S&W - M&P Problems - How bad are they


January 23, 2009, 03:02 PM
You know, I really like my two M&Ps (the 45 thumb safety and the 9c). I have had way more than my share of problems with the .45 and I am fixing to send it back to S&W because my trigger is cracked at the joint and the little pin works out. Sometimes it doesn't reset and I pull the trigger and nothing happens.

Now my 9c, so far, has worked flawlessly.

I am over at the M&P Forum and man, reading that thing is scary...problem after problem after problem these guys report. Kind of makes me wonder if I should just take them both, take the hit, and trade them in on a Glock 21 or an FNP 45 or a Sig or maybe even an XD.

Two questions: one general, one specific.

1. Does everybody on the gun specific forums complain so much? It is just because the people with problems comment more I mean?

2. Are these M&Ps really worth the doubt or am I just paranoid from reading this stuff?

I shoot both better than any semi-auto I have ever fired. I have a Glock 17 and while it has never failed once since 1991, I am terrible with it. The first time I shot either M&P, the thing just made me a better shot right out of the box. So I don't want to give up.

Doubt just hangs in my mind even though I am a fairly rational person.

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January 23, 2009, 03:04 PM
I sure love my M & P 9. only have about 3000+ rounds thruough it, and not one issues.

Trigger was not great whenI bought it but a Dave Bowie trigger/action job brought this gun to a level of accuray that Inever thought I could achieve. Great gun, at least mine is.

January 23, 2009, 03:29 PM
1. Does everybody on the gun specific forums complain so much? It is just because the people with problems comment more I mean?

I go shooting at least weekly. I certainly do not rush back after every range trip to report the success of my shooting session. Should I encounter a problem with a gun during a range trip, I might come back and post questions about the problem on an appropriate forum.

January 23, 2009, 03:59 PM
Check this thread from one of the mods, Coronach.

Seems he's pretty happy.

Last time he updated it he was at over 2500 rounds and only 5 malfunctions.

Some interesting ammo notes that might explain a lot. Seems it's picky on ammo.


January 23, 2009, 04:06 PM
Which M&P forum have you been reading?

I thought of buying a M&P compact, however, myself, brother and friend rented a M&P compact and Walther P99 compact (both in 9mm) and all 3 of us chose and bought the Walther P99C because:

* The trigger was much better on the P99 Compact (AS trigger)

* P99 more accurate for all 3 of us

* Decocker is awsome

I do have another buddy that bought a full size M&P 9mm without trying it, and he is so disgusted with the trigger that he never shot the gun again after the 1st time out, but then again, his only other pistol is a 1911.

The P99C was $200 more and worth every penny IMO. I liked the compact so much that I bought the full size P99.


January 23, 2009, 04:30 PM

It is mp-pistols.com.

I too would like a decocker. Bear in mind that there are, IIRC, 4 different actions on the 99 and maybe only the one has a de-cocker.

Unlike you, I am just not very trigger sensitive. I am perfectly happy with the M&P trigger. I am not happy that the .45s has a crack in it. I am not happy that the .45 doesn't always go bang when I pull the trigger...but the trigger pull is comfortable for me.

With the 9 compact, I think I miss the safety. Unlike the Glock, the M&P seems to be fully cocked so it is basically a single action pistol with trigger a safety. I wish my 9c had the thumb safetly but it doesn't come that way.

I entered into centerfire pistols back in the day with a S&W 59. Then got all excited almost 20 years ago and got a glock. Fast forward to today, most of the new pistols are striker fired and have a variety of actions types...from the Sigma which is a true Double Action Only, with the Glock, which is at half-cock, to the M&Ps which, again, from what I can tell, fully cocked.

It may be that I am just a hammer man. I'll neve get rid of my glock 17 simply because I've had it for 17 years and it has never once malfunctioned...not once. I am not a fan of Glocks in the fanboy sense but you have to like a gun that never breaks. All the plastic stuff on is all still there and still fine.

Price was a consideration with the M&P...they are very reasonable. If I can get my .45 up and running as well as my 9c (admittedly 300 rounds only so far) then I;ll be pretty happy. But again, if somebody would trade me straight up, or even nearly so, 2 for one, I might just divest of the worry and get a 1911 or, like I said some other .45...one with a hammer and a safety or decocker.

January 23, 2009, 04:38 PM
The P99C was $200 more and worth every penny IMO.
I just picked up a lightly used SW99C .40 (AS trigger) for about half what a new M&P would cost. I like it. At first I wasn't so sure about the AS trigger but its grown on me.

I must say the SW99 is the most under-rated semi auto S&W has ever made.

If the M&P trigger isn't as nice as my 99c than I'm not interested (for the record my Steyr S40 and M40 both have much better triggers than the S&W).

January 23, 2009, 04:41 PM
1) I really do think most people only post when they have a problems.

2) I have a bout 7k through my 9c and its still my carry gun. I shoot mostly lead reloads but have fed it just about everything and it eats it all from what I have found. There were some problems early out but I think most if not all have been ironed out. If you have problems with yours just send it to S&W and they will make things right, from what I hear they have great customer service and even pay shipping both ways for warranty work.

January 23, 2009, 04:43 PM

totally agree with u. Then one has to decipher if the problems are indeed problems or possably shooter error..

January 23, 2009, 04:50 PM
Well I am not sure if my reset problem on the .45 is shooter error but that darn crack in the trigger is not shooter error that's for sure. Of course that'll be easy and conclusive fix but I'll be left with the reset problem.

I am fixing to send it back to Smith with a very detailed explanation of my problems...I mean couple pages of extensive descriptions of my experiences.

Man, if they can make it right...I love how they looks, I love how they feel, I love how they shoots...a little worried about the full cock thing but I have good stout holsters for both so we'll see. If they make the .45 fully right and the pull no bang thing stops, I'll be a happy camper.

Jim Watson
January 23, 2009, 05:01 PM
1. I agree, people are more prone to complain than to praise. So you are not getting a true picture of the ratio of lemons to satisfactory guns on the internet. Does not mean the duds are not getting out, though. The Internet Definition of Good Customer Service means a willingness to sell a defective product and the ability to make you think they are doing you a favor by fixing it.

MY Plastic M&P 9mm standard + Burwell trigger and sights is a good one. Reliable, handy, and accurate.

I shot the first .45 in the area and it was kind of ok but I really don't want a .45 other than a 1911.

I have tried hard to like the Walther P99. If there were somebody doing the quality of trigger work you see on Glocks, Smiths, and XDs, I would be glad to have one, but all I have shot or handled had kind of a gritty uneven trigger stroke.

January 23, 2009, 06:53 PM
I have a <cough cough> number of M&Ps, in all available chamberings. I have two that specifically serve as weekly range mules. They have accumulated well in excess of fifteen thousand rounds each. I have had ZERO breakages or malfunctions with these two. I shoot mostly cast RN, and I'd clean these pistols every 3000-5000rds. The lube goo on the insides would be caked everywhere, and yet these pistols just chugged away.

I had an early issue with one of the 40S&W, when it proved finicky feeding truncated cone bullets with a wide meplat and a sharp shoulder. Sticking with bullets with a more traditional ogive has solved that issue.

Maybe I'm lucky, but if so I'm really really lucky because I have a number of 'em and I shoot the snot outta them.

January 23, 2009, 07:27 PM
Well sounds like I need to give Smith a chance. I can be patient and if I get 'em going good, I'll be real happy.

Thanks rbernie for the 8000th post.

January 23, 2009, 07:56 PM
I believe the M&P is DA not SA. At least it is classed as such. XD is SA. Steyr is DA. Confused yet? the line is drawn at how far the striker is precocked and whether or not it will set off a primer if it releases (and frankly how the maker lists it, but that is the litmus test they should use).
Glock ~50% =DA
Steyr =72% =DA
XD =90% =SA as it will pop a primer
M&P=? no idea, but they are classed as DA pistols and it feels similar to my Steyrs if a little heavier and mushier (in all fairness it is still in break in period though)

Also you will see a LOT more problems on the brand specific boards. This is as simple as; if you had a gun hiccuping where would you go to register an account to ask about your issues? What can be more telling is reading through the threads and seeing how many have to go back for work vs how many are simple break in, poor maintenance, or user induced malfunctions.

January 23, 2009, 08:05 PM
My wife has the M&P 9 in her nightstand and the SC for carry. Both have proven to be perfectly reliable. The first with about 3k through it and the second with only about 500.

I like my Beretta PX4-9 much better than either. I have found that I simply don't care for striker fired handguns in general, but the M&P series has held up just fine for us.

January 23, 2009, 10:09 PM
Have 2 M&Ps - full size in .40 and a 9c - love 'em both - not a single issue with either.

January 23, 2009, 10:55 PM
I have a new M&P 45c that has been flawless. I had to send the pistol back to S&W for a new pin in the sear block that was left out during manufacturing, but functionally it has been perfect. My M&P 40 has been fine as well. I think S&W's M&P series is a great platform.

January 24, 2009, 01:39 AM
You should get rid of any crappy M&P's. I'll take them at a deep discount of course, since they are soooo crappy. I could just add your M&P's to my collection of M&P shame to keep them out of the view of good people everywhere.

Since there has never been a recorded case of the slightest blemish on a Glock, you should sell me your discounted M&P and get one of those pieces of perfection.

January 24, 2009, 02:43 AM
I was looking at the M&P until I learned about the occasional frame sag issue. Coming from the Plastics industry it nagged me. I went for the XDm-40 ... So far I'm good with it.

January 24, 2009, 09:43 AM
Check out the cracks in the slide of this M&P:


January 24, 2009, 10:49 AM
My M&P 9C felt great in the hand but couldn't hit the side of a barn. Even more vexing was the sticky mag release button. It was stiff and stuck in the "release" position, meaning that if you seated a magazine, it would promptly drop free or fail to feed if held in place by friction between the mag and frame.

Nothing I tried would relieve the sticking mag problem, let alone the poor accuracy. Oh, and that weird plastic tool that holds the backstrap on? It broke easily.

I consigned the gun out along with the 10 & 12 rd. mags that came with it and the extras I got free during the sales promotion for a bargain sale price of $400.

Now, I depend on a law enforcement trade-in, a SIG-P226. My SIG is accurate and feeds flawlessly. I don't have a problem with 9mm (on the rare day that I want something with more "thump," I use my S&W Model 686+ in .357); but I do have a problem with a gun that's full of problems.

January 24, 2009, 11:18 AM
Here's my take honest take on the M&P. (not said with a attitude)
EVERY ONE makes a lemon once in awhile. Since it first showed up I've been impressed with the M&P for many reasons.
1) Many Law agencies are switching to the M&P hands down.
(2) Many Glock users are very disappointed that there is a new poly pistol on the scene that seems better then the Glock.
(3) Glock is taken a very BIG hit from the M&P pistol and can't keep up.
(4) Maybe that some Glock reps are posting bogus reports about the M&P to recover some of their lost sales.

I'm an independent firearms sales and repair owner and frequently go on my own dime to the factories cert courses for many different types of firearms, so I can keep up with my customers needs. I recently went to S&W for the M&P cert and I can say that all the attendees, except for me, were LEO armor's switching to the M&P. This is the first course I've been to that had so much praise for pistol from so many agency's about reliability, performance and user friendly for first time users. What I see, many agencies are / will switch to the M&P and Glock will play dirty to keep their sales.

January 24, 2009, 11:41 AM

I believe that the slide cracked on that M&P, show in the link posted above, after 63,000 rounds! I doubt if I have fired 63,000 rounds in my lifetime to date...certainly not 63,000 centerfire rounds anyway. I think, maybe, a gun breaking after 63,000 rounds is more of an endorsement than an indictment. And that is 63,000 rounds through the thing as fast and as hard as they could shoot them. Also I noted that even with that crack, the gun is still working...it didn't fail to work, the inspected (probably after it stopped glowing red hot) and found the crack.

If the LEAgencies are so interested, that is another endorsement to keep at it.

I sent Smith and email asking for a shipping label and instructions and will call Monday. I am going to keep at it.

I have heard some excellent comments and information on this thread. More will be appreciated. Thanks all.

January 24, 2009, 06:07 PM
I've offered some personal thoughts, opinions and experiences about the M&P pistol series in a few threads. I'll offer them in this one. Please excuse the rambling nature of my comments as I'm not a professional author of magazine articles ...

First of all, 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 design features used in the M&P pistol which I found interesting.

The stock triggers in the 9/40/357 models are intended to produce a trigger pull of 6.5 lbs, with a +/- 2lb tolerance range. Yes, that's a plus/minus of 2 lbs. That means you might occasionally get one on the heavier or lighter end of the expected range. The .45 model has a little bit heavier trigger than the other calibers. There's a heavier trigger available for those states (or contracts) which require it.

The trigger on my M&P 45 was - naturally - at the heavy end of the standard tolerance range. Once I'd fired 300-500 rounds through it, however, the weight stopped being so noticeable and actually seemed to become smoother, if not lighter. I haven't taken the time to check the trigger with my digital scale since it was NIB, so I don't really know what the average weight is at the present. I can offer the opinion that I find the trigger consistently predictable, smooth and crisp enough for surprising accuracy from a working 'service grade' defensive pistol.

Disassembly of the M&P is pretty simple, but then I didn't mind depressing the ejector plate forward in the Ruger P-series pistols for disassembly, either. ;) Getting the grip insert tool/pin out of the grip is a bit of a chore the first couple of times, but then I use an armorer's pin punch to move the sear deactivation lever, anyway (and leave the tool/pin in the grip unless I need to change the grip insert). I have to admit that pushing the ejector plate forward in the Ruger P-90 is easier than reaching under the ejector of the M&P to push the sear deactivation lever forward ... but it does make the user look inside the pistol with the slide locked open, doesn't it?

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

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 could 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, too. S&W calls them 'rocker rails', and their shape not only permits 'centering' of the slide rails onto the frame rails, even as normal wear occurs, 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. I like the robust appearance of the ejector, too.

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

The captive recoil spring assembly uses a stainless steel guide rod because S&W felt it would provide better strength and durability. (This is something for which Glock owners have long expressed a desire.)

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.)

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. Robust is an understatement, I think. It's also interesting that S&W found a way to make the same extractor work across the range of various calibers, too.

The .45 models use a roll pin for the extractor pin instead of the solid pin used on the other calibers (and which is typical for S&W). We were told the roll pin was used to satisfy an expected military requirement (as were the addition of the thumb safety levers) if military pistol trials occurred.

I like the idea of the striker return spring used in the M&P striker assembly. 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 striker and the safety plunger. This sort of repeated contact may result in a peening condition which has been described as 'chatter', and normal, in Glock armorer classes.

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

Yes, there have been some teething problems, but they've been quickly addressed by S&W. Detractors might bear in mind that another major maker of polymer-framed pistols is still making some revisions, refinements, upgrades and occasional improvements to their model line ...

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 .40 S&W does generate some healthy recoil forces).

The hardening of the metal insert in the magazine catch was changed. Some earlier magazine catches had metal inserts which were too soft and 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).

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

I was told several months ago that S&W was in the process of redesigning their striker to make it more tolerant of dry-fire.

I was repeatedly struck by the elegant simplicity of many of the design features, though.

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, and the M&P 40c I ordered is coming equipped with one. Much simpler than the magazine disconnect safety design used 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. One of them ought to be able to fit just about anyone's hand size. The 18 degree grip angle, combined with the low bore axis and extended frame 'beavertail' (to help prevent 'slide bite') are an excellent combination. One of the other instructors with whom I work (who carries a Colt 1911) commented that the smallest of the inserts provides him with a grip that feels remarkably similar, and points similarly in his hands, to that of his 1911 equipped with a flat mainspring housing.

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.

My M&P 45 Dark Earth w/thumb safeties has had more than 2,200 rounds fired through it to date. It's been consistently reliable with a mix of 3 different duty-type hollowpoint loads and has demonstrated itself to be very, very accurate. It's become my favorite personally-owned .45 pistol to use for training & practice.

I've only spoken to a handful of folks from other agencies where the M&P's have either been adopted or have been undergoing extended T&E for either eventual adoption as issued or optionally approved weapons. So far the folks with whom I've spoken have been pleased with them.

The M&P pistol series has a lot going for it, and it's done very well in LE circles considering it was only released in Jan '06.

I think it's become a nice option among the other high quality service pistols.

If my M&P 40c does as well as my full-size M&P .45 has done, it'll more than likely replace my other personally-owned .40 S&W pistols (meaning they'll be 'retired' to the safe) as my choice for an off-duty and retirement CCW weapon chambered in .40 S&W.

I was prepared to be somewhat ambivalent toward the M&P pistol when I first heard rumors of the project. I thought my pair of Glocks and SW99's would more than satisfy my needs for having a sampling of quality polymer-framed pistols. Now, I find that I've ordered my second M&P, and I'm even considering ordering a third one upon my retirement, a M&P 45c.

I like the platform, overall.

Let S&W replace your M&P 45 trigger bar under warranty.

Just my thoughts.

January 24, 2009, 07:25 PM

Thanks. That is a tremendous write up. I do not have the obvious depth of experience that you do but oddly, some of the more obvious things you note, I noted as well. Your technical understanding of this platform is quite impressive. I very much appreciate they time you took to provide this valuable information.

I am sitting tight with the platform. I am sending my .45 back to Smith, get the trigger replaced (I suspect the pin went in too forcefully or something), and have them take a good look at my trigger bar/sear contact.

I am sitting tight and going to get this working 100%. I do love the thing.


January 24, 2009, 07:31 PM
My friend has one. It shoots well. It's dependable. It has a terrible trigger. He likes it.

January 24, 2009, 07:50 PM
You're welcome HoosierQ, but take anything I say with a grain of salt. I'm only a basic LE armorer ... not a licensed gunsmith, factory technician or engineer.

At the end of the day the significant majority of functioning issues reported to occur in semiauto handguns are generally caused by the shooter/user in some manner (including maintenance issues), followed by a very small percentage of ammunition-related issues, followed by an even smaller percentage of actual gun-related issues.

Having been fortunate enough to have attended more than my fair share of armorer classes (more than a Baker's Dozen ;) ), and having worked as a LE firearms trainer/armorer for a fair number of years ... I've seen, experienced or have learned of all manner of issues and problems occurring which involved almost all of the major makes/models/calibers of LE weapons (and ammunition lines) in the hands of folks.

People sometimes start to express personal feelings about their favorite handguns like they do their favorite sports team.

Fortunately for me, I don't have much interest in sports. ;)

It's just a handgun, and I could sit back and relax with a good cigar and talk about the good and bad attributes of virtually any service-type firearm as long as anyone might wish.

January 24, 2009, 08:27 PM
M&Ps have problems? I've never had a problem with either that I own. I've fed a lot of ammo through with no problems. Couldn't say that for the Walther PPS.

January 24, 2009, 11:30 PM
FASTBOLT, You hit the nail on the head. I attended the Dec armor's course and enjoyed how well taught and prepared the class room was as compared to some other factory courses I've been to. I also like the way they made the frame and sub chassie and the "I" beam extractor...a lot more survivalbility in case of a KABOOM.

Commander Crusty
October 21, 2009, 01:17 PM
I only have about 300 rounds through my full size M&P .45 but no malfunctions so far. This pistol has a wonderful feel and I usually shoot a hinged trigger better than a sliding trigger so I have no problems with the trigger pull. Nothing has shaken loose, fallen off or cracked. I'd say you should send yours back to the factory for repair.

October 21, 2009, 01:23 PM
Holy thread revival batman!

I suppose that since the thread was started at the beginning of the year, you might as well finish the year with it.

P.S. I absolutely love all five of my M&Ps. 100% flawless!

M&P40 FS
M&P357 FS
M&P9 Pro Series (x2)

October 21, 2009, 02:15 PM
Yep, an older thread come back around ...

Since my last posting in this thread I've received one of the revised strikers for a M&P 45 as part of a normal parts order (I keep replacement parts on hand for any number of firearms for which I'm trained and certified as an armorer).

The new striker appears to be made from stainless steel instead of being MIM. Unlike the previous striker design which had a rebated shaft behind the head, the head and shaft/body are one large piece of the same diameter. Looks pretty robust. The striker's foot appears somewhat wider to the eye, but I didn't measure it. Nice smooth finish to the engagement surface.

Although I wasn't having any issues with my existing M&P 45 striker I dropped the newest one in the gun before a range session. I expected to feel some stiffness because of the new assembly (fresh spring and unworn surface on the striker foot, if nothing else), although the sear is the original existing sear. I thought I'd have to go through some of the initial roughness I'd felt when the original striker was 'new'.

Nothing of the sort. It actually seemed a bit smoother ... and it seemed that way right from the start. Interesting.

S&W has seemingly been pretty busy responding to owner/user feedback with their new M&P pistol series since its official introduction back in Jan '06. Thee have been a number of revisions and improvements here & there.

The more I learn about the M&P pistol series and the more I use a couple of them, the more impressed I become with them.

October 22, 2009, 07:59 AM
S&W got things right with the M&P's. There were huge problems with the SW99's they were selling to Law Enforcement in the late 90's. When I was in the academy another department had just switched to 99's so their guys showed up at the range with weapons fresh out of the box. I don't think that any of those guys got more then three rounds down range before they jammed. All the problems were workmanship related. The guy firing in the lane next to me had excess metal on the the feed ramp which was keeping the rounds from feeding. So when SW came out with the M&P I looked at it with that in mind. I quickly discovered that the M&P is the real deal.

October 22, 2009, 03:49 PM
I do tend to prefer the M&P series to the Walther 99 series (including the SW99/990L), but I own a couple of SW99's and carried an issued one for a few years.

There were some revisions and improvements made in the SW99 line along the way. Once S&W helped figure out that the .40 S&W mags needed revision (and provided the info to Walther, who passed it on to the mag company) it helped resolve some feeding issues which had been reported with the .40's made in both manufacturer's model lines.

I was told of some other changes here & there, too ... such as the locking blocks being dressed better, the extractors being better polished, etc.

The use of the open-ended/hooked slide stop lever spring S&W requested for their licensed model line was a stronger spring, but it came with a potential disadvantage. The hooked end could be snagged when the frame was being cleaned if someone was inattentive, and the spring bent. Replacing the spring meant removing the locking block, which meant removing a rolled steel pin. I met a few armorers who preferred not to remove that pin themselves.

S&W used the mag catch lever spring as their standard extractor spring, which was heavier than the original extractor spring and was reported to offer better functioning in the .40 & .45 models. At one point S&W advised armorers to reverse the orientation of the extractor springs in the slides, too.

Then, there was reportedly the use of different dimensioned trigger bar guides in some SW99's which caused some light strike issues due to the trigger bar being cammed down and releasing the striker a bit too soon in DA mode. One of my SW99's had that issue and I was told how to resolve it by a repair tech working in the Walther America facility. He had encountered a few P99's with the same problem (which makes sense since it was the same Walther made parts in Walther frames involved). I learned later on that Walther had a range of differently dimensioned trigger bar guides which were used, but that Walther hadn't informed S&W engineers of the tolerances or provided a gauge until late in the SW99/990L's production. The AS & QA models use different trigger bar guides (and different striker springs, BTW), in addition to the obvious difference of the sear housing block not needing to function in single action mode.

I've seen some differences in production involving SW99 .40 barrels made at different times. The differences included how the muzzle crowns were cut, the barrel tabs were cut & finished, the feed ramp shape & finish and the shape of the chamber mouth.

A change which S&W made to enhance functioning during unlocking/locking involved making a machined relief under the barrel at the rear, where the bottom of the barrel needed to clear the top of the recoil spring assembly. (Ever hear the scrunching/screeching noise in an early SW99 or a Glock when the slide was being manipulated by hand?) I saw a couple of different length relief cuts on SW99 .40 barrels once this change was introduced. Nice refinement.

At one point Walther changed the internal frame dimensions in the area of the sear housing block, too. I only figured this out when I was replacing a sear housing block in an early production SW99 (broken ejector, which is molded into the housing block) and found the dimensions of the block and its bottom pin were different. The enw block wouldn't fit into the older frame unless the pin from the older block was installed in the new block. I confirmed this observation by calling S&W and asking about any recent changes.

My SW99's have provided excellent service ... once I replaced the early .40 mags with the revised ones, and corrected the trigger bar guide tolerance issue in the 9mm model. I've fired many thousands of rounds through them, in addition to issued models.

Of the 50-odd SW99's (and at least 1 P99) I've helped maintain and service, I've only had to replace a handful of broken or damaged parts (Walther parts) over the course of several years. I can think of 2-3 ejectors (sear housing block), a couple of extractor springs and an extractor, a slide end cap, a couple of rear sights & sight base plungers, trigger bar guide. That sort of thing. More parts for normal service (springs) and when revised parts were provided (barrels, extractors & mags). Some of the guns have had as little as a couple or more thousand rounds fired through them during that time, and a few others have edged upward of several thousands of rounds. A couple of them have exceeded more than 50,000 rounds according to one guy who shoots his 3 SW99's quite a bit. He hasn't had the time to reach as high of a round count with his 3rd gun, but he's working on it. ;)

Overall, I always felt the 99 series incorporated some refinements over the Glock series, and I think the M&P line incorporates some refinements over the 99 series. I've been certified as an armorer for all of them and have some experience maintaining, owning and shooting examples of each line. I own a couple of each maker's models and find them all serviceable for their intended roles.

When I buy another plastic framed pistol, though ... which is likely ... I think it's a safe bet that it will be another M&P. ;)

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