to you Model 59. I love my 5906.
    silverstring likes this.
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    Congratulations on your new-to-you S&W model 59 and may it serve you well!

    The metal framed S&W semi-auto Pistols were truly excellent handguns, past the S&W model 39 which had some issues. I've owned and run the base models 39, 669, 5906, and 4506.
    In the end, I probably should have kept the S&W 5906, but it lost out to my Cz Clones, and was sold off along with the 4506, to fund my FN FAL project.
    My 669 went to a relative who needed a good handgun and still serves him to this day.
    silverstring likes this.
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    There's a poor man's 3rd generation version for sale about 1 1/2 hours from me for $400. I'm contemplating picking it up, but thanks to our stupid laws it's 2 trips to the area it's being sold. That's what I'm having problems getting over.
    silverstring likes this.

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    Thanks for the history lesson. Sounds like you did very well with the purchase.
    silverstring likes this.

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    Nice read, congrats on your new to you pistol.
    silverstring likes this.
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