When I was in high school I bought an airsoft gun. It was a replica of a Smith & Wesson Model 59, and other than being all black plastic was pretty realistic. It even had a removable magazine, which 'fired' and ejected tan plastic bullets. The small airsoft pellets were loaded into a hole bored through the middle of the 'bullet' and were fired from there. You had to cock it by sliding the slide forward against a spring to compress air for propellant.

So it was with a feeling of complete deja vu that I picked up a Model 5906 during pistol instruction recently. The 5906 was a variant of the model 59 (S&W uses four-digit model numbers, with the first two indicating the major model and the second two indicating the revision or subtype). The 5906 is chambered for 9mm Luger. It was first manufactured in 1989, and is a double action/single action (first shot double, subsequent single) pistol. The -06 model differs from its siblings by being made entirely of stainless steel (the others have aluminum frames), which makes it quite heavy at ~2.5 lbs unloaded. It was popular with police forces in the U.S. in the 1990s and early 2000s; in addition to being durable, it has a magazine disconnect, rendering it unable to fire without a magazine. If an officer is involved in a struggle for the gun, he or she can disable it by dropping the magazine out (single button press) even if a round is chambered.

It has a 4-inch barrel, and takes a 10 or 15-round magazine with staggered loading. There are standard three-dot sights fitted, although adjustable sights are available for the gun as an add-on.


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