Home Firearms I Didn’t Need It, But I Wanted It

I Didn’t Need It, But I Wanted It


Non gun enthusiasts will often wonder, usually out loud why gun enthusiasts “need” so many guns. Generally we don’t need nearly as many as we have. It’s not a matter of need, rather it’s a matter of want. In this case I am a fan of the Smith and Wesson 3rd generation semi automatic pistols. I won’t go into the history of the 3rd generation guns, but suffice it to say that they were very reliable, very accurate, and very popular both with law enforcement and civilian owners. The Los Angeles Police Department still authorizes officers to carry a couple of different models in different calibers. The Virginia State Police still use a .45 ACP version as their standard duty weapon and rumor has it that Smith and Wesson just produced a number of new guns for them. Alas, the rest of us can’t buy these fine firearms new any longer as Smith and Wesson discontinued retail production a few years ago.

The problem is that Glock came along and introduced their polymer framed semi automatic hand guns and took over a large part of the Law Enforcement market. Polymer frames are much faster and cheaper to produce than all metal frame pistols. The latter type of pistol requires extensive machining to produce. Machining, even when done on modern CNC milling machines is time consuming and costs a lot of money. Which in turn drives up the cost of all metal pistols and makes them uncompetitive in the low bid world of government procurement. Without the major income from law enforcement sales to amortize the cost of setting up the machining to build alloy frames, the cost goes up out of the reach of most civilians.

S&W has also introduced the very successful M&P line of semi automatics which have polymer frames. They now use their CNC machines to make slides and other components for those firearms, as well as frames and slides for their 1911 pattern hand guns.

Which means that people who love the 3rd generation semi autos have to look to the used market.

Fortunately, many law enforcement agencies sell or trade in their old firearms when they upgrade to new models. Law enforcement firearms are generally carried a lot, but fired very seldom. Which means that sometimes bargains can be had. My new acquisition is reported to be a former CA Department of Corrections trade in. It might be, but I bought it from an intermediate party and there is no documentation to support that.

In any case, it’s in very nice condition and makes a fine addition to my collection of “didn’t need, but did want” semi automatic pistols.



And yes, I need not only a better camera, but better photography skills.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. NICE! And another reason for the plastic fantastics is they are considerably lighter than that beauty! Enjoy shooting it, and a range report is expected! 🙂

    • The allow frame makes it pretty light, but the plastic frame guns are still lighter. I’ve been told by others, but never verified it myself, that the plastic frame guns also tend to twist when fired in larger calibers. Which would effect durability and accuracy. I’ve fired this gun at the range and like all of my 3rd gen Smiths, it’s incredibly reliable and accurate. It’s just a pleasure to shoot.

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