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Old October 16, 2013, 10:33 PM   #26
Budda
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The Million-dollar question about the Smith & Wesson lock

Taurus has these locks as well. But I have never even seen this brought up? Only a smith? Seems funny. I guess I look at my wife for beauty an shoot my guns.
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Old October 16, 2013, 10:36 PM   #27
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Tom, those locks could be made by anyone, they are just a few not very complex pieces of metal. But they are not something you buy and put on, like a padlock, they are an integral part of the revolvers. S&W had to modify (at great expense) their forging dies and their production tooling to accommodate them. And they did that before Saf-T-Hammer bought S&W, so it seems unlikely that Saf-T-Hammer forced S&W to buy their locks or that they are only installed because the new owner supposedly profits from them. BTW, again IIRC, the patents are in the name of S&W, not Saf-T-Hammer, which has patents on a totally different system, the two piece hammer that gave the company its name.

As to the agreement, regardless of anyone's current intent, it is (AFAIK) still technically in effect and could be enforced at any time this or another administration might choose to do so.

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Old October 16, 2013, 10:59 PM   #28
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Re: The Million-dollar question about the Smith & Wesson lock

The only time I've ever known of the lock on a S&W accidentally activating was with my 637 and that was my fault because I reassembled the internals incorrectly (it was later fixed by S&W free of charge, btw) after taking it apart completely. As long as you trust the construction of S&W, I don't see why there would be a lack of faith in a lock that, other than add a black dot to the gun, does absolutely no wrong to the gun. Plus, it adds the convenience of being able to lock the gun without needing a traditional lock :thumbup:
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Old October 16, 2013, 11:24 PM   #29
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JMO... Not a big fan of Lock&Wesson, but I really enjoy gazing upon the sweet lines of an original. The S&W logo does not make it an S&W. They claim on their website the new "classics" are an improvement over the originals????

Each model, known for its legendary performance, has been enhanced with modern advantages. They are the timeless best of both worlds – Smith & Wesson Classics.

Sorry, but I wasn't born yesterday, and though my eyesight is fading, I can still recognize a bouquet of plastic flowers. I even tried looking at them through rose colored glasses (thinking it might help me see better). Didn't do a dang bit of good... I still saw a big hole.
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Last edited by skidder; October 16, 2013 at 11:37 PM.
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Old October 17, 2013, 05:19 AM   #30
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Not a very good photo, but I have a 686 snub that has a stainless steel plug in place of the Internal Lock. Lock removed=no chance of accidental lock up.

I would not carry this gun if it still had the IL, as I frequent several gun forums, and have heard first hand accounts of at least 4 incidents where IL locked up under recoil.


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Old October 17, 2013, 09:16 AM   #31
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I find it rather amusing. Some say look at that big hole. If it were the hole the bullet was exiting from, the same people would say look at that tiny hole.
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Old October 17, 2013, 12:22 PM   #32
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James K pretty well covered the history, but left out a few points, which I feel are important to understanding what happened, and why.

The Clinton "agreement" included (among other things) not just changes to the guns (lock, hidden serial#, loaded chamber indicator where possible, etc.) but also changes to how the guns were sold. One of those changes was a requirement to prohibit anyone underage from even being in the store area where handguns were sold. (and you tell me how a manufacturer is supposed to manage that!)

Any way, the agreement was voluntary. The carrot was, that a bunch of big city mayors was getting ready to sue each firearms maker, because of the "cost of gun violence" in their cities. Makers who signed on to the agreement would not be sued. Also, it was hinted that those who signed on would be given preferential treatment in future govt purchasing contracts (something which had it been done would have been illegal).

The owners of S&W at that time were a British holding company (Thompkins LTd, or something like that). THEY are the ones that signed the agreement with the Clinton administration. And they were the only "gunmaker" who did.

We saw this as a betrayal. There was a boycott of all new S&Ws. Sales tanked, S&W stock tanked, and the Brits wound up selling S&W for a considerable loss.

The people who bought S&W were the people who designed the internal lock, and so it stayed in their models. A lot of us still won't buy a S&W with that lock (aka the Hillary Hole). I'm one of that crowd.

I have no beef with a built in lock, I think they are stupid, but that's a different matter. What I hate in the "in your face" location of the S&W lock. (and the change in the shape of the classic cylinder latch to accommodate the Hillary hole) It just irritates me. Other makers put them in places where you don't notice them much, if at all. S&W's lock just screams in my face every time I see it. Personal thing, sure. But the guns I buy AND my money are personal to me.

I have heard of about half a dozen verified instances of the S&W lock "auto engaging". And many times that number of "hearsay" incidents. So, it has happened, which means it can happen. (even if it is said to happen much more often than it actually has..)


For some people that alone is enough. It would be enough for me (starting from my already admitted dislike of the lock) to remove one from a carry/home defense gun, just in case...
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Old October 17, 2013, 12:47 PM   #33
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Is there any evidence that the lock is the weak link in the durability and reliability of S&W revolvers?
There's a theory that adding a part, any part, will make the gun less durable and reliable because "there's one more thing to go wrong", but if the lock mechanism is not the weakest component in the gun, or the likelihood of it malfunctioning is less than that of any other component, it's unlikely to be the source of a gun breaking or malfunctioning.
For the four instances of the lock malfunctioning, how many other malfunctions did S&W revolvers suffer? Ten? A hundred? None? Just citing lock failures doesn't really paint much of a picture.
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Old October 17, 2013, 12:54 PM   #34
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If you didn't realize that there is a lock hidden under the grip of every new(ish) Ruger Blackhawk on the market today, raise your hand.

It does beg the question why Ruger doesn't employ the same internal lock on the GP-100 revolvers...?
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Old October 17, 2013, 07:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
If you didn't realize that there is a lock hidden under the grip of every new(ish) Ruger Blackhawk on the market today, raise your hand.
I just bought a new Blackhawk and Didn't know it had a lock. After I read this I went through the box again and found the key.
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Old October 17, 2013, 08:39 PM   #36
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I own a few with the lock and they never gave me any mechanical trouble. I specify because it gives me philosophical and psychological trouble on a regular basis. It has been the deciding factor that caused me to buy several firearms from Ruger and other manufacturers instead of Smith and Wesson.

I'm curious. Have any of you who share these thoughts ever shared them with Smith and Wesson directly? Since I've seen a few things come out in their pro-series without locks recently, I think continued customer feedback could help correct this dark age in S&W history. We all know people feel this way but I'm not sure how much time their executives spend reading web forums.
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Old October 17, 2013, 08:56 PM   #37
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I own 3 with the lock. I've shot a bunch of rounds thru them, like several thousand thru 2 of them, no malfunction so far. No problem with the locks, no problems with the MIM parts. There were/are some quality issues with all 3 guns but they're due to the bonus S&W assemblers get for the number of guns they put together. With the machine technology we have today the guns should actually be better than they were 40 years ago. They are Not better. Bad timing, burrs in the forcing cone, warped ejector, rear of bbl ground with a dip in it. Amazing but all 3 guns would fire every time the trigger was pulled. They gotta ship as many as the can fast as they can. I guess if it goes bang it's within spec.
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Old October 17, 2013, 09:05 PM   #38
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Believe me, S&W has heard about those locks and their supposed problems many thousands of times.

For the S&W haters there is now a new rumor. Supposedly, UPS has had to hire extra help in Springfield due to the tens of thousands of defective new guns being returned to the factory.

It never seems to stop, and seems to go well beyond any reasonable concern about the locks, and so on. I have to wonder if some of the hatemongers are really anti-gun, determined to conduct a campaign against a successful American handgun company. If they take down S&W, Ruger fans better not cheer because I guarantee their favorite guns will be next!

Hi, 44 AMP,

As I said, there may be some truth to the lock stories, but you say you have "heard about" a half dozen cases and then categorize others as hearsay. But have you ever personally experienced the condition or been present when it happened? Anything else is hearsay.

Jim
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Old October 18, 2013, 01:41 AM   #39
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Quote:
For the S&W haters there is now a new rumor. Supposedly, UPS has had to hire extra help in Springfield due to the tens of thousands of defective new guns being returned to the factory.
I believe it's more than thousands. I've read hundreds of complaints within the last few years. Like I said before... they are not the same company.
I was a Ruger fanboy, but I'll have to say they are going down the same path with their QC department (5 for 5 defective Rugers this year). This is not just one company. This is a pattern with Ruger, S&W, and Taurus. I'ts all about cutting costs, sales, bottom lines, and "what is our defect to sale ratio". If they can pump out more guns at a lower cost and still not take a loss on the number of returns. Believe me they will do it! You would think the consumer would pay less with all the new efficient ways of manufacturing? Heck no! The inflation continues because the cost of returns has to be met somewhere. Yes, by our wallets. Somewhat of a double edged sword, but that is the reality of today's production. The days of "pride in our product" are gone like a fart in the wind, and the thing that ticks them off more than anything are the ones who remember it. The video game generation (spray and pray) are used to defective products (their best audience). Unfortunately, those who remember, are not dying off soon enough.
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Old October 18, 2013, 01:02 PM   #40
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HI James K
Quote:
but you say you have "heard about" a half dozen cases and then categorize others as hearsay. But have you ever personally experienced the condition or been present when it happened? Anything else is hearsay.
You are correct, its all technically hearsay unless we personally experience it. I might have been clearer (although I was clear to me)

When I said cases I have "heard about" I meant cases where someone reported the failure, that happened to them, or that they witnessed, and gave specific details (including who it happened to, when, what, etc.)

I put those in a different category than the reports where its "my buddy Jim said his buddy Fred had the lock fail..."

I consider the former kind of report something that could be verified. The rest, I called hearsay. Perhaps I should have said rumor, instead.
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Old October 18, 2013, 01:31 PM   #41
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How can a company that went out of business in March 2000 have fitted products with locks?
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Old October 18, 2013, 03:06 PM   #42
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Does any gun company (or any company, for that matter) ever produce a product that folks actually like and use? It seems I hear nothing but complaints about defective this and that. S&W has never produced a workable gun since sometime in 1889. Ruger has never made a properly functioning gun, ever. Taurus makes nothing but junk. Likewise Colt, Springfield, Kimber, Remington, Browning, Walther, etc., etc.

I know I am not as "plugged in" to the gun business as I once was, but I simply do NOT believe that large and successful companies have made thousands or tens of thousands or millions of guns that don't work or blow up or fall apart.

I really wonder what motivates the folks who spread that kind of nonsense. Are they excessively finicky ("this gun has a spot of dust, it is defective") or are they paid by someone like Bloomberg to create public distrust and put gun companies out of business?

Jim
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Old October 18, 2013, 03:15 PM   #43
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The Million-dollar question about the Smith & Wesson lock

I don't think it's limited to guns, James. Read any forum on any topic. People decide what they like and the rest is garbage. Ford fans will say Chevy is a death trap, BMW fans will say there's no American car worth driving even though the 2014 Impala and Fusion are incredibly nice designs, etc etc so on and so forth.
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Old October 18, 2013, 03:52 PM   #44
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Several years ago, when I shot with a friend in Toledo, Ohio. A guy came in the shop with a big S&W revolver that locked up with live ammo in the cylinders. He was asking the shop for help -- the story was that he fired a shot and the gun locked-up. On that revolver, the S&W lock failed and locked-up the revolver (from what I could see and hear while standing beside the revolver owner and the shop clerk).
I have not seen any S&W lock failure since that one.
The failure maybe rare but it did happen - does it still happen? hmmm.
========
Given a choice, I would rather not have a lock on a S&W revolver that I would use for defense.
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Old October 18, 2013, 04:24 PM   #45
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Did you have the opportunity to remove the sideplate and examine the gun? Had you done so, could you have been able to determine if the lock was at fault? Could it have been the extractor rod backing out, or some other failure?

Please understand, I am not doubting your word, but I have been involved in enough failure analyses to know that determining the cause of failure is often a lot more complex than folks might think. If the S&W lock is "in the news", then any problem with an S&W is going to be blamed on the lock, even if (in one case I looked into) the gun doesn't have one.

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Old October 18, 2013, 05:09 PM   #46
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We have a thread inviting us to complain about the numerous lock failures we've suffered, and yet all we get is a few "I heards"?
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Old October 18, 2013, 07:06 PM   #47
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Massad Ayoob...

Massad Ayoob(a TFL member) put out a article several years back about S&W safety locks.
He wrote about a student/sworn LE colleague he knew who packed a snub model 29 .44magnum as a homicide cop.
The police detective purchased a NIB Smith & Wesson 329 Sc frame .44 to start using on duty. He took the S&W .44magnum to the range & it misfired a few times.
He considered the security lock system to be a part of problem. The cop went back to carrying his trusted S&W snub N frame .44 revolver.
Ayoob stated he would not carry a newer S&W magnum revolver with the security system for defense or LE duty.
Take it or leave it, but that is what it is.

CF
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Old October 18, 2013, 08:04 PM   #48
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Clyde, I would like to read that article, do you have the name of the pub and the date, or does anyone else?

Jim
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Old October 18, 2013, 08:14 PM   #49
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I had it engage once when firing some very hot rounds. It has not happened since. I always keep the key in my range bag. It doesn't matter much to me since my "LOCK" guns are range guns.

The primary problem I have with new S&W revolvers is I keep breaking firing pins. I always use Snap Caps, but I still lose pins. I have since moved on to Ruger; we'll see if those hold up better over time.
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Old October 18, 2013, 10:33 PM   #50
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My 340 PD locked up from the recoil. Slid off the grip, removed the side plate, mainspring and performed a lockectomy right there on the spot. Took the lock out of my 627 as well, even though it's a heavy gun and isn't as likely to have the same thing happen...the lock will continue to reside in the safe.
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