Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 467, May 11, 2008

"Hi Mom!"

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

The Old Grey Mare
by Curt Howland

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Some handguns have long and illustrious histories. Some are beautiful, handsome or "fine", and there are even awe-inspiring movie stars like the custom long-barrel AutoMag used by Dirty Harry.

I have a work horse. It's not pretty, shoots a half-assed round, isn't fast, isn't special in any way. But it's mine.

[S&W 669]

The S&W 669. One of the alloy-frame "wonder 9s", 12 rounds in the magazine but fits the 15 round magazines of the "full sized" S&W pistols, as well as the 30 round magazines I kept seeing in the catalogs during the 10-round-limit high-cap magazine ban. Talk about an insane law, all it did was sell more of them.

Over time I've found out that it's roughly based upon the 1911 action, but without the figure-8 cam. There is a "slap" when the gun is fired were the 1911 has more of a "push", maybe the extra moving parts in the 1911 are there for a reason.

Colonel Cooper dubbed the basic design a "crunch-ticker", since the gun can be fired with the hammer down, but the hammer remains back after the action cycles so that subsequent shots have single-action ease. It may not be able to put the first two shots into the same hole (is there an echo in here?), but it is carried with the hammer down even when the safety is off, which is a comfort when carrying concealed.

It also means there is no protruding hammer cocking surface. Someone who owned it before me also rounded over the front sight. It's very smooth overall, and doesn't catch on clothing at all when being drawn.

The safety is "de-cocking", and not only drops the hammer but also places a block directly in the way of the firing pin. Very safe safety. While El Neil can go into detail about the internals of his Little Pony, I cannot. It works, there are no metal shavings left over when I clean it, that's all I know.

It is a 9mm, which is a strike against it, but as many have said "shot placement is more important than power". I'd rather have the AutoMag and not give a damn about shot placement, but the AutoMag is huge and heavy. This 669 isn't huge, it isn't heavy, and it hits in the general area of where I point it.

There are lots of inexpensive 9mm reloads for practice, and a plethora of +P hollow point brands for when it might count.

I've read that Clint Eastwood had a diver on hand when filming Sudden Impact because his beautiful, expensive AutoMag kept jamming, and he'd get so angry he'd throw it into the water again and again.

Some day I might have the resources to purchase a firearm of fine art. It would be very nice to look at.


When I look at this handgun, I don't see fine art. I see a tool, like a screwdriver or a saw, that has earned its place in my toolbox by the simple fact of being reliable, dependable, trustworthy. The tool that gives life.

That is a warm feeling all its own, isn't it?


Find Books on Sale at

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 467, May 11, 2008

Big Head Press