Here's a look at an oldie, but goodie - Smith & Wesson's 469. It's a compact double stack 9mm with a blued slide, alloy frame, and DA/SA with decocker/safety from the early 1980's. I got this one on a trade a little while back and instantly liked the way it felt in my hand. The great thing is it's almost the same size and weight as my Sig P239, but it holds 12+1 rounds of 9mm vs. 8+1 for the Sig. The one place where it's noticeably bigger is in it's thickness. I've made it my winter carry gun so the extra thickness doesn't make much difference under a cover garment. In mentioning capacity one cool thing is that it can take any of the even higher capacity magazines that S&W produces. I've read where someone actually used a 30 round stick magazine and a 72 round drum. The more practical application is to use the 15 round magazines from the larger 59 series guns as a spare and leave the 12 rounder for carry.
Barrel ----Total---- Weight
Length ---Length-- (empty)
3.5 in. ----6.875 in. --26 oz.
As you can see it has definitely seen some use. I like to think that it was a cop's gun and all the character marks are from years of reliable service. After putting it through it's paces I've found that it points well, is more than accurate enough and has been totally reliable. The trigger is a bit different than what I'm used to. It uses a half cock notch that you can feel when you pull the trigger in double action. To avoid that little hitch, the hammer can be put in half cock after decocking. The double action pull is fairly smooth and easy to stage. Single action isn't as crisp as the Sig's, but it's got a better reset.
One area that I had to change was the original front sight. It was a slanted blade with a vertical line going down the center of it that was integral to the slide. It was ok, but was really hard to see in low light. When I changed out the front sight of my Sig with a night sight I picked up a second night sight with the idea of putting it on the 469 slide. Now, most would then have taken the slide to a gunsmith to have the original sight taken off and a dovetail cut to fit, but I felt a little more ambitious. Yes, that's right using a small file set I hand filed off the front sight and cut a dovetail. It's not perfect, but it works. Take a look at my work.
It still needs a little cold blue on the raw steel, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Now I can easily pick up the front sight in the dark. After taking it to the range it withstood 50 rounds without budging. There I found that to get the right elevation using the new front sight and the original rear required holding the front dot right in line with the top of the rear sight. After a little practice it works well and puts me right in the black.
Future modifications might include a refinish and swapping out the rear sight for a slightly higher Novak style, but for now it's the way I like my carry guns: Compact, Light, Reliable, & Carried.
Overall, the 469 is a great CCW gun and one that I plan on using for many years to come. Smith & Wesson replaced the 469/669 with the third generation 6904/6906 which they have sadly stopped producing. If you happen to find one snatch it up. You won't regret it.