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S&W M-669
Length overall Barrel Length Weight  Caliber Action Type Magazine Capacity
6.875 inches 3.5 inches 26oz 9mm D.A. auto 12 (15-30 available)
         This is a shortened version of Smith and Wesson's venerable x9 series of high capacity, "wonder 9", automatics.  This model was designed for back up use, or concealed carry, and was thus shortened in both directions. The shortened butt, gives this gun a designed magazine capacity of 12 rounds, though it will take any of the 59 series of magazines, including the standard 15 round mags designed for the full sized versions, and extended magazines holding up to 30 rounds. Naturally, the newer versions of the sedreies, produced during the clinton ban, came equipped with the then new government mandated 10 round mag, which had been deemed civilian safe. Happily, the ban is over, though some backward states still have their own versions in place. The shorter magazines have a finger extension, and the gun is equipped with a magazine safety, rendering it incapable of being fired with the magazine removed. In addition to the shortened butt, the slide and barrel are cut down, and the hammer is bobbed to prevent it's snagging on clothing, during a draw from a concealed carry. Unlike many bobbed hammer guns, the 669 is capable of single action firing, as well as having a double action trigger system. The bobbed hammer is serrated, and can be manually cocked by first pulling the trigger, until the hammer has reached the half cock notch of the sear. This is the same gun as the model 469, except for the stainless slide. The stainless steel construction enhances it's deep cover role, and greatly adds to the durability of the gun. The size, caliber, capacity, and stainless steel slide would seem to make this an ideal kit gun, or knock around utility pistol. The frame is silver anodized alloy, finished in a manner similar to that of the stainless slide. This gun was made until 1988, when it was replaced by the model 6906, which is essentially the same gun, with a single piece grip, a cosmetic change in the safety, and three dot sights.
    The original S&W model 59 was introduced in 1973. I bought one in 1978, when it was still considered a cutting edge weapon. These pistols had double column magazines which held 15 rounds, a double action trigger, and an alloy frame. This was heady stuff back in the seventies. On the other hand, these guns had poor sights, terrible handling qualities, dismal triggers, and a strange anodized black finish on their new fangled aluminum frames. I needed to sell my M-59, about seven years after I bought it, and I had not owned a S&W automatic for years. The Smith auto has come a long way since that first model. The aesthetics, and ergonomics of the newer guns are considerably improved. The gun feels much better in the hand, thanks to the three piece, wraparound grips, and seems to point better. The newer, one piece grips are said to be even better. The sights are greatly improved over the originals, and are set atop a flat milled slide. There are some points in common though. I have a number of old 15 round magazines from my model 59; these function in the newer gun perfectly, though they stick out of the bottom a bit. The slide mounted safety is unchanged, decocking the gun when it is applied, and making "cocked, and locked" carry impossible. This S&W decocker works in the opposite direction of the Colt safety (down is safe on the Smith). The trigger pull is smoother than it was on the older gun, but still very familiar, with the creep that I have come to associate with all double action auto triggers.
    This gun was purchased at a local show, as a companion to my Marlin Camp Gun. The Marlin is now discontinued, which is a shame. The Marlin will take the same magazines as the 669 and the rest of the 9mm Smiths. It will even take the shorter 12 round magazines.  In addition to this, there are now readily available, extended box type magazines which will hold as many as 30 rounds.
    The photo to the left shows the 669, loaded with an extended 30 round magazine. The magazine works, and feeds reliably, though it is a bit cumbersome. Actually, this is a pretty silly magazine to use in a pistol. It is a bit more suited to carbine use. These extended magazines are cheap and popular, probably as a reaction to the ten years of the clinton magazine ban. Needless to say, the gun is very awkward to holster, with this magazine in place. Still, if you think that this looks silly, scroll down to the bottom of the page, to see something even sillier.
     The M-669 is accurate enough, and I can shoot into about 3" with it at the pistol range. This is not great, but it may be me, rather than the gun, as I am not all that familiar with it yet. This is one of the few stainless guns I have. Though I presently favor my Glocks, and my Para-Ordnance pistols, this gun practically insists on being my household defense gun.
    Smith &Wesson had, for a time, fallen into a certain amount of disfavor with many shooters, because of their collusion with the clinton administration's anti gun agenda. This had caused prices to drop on some models, and even set off a boycott. The company has since been sold by it's anti gun British holding company, to a more gun friendly, and enthusiastic American company. My only question is as to why the British company bought S&W in the first place. S&W was sold at a great loss, and the sale probably qualifies as one of the great corporate bargains of the recent past.
    The new parent company manufactures gun locks, and is much smaller than it's latest acquisition. This is somewhat reminiscent of a mouse eating a cabbage. Still, the new arrangement seems to be working out well, for both sides. Numerous new models have been introduced, and S&W has recently introduced it's new "X" frame revolver, the first new S&W frame since the introduction of the "L" frame in the seventies. This is also the first frame to eclipse the venerable "N" frame, since it's introduction in the early part of the last century when the big frame was designed. In concert with the introduction of the new frame, S&W has introduced it's first new revolver cartridges since the creation of the .41 Magnum back in 1964. It has also recaptured the title of the most powerful handgun cartridge with the .500 Magnum, and has done so by such a large margin, that it is a title that is unlikely to ever be challenged.
    I am pleasantly surprised with the 669. I had initially obtained it because I wanted to mate it to my Camp Gun, and because the price was right, but S&W may have produced a better pistol than I gave them credit for. Like many gun owners, I was very disappointed with S&W, during the clinton years. Like many gun owners, I welcome them back under their new, enthusiastic ownership.

Disassembling the S&W

The S&W series of semi auto pistols is closely related in operation and disassembly to the Browning P-35, upon which the design of it's action is based. The P-35 was, in turn, based pretty closely upon the design of the M1911 Government model, which was also designed by Browning. The major design difference is in the use of a cam at the bottom in the barrel, rather than the pivoting link of the earlier M1911. The newer design also has the feed ramp integrated with the barrel, as opposed the two part design of the 1911.

As with any semi auto firearm, the magazine should be released, and the chamber of the weapon should be confirmed as being empty, before cleaning and disassembly. The S&W series has a magazine safety, as does the Browning.

The slide of the empty gun, is pushed back part way, to bring a notch in the slide even with the pivot point of the slide stop, which doubles as a takedown lever. Removing this lever is the first step in disassembly.

On some guns, the takedown lever may be a bit stiff, and a pen or some other instrument, may be needed to start it on it's way.

The lever is removed, while the slide is held back to keep the notch properly lined up.

With the takedown lever removed, the slide may be removed by pulling it forward off of the frame. Though the frame may be brushed, and wiped, and a few drops of lubricant may be placed on the frame rails, the slide assembly requires the most attention.

With the slide off of the frame, the recoil spring is easily removed.

The barrel can then be removed for cleaning, and light lubrication.
The Suomi Drum magazine
     I have modified a couple of Suomi magazines to work with this pistol, and with it's companion Marlin Camp Gun. These drums hold 72 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and were designed for W.W.II era sub machine-guns. A 72 round handgun, with the bulky magazine sitting underneath, is pretty silly, even when compared to the overly long extended magazine which holds a mere 30 rounds; but it does hold a certain appeal. I deal with the Suomi magazines, and with the many possibilities they offer, on another page. This magazine was modified by opening up the feed lips, and welding a standard S&W magazine to the top as a feeder column. I also needed to convert the top portion for single feed, and latter on added a feed arm to push all of the cartridges out of the magazine. The whole thing only took a couple of hours of my time, and cost well under $100, including the cost of the Suomi drum. I have had no problems with this magazine, and it has always fed reliably. Still, this is more of a curio and a toy, than a practical addition. The weight, and cumbersome aspect of the magazine prevent it from being used very often. It is certainly nothing I would use for self defense. How could it be holstered?