Monday, April 24, 2023

Sunday Smith #72: Model 469, 1984

Smith & Wesson launched upgraded versions of their original Model 39 and Model 59 double-action semiautomatic 9x19mm service pistols in 1981.

They featured several detail upgrades, most notably a plunger-type firing pin safety for added protection against unintentional discharges when dropped. On the double-stack models, the thickened section of the frame was extended forward past the hole for the axle of the slide stop for additional strength.

The nomenclature was changed from two to three digits: The original Second Generation single-stack pistols were the model 439, 539, and 639, while their double stack equivalents were the 459, 559, and 659. Respectively, these denoted an aluminum alloy frame with a carbon steel slide, a carbon steel frame & slide, and a stainless steel frame & slide.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, custom smitheries like Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP), Devel, Trapper Guns, and Austin Behlert offered cut-down versions of the Model 39 with shortened slides and grips, but along about 1983 that market got wrecked when Smith debuted their own factory-made mini pistol: A cut-down variant of the double-stack 459.

Dubbed the Model 469, it featured an alloy frame and carbon steel slide, a 3.5" barrel (shortened a half-inch from the duty-size 459), a shortened grip that accommodated a double-column twelve-round magazine (reduced from 14 rounds in the original), that oh-so-disco-era hooked trigger guard, and low-profile sights, safety/decocker lever, and slide stop.

The regular cataloged ones were all finished in a matte blue finish, but the pictured one is one of a 1500-piece distributor exclusive run done in matte nickel for Ashland Shooting Supply in the summer of 1984. It was acquired from Indy Arms Company in the spring of 2023 for four hundo.

Total production of the 469 was 97,261 pistols from 1983 until 1988, when it was replaced by its Third Generation successors, the alloy-framed Model 6904 and the all-stainless 6906.