POI too low on M&P 40?


November 23, 2007, 01:25 PM
I have a new M&P 40 which shoots 3-4" below the POA at 7 yards. Is this normal for this gun? I am using 165gr bullets. Are these bullets too light? Can I bring the POI up significantly by changing to heavier bullets?

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November 23, 2007, 03:43 PM
Please don't take this wrong, but often the shooter has a direct connection to POA/POI differences.

I've 'fixed' more situations where the "gun is shooting low" by fixing the shooter instead of the gun.

For example, the other day one of our new instructors was trying to help another person who was consistently shooting several inches low at close distances (7 - 10 yds). After watching them both struggle with the 'problem' a bit, which resulted in some frustration on the part of the shooter, I wandered over and got involved.

Listening to the "gun's shooting low" explanation, I took the gun and calmly discussed some of the shooting basics with the shooter, and then handed him back his gun ... which unknown to him now had an empty chamber.

I asked him to carefully fire an aimed round ... and watched the rather dramatic downward flinch as the hammer fell on an empty chamber. Well, that probably explains the 'shooting low'. He couldn't feel it when it occurred, because of the recoil, and the new instructor hadn't observed it, being focused on the point of impact at the target.

More importantly, now the shooter actually understood what was likely causing his problem. Instead of just 'being told' that he had a problem, he'd been able to experience for himself, feeling the downward flinch in the absence of recoil. Once he actually experienced and understood what was happening he was able to take steps to correct his 'problem', with some suggestions and further shooting drills. Of course, now he's got to make sure the 'fix' remains in place each and every time he presses the trigger ... same as the rest of us. ;)

Ball & Dummy drills ... mixing dummy rounds with live ammunition ... can often help an instructor diagnose whether the shooter is unintentionally (and unknowingly) flinching, or having problems with his/her trigger stroke, etc., etc..

Personally, I prefer to mix in a Dummy round without the shooter being aware of it, so the shooter's expectation is that the gun is going to fire and recoil. I've often found that if the shooter 'expects' the Dummy round, then the shooter is focusing more on anticipating the Dummy round and less on his/her shooting. Temporarily 'training' to expect and handle the Dummy round in that specific drill, so to speak.

I've often wondered whether in some instances this developed a temporary 'false' skill correction on the part of the shooter, since some of them have only seemed to 'correct' their anticipatory flinch in their desire and expectation of 'passing' the corrective drills ... and returned to flinching once they knew all live ammunition was again being used.

This is best done in the presence of an instructor who can also observe whether other bad habits are being demonstrated (unknowingly) by the shooter. It can save frustration. It's also safer.

The trick is getting the shooter past the point where the shooter is just "expecting" the Dummy round in a training situation ... to where he/she is able to translate his/her recognition and understanding of 'anticipatory flinch' into being able to prevent it from occurring in regular live-fire training circumstances (where Dummy rounds aren't being used). Different folks may have a slightly different 'software/hardware' experience when they're being helped to resolve this sort of skill issue.

If it's actually a gun problem, then it's the sights. ;)

It may also be the nature of the sight picture/alignment (POA used by someone who typically shoots 25 yd bulls-eye with a 6 o'clock hold, for example, and experiences 'low hits' when trying to use that sight picture at 7-10 yards).

Might also be the ammunition, upon occasion. As far as the bullet weight? The standard .40 S&W load around which the cartridge was developed used the 180gr bullet, and sometimes lighter bullets may impact a bit lower for some folks.

Of course, over the years I've also encountered the occasional situation where it's been caused by both the shooter's anticipatory flinch AND the sights ... and both have had to be corrected. That can be an interesting balancing act ...

Just my thoughts. Don't claim to have the answer. The internet can't replace an actual instructor. Nor can it diagnose and repair an actual gun problem.

If you call S&W they'll probably offer to send a repair tag so they can examine the gun itself, but then it might be understandably frustrating if they return the gun without having found any 'problem'.

November 23, 2007, 04:12 PM
I don't think it has anything to do with my technique. I shoot POA with my 1911 fairly consistently at the same distance. I'll try some 180gr and see what happens.

November 23, 2007, 07:57 PM
I don't have that problem with my M&P40....must be the shooter:neener:

Generally shooting low is a trigger control issue, the trigger on the M&P isn't bad but its certainly not a 1911 trigger. If I go back and forth between my 1911 and M&P when I'm at the range I really have to take my time the first couple shots and get used to the difference in trigger feel.

I usually don't have any trouble making nice tight one hole groups with my M&P unless I'm just have a bad day at the range. After 6k+ rounds through my M&P I'm pretty confident that gun is reasonably accurate.

If the gun is new to you make sure you put a few hundred rounds through it and get used to the way the ergonomics feel and the way the trigger feels. Like I said it is not a 1911 and may require you to pay a little more attention to the trigger for a while until you get used to how it feels.

Also my trigger didn't start to smooth out until I put a few hundred rounds through it. When I first got it the trigger wasn't nearly as nice as it is now and I my accuracy improved as the trigger smoothed out.

Good Luck!

November 24, 2007, 12:45 AM
I don't think it has anything to do with my technique. I shoot POA with my 1911 fairly consistently at the same distance.

Hinged, pivoting trigger with a less predictable break, versus familiar stirrup-type trigger with a break probably familiar to you. It wouldn't be surprising if the difference in the 'new' trigger were to introduce the potential for an unintended influence to affect things during the trigger press, at least initially, would it?

I noticed something a bit similar once when I was first trying the Walther QA-type trigger in the SW990L series.

It took me almost a full magazine load to adjust to the HK P2000 with the LEM trigger. It took me a couple of magazines before I was able to correct an apparent POA/POI 'issue' and group all the rounds into a ragged hole at POA at 10 yards. Until then my 'group' was 'off' by a good 3-4 inches. :eek: It finally 'clicked'. I still don't care for the HK LEM trigger, though.

Luck to you. If the heavier bullet weight and/or some more trigger time don't resolve things for you, call S&W.

November 24, 2007, 10:21 AM
I've discovered some of my pistols shot lower or higher with certain bullet weights. I also had one pistol that came with the wrong sights. It shot a foot low at eighteen yards with everything. To eliminate the possibility that it's you, have somebody else shoot it and see where they hit.

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