M&P 40 v. Glock 40 - review and thoughts


January 22, 2008, 09:59 PM
This week, I’ve had a chance to do a side-by-side comparison of my trusty Glock 23 and an almost new Smith & Wesson M&P 40.

Much of this post comes from I reply I posted to another question. I decided to post this a new topic, because it’s really a bit different.

My Glock 23 is 13 years old, and I have a Hogue slip on grip on it. I have medium to small hands. (I wear a cadet medium golf glove, if that helps anyone) The slip on grip is not there to add size, but to give me a little better grip and some finger grooves.

My Glock 23 is my absolute "go to" gun. I had a trigger job done on it about 10 years ago and have a Haarts recoil reducer in it. It's never misfired or jammed - IN 13 YEARS. (Edit…it misfired once today and failed to feed three times. I just got the gun back from having a gun shop do the ”deep” cleaning and replacing of springs, as I’ve never had that done. I also changed all of the magazine springs, which are now so tight, I can’t get 13 rounds in a magazine. I’m going to attribute this to a needed break in again after service, since it’s never done this before.) It fits my hands well, and I can point shoot it easily inside of 15 yards. With careful shooting, all of my hits are in the black at 25 yards.

I got the M&P because I took a 2-day class at Smith & Wesson and was impressed enough by the guns that other students were using, and that the instructor was using to pick-up a barely used one. After playing around with the “palmswell” size, I had gone to the small one, but today it seemed like the medium was a better fit, so I changed back to that and it works better.

Here’s a little side story worth noting…When I got the used M&P a couple of weeks ago, it had 5-6 misfires in the first 200 rounds! That just could not be, so I took it apart, cleaned it well and tried it again, this time I had another 4 misfires in 100 rounds. I drove the gun up to Smith & Wesson in Springfield and left it there for repair. I also asked to have night sights added and for them to call me for a credit card number. Three days later, UPS showed up with my repaired M&P 40 with night sights, AND a used 15 round magazine that I did not leave with the gun. Not that I was complaining mind you☺. They also never asked for a credit card for the sights, so I guess they either forgot or cut me a break for having such a new gun that misfired. Either way, I was VERY happy.

Tonight, I put several hundred rounds through each gun, using a variety of ammo, and did everything side by side. The differences were stunning.

As for shooting, the biggest thing I noticed is that the M&P absorbs recoil better than the Glock. I actually can't tell the difference when firing Corbon 135's in the M&P from standard Winchester range ammo. The M&P feels the same with everything. The Glock with Corbon is harsher on my hand than with range ammo. In fact, ALL of my Glocks are different with Corbon. I don't know what S&W did to achieve this, but I think it's remarkable.

For the first time in 13 years, another gun has taken the crown away from my beloved Glock 23! The M&P flat out shoots better than the Glock. It’s significantly more comfortable in my hand and the smaller diameter grip than the Glock, along with the grip being a little bit longer, makes for one fine handling pistol. The M&P was also more accurate them my Glock, by a little bit. I was very impressed that a gun that is brand new to me shoots so well for me so quickly. (I’ve been trying to love an HK USP Compact 9 and an HK P2000 9 for several years now and after shooting the M&P tonight, actually packed the HK’s up to bring to the gun dealer tomorrow to sell!) After shooting the two side by side, the Glock feels clunky and awkward after shooting the M&P.

The M&P is smoother looking, and more rounded. The slide is more "grippy" than the Glock for racking and the sight design is better. The fact that there are 2 more rounds in the magazine does not hurt either. It's marginally heavier than the Glock 23. The slide release on the M&P is hard to operate, being so close to the frame, but that's a small thing for me.

So when I bring my 2 HK’s in tomorrow, I’ll be looking at an M&P 9mm for a little less recoil and cheaper practicing. I may even look at the M&P compact.

I’m not ready to get rid of my Glock 23 or 27 yet, but my Glock 22 rarely gets used and the M&P 40 could easily replace that and overlap with the Glock 23.

I hope this has been helpful, and please feel free to post comments.


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Owen Meany
January 22, 2008, 10:58 PM
My Glock 23 is my absolute "go to" gun.

Same here. The Glock 23 is simply a phenomenal piece of equipment. I cannot imagine anything beating it in the "go to" department, be it M&P, XD or other. That gun is so reliable and easy to shoot it bores me just to think about it - and that's one of the highest praises I can sing of any gun.

January 22, 2008, 11:02 PM
all same to me, all have worked and i would trust them 100%.

January 23, 2008, 12:07 PM
Thanks for the write-up... My 23s have never given me any problems. I'd be interested to try the M&P side by side... the glocks don't have the most comfortable grip frame. I shoot them well, though.

Tom Servo
January 23, 2008, 01:30 PM
Nice review.

A word about S&W customer service. I had a problem with one of their pistols, and when I sent it back, I asked them to install night sights while they had it. Like you, I was never billed or charged. I even called to ask them about it, and their reply was, "oh, we comped that to make up for the inconvenience."

"Inconvenience?" I had the gun back four days after sending it to them, and they paid shipping both ways!

All in all, very pleased.

January 23, 2008, 01:46 PM
The m+p are GREAT guns!!! I cant stand the way a glock feels in my hand ! to bad they are so reliable.

January 23, 2008, 02:18 PM
I tried M&P full size 9 and 45, and then bought a 9c, mostly for CC. I have always had a hard time with full size glocks due to the crappy grip angle and ergonomics, but can shoot my dad's G19 fairly well. The M&P has a stainless steel chassis molded into the frame, and gives it a lot more solid feel, and rigidity. I think this, coupled with the wide and comfortable grip, and high hand placement are responsible for the miraculously little recoil and muzzle flip. Mine failed to go into battery twice in the first hundred rounds, and never again in over 2000, but having also dealt with S&W customer service, I never worry about a pistol having a problem, I know they will take care of it. Now if they can only make a "midsize" or a compact 45.

January 23, 2008, 02:25 PM
I too have been led astray. I've beens such a Sig fan boy for so long, I was STUNNED that I like the M&P so much.

Of course my luck being what it is, the dreaded magazine drop issue reared it's ugly head. Still S&W responded with lightening speed and it's on it's way back to S&W as of today.

January 23, 2008, 02:53 PM
Now if they can only make a "midsize" or a compact 45.

Oh happy day for you! (http://mp-pistol.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=9972) (clicky ze linky)

January 23, 2008, 03:47 PM
The slide release on the M&P is hard to operate, being so close to the frame, but that's a small thing for me.

The slide release on a brand new, or nearly new gun will be very stiff. This will wear in, or a little effort with some emery paper will fix that and smooth it out.

Also, I use my support hand thumb to release it, rather than my shooting hand. I use a thumbs-forward grip, so after I slap the mag in, my left hand naturally comes up to re-establish the hold. It was a minor thing (and a short bit of practice)to alter the motion to roll my left hand up, pulling the slide-release along the way. It's also helped me get a more consistant hold.

THe M&P is a fine weapon. Not even a year ago people were calling it the new Sigma. Now, many of those critics own at least one.

January 23, 2008, 03:59 PM
So, if I buy a m&p, should I take it directly to them to get it fixed and have night sights put on it, or should I wait for the "misfire" experience, and then go to them to have it fixed?

I shoot all kinds of ammo through my glocks, and my 1911, and I cannot tell the difference between ammo as it relates to "kick" I just don't! For all of these years, everyone atributed Glock's frame as a recoil reducer, and still, I could not tell any difference in loads, including +p loads. My hands must be "Chuck Norris" like. I never knew.

January 23, 2008, 06:40 PM
definately the glock

The Lone Haranguer
January 23, 2008, 09:48 PM
I totally agree with the comments about the M&P's hand fit and trigger action. I will not get rid of the trusty Glock 19 that I've had for nine years (in fact I spent some money on it recently for upgrades), but I don't see the need for another Glock. I do want to give my 9mm compact a big brother, most likely a 9mm full-size. ;)

January 23, 2008, 10:31 PM
I owned a Glock 22 for many years and that was a .40

Now I own an M&P40, I'm personally happier with the M&P. I have more rounds through it, I find it more accurate and easier to manage, better trigger and I like the look and feel better.

January 23, 2008, 10:59 PM
Tough call. I have a G23 and a M&P .40. I like and carry them both.

My G23 has been a reliable companion for years. I do not like the grip angle at all. It always points high for me. But I trust it and feel very comfortable carrying it. I just keep in mind to concentrate on the front sight so I can get it on target quickly. I invariably have to pull it down a little. If all I shot was Glocks, I'm sure that would become a non-problem.

The M&P (for me) has a better grip angle (thus pointability), a better trigger (no ridged safety irritating my fingertip), and larger capacity, not that that's such a big issue. It has been flawless over 1000 rounds. It doesn't yet have the track record that the Glock has developed over quite a few years.

January 23, 2008, 11:31 PM
Oh happy day for you! (clicky ze linky)

:what::):D See how good S&W customer service is, I wanted a midsize 45, and 2 posts later, woila there is the good news. Hopefully the grip is somewhere between the full and compact in size ala G19, if it has a full grip and a short slide, the 45 compact will be mine instead of the midsize. I never bought a mag for mine, it came with 2 and S&W was running the 2 free mag rebate deal when I bought it, so 4 is plenty for me

As to the mag drops, failure to go into battery, and slide stop engaging with a round or two still in the mag, I have only experienced one of the 3, and only twice when new, mine is an early model, allegedly newer models have been fixed prior to sale, and a couple folks I know with them have had 0 problems from day 1

January 24, 2008, 02:30 AM
I was surprised by how well I liked the design of the M&P when I attended an armorer's class. There are some surprises to the design.

The Melonite QP used to treat the through-hardened stainless steel slides and barrels of the M&P pistols is a nitrocarburizing surface hardening treatment. The black color is a property of the Melonite hardening treatment.

Some basic info on Melonite:

"Through-hardened", referring to the slides and barrels themselves, basically means that instead of being just surface or case hardened, the stainless steel components have been hardened throughout. Then, the slides and barrels receive the Melonite nitrocarburizing treatment.

FWIW, the Melonite nitrocarburizing treatment the M&P receives results in a surface hardness of 68 HRc, which is a little harder than the 64 HRc of Glocks which receive the nitrocarburizing treatment marketed under the Tenifer trade name.

There are several very interesting design features used in the M&P pistol.

The stock triggers are intended to produce a trigger pull of 6.5 lbs, with a +/- 2lb tolerance range. Yes, that's plus/minus of 2 lbs. That means you might occasionally get one on the heavier end or the lighter end. There's a heavier trigger available for those states (or contracts) which will require it (Think NYPD).

The locking block pin should stick out just a bit on the left side of the frame. The left end of it should be level with the outside (taller) portion of the side of the frame to act as a "stop" for the take down lever. This is intentional, and protects that part of the frame.

The incorporation of the front frame rails into the locking block reminds me of the Walther P99 Compact (which also puts the front frame rails in the locking block, instead of using an insert molded in the frame as in the standard size models).

The incorporation of the rear frame rails in the steel sear housing assembly is also interesting.

This design essentially means that if a frame rail were to ever break (hard to imagine with the large, robust rails), the broken rail could easily be replaced by simply replacing the locking block or the sear housing assembly. The repair can be done by an armorer, and the frame doesn't have to be returned to the factory.

The frame rails themselves are rather robust and interesting in design. S&W calls them 'rocker rails', and their shape not only permits 'centering' of the slide rails onto the frame rails, but we were told their shape also reduces stresses on the rails themselves.

I like that the sear housing is made of steel. I like how the ejector snaps in and out of the housing.

The magazine springs have a Teflon-based finish to help with smooth functioning. I like the steel magazine bodies.

The captive recoil spring assembly uses a stainless steel guide rod because S&W felt it would provide better strength and durability.

The front of the slide's dustcover (which houses the front of the guide rod) was made thick and strong, to resist damage if a slide is dropped 'muzzle forward' onto a hard surface. (You have to watch cops standing around a cleaning table/station to really appreciate this feature.)

I like the robust appearance of the ejector, too.

The 'I-beam" extractor surprised me with its design. The extractor is larger and stronger in appearance than any S&W extractor I've ever seen, especially the extractor hook itself.

The slide end cap is very thick. I like that. The 99 end cap was a bit thin, although I've only had to replace one which cracked.

There have been some minor changes, improvements and refinements since the early pistols were introduced.

The early flat engagement pads of the slide stop levers received a different shape after feedback from folks who prefer to use the levers as 'slide release levers'.

The tension of the slide stop lever spring was increased (the current spring is red).

The hardening of the metal insert in the magazine catch was changed. Some earlier magazine catches had metal inserts which were too soft, which resulted in some magazines being unintentionally released.

The 'foot' of the striker was changed, with more material added to the front of it, so the striker is retracted a bit more before being released (there are some hard primers out there in some ammunition). I don’t know what’s up with some striker tips reportedly breaking from dry-firing, but S&W has been using their own strikers in the SW99/990L pistols since they were introduced without problems (as well as in the Sigma line). It's not like they haven't had some experience with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a batch produced which may have had some occasional issues. Dunno.

I like the idea of the striker return spring used in the M&P striker assembly, though. I felt the same way about the similar design of the Walther P99 striker assembly design. I remember when I attended my first SW99/P99 armorer class and the purpose of the striker return spring was explained as being to help prevent unnecessary contact between the firing pin and the plunger. This sort of repeated contact can commonly result in a peening condition which has been described as 'chatter' in an armorers class for another striker-fired polymer-framed pistol design. ;)

The yellow sear deactivation lever shape was changed (essentially for ease of reassembly if a user was a bit 'inattentive' regarding its position when installing the slide onto the frame after cleaning). The original one has a dog-leg curve and the current one is straight at the end.

The design features are impressive. I was repeatedly struck by the elegant simplicity of some of them. The magazine safety is 1 lever and a spring. After examining how it functions I wouldn’t be bothered by having one in a personally owned/used M&P, either. Much simpler than the magazine disconnect safety in the traditional S&W pistols, and I’ve used those for many years without problem. The way the lever sticks out into the magazine well, however, means that a rag or shop towel should NOT be rammed through the grip frame in some sloppy, improper semblance of a cleaning method.

The ergonomics are very good. The feel of the 3 grip inserts are great. The 18 degree grip angle, combined with the low bore axis and extended frame 'beavertail' (to help prevent 'slide bite'), are an excellent combination.

I like that the M&P pistol was originally designed and built around the .40 S&W cartridge, instead of being a beefed-up 9mm.

I was undecided between ordering a M&P 40 Compact or one of the .45's for a while, and if ordering the .45, whether to get the standard model or the one with the safety levers. I do rather like the simplicity of the .45 model designed for military trials which has the ambidextrous thumb safeties. The safety levers simply block the rearward movement of the trigger bar, and don’t interfere with anything else (such as retracting the slide to empty the chamber).

I was originally leaning toward waiting until the first of the more compact models were announced and released at the SHOT Show. (A differently machined, shorter slide and even shorter barrel will be needed for the smallest of the .45's planned, I’m told, unlike the first of the planned compacts which will have the same length slide. Guess we’ll wait and see. )

Now I'm thinking of just ordering a standard black (non-safety lever) M&P 45. I pretty much have more than enough small 9mm & .40 S&W pistols as it is, but oddly enough there's not a single polymer-framed .45 to be found among the EIGHT .45 pistols I presently own. That's as good of an excuse ... uh, I mean reason ... as any to buy one. ;)

I suppose if the standard model proves interesting enough I can always add one of the pending compacts at a later date. :scrutiny:

April 16, 2008, 07:56 PM
fastbolt, that was excellent info. Thank you.

The M&P .45 is a very nice shooter. I had to return mine to S&W due to feeding problems with 185 grain JHP's. Never had one with any 230 grain JHP or FMJ. S&W replaced the extractor, and performed unnamed modifications to slide and barrel. It is now perfectly reliable with all 185's I've tried.

April 16, 2008, 08:06 PM
Good review. Thanks for sharing.

Master of Arms
April 16, 2008, 09:21 PM
Never shot the other but I own a Glock and I remember when I got it and never remember looking for any other handgun afterwards. I`ve never owned a better handgun. My Glock has never jammed. I bought a CZ 75 B with satin nickle finish and let my friend use it in a match. It jammed 3 times before the day was out. I guess what I`m saying is what more could you ask for once you own a Glock? Just adding my 2 cents.

April 16, 2008, 10:11 PM
fastbolt, according to the book "GLOCK The New Wave In Combat Handguns" (It's old, from 1992), Glock pistols have a skin hardness of 69 Rockwell Cone (RC)! 70 RC is the hardness of an industrial diamond! :)

Read about it in the book on page 136 and 137.

April 16, 2008, 11:18 PM
From the Glock website ...
Unique GLOCK hi-tech surface refinement for barrel and slide. Apart from optimum corrosion protection and anti-reflective finish, a degree of hardness of 64 HRC - close to that of a diamond - is achieved.

This is also what's taught by Glock in the armorer class, FWIW.

Perhaps they've changed the specifications of the Carbonitride treatment a bit since the author wrote his book?

April 17, 2008, 11:51 AM
I guess what I`m saying is what more could you ask for once you own a Glock?
If you have one that works all the time and fits your hand, nothing. Not everyone does. ;)

April 17, 2008, 01:18 PM
I really feel that the M&P will give Glock a run for it's money. If I were Gaston, I'd be nervous.

The feel of the gun in your hand is so pleasing. Add that the fact that it's more accurate than the Glock and handles recoil MUCH better than the Glock and we have a real winner on our hands.

April 17, 2008, 01:30 PM
I'm a lover of Glocks, I have a 26 and a 30. (although I carry a 1911 - go figure ;) ) ! tried out the M&P compact 9 last weekend and was majorly impressed by the ergonomics and accuracy...it was just a very comfortable pistol to shoot. I'm sorely tempted to get one in 45 with the paddle safety.....

Master of Arms
April 17, 2008, 11:24 PM
If you have one that works all the time and fits your hand, nothing. Not everyone does.
Well a person would have to have very small hands to have a problem with the size of the grip. I know many,many people that own Glocks and use them regularly and not one of those people have had a problem but I suppose that out of the hundreds of thousands Glocks made that there are a few lemons but that would go for any brand firearm.

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