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I took delivery of a Smith & Wesson M&P45 (full-sized) yesterday afternoon. As I've stated in the past on this forum, my personal experience with polymer framed handguns has been more negative than positive with respect to handling, reliability, and range performance. I've owned them all, put them through the wringer, and got rid of them all with the exception of an H&K USP Elite (6") in .45ACP and a H&K USPc (compact) in .357Sig which rides with me as a back-up weapon at times...

After reading posts from several people here on the forum (those who's statements/opinions I enjoy/respect), and after seeing more and more M&P's in student's holsters (various calibers), and the fact that a few LE agencies I work with are considering the M&P as replacements for their currently issued service weapons, I took delivery of the M&P yesterday. Here are my comments - first impressions - right from the 'get-go':


1) Trigger was a bit heavy and had a gritty feel. My solution was to detail strip the M&P, polish and rework some parts from a reference I found at another website written by a M&P gunsmith, and then reassemble -- the results produced a smooth, crisp trigger with little take-up and a small amount of overtravel. The weight came in at about 5 lbs which is fine for a carry piece, IMO. It's not a 1911 pattern trigger by any means, but it's acceptable for field applications as a service pistol. The work to perform this trigger improvement took about an hour...

2) Finish and fit were about what I expected from a polymer framed handgun; tighter than a Glock, but a little more 'wiggle factor' than my H&K pistols, especially when compared to the 'O-ringed' H&K Elite (an expensive pistol when compared to the herd of polymer-framed service examples)...

3) The interchangeable panels were a big plus -- I'm experimenting between the small and medium sizes, but in either case, the ergonomics of the M&P were very, very good when compared to the Glock, XD, and H&K products (except for the USP compact and the 'yet-to-be-tested' HK45). Smith has a winner here from an ergonomic standpoint -- IMO the M&P is the best of the plastics I've owned, and is close to the excellent 1911 pattern in the aim/point/feel department...

4) The grip angle mimics the 1911, BHP, and the standard 1911 angle adopted by the major players. From my perspective, it is a huge improvement over the Glock and Ruger design. The M&P has an excellent natural point/aim characteristic...

5) The metal magazines are nice, however, the springs feel a tad on the weak side. Only time will tell if their weight will be sufficient...

6) My version has no mag disconnect, no external key lock, and no thumb safety which make the weapon a 'point & shoot' revolver-like operation. This should bode well for an issued service revolver, however, a tight holster might create an 'out-of-battery' condition that many experience with similar designs...

7) The hinged trigger design is more comfortable than I thought it would be. IMO, it's certainly an improvement over the Glock and XD...

8) There were quite a few sharp edges and raised seams on the plastic frame. I used a small file and emory cloth to remove any sharp edges and seams throughout the pistol -- there were enough of them that the imperfections might/would have caused abrasions to the skin during extended training sessions. This dehorning process took about 30 minutes...

9) Overall, Smith & Wesson have laid out a well-designed platform. Its controls are in the right places, the serrations are properly angled to perform well under stress or wet/slippery conditions, a decent trigger design seemed natural, excellent ergonomics and handling characteristics abound, and all this in a nicely finished polymer frame and anti-rust, black finished stainless steel slide. A big plus are the Novak Lo-Mount sights (steel not plastic as in Glock), the standard 1913 rail, and the steel (versus plastic as in many others) recoil guide...

A few things I would have liked to have seen or improved upon:

A) A 5" barrel length, especially for the .45ACP...
B) A lanyard fitted to the backstrap tool...
C) A non-captured recoil spring assembly for ease in working/replacing/testing springs for various loads...
D) An inexpensive holster and dual mag pouches provided with the pistol to facilitate carry until the proper holster and accessories can be acquired/purchased -- a 'stop-gap', so to speak, between getting a quality holster and support items so the M&P can be utilized (as per the XD)...
E Three magazines (as in FNC) for those who prefer to carry two spare magazines...

That's about it for now. Thanks to all of you who convinced me to take the leap once more in regard to polymer-framed service pistols and my search for another pistol that I might carry other than my everyday 1911 patterned handguns or the H&K's...


I'll submit a range report once I hit the range later this week...


PS: My H&K45 should be in the shop today or tomorrow. I'll report my first impressions of that weapon as well once I get my gun oiled hands wrapped around it...
 

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Excellent review. As a die hard 1911 guy I was surprised and impressed with the M&P. I have the version with thumb safety and like you I found the M&P45's trigger to be way too heavy. Mine came in at over 9lbs (non-MA trigger) but dropped 2lbs and smoothed out in about 200 rounds. S&W actually recommends loading up a snap cap and doing 200 dry fires. This isn't as much work as it seems because you only have to cycle the slide about a 1/4" while dry firing. I was impressed enough that I bought a 9c (compact) to go with it. The 9's trigger come in with a much better 6lb trigger and became buttery smooth in 200 trigger pulls. Both are getting matching trigger jobs as I type this.

Let me help you with these questions.
A) A 5" barrel length, especially for the .45ACP... Rumored to be in the works as a competition 9mm
B) A lanyard fitted to the backstrap tool... I believe this is an option
C) A non-captured recoil spring assembly for ease in working/replacing/testing springs for various loads... replacement assemblies aren't much more than a Wolff spring... but although it's not recommended but they can be disassembled
D) An inexpensive holster and dual mag pouches provided with the pistol to facilitate carry until the proper holster and accessories can be acquired/purchased -- a 'stop-gap', so to speak, between getting a quality holster and support items so the M&P can be utilized (as per the XD)...
E Three magazines (as in FNC) for those who prefer to carry two spare magazines... Until recently a BladeTech holster, mag pouch and 3rd magazine were available with the M&P for about $40 more in a carry-kit version. You may still be able to find one

The M&P impressed the heck out of this 1911 guy. With the way the industry is jumping onto the M&P band wagon I'm almost wondering if it won't be the 21st century's answer to the 1911. Don't worry I'm not selling my 1911 collection, and in fact I just ordered a Performance Center SW1911. But I will also be adding several more M&Ps to my collection. Oh and don't forget the $50 and 2 additional free magazines by mail rebate through 1/31/2008.
 

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Can you post the link to the M&P forum you refered to regarding the trigger work? Thanks!
 

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Of course, my first question was going to be, "how do you like the thumb safety?" Anyone have one of those? I can't see myself buying any plastic-framed gun, but I'd much prefer Condition 1 to Condition 0, if I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Pistol Pete said:
Can you post the link to the M&P forum you refered to regarding the trigger work? Thanks!

I hope this is okay with the forum...proceed at your own risk; if you are fine working around handguns, the process is very simple and easy to perform...

Just take your time and all will be well...

Here's the link (it's in the opening post. Click on -- M&P Trigger Job :

http://mp-pistol.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=110
 

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RickB said:
Of course, my first question was going to be, "how do you like the thumb safety?" Anyone have one of those? I can't see myself buying any plastic-framed gun, but I'd much prefer Condition 1 to Condition 0, if I did.
Only the 45 is offered with a thumb safety, although there are rumors that this may change in '08. I bought mine with the thumb safety. My thumb is conditioned to look for the safety on its own and it just seemed natural to me to have one. Mine came with an excessively heavy trigger from the factory but this smoothed out and dropped 2lbs in 200rds. Still a bit heavy and her and her little sister are off getting a trigger job right now. It's said that a near 1911 like trigger can be archived by a master gunsmith like Dan Burwell or Mr. Bowie.

The M&P points and handles like a 1911. The safety is where it's supposed to be, and moves in the correct direction. However it is not a thumb rest. The pistol is light and reliable and recoil is mild with little muzzle rise. In my opinion this is the polymer pistol that JMB would have designed if he were around today. That's high praise coming from me because I love the 1911.

Interestingly enough in about 80% of the pistols have an unplanned feature. That is that the slide will usually release itself chambering a round if you insert the magazine vigorously. This really speeds up combat and competition reloads and is considered a feature by M&P owners.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
sholling said:
Interestingly enough in about 80% of the pistols have an unplanned feature. That is that the slide will usually release itself chambering a round if you insert the magazine vigorously. This really speeds up combat and competition reloads and is considered a feature by M&P owners.
Just as a side note to your side note, quite a few handguns will exhibit this feature if the magazine is inserted with what I consider excessive force. IMO, this is not a good technique in some firearms as it can cause damage to internal parts -- one example is the ejector on the 1911 platform which can be loosened or detached as a result of a too vigorous magazine seating......
 

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ColtM1911A1 said:
Just as a side note to your side note, quite a few handguns will exhibit this feature if the magazine is inserted with what I consider excessive force. IMO, this is not a good technique in some firearms as it can cause damage to internal parts -- one example is the ejector on the 1911 platform which can be loosened or detached as a result of a too vigorous magazine seating......
Sorry, but I don't see how you can possibly damage the ejector of a 1911 by inserting the mag with excessive force. The base plate will prevent the mag from travelling far enough to hit the ejector, in fact the top round in the mag won't make contact with the extended ejector in my 1911. There is simply no way for the mag or its rounds to make contact with the ejector and damage it.
 

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Good Deal. The pistol with the thumb safety HAS the lanyard loop. Maybe they will offer this part as aftermarket soon. I personlally think that the M&P .45 is the closest thing to the "answer" if you want a .45 platform and don't want to spend more then a grand and a half.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gammon said:
Sorry, but I don't see how you can possibly damage the ejector of a 1911 by inserting the mag with excessive force. The base plate will prevent the mag from travelling far enough to hit the ejector, in fact the top round in the mag won't make contact with the extended ejector in my 1911. There is simply no way for the mag or its rounds to make contact with the ejector and damage it.
Gammon, I admit I am using an example that is rare to press my point. To clarify my contention:

That is true only if the magazine feed lips has enough clearance (which most do ) for the rear left of the feed lips not to contact the ejector. I have seen some of the extended (8 round) magazines or other styles that were longer than spec and did contact the ejector (the ejector could also have been slightly shorter than normal as well or the base plate allowed more upward movement). I will concede that this is not the norm and in most cases not an issue, but I've seen examples where the ejector was pushed upward and loosened by the magazine when 'slammed' home...

Look inside the chamber and eye-ball the clearance between the magazine and the ejector; it wouldn't take much for a magazine to contact the ejector if any of these parts (magazine, base plate, or ejector) were slightly out of spec...

That's all I was saying and perhaps the example was a bit 'over-the-top' as it is a rare happening. Having said that, I still don't agree with 'slamming the magazine home excessively...
 

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at-home-daddy said:
Mine's Burwell-ized. It's quite good.
Both my M&P45 and my 9c are in his shop right now. I'm already planning on the future 45c and the future 9mm competition version, and having him work on those as well.
 
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