Saturday, January 31, 2009

Smith & Wesson 469: A Proven CCW

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.


PatrickNava said...

I owned a 469 and 6904. With the 469, I wasn't satisfied with even a 12-rnd mag. So just in case things got hairy, I bought two extra Ram-Line 17-rnd mags that normally fit a model 459 and carried them in an open double mag holder.

It's been so long (1987-1991) since I owned those guns that I may be mistaken about those Ramline mags. I'm pretty sure they were 17-rounders because I also bought 6 extra 17-rounders for my SIG P226; although those could have been 18-rounders and were still flush with the magazine well and didn't protrude like that on the 469. But the 469 looked pretty mean with a 17-rounder sticking out of the bottom.

The only complaint I had with the 469 was that on the opposite side of the ambi safety/decocking lever, the screw would come loose after a heavy session of shooting.
That was not a problem with my 6904, as there was no screw on either side. I favored the 6904 better, due to the excellent Novak Lo-Mount rear site. A nice feature that was also on my Smith 1006.

Hours after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake here in the San Francisco/Daly City area, cop activity was high on traffic control and not too swift in the neighborhoods. I had my 469 in a Bianchi inside-the-pant holster with 2 spare mags in a Bianchi dual Clip-Grip on the opposite side of my belt. Then a black nylon shoulder holster (Eagle or Alessi?) with my Smith 1006 and dual mag pouches on the other side. A Daewoo AR100 rifle with 12 spare 30-round mags in an assault rifle case. My wife carried the SIG P226 and 7 mags in her purse, plus an Astra A-90 with 3 spare mags in her backpack. All for our protection as we drove to my Parents house to check up on their safety.

Jason said...

I own a S&W 469 presently and have been quite satified with its use. The previous owner was a city cop that went to the FBI and sold the gun to my father-in-law who gave it to me when I graduated from the academy. At present the only trouble I have found is finding a good holster due to the age of the gun.

mcaylor said...

I too own a 469. Shoots very nice, when I shoot it. I bought it new when I lived in Miami, FL in 1988. It still looks like new as I shoot it infrequently and have yet to carry it. I do have a concealed carry permit here in PA but don't put it to proper use, yet. I want to change that and start carrying regularly. Any suggestions on concealed holsters? I don't where sport coats, not even long shirts. I think I might need a leg holster. Is the 469 a good candidate for leg carry?
Thanks for any input.

Jim said...

If your still looking for a holster -- I just ordered one from -- they custom make it for your gun. It takes 10-12 weeks ....but I can wait for a holster that I know my gun isn't going to fall out of. I have a S&W 669.

Kevin said...

Used to own a 469. Picked it up at a Pawn shop when the Wonder 9 craze was going on.

I was always impressed by it's reliability and lightweight, but I just hated that the damn thing was so thick. Also liked the reliability.

If they would have made a thinner model, I'd have kept it all these years, even if it cost me a few rounds in the mag. Instead, I sold it to someone about 20 years ago.

JW said...

I owned a 469 in the late'80's after getting an offer to become Public Info. Officer for a small municipal dept. I'd never owned a handgun...only a 20-gauge shotgun my dad gave me...and knew I'd better get ahead of the game and get more familiar with shooting a semi-auto. A friend who was a detective with the same dept. had recently started carrying a Charter Arms .44 Bulldog. He made me a sweet deal on his old carry weapon...the S&W 469...along with two extra mags. Another friend, the PIO at the time, even polished the feed ramp and made 3-dot white sights by using a center punch and white paint on the original black sights. Nice size and good shooter, utterly reliable too.

I found out later some of the owners of the Models 39 & 69 were ticked off when guys/gals with the 469 sometimes out-shot them with the shorter barrelled gun. Apparently, the 469's "beveled bushing barrel" locked up tighter, producing better groups.

I was looking for a 469 recently while visiting in Ohio and the guys at the gun store said they do get some from officers with local departments who've since gone on to other weapons. I believe they said you can often get them for $250-$300, depending on condition.

JW said...

Sorry for the typo...should have been Models 39 and 59 (not 69).

wschmidt001 said...

WS My S&W 469 was given to me by my first partner when I was a DEA Special Agent. He had carried it as a primary duty weapon as a uniformed Police Office before comming over to DEA.
I have carried that weapon since 1986 and retained it into retirement.
The weapon has never failed either during range qualifications or in the field.

mcaylor said...

I ended up buying a great In-The-Waistband holster from Crossbreed holsters. It ain't pretty but it is very comfortable, even with the thickness of my 469. Can wear it to church with a button down shirt tucked into pants and no coat or jacket. Only fellow gun carriers who know I carry even know its there.
Also, I finally participated in a few shoots put together by a local gunshop and friend. I did well compared with the other shooters. The 469 is plenty accurate, even with my limitied shooting abilities. And, it operates without flaw, eats anything put through it. Had some 20 year old lead bullet ammo plus about 5 different brands that I cleaned out of my gun cabinet. Not a single failure.
I'm keeping my 469.

Anonymous said...

Carried a 469 for over 20 yrs. as a CPD Det. Despite a slightly odd feeling to it, till U get used to it, this is one fine weapon ! Never failed in practice, qualifying, or street shootings. A great little gun, loaded with proper ammo and extra magazines, it is a formidable handgun. It carries a quick, deadly load. Great too, when my kids were young, I could pop the mag out and the gun would not fire, even with a round up the pipe, a great safety feature. I still carry it, and feel 100% adequately armed with this ugly little beauty.

Anonymous said...

PATRIOT said...
Carried a 469 for over 20 yrs. as a CPD Det. Despite a slightly odd feeling to it, till U get used to it, this is one fine weapon ! Never failed in practice, qualifying, or street shootings. A great little gun, loaded with proper ammo and extra magazines, it is a formidable handgun. It carries a quick, deadly load. Great too, when my kids were young, I could pop the mag out and the gun would not fire, even with a round up the pipe, a great safety feature. I still carry it, and feel 100% adequately armed with this ugly little beauty.
P.S. removed the little finger rest on one mag and replaced it with a flat one from a model 659, made it even smaller, grip wise, for added concealability.

Jagerno said...
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Jagerno said...

Does anyone know where I can get additional magazines for my 469?? I don't like having only 1 and am not sure about using other S&W mags.

Anonymous said...

I think they used to have them.

Anonymous said... also

imarangemaster said...

I actually fired a pre-production sample as a PD rangemaster in the early 1980s and loved it. Bought one when they were released, and carried it for about 10 or 12 years. I sold it in a moment of weakness. I picked another one up in the last year and it is once again my primary carry weapon. I love it.

Rydfree said...

My first center fire handgun was a S&W 469 purchased in 1984 and still have today. It is a limited edition satin nickle edition with matching serial lithographed poster. Back in the day I reloaded and put many a round through the 469 and it is still a favorite,it just fits my hand and I can hit anything with it it seems. I've made 3 shots out of 5 on gallon jugs at 100 yards believe it or not. Love the 469. BTW Marlin 20 rd mags from the camp rifle fit perfect !

Shy Wolf said...

If you're still seeking a holster, try Kirkpatrick Leather in TX. Form fit to the 469 and done in a couple of weeks.
For extra mags, I discovered my XD mags fit the 469 well, so I used a flat file and dremel to cut the retaining notche into the XD mags. Work perfect, so now I have more than a dozen 16 round mags for the 469 plus the 2 original 12 rounders.

R P Daniels said...

I purchased a used 469 9mm in blue steel from a gun shop some years ago. The shop owner told me it was a police trade in, it certainly acted like one after the first time I fired it on the range. Accurate to point of aim, never jammed, misfired, double fed, or failed to feed. The only addition I have made is a Handall rubber grip sleeve, for better grip in cold or wet weather. IT has been my off duty/ carry auto since; easy to conceal, high capacity 12+1 magazines, and holsters are plentiful. Purchased 4 extra magazines for carry, feeds +P ammo well, and is light enough to not wear you down with it's weight. Old school, but very dependable and durable.

Jerry Williams said...
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