Smith and Wesson 4006


I’m always on the lookout for a good find in the used firearm market. Needless to say with the post election gun glut and the recent move toward the 9mm in sales there are a lot of good deals out there, especially those chambered in the now venerable 40 S&W cartridge. The trend in pistols has been toward polymer framed, striker fired, DAO 9mm handguns. Many LEO’s are shifting toward the 9mm and replacing their 40 caliber semi-autos. IMHO, the 40 S&W chambered weapons especially in the used market represent a potential real bargain.

I was fortunate enough to acquire a 20 year-old, mint condition, Smith and Wesson 4006 with a very low round count for next to nothing. What a deal! I felt like a left wing liberal snowflake in a play dough factory after putting it through its paces.

First here’s a bit of background on the S&W 4006 and its variants. The pistol is an all stainless steel 3rd generation, hammer fired, DA/SA semi-auto that is unfortunately no longer produced. It has a slide mounted safety/decocker and an 11 round magazine. The 4006’s have a 4” barrel and weighs in at a hefty 37.3 oz. Manufacture began in 1990 with production ending sometime in 2011.

There’s a lot of history to this pistol. It was the first weapon designed to shoot the 40 S&W cartridge and is really a very beefed up version of the model 5906. If you look carefully, you’ll see the 4006 and its variants in numerous movies and TV shows including “24” and “True Detective.” In the early 90’s this pistol along with the Glock 22 and 23 models were “the” weapons in 40 caliber till stiffer competition came along. Sadly, while Glock thrived, Smith and Wesson’s fortunes along with its 3rd generation products declined. Luckily new management resurrected S&W but the damage was done and manufacture of these excellent semi-autos ceased.

The 4006 was chosen as a duty weapon by numerous police agencies, most notably the California Highway Patrol where it soldiers on to this day, with the TSW model. It developed a reputation for accuracy, toughness and reliability that is well deserved. CHP reportedly has a number of training pistols with over 100K rounds through them.

A number of variants were produced including the current CHP TSW model that has an accessory rail under the front of the slide. The 4046 is a DAO type that was used until very recently by Brink’s personnel. Other models include two lighter, aluminum alloy framed versions, the 4003 and 4004, the latter with a blued finish.

What’s it like to shoot? If you prefer DA/SA operation you’ll like this one. The DA pull is listed at 12 lbs. and is reasonably smooth with easy transition to a 4-5 lb. single action break. Trigger reset is short and follow-up shots are quick. The weight soaks up the recoil of the 40 caliber round. Grips are a bit large and someone with small hands might have problems. I put about a hundred rounds through this one with a hodgepodge of cartridges that came with the sale. It shot to point of aim with just about everything. It was totally reliable and functioned without a hitch.

How much should you be willing to pay for a really good example? I’ve seen them listed for $700 and over. I even saw one advertised for over a grand stating that it was a CHP prototype which really translates into a worn out police pistol. The truth of the matter is this is an older model handgun that is no longer in manufacture and one that S&W does not support with spare parts or service. It was mass-produced and while very good was nothing exceptional enough to draw a huge price. For an example like mine, I wouldn’t pay more than $400, maybe and just maybe $450 if I liked the seller and he threw in a half dozen magazines. Some of the used police weapons show a lot of wear and aren’t worth more than $300 and some change. Just remember that you can pick up a new Smith and Wesson M&P that the company will support for less than $500 in a lot of locales. A lot of guys think that because their Grandpa Joe owned one, it’s worth something. It’s not. If a seller wants a lot of money for one, let him keep it because he’s going to own it a long time. Remind him/her about a few things. First are that 40 caliber sales are slumping and that SA/DA operation semi-autos are out of favor. Next is that the weapon is out of production and that parts and repair will be expensive. Lastly state out flatly that you can buy a new pistol complete with warranty for less than he’s offering. If the seller is smart they’ll take a low-ball cash offer. Keep in mind you can’t fix stupid and don’t get duped into the con that this is a collector’s item. However, if you find one for the right price you won’t have an ounce of buyer’s regret.

Stay armed my friends.



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