Smith & Wesson Performance Center M945 Silver - KSC
I'd really liked the S&W M4505 springer I had and wanted a GBB version. I couldn't find one, but the M945 had many similarities, despite being based on the 1911 frame.
I'd become a bit of a 1911 aficionado, having obtained a WA Infinity 5" Ltd, Prokiller 3.9" and 6" Ltd in a few weeks (swapping the 5" for the 6") and had pretty much decided to forget about the S&W until I saw someone selling one on UKAN.
We dithered back and forth a bit and I bought and sold some other guns and, finally, the S&W arrived.
In the Box
Inside the neat little box (very similar to the latest KSC M93R style) is the gun, 1 magazine, a new style KSC Hop-Up adjuster, a few BBs and a manual (all in Japanese, as usual).
I wasn't expecting a lot (feeling, maybe, I'd regret this purchase), but as I opened the lid and lifted away the handbook and other paperwork, I was slightly stunned by the gun laying in the dense, grey polystyrene.
It is, quite simply, gorgeous. The fish scaling (absent on the black gun) is beautifully done and the brown markings on the slide are actually 'striped' not solid, very distinctive.
The magazine isn't fitted in the gun in the box (in fact, without minor mods to the liner, it won't fit), because it, too, is a work of art. This isn't a KSC Glock magazine. It's polished and highly detailed with engravings.
It's almost too nice to put in the gun, but, as I got a spare with mine, I relieved the polystyrene a bit to allow the gun to fit in the box with a mag fitted.
|The gun's a fair bit lighter than a SV Infinity, but it's also much, much slimmer (being a single stacker - just 15 BBs in each mag), which was something I'd really liked about a M4505 S&W springer I once had, so it doesn't feel overly light in the hand.
Personally, I can live without the 1911's trademark grip safety, but it's not intrusive (less so, I feel, than that on the WA Infinity) in feel, although being black, is a little in cosmetic terms.
Exterior metal parts include the trigger, hammer, slide lock, magazine, ambidextrous safety, grip safety and front and rear sights.
Where to start? This is probably the most DETAILED airsoft gun I've ever seen.
Obviously KSC were onto a winner, it doesn't matter how accurately you replicate a Glock, it's still only going to have a bit of exterior detailing on it, whereas the Performance Center (S&W special weapons arm) 945 has loads, although, interestingly the S&W website shows a gun with fair fewer.
The most notable feature of the silver 945 (not present on the black version, which doesn't exist in real steel form) is the fishscaling on the slide. This is very nicely rendered.
Next is the abundance of logos, or trademarks, on the gun. These are replicas of "Laser etching" and don't penetrate into the plastic, as, say, on a Glock. They are a brown-ish hue and the 945 logo is striped rather than solid, as it appears in most photographs. The Performance Center wording next to the 945 on the slide is nicely formed, as is the Smith & Wesson, Springfield (Doh!), MA and the S&W/PC logo on the right hand side of the gun. Under the slide lock/disassembly lever is the only KSC logo.
The grips are plastic replicas of wood, but feel and (to be honest) look fine. Interestingly, they are held in place with hex bolts.
There's an ambidextrous thumb safety too, interestingly, as the TM PC 356 springer's is single sided.
The rear site is a Bo-Mar replica (with adjustment) and there's a blade front sight held in a SVI like dovetail (I'll check to see if the sights swap with those on my Infinity). These differ from the black model, which has three dot 'tactical' sights, like the Infinity Prokiller range.
Downsides? Well, DumboRAT has reported that the black gun doesn't like Green Gas, so you don't want to fill the silver one with it either, in the absence of evidence it's any stronger, although the slides are different.
Strangely, after all the effort they went to elsewhere, KSC have made the silver outer barrel of plastic (actually, not that odd as ALL their other guns have too...), but it lets the, otherwise, excellent finish down a little and will surely scratch with use. If ever a gun cried out for a metal slide/barrel it was this one - fingers crossed!
If you read DumboRAT's review on Arnies Airsoft (and I urge that you do), you'll note his comments on how to spot the differences between Japanese and Taiwanese versions. The Silver gun carries the same "Performance Center'" script as the Japanese gun, but bears an XK serial number, whereas the Japanese black version of Allen (and another owner he references) bears an XJ number and the Taiwanese, an XP number.
Initial plinking with 134a suggested the gun was not that powerful, but prior to my 5 metre test, I gassed it up with AE Winter gas and the difference was pronounced, with a much crisper cycle action and the BBs hammered into the target satisfyingly.
A few practice shots with full 15 round magazines produced impressive, WA Infinity like groupings, so I loaded up 6 shots and fired away.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
This set of 6 shots is shown as the squares on the target above and just didn't reflect the results I saw in the earlier shots. The first shot is the very low one and this was caused by me applying a fraction too much pressure to the trigger before I'd reached the aim point (I did this with a REAL .44 S&W revolver, once - SCARY!!!). Of the others, 4 hit the centre area and the remaining one is very close, but they are in a 2.5 inch (7 cm) diameter, which I didn't feel truly reflected what the gun was capable of, so I fired another 6 rounds.
These are shown as the triangles and all but one are in the centre area, in a 2 inch (5 cm) diameter. The outlier is just outside (to the top) and within a 2.5 inch (7 cm) diameter of the lowest shot. This one was probably off as I adjusted the sight slightly, for no sensible reason, on the last shot.
Not bad, but in my earlier tests, I'd grouped 15 rounds in the centre area.
Anyway, however you look at it, reasonable to good accuracy.
Disassembly of the M945 is similar to most 1911 based guns.
After removing the magazine, slide the slide back until the front of the slide lock cutout on the left side of the slide is aligned with the front of the slide lock.
Push the slide lock through the frame from the other side (you might need to get a finger nail under the slide lock and pull it through), completely removing it from the frame. The slide, barrel and recoil rod can be slid forward off the frame at this point.
The recoil rod can be removed by pushing it gently forward and down and then back. The barrel should be slid forward and down, once clear of the nozzle.
There is a small rod in the rear of the recoil rod, which can spring out, this only fits properly one way, so if the recoil rod will not seat on reassembly, try reversing this part.
Overall, the M945 was a real delight to me. It's a fantastic looking gun and feels very good in the hand. Shooting is pleasant (but not thrilling) and the accuracy is, I'd say, very good.
Just because of the finish, you wouldn't take this gun skirmishing, but it must have potential as a IPSCC gun (especially if a metal slide/barrel is made available to cope with higher power gases).
For the casual plinker or collector, the silver M945 is a beautiful replica of an attractive gun, but the fact that it's only available as a Japanese version at the moment, does mean that it has to compete head on with the much respected Western Arms Infinity range.
Weight : 820g
Realism : *****
Quality : ****
Power : ****
Accuracy : *****
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