You Be The Judge: Keep or Chuck the S&W 4013?

Owners of the long-discontinued S&W 4013 generally like this compact 40’s performance — so much so that they tend to hang on to them. If you Google-search for the 4013 now, you’ll get back a lot of hits from owners who’ve been carrying the gun for 15 or so years, and though they’ve been tempted to sell their 4013 for a newer model, they just couldn’t pull the trigger. It is remarkable to see so few complaints about a gun that’s been discontinued. Heck, even apple pie attracts online trolls. But can the 4013 still be a wise choice for the concealed-carrier who’s looking for a bargain? You be the judge.

S&W Model 4013 Details

Smith & Wesson introduced its first 40 S&W pistol in 1990, and started offering its Model 4013 in 1991. This stainless-steel compact 40 S&W utilizes an alloy 10mm-size frame. It features a double-action trigger, a 3.5-inch barrel and a single-column magazine. Packed with two 8-round magazines, this model had a suggested retail price of $734 when I first bought one in 1996, substantially more than the $400 I paid for a LNIB 4013 at a recent gun show.

At the range with my new 4013, I fired 250 rounds of commercial 40 S&W ammunition through the pistol. Accuracy testing was accomplished at 15 yards using a sandbag rest. All firing was done indoors. I was more than satisfied with the Model 4013’s accuracy. The smallest five-shot average groups, 2.1 inches at 15 yards, were produced using Speer Lawman 180-grain TMJ ammunition. Remington 180-grain JHPs achieved 2.2-inch groups. Winchester Silvertip 155-grain hollowpoints managed 2.7-inch groups.

Muzzle velocities were satisfactory for a 40 S&W pistol with a 3.5-inch barrel. Average velocities were clocked at 951 fps with Speer Lawman 180-grain TMJs, 993 fps with Remington 180-grain JHPs and 1133 fps with Winchester 155-grain Silvertips.

This Smith & Wesson’s dull-blue fixed sights afforded a clean, easy-to-acquire sight picture. The 1/8-inch-wide front blade had a white dot on its slightly angled face, while the snag-resistant Novak-style rear blade featured two white dots and a 1/8-inch-square notch. Both were dovetailed to the slide, making them adjustable for windage only. This sighting system’s point of aim was regulated to the pistol’s point of impact.

Movement of the ungrooved trigger was acceptable, though I felt it was a few pounds too heavy in single-action mode. After a moderate amount of creep, the single-action pull released cleanly at 7.25 pounds. The double-action pull was very smooth and released at 11 pounds. Both modes had almost no overtravel.

The Model 4013’s stainless-steel slide had a frosted silver-white finish. I thought its gripping serrations were a little on the shallow side, but functional. The blued steel spurless hammer, trigger and sights contrasted nicely with the rest of the gun. The steel barrel had a belled muzzle. The aluminum-alloy frame had a matte grayish-white finish.

The rounded trigger guard was checkered on the front and undercut where it met the frame. In my opinion, an undercut trigger guard is a significant feature because it allows my shooting hand to be positioned a little higher on the frame than normal. This permits me to control the pistol better.

This Smith & Wesson’s metal work was very good. Some minor tool marks were present on the interior of the slide and frame, but all exterior surfaces were flawless. There was almost no side-to-side or vertical movement between the slide and the frame. The barrel-to-slide fit was even better, with no noticeable movement of the barrel when in battery.

Two single-column magazines came with the Model 4013. Both had stainless steel bodies, red plastic followers and removable black plastic floorplates that also served as a finger rest. There was a metal spacer on the inside rear of these 10mm-size magazines to accommodate shorter 40 S&W ammunition. Both were well constructed.

As on most current Smith & Wesson pistols, this one had a one-piece black plastic grip with molded checkering. It enclosed and constituted the frame’s backstrap, and retained the mainspring. The grip was held in place by a single roll pin located in the rear of the butt. Grip-to-metal mating was good, with no gaps or rough edges noted.

To me, the Model 4013 was muzzle heavy, but not so much as to be objectionable. Thanks to the grip’s straight backstrap, the front sight tended to align evenly when pointed. The grip’s comparatively narrow width, along with the checkering on the frontstrap, permitted a secure grasp. Felt recoil wasn’t noticeably lighter or heavier than that of the other 40 S&W pistols I’ve tested.

All of the controls worked smoothly, but some other shooters with small hands who tried the gun had to shift their grip to reach the slide catch and the magazine release. Depressing the slide catch, a serrated lever on the left side of the frame, released the slide when locked open. Depressing the magazine release, a checkered button at the left rear of the trigger guard, unlocked the magazine.

The manual safety, which had dual two-position levers on the rear of the slide, worked equally well for right- and left-handed shooters. When either lever was moved upward, the safety disengaged. In the down position, it disconnected the trigger, blocked the firing pin and decocked the hammer. This pistol’s other safety features were a magazine disconnector, which prevented firing when the magazine was removed, and a passive firing pin block.

Field stripping this Smith & Wesson isn’t difficult and requires no tools. First, remove the magazine and ensure the chamber is empty. Pull the slide back until the takedown notch in its left side aligns with the front of the slide catch. Completely remove the slide catch lever from the frame by pushing it out from right to left. Move the slide assembly forward off the frame. The hammer will fall as the slide moves forward. Slightly compress the non-captive recoil assembly, which consists of two springs and a steel guide rod, then remove it from the slide. After elevating the back of the barrel, pull the barrel up and out of the slide. Reverse these steps to reassemble the pistol.

The Model 4013 functioned flawlessly throughout the test. Firing-pin strikes were solid and centered. Ejection was strong and consistent. Filling the 8-round magazines to capacity required only a modest amount of effort. Each magazine locked readily into the well, and dropped out freely when released.

You Be The Judge

The Smith & Wesson Model 4013’s easy handling, ambidextrous operation, and above-average accuracy should make it a good choice for carry. But I’d like your opinion. Was this a smart buy for the money?, or should I unload it and use the proceeds to help fund a current Glock or S&W M&P 40 Compact? Comments pro and con are welcome below.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (45)


  2. Well in 2022 all 3RD Gens are bringing big bucks and if you kept it you are a happy person right now. The single stack 4013 is great and there is a double stack 4013 that is a gem as well.

  3. Everyone 0n this site keep saying that their 4013 came with 2 8 round clips . My 4013 TSW came with 2 9 round clips. Does anyone know why.

  4. I’ve had a 4013 since 1991. I have short hands and I have to compensate for the width of the grip (I had the same problem with the 1076). Other than that it’s been a fine weapon. I’ve shot several thousand rounds of different ammunition manufacturers’ and have never had a misfire or jam. I carry it in a Bianchi UM84 holster. I can carry it concealed by removing the flap and tucking the clip between my pants and belt.

  5. It was great to come across this thread. Ive had my 4013 since about 1994 when i bought it new in the box. Came with two mags, one with the curved bottom, one without for more concealment. Never had a problem with this piece. I replaced the factory grips with rubberized grips made specifically for it (Hogue I believe). Always loved the increased grip with the Hogue grips and overall feel. It was my first handgun so I’m a little biased, but i don’t think I’ll ever sell it or trade it in. I really enjoy shooting it and it fits comfortably in the new aliengear holsters I got for it…one IWB one OWB. Now if I could only find another mag or two….I see one on ebay for $70. Thats all I can find so far….any ideas?

  6. I like what I just read about the 4013. I travel a lot and would like feedback on a good cross draw holster.

    Vern Holder

  7. I got mine used a pawn shop two years ago for $350. It came with two magazines and I had trouble finding others until I started prowling the very darkest places you can imagine. Now I have a total of 7 and love this gun. It came with a Magna-ported barrel and slide which greatly reduces recoil. It does however add torque to the recoil, twisting the butt to the right.

  8. So glad to read this thread. I own a 4013 TSW, bought it 7 years ago when I got my permit. Fired it maybe 3 or 4 times, then just stopped using it (or any gun, for that matter). My (new) wife decided she wanted her permit, so we both went to take the class and she enjoyed the range time. So, I was thinking about trading in my .40 for something a bit smaller caliber. But, in reading threads like these, I’m glad I have this one. I think it’s a keeper. Thanks for all of the information.

  9. Bought my 4013 for ~$620 new back in the mid-90s. Since then I’ve bought 2 other handguns for concealed carry and still carry the S&W 4013 more than the other two combined.

    Found that the DeSantis Model 002 B6 outside-the-waistband holster fits it perfectly. (I think this holster is officially for a Glock 19/23/32.)

  10. i have 2 clips fore this gun they are stainles 10 originale eq ill take 60 fore them 1 765 309 5803 give me a call our if you have any guns fore sale

    1. Danny, I have a 4013 I bought back in 1992 nib. The gun came with only 1 single stack mag. Recently, I’ve been searching for 2 more mags and suffice to say, no luck whatsoever! Do you still have the 2 you had listed?? My cell#: 617 529-1960. I pray you can help me out, thanks, Mark.

  11. KEEP THE PISTOL! I have had a4013 since 1997, it was a gift my father gave to me when I became a police officer. I had MMC night sights (not produced anymore) and received 4 factory magazines having a total of 5 mags. I did carry it off duty and as a spare gun in the patrol unit. I truly like the gun but do not shoot it much anymore. The 4013 is definitely a classic and of the best pistols S & W ever produced.

  12. I own one of these. I love it, it is absolutely a very reliably gun. I have never had a single issue with it. Ive put over 1000 rounds through it, and i bought it used from a retired police officer, and it was his carry weapon. So you know he put a few rounds through it. I have found prefer to shoot 165 grain ammo through it. I like it better that way. <Just a personal preference. I will probably never get rid of mine. A: because it is such an awesome gun, B: because it was my first Pistol. lol

  13. I like the comments that those of you make to keep the 4013 I did almost get rid of mine only to find something different and the dealer I do business with said you better keep it, he said my son and I have one and they have always been very happy with them (they do a lot of shooting) and he was convinced the following 40 caliber models to be made would not have the quality workmanship not that newer models would be bad he just knew they needed to be mass produced to be competitive. I’m not a fan of Glock I think there over rated (Matter of Opinion) but I did look for another pistol and came up with the Colt Defender very nice gun very well made and fairly comparable to the 4013, but it is a 45 caliber. I take them both shooting and I take turns carrying them and I got to say my favorite of the two is the 4013. So In my opinion it was a smart buy keep it stock up on a few more magazines and remember it has a lifetime warranty if needed. As far as all the technical aspects of the 4013 I’m not going to bore you with that because you already have some terrific comments about it and I couldn’t agree more. Enjoy and safe shooting! Thanks, Dennis

  14. This weapon is a keeper…! Bought my 4013 new in 1992, went to the police academy and fired second in my class out of 50 candidates. The accuracy is outstanding and the weapon is built tight….! The first time to shoot my 4013 was in the police academy, so familiarity was not a factor. I’m very impressed with the weapons design, weight and balance and overall feel. Out of the twenty years I’ve owned my 4013, I’ve never had a misfire. Someone mentioned the mag release safety feature as being unfavorable. I personally like this feature because if ever in a situation where I’m about to lose control of my weapon, a quick release of the magazine can immediately render the weapon momentarily inoperable.

  15. I bought my 4013 in 93 its serial# is less than 30 my trigger and hammer has the same stainless finish and still only has about 150 rounds through It took me quite a while to amass a several extra mags even back in the day they were few and far between!

  16. Happy New Year Boy’s, I just got a 4013 thats in excellent condition. I LOVE IT!!! KEEPER FOR SURE!!!

  17. Keep it! These 3rd gen Smiths are great guns that are becoming harder and harder to find. The only 3rd gen that S&W still makes is the 4006, although it’s through contract with the California Highway Patrol and not available anywhere else.

    On a side note, the 4013 you have is based on the .45ACP variant(4516). S&W never made a 3rd gen compact 10mm. They used the .45ACP variant as they felt the 9mm variant(3913)wouldn’t hold up to the abuse of the .40S&W round. Unlike the 4516, which has a stainless steel slide and frame, the 4013 has a alloy frame. The magazines are identical, except for the spacer and dimples, which ensure .45ACP cannot be loaded in a 4013 magazine. When shopping for holsters, the 4516 and 4013 are interchangable and will fit in the same holster.

    The early 4013 is not to be confused with the later 4013TSW, which is based on the 6906. S&W sure loved to confused everyone with there numbering system, huh?

  18. The 4013 was the second handgun that I was issued at the Sheriffs Dept. That is after my first issue weapon a
    s&w 4006 got a cracked slide. Keep it! I kept mine after the dept switched to sig sauers.
    It’s the perfect off duty weapon when loaded with Golden Sabers!

  19. I bought a .40cal 4013TSW with rail in 1996 for about $650 and loved the gun. Parted ways with it about 4 years ago and regretted it ever since. If anyone have a LNIB 4013TSW for around $400 I’m definately interested.

    Keep it… they’re great guns.

  20. I bought my 4013 in 1993. This has been my carry since that time. I shoot it monthly and it has been the most reliable auto pistol I have ever owned. I have 2 other model 4006 that remain at my 2 homes for defense. Yes I have some other handguns but the 4013 is my favorite.

  21. Great advice, guys. The CTD community knows its stuff. John (10) and Greg’s (13) experiences seems to be right on re: the 4013. Mike’s (1) and Totally Disgusted’s (8) comments about the pistol’s build quality also speak to keeping it. I acted on James’s comment (3) and checked the SA pull weight again. Lightly oiled the trigger elements and dry-fired it 350 times. Smoothed out to 5.25 pounds. Good tip — I appreciate that. I agree with Jay (4) that $400 is a great price for the gun. Don Lester (7) asks a good question — why doesn’t S&W bring this back? If I were betting, I’d say the production costs on the 4013s cut the margins too much to keep making it. Bill’s spring tips (19) and Carrier4+’s advice on the Bianchi IWB adjustable thumb-break holster make sense and show me an upgrade path to make this 4013 even better. Matt’s (2) and Teddy’s (17) advice is always right — never sell a gun — but I continue to do that very thing. Restless, I guess. But CTD’s Judges have spoken: I’ll keep my 4013.

  22. I have a S&W 4013 and a pair of Glock 23’s. When I expect to be in a crowd situation, I prefer to carry the 4013 because of the manual safety. I expect it to make it harder for a “pickpocket” to fire it. I prefer the Glocks for nightstand & “car-carry” for the absence of the extra manual-safety step making quicker response to stop a threat. The Bianchi IWB adjustable thumb-break fits either, making the reflex-to-draw identical for both. S&W PC anodized the alloy frame of the 4013 to black, swapped the bobbed hammer for a spur, polished the feed ramp to cure persistent misfeeds with CCI Blazers, & smoothed the trigger action. I prefer the trigger feel of the 4013 over the brick-on-a-rubber-band feel of the Glocks (even w/3-1/2 lb connectors). However … the harder stainless on the 4013 breech block “gnaws on” the softer alloy on the receiver w/each shot. So, I shoot the Glocks for practice & “save” the 4013 for carry. Each of the Glocks has had its history of broken springs, broken extractors, “beat-up” frames, loosened front sight, but they feed & fire once the rubber band gets the brick moving far enough.

  23. Keep it, I’ve got two. One with the bobed hammer and the other with a spur hammer, both with Hogue grips and tritium sights that are still very bright. Accurate, never misfired and plenty enough terminal energy for cqb. They’re not so heavy or bulky that they carry well, I’m keepin em.

  24. I had a S%W M5906 since 1991, which is a DAO 9mm, but otherwise identical to the S&W M4013. It was a tad heavy but that makes it easy to aim & shoot. I shot it at 50 yds, aimed at the top of the bull and hit the bull at 6 o’clock. I would definitely keep that M4013. That time was good for S&W. These guns are very well made.

  25. I’d keep it. I would also keep the two very similar S&W model 457’s I have in .45ACP. More “ooomph” with the .45ACP than the .40S&W. Just my opinion.
    Distinguished Rfleman 1352

  26. I used to have a 4053 but traded it and another piston for a Springfield 1911 Officer’s model. I didn’t mind because this pistol shot VERY low, even after putting an adjustable sight on the rear and filing down the front sight. About 14 years ago, I bought a 4013 TSW and love it. The mag safety can be disabled by removing removing a spring under the rear sight. Order new main springs from Wolff to tune you trigger pull. I replaced the grips with Hogue for a much better grip (for me). I own over twenty pistols, but will not part with the 4013.

  27. NEVER GET RID OF A FIREARM!!! Save up and buy an additional firearm! However, after saying that I picked my used S&W 4013 up at a local gun shop and couldn’t be happier with the size, punch, comfort of how it fits in my hand, and the performance it provides. GREAT pistol… and thank you to the previous owner for selling it!! GREAT buy for the price (under $500.00)
    Oh, and thanks to Ron who submitted a comment, but never owned a 4013!!! How about this… lets hear from the people who have actually owned, or own one currently. Lets keep the comments applicable to the subject matter Champ!

  28. I own two XD .40, 3″ and 4″ barrels. I love them and I also have a Glock 23. Those are the only .40s I own. However I do own several 9mm, one of them a S&W Model 39-2. I love it. Shoots better and sweeter than my Glock 26 or P38. I think this S&W is one of the best guns I’ve ever owned. It’s a pain in the behind to clean but if the 4013 is this nice I wouldn’t mind owning one myself.

  29. KEEP!!! Bought one of the first available in my area back in 1991. Unfortunately had to sell it in 1992. Have regretted that decision ever since.

  30. I bought one new in 1992 and Loved it . I now have a new S&W 40 and am glad I have it for concealed carry, I will say the 4013 was more comfortable to shoot.Heavier, but balanced. Want to TRADE?????

  31. Many years ago while qualifying on the range for my CCW permit I was shooting a new 4013. It ran flawlessly and the PD R.O. wanted to know what kind of SIG I was using! It was very accurate, pleasant shooting and sorry I sold it. I now carry the Springfield XD-S and won’t leave home without it.

  32. Keep it, but as a safe queen and range gun. These older SW series pistols were kings of their era for a reason, and commanded a heavy retail price tag ($700 in the 1990s!). They were only beat out by the lighter, more rugged, Glocks (and later M&Ps, XDs, and polymers which are here to stay).

    I don’t have a 4xxx series, but I did. Mine wasn’t accurate. I do own the 6906 and 5906, which are very similar. For a carry gun, there are better choices – The Glocks, XDs, M&Ps have a better manual of arms. And the older SW pistols won’t fire without a magazine, which is a strike against them in my book. However, these old gems are a keeper. Selling it you might get $350-400. Keep it.

  33. Keep it, but as a safe queen and range gun. These older SW series pistols were kings of their era for a reason, and commanded a heavy retail price tag ($700 in the 1990s!). They were only beat out by the lighter, more rugged, Glocks (and later M&Ps, XDs, and polymers which are here to stay).

    I don’t have a 4xxx series, but would love to. I do own the 6906 and 5906, which are very similar. For a carry gun, there are better choices – The Glocks, XDs, M&Ps have a better manual of arms. And the older SW pistols won’t fire without a magazine, which is a strike against them in my book. However, these old gems are a keeper. Selling it you might get $350-400. Keep it.

  34. Ive had a 4013 for almost twenty years. Bought it new for about 650.00. It’s the only gun out of many that I have ever kept that long. It’s always been reliable, handled all loads well and shoots well. About 2 inch groups at 50′. I wouldnt trade it for anything!

  35. I have recently parted with a 469 S&W and a 59 both were great guns in their day. A ’57 Chevy is a great ride but would you want one as a daily driver? To me it is the same thing here. What do you do when the high wear parts fail; Extractor, Ejector etc. How long do you want to wait for the part to show up and what will you pay for it. I currently use a PPK .380 built by S&W and or either a Glock Model 20 or 21.

  36. I’ll take it. lol I have been using a 3rd Gen. S&W model 411 (.40cal. 11+1 4″ barrel) For my CCW since 1999. It’s been a great comfort to have with me. That being said it’s 29 oz. weight (empty) and size does make it a bit harder to conceal. I’ve been wanting a 3.5″ Smith in .40 to replace it for a while. This would make my 411 into the dedicated nightstand weapon of choice. You can’t go wrong with the all metal S&W’s they were built to last and as someone else pointed out, if you run out of ammo you can beat the guy to death with it. Definitely keep it, you won’t be sorry. IMHO

  37. Keep it for sure! I traded mine and regret it regularly. It functioned perfectly with 180gr JHP and accuracy was great. I shot 8rd 2″-2.5″ groups @ 20 yards consistantly doing double-taps with it and am waiting to find another chance to get another one. I traded for a 1911 Commander a friend had I owed a favor or I never would have let it go. It was tight and S&W made them right in every way. I’m a 100% 1911 fan 1st but that 4013 and my 4053TSW are two of my favorite pistols. If you have one keep it! Why S&W doesn’t bring the 4013 back in stock is something I don’t understand.

    Comment by D.L.III

  38. Keep it. I think my very experienced CHL instructor, whom I highly respect, used this as his carry piece. It is a very solid concept gun. S&M should reintroduce it. You should only sell it if you want to carry more rounds.

  39. Keep it. I used this pistol as a duty gun (1996-2000), then sold it in favor of the Glock 23. I don’t regret the switch to the Glock 23, but I DO MISS MY 4013 VERY MUCH! My 4013 was user friendly, felt like a real pistol in my hand, and I LOVED the way the gun looked. I just came across an opportunity to pick up another 4013 for $400 and will probably jump on it in the next day or two.

    The 4013 is a quality gun, the likes not seen in today’s manufactured pistols.

  40. Absolutely keep it. I occasionally sport a 4006 and 4566 (IDPA and open carry) and they are rock solid. I agree with Mike. You wont find current production firearms that were geared to the more muscle car era of handguns. Third gen S&W’s are beasts in their construction and won’t disappoint and due to their weight and construction can be used as a club (ha ha).

    Your single action trigger pull should be far less than than what the reviewer’s stated as 7lb’s+. This does not make sense to me.

    Yes, capacity is an issue with older models but dependability is key here. You won’t be disappointed with accuracy either.

    The flip side is finding suitable modern holsters and other accessories. But this handgun will last. Maybe keep it as a home defense weapon?

  41. I would keep it. There is no such thing as “the perfect gun” or perfect anything for that matter. One thing I do know…this day and age, hang on to ANY gun you own. Only add to your collection, never subtract. If the “SHTF” never happens you’ll at least have something to hand down in the future. Cheers.


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