Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Mini Gun

Once upon a time, the only way to get a compact gun in a service caliber was to buy a full-size pistol and send it off to a gunsmith to get it cut down into something smaller. Charlie Kelsey's Devel customs based on Smith & Wesson autos were some of the most famous examples of the breed.

Purely by coincidence, both are examples from the first year of production of their respective models: 1999 for the CS9 and 1983 for the 469.
In 1983, Smith went factory with the concept, releasing the Model 469, a shorter version of their full-size alloy-framed 459 service pistol. It was a 12-shot 9mm in as small a package as you could find at the time.

12+1 shots on the left, 7+1 shots on the right: The downside of Hogue rubber grips. Also note the difference in the safeties on the left-hand side of the slide.
Aping the ASPs and Devels, it even featured a spur and checkering on the front of the trigger guard. It used a slimmer safety and slide release to keep the width down, as well as flat, 3-piece Delrin grips to keep the width as narrow as possible, as can be seen in the comparison with the much-newer Chiefs Special 9. (Also visible in the comparison photo is how much S&W had simplified the machining on the slide in a desperate, failed attempt to keep their traditional metal-framed autos cost-competitive at the turn of the Millennium. All those flat planes require a lot fewer machining steps than the rounded surfaces of the gun produced sixteen years earlier.)