A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pawn Shop Circuit: Another SW1911

I went by Neil's pawn shop today and I found a standard fixed sight Smith & Wesson 1911 among his wares. It was in great shape. It looked as though the past owner had ran a few rounds through it and put it away. The pistol was pristine.

It's slide had the later, more discrete laser applied markings. That was a good thing. It also had the original box, both magazines, and the documents. The only things that I didn't like about this pistol were the forward slide serrations and the zebra color scheme that S&W chose.

I turned over the price tag to see what Neil was wanting for the gun. $649. Quite a bit more than he was asking two years ago when I purchased my first SW1911 from him. I wasn't surprised. The pistol, which would sell for $750-800 new, was worth that.

Over the past two years or so, I have shot Smith and Wesson's version of John Moses' brainchild among my other 1911s. I was hesitant to take the plunge into SW1911s, even though the pistol was produced by a major manufacturer, simply because the external extractor gave me the heebie jeebies. Click to enlargeUnlike other manufacturers who tried such an extractor in 1911s and failed, Smith & Wesson had a history of successful external extractors in their double action pistols. As a result, their external extractor in a 1911 works. Smith & Wesson 1911 pistols do have MIM parts. Some shooters see MIM as a step above bat guano, but there are well made MIM parts, and then there is crap. Kimber tried to go cheap and lost their stellar reputation to internet reports of failing MIM parts. Smith & Wesson continues to utilize top quality MIM parts. Having seen machined steel parts fail, MIM is a non-issue to me, as long as the parts are well made. Over all, I have found the 1911s from Smith & Wesson to be reliable, accurate and durable. In fact, if a person wants an updated 1911 with a beavertail and low profile sights, it is one of the best deals going.

I offered Neil $500 on the gun. "I'm only making thirty bucks on this one Xavier," he protested. I wasn't born yesterday. I know a haggling parry when I hear one. I started to say I would bring one of my SW1911s in for resale, but I have never lowered the price of a gun through argument. I asked Neil how firm his price was. "Sorry Xavier, I just put the gun out this morning. The price is firm. It will sell at that price," came the reply.

I looked the pistol over some more. Neil was right. At $650, it would sell. I thought about the Charter Arms Undercover I had missed out on last week. I thought about sending this pistol off to Jimmy Clark for a Meltdown. Another customer, a man I had seen at multiple gun shows, was loitering silently nearby. He was feigning interest in the MP3 players under the glass farther down. "Yep. At $650, it will sell," I told Neil. I handed the pistol back to him.

"How's about $140 on a lay away?" I asked as I reached for my wallet. As Neil banded up the pistol in it's box with my name on it, the loitering customer walked out the door without asking to see a thing.

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Anonymous Terry said...

After a couple of decades of buying nearly everything but 1911's, I finally broke down last year and bought my first, a basic stainless S&W that looks pretty much identical to the one you show in your post. When I'm in the mood to shoot a full size .45 (My daily carry is a compact .45), it fights for attention against a Glock 21C and a Springfield XD Tactical. The 1911 wins about 4 out of 5 times. It's been a sweet, reliable gun so far, and I'm pretty sure it's probably capable of being much more accurate than I am. 20 years ago I was a Wonder Nine Fan Boy who would have never believed that at the age of 45, my 2 favorite guns would be a 1911 and a 686+. A 1911 and a freaking revolver?? The me of 20 years ago would have said those are "old man guns". I guess maybe a little wisdom really does come with age. Thanks for putting up the pic of the 1911 and reminding me to go shooting tomorrow.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Terry, sounds just like me. I, too was a young shooter of the wondernine era.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Montie said...


I just bought an SW1911 PD last week. It is my first Smith & Wesson 1911. it is actually a light-rail gun which I know you dislike due to their ugliness, but not having a 1911 with a light-rail, and having discovered the usefulness of one on my issued SIG, I decided to go ahead. Besides, I got it at the SAME price you are paying for this latest S&W 1911, and the rail guns usually demand a slight premium. I really like the fact that it has a scandium frame, so that even with a light mounted, it isn't heavier that a standard Government Model.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Khornet said...

You got a good deal, Xavier. S&W 1911s have done very well. And I think it's a handsome gun.

I carry a 1911Sc, and it's very comfortable and concealable. With about 5,000 rounds through it, it never fails. I'm sold. 1911PD is basically the same gun; tow buddies bought them after firing my 1911Sc when they discontinued the Sc model. They weigh the same, and have been flawless.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Carl H said...

I just ordered a S&W 1911pd last week, they're discontinuing the 'no rail' Govt. model scandium and the price was pretty nice.
Your good opinion of these Smith 1911's helped make this a no-brainer.

11:49 PM  

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