Smith and Wesson CS9 – Chiefs Special 9mm Pistol

Smith and Wesson CS9 Chiefs Special 9mm Pistol Review

Smith and Wesson CS9 Chiefs Special 9mm Pistol Review

Here is my review of my Smith and Wesson CS9 Chiefs Special 9mm Pistol. The Smith and Wesson CS9 is an exceptionally accurate high quality all metal single stack sub compact 9mm DA/SA pistol that can often be found in like new condition.

I just recently became a Smith and Wesson owner in the way of a S & W 686 Plus. It was this revolver that introduced me to Smith & Wesson handguns and I quickly learned that they are well known for an outstanding and very smooth trigger. I am interested in small 9mm pistols because Wisconsin has just passed  a concealed carry law that goes into effect in November this year, 2011 and while looking at pictures of the Kel Tec PF9 on Google Images I discovered the picture of a small 9mm pistol that I had never seen before, the Smith CS9. This led me to research the pistol and I learned that the Smith & Wesson CS9 was an all metal generation 3 subcompact single stack 9mm pistol.

Holding my CS9

Holding my Smith and Wesson CS9

The CS Model was offered as a CS9 in 9mm Luger, a CS40 in SW .40 caliber, and a CS45 in .45 ACP. The CS9 is no longer made and Smith and Wesson does not support the gun. Searches revealed little information but what could be found was all positive.

It was one of Smith & Wesson’s generation 3 metal frame semi automatic pistols with an aluminum alloy frame, stainless steel slide and stainless barrel. The gen 3 was the end of an era of Smith and Wesson metal frame pistols and marked the entry into polymer frame pistols.

Smith & Wesson CS9 Right View

Smith & Wesson CS9 Right Side View Notice the Pinky Extension on Magazine

The CS9 trigger operation is double action and single action hammer fired. It is a true double action in that with the safety off and with a magazine installed, pull the trigger and the hammer will strike the firing pin. Unlike some other double action only pistols, the Ruger LC9 is an example, the trigger is DAO but must be reset after each trigger pull. This means that if the round doesn’t fire when the trigger is pulled, then the slide must be manually cycled to reset the trigger. With the CS9 the hammer drops each time the trigger is pulled so you can re-fire a dud if needed.

The trigger is smooth in DA and very smooth with crisp break in single action.

All models of the CS9 have a safety lever/de-cocker on the rear slide. Some versions are ambidextrous. For me the safety de-cocker lever is easily operated with right thumb while gripping the gun. My CS9 only has the de-cocker on the left side.

The Slide release lever is large size and is indeed a release and not just a slide stop. The slide release also serves as the take down pin for disassembly. The magazine release button is located at the lower rear of the trigger guard. Because of the large grip size there is no danger of operating the mag release while gripping the pistol. The button can be operated with the thumb but the grip has to be shifted slightly to do it. When the mag release is depressed the magazine is ejected out of the gun with surprising force. Inserting the magazine is routine except that I often catch the loaded magazine on the rear of the mag well because it is not tapered.

Smith & Wesson CS9 Sight Picture

Smith & Wesson CS9 Sight Picture

The grip tends to fill the hand. It is a rubber Hogue grip that wraps around the back strap to make a wide full feeling grip. The soft rubber provides a lot of friction and makes the pistol easy to hold. Each magazine has a pinky extension base plate which improves the grip and gives the pinky finger a little to grasp.

The tang keeps the hand well below the slide and the slide is mounted high so there is no danger at all of slide bite.

Sights are low profile Novak 3 dot white that are easy to see. Target acquisition is quick.

Smith & Wesson CS9 Group 7 Rds at 7 Yds

Smith & Wesson CS9 Target 7 Rds at 7 Yds

The CS9 is extremely accurate. The term I have read more than once is “tack driver” The Smith CS9 is not a target pistol but it is indeed as accurate as any  and more accurate than most 9mm pistols with 3″ barrel length. Look at the example targets shot at 7 yards. I shot 200 rounds of various types of ammunition with no problems what so ever.

A feature I don’t care for is the magazine interlock. The trigger won’t work unless a magazine is installed.

The single stack magazine holds 7 rounds and has a pinky extension built in. Even with the extension it is a bit crowded getting the little finger on the grip. Mine is half on and half off as I grip the gun.


Smith & Wesson CS9 Specifications:
Operation: DA/SA
Magazine disconnect
De-cocker with firing pin block
Length – 6.25″
Height w/o magazine – 4.6″
Height with magazine – 5.25″
Slide Width – .93″
Overall Width – 1.25″ including ambidextrous safety/de-cocker levers
Weight – 20.8 oz
Weight with empty magazine – 23.1 oz
Loaded weight – 26.7 oz with 124 grain ammunition
Magazine – 7 + 1

To disassemble the CS9 Remove magazine, pull slide back to check the chamber to make sure the pistol is not loaded. Position the slide notch over the rounded take down pin then push the take down pin out from the right side. While positioning the slide listen for a slight click of the trigger and then the slide is in position to remove pin. Remove the slide off the front of the frame. Remove the recoil spring assembly, remove the barrel, the pistol is disassembled for cleaning.

In Position to Remove Take Down Pin

In Position to Remove Take Down Pin

Disassemble CS9 Push Pin From Right Side

Push Pin From Right Side

Smith & Wesson CS9 Install Slide

Push Down the Three Levers to Install Slide

For reassembly, Place the hammer in the forward position by pulling the trigger while slowing the hammer’s motion with your thumb. Place the safety/de-cocking lever into the fully up “fire” position. Install the slide onto the frame rails. Move the slide all the way onto the frame by depressing the ejector, sear release and firing pin safety levers down while moving the slide over them. Then position the slide so that the slide stop notch is aligned with the take down pin hole on the frame. Insert the take down pin until it seats.

Smith & Wesson CS9 Disassembled

Smith & Wesson CS9 Disassembled, Frame, Recoil Spring, Barrel, Slide

I really like my CS9. It is a high quality pistol that is a joy to shoot. Accuracy is second to none and I would put it up against any other 3 inch barrel pistol. There isn’t a lot of information on the web about the Smith and Wesson CS9. Here is an excellent review of the Smith & Wesson CS9, Chiefs Special 9mm on Average Joe’s Handgun Reviews.

I traded for my CS9 and paid way too much for it. I traded my Remington 1100 in which I had over $600.00 invested. I accepted a trade for the shotgun and $190.00. The CS9 operates excellently and is very accurate but if I had waited, I found one that I could have purchased in like new condition for $450.00 and kept the shotgun. I got caught up in the excitement and over paid. I can rationalize some because I never used the Remington 1100 any way.

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