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Discussion Starter #1
I have started carrying, and practicing, with a 686 Plus 2.5, which I purchase new in '94. After owning it a while I wanted to look inside. I knew I was suppose to rap the grip frame to remove the plate which I did. However, it was so tight I was only able to get it to rise a bit. Instead of pressing it back down and stopping I helped it off with a gentle prying. Sure enough, although I do not have the telltale deformation from plate prying, I did open up the seam slightly at the top near the hammer, and at the curve above the trigger. With the naked eye the gap is not visible, the seam is just darker where the gap is; with a 10x loupe the gap in the seam is visible. Here is my question: how much have I weakened my pistol? Everyone says not to pry, and I agree (I no longer open my guns up anyway), but no one ever talks about the effects or consequences, beyond deformation, of prying off the plate. So, what do you think. Is the pistol appreciably weaker? Will accuracy be affected? Will the life of the gun be shorter? I've researched the extensively and can find no answers. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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No, accuracy or lifespan isn't affected, but it can make the seam look like crap and many smart buyers would pass on buying the gun. It would make me wonder that if Bubba didn't know how to remove a sideplate, what did he screw up once he got inside
 

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As the forces transfer to the frame through the screws, you didn't weaken the gun.

But don't pry the sideplate again. 😬
 

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You did not hurt your weapon, only your feelings. Getting the side plate off of a S&W is easy. Take the grips off. Remove all the side plate screws remembering what holes they came out of. Take a RUBBER handled screwdriver and gently hit the bottom of the frame with the rubber end of the screwdriver. It will loosen and continue to rap the frame until the side plate falls off. Put it back on gently with a rubber mallet.
 

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Actually, I have found that tapping the TOP SIDE of the grip frame the plate pops off much easier. Basically you knock the frame down and away from the side plate. Works much better than tapping the back strap or bottom of grip frame. I saw a gunsmith do it that way on a You Tube video.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, it sounds like it something that should not be done; but, the only effectual consequences are cosmetic and monetary. Is that accurate? p.s. Thank you for the quick replies.
 

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I never pry on anything on a firearm. Enough said...
 
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Just for peeps that may come and look at the thread later ... I had one side plate that was particularly stuck
and
Still Just by whacking the grip frame with the rubber end of my klien screw driver it popped up. I tap the grip frame on the right side or the side that the side plate is on and I do it near the bottom of the frame as it acts like a tuning fork. Havent taken off side plates a ton but the 8 to 10 or so times I have .. worked every time.
 

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Just for peeps that may come and look at the thread later ... I had one side plate that was particularly stuck
and
Still Just by whacking the grip frame with the rubber end of my klien screw driver it popped up. I tap the grip frame on the right side or the side that the side plate is on and I do it near the bottom of the frame as it acts like a tuning fork. Havent taken off side plates a ton but the 8 to 10 or so times I have .. worked every time.
Yep, thats what I was trying to say
 
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