10mm S&W Gen 3


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Mar 2, 2022
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[Editor's Note: The Smith and Wesson section has been looking lonely for too long! ;) So here is one to kick it off. I will attempt to update pictures soon, as the ol' Smith has gotten a recent 'freshening up'.]

Smith & Wesson introduced their 3rd Generation semi-auto hand-guns towards the end of the 1980s. Numerous calibers were offered, as well as various finishes and frame materials, barrel-lengths and even safety/fire-control configurations, such as DAO and DA/SA (Double Action Only and Double/Single Action. Some were available without manual safeties and featured frame-mounted 'Decocker' levers instead.

Of the rarer calibers available in the 3rd Gen S&W models offered was the 10mm Auto cartridge. Specifically chosen at the time by the FBI in the wake of a Miami, FL shoot-out in 1986, the S&W 10xx Series was available in several variations. While the FBI selected the 1076 models, which were short-barreled Decocker models, the most common model was the 1006, a full-size 5-inch barrel model with an ambidextrous slide-mounted manual safety. The FBI later determined that their agents were having difficulty controlling the powerful 10mm cartridge during rapid-fire consecutive shots, and that the projectiles themselves were prone to over-penetration, which caused a hazard to people and property behind the intended target as well as wasting some of the ballistic energy intended for the target directly. They subsequently began using the "FBI Load" under-charged cartridges, which eventually inspired Smith and Wesson to develop the .40 S&W cartridge, which retained the same characteristics as the under-loaded 10mm while able to be used in smaller, more common 9mm-sized frames.

It is notable that ALL of S&W's 10xx Series were full Stainless Steel frames, slides, and barrels. While there were a couple of grip options available for ergonomic reasons, only one grip-length was offered, even on the shorter-barreled versions.

One of the rarer models of the Series is the 1026 -a full-size slide with the frame-mounted Decocker lever. These were generally equipped with S&W's internal safety designed to prevent discharge if the magazine had been removed, offering Law Enforcement Agents an option to disable the gun in the case of a struggle. A few were factory-modified to fire without the magazine, essentially making them long-slide 1076 FBI models. The 1026 was also used by Virginia State Patrol.

The 10xx Series has been out of production for many years, many parts are interchangeable with the 45xx Series, which were the 45ACP models that enjoyed a much longer production run. Less than 51,000 10xx Series pistols were manufactured, only 3135 of which were the 1026 variant.

Originally equipped with a straight back-strap, I have since replaced that with the palm-swell style, as my old Hogue slip-on has begun to deteriorate many many years later. This was my EDC for years, has always been 100% reliable, and very enjoyable to shoot too. Using full-power 10mm, the hefty weight of this all-stainless steel pistol helps keep recoil manageable, though certainly more kick than a 9mm has. The gun is very accurate (better than I am), and while heavy it is relatively slim, so concealed-carry is certainly manageable as well, if wearing the right clothing (I typically prefer a sport-coat -aka 'blazer'- myself, so it is not a problem, but a California surf-geek might have an issue unless his baggies are baggy enough). There was a recall on the frame-mounted Decocker lever for the 1026 and 1076 models, as some firearms were experiencing failures due to shooters mashing the lever, mine has been updated with the stronger parts during the recall decades ago.
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Very nice, great info.

I still have my S&W model 910 [SA/DA} with decocker, in 9mm, I bought during one of the gun bans, during the 1990's. Mine will not fire with the magazine removed. Defiantly not a high end pistol, but after 27 years it shoots great, and looks like new, well almost...lol
I am actually very partial to the S&Ws (I know, surprise, surprise). GSW10 Logo B.png I was a die-hard Beretta fan for a long time (*hmm, 'Die Hard', 'Beretta' -yeah that is funny to me, no pun was intended), the style, manufacturing quality, and level of sophistication of design are really second to none IMO, and my Glock G19, new in the early '90s, is simplicity and pure function: It has been flawless and is small and light making it easy to carry. But the Smith feels like a real gun to me, and I keep going back to it. I get tired of the "Glock slap" in the hands after a short time -and my 357 Sig G33s are downright painful to shoot. The only ones I feel comfortable shooting a lot are my Long-Slide 10mm G40 and ported G20C, which both shoot like butter. But I can fire the Smith all day long, even with full-power 10mm, and not regret it in the evening. It fits my hand like a glove too, which with my smaller-sized hands is saying something for a large-caliber weapon of full size. I have no concerns about it damaging itself, or wearing out, it is built like a stainless-steel tank, designed back when the original Norma ammo was still on the market.