S&W 952 Performance Center Range Review

| February 28, 2010 | 7 Comments

In the year 2000 when S&W released the 952 through the performance center it was billed as the most accurate 9mm in the world. This may have been a true statement if nothing more it is a very bold statement from S&W.

My shooting partner has a keen eye for great deals and great pistols. Having spotted this 952 for way less than the asking price of a new one at $2400.00 it followed him home.

The specs on the 952 are as follows from S&W website.
Model: 952

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 9+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 5″
Front Sight: Black Post Sight
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Grip: Wood Grips
External Safety: Slide Mounted
Frame: Large
Finish: Satin Stainless with Matte Accents
Overall Length: 8 3/4″
Material: Stainless Steel
Weight Empty: 41 oz.

Of course by this picture you can see that this one is blued and the finish is very nice.

Having shot high end Wilsons and Hand fitted Les Baers I thought nothing would ever compare. The S&W performance center does great work but I always felt the hand fitted 1911’s were in a class of it’s own. To my surprise the 952 proved to be in the same class of hand fitted 1911’s. The 952 has a match barrel and the blued finish is highly polished, along with all of the internals being highly polished and smooth operationally.

With regular Blazer brass 9mm ammo the 952 at 15 yards turned in very impressive results. Literally with 2 magazines my buddy was able to shoot the center out of a 5.5inch target. I am very curious what sort of groups the 952 is capable of with target 9mm ammo.

Picture of the first shot being fired from the 952 notice the case in the air after being ejected.

Here is the picture of the 2nd round going down range. I am amazed the very old point and shoot camera I had with tape to hold the battery compartment closed were able to take these action shots. I do not like bringing my Nikon DSLR to the range, to much gear between it and my range bag to carry.

The great balance of the 952 along with the smooth buttery like action had this result on the target. This is a representation of 18 rounds on a 5.5inch target at 15 yards.

The only negative to the 952 is reassembly after field stripping for cleaning. DM my range partner called me to inform me after getting it field stripped he was having a very hard time with reassembly. I had no ideas at the time but after searching on the internet it seems this is a common issue with the 952. The 952 has a bushing that will rotate freely when removing the barrel. If this bushing is not in perfect alignment with the barrel upon reassembly things will not go back together just right.

With a new price tag of $2400 this is not for the average shooter or range plinker. But if you are looking for one of the most accurate 9mm’s ever made for some competition shooting this one should be #1 on your list in my opinion. The trigger pull was between 3 and 4 pounds with a very clean crisp break. I would feel very comfortable taking this pistol out of the box and going right to competition with it. You see so many competitors with after market work being done to already great shooters, the 952 in my opnion is ready to go right out of the box.
Yes you all read right I am including this 952 9mm in the same class as the high end Wilson and Les Baer 1911’s.

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7 Comments on "S&W 952 Performance Center Range Review"

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  1. NDL says:

    This critique is right on the bullseye!! The S&W 952 is a terrific pistol right out of the box. The only difference between it and the ‘custom’ products is bling. And, though not cheap, you can get one for less than a comparable SIG, Baer or Wilson.

  2. RFC says:

    I own a SW 952-2 and using a Sierra 115 gr. Target Master bullet behind 4.5 gr. of Universal Clays produced a 1.3 inch group (from a rest) at 40 yards. I am currently trying to build a target load using the Penn 115 gr. semiwadcutter. Almost identical to my SW 52-2 except for the bushing and grip safey.

  3. Tom says:

    I know the 952 is good. I remember seeing machine rest tests of the 52 in .38 Special. The 952 in 9mm seemed like a more reasonable proposition than a gun in .38 wadcutter, but I found a good SIG 210-6 before I ever found a 952. It would be interesting to see a good machine rest comparison of the 952 with the SIG 210-6 and X-Five.

  4. charlie says:

    I think I have found the answer to the reassembly problem of the barrel and bushing alignment of the 952. Before I removed the barrel from the slide I placed a piece of duct tape on the muzzle and the bushing to hold it in place after the barrel removal. even when I had to tip the bushing to get the barrel out of the bushing it still held the bushing in place. after cleaning the slide and the barrel the reinstallation was a breeze, it went right in.

  5. Travis Arnett says:

    I just read this article about the 952, of which I own a 5″ and a 6″ version. As others have said you will not find another out-of-the-box pistol that is as accurate as the 952. The paperwork that came with the 5″ recommends that you shoot CCI Blaser through it as practice ammo. At 25yds it will group 1″ or less all day long. I have owned both pistols right around 10 years now and still have never fired the 6″ version, that’s because I don’t own or have met another handgun(semi or revolver) that challenges the 952. My $5K Korth comes close but we’re not talking hand grenades here so close doesn’t cut it. I hope this will help someone else save thousands of dollars experimenting with every manufacturers product trying to find the “grail”. Because this is it, for now anyway.

  6. Mike Myers says:

    If it is the same as the Model 52, disassembly and re-assembly are so much easier if you remove the slide stop first, and re-install it last. The bushing screws in and out with no effort.

  7. Hunter James says:

    While I’ve never shot a 952, I love my 5906. From a rest, ‘minute of blue helmet’ at 100 yards.
    My most accurate center-fire auto is a SIG p210. What I can do with this thing scares the krap out of me. Should have picked one up a loooong time ago.

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