Need input on new range toy - M&P


February 27, 2013, 04:32 PM
Hi Everyone

I have been thinking about getting a S&W M&P 9, full size, for a range toy for some time. But....have some issues and would like your input.

I have a SIG 229 and SIG 226, to shoot with. Love them, they are tack drivers. But, have been thinking about an M&P 9 because of the ergonomics and the lighter weight. [I also have a Shield...which I really like a lot ...but it is not really a range toy)

The issue is...I would want it to be a tack driver as well...and know that the stock gun just won't be.

Two options:

1. Wait until I can get an M&P Pro 9 Core, and put a min red dot on it. $730. Gun comes with a trigger upgrade, new barrels are supposed to be better and having a red dot can be a good range aid. I have a mini red dot that I may be able to use ...a Burris Fastfire III.

2. Get a stock M&P 9 ($500-$550), then add a Storm Lake barrel ($140), Apex sear ($40) and 10-8 sights (probably the brass front) ($85). So, a total of $815, $675 w/o the storm lake barrel.

A couple notes about me:

I am at the age at which I cannot see iron sights and the target. I wear reading glasses that are 1.0 diopters to accomodate.

I have a Springfield RO with the black blade rear sight that I shoot very well with and like the sight set up a lot. The 10-8 sights would be similar. I DO seem to do well and like this sight set up.

My SIG 226 has a Burris Fastfire III on it. Shooting it is fine, though that red dot sits pretty high up on the gun. Not sure it really makes a difference until I am shooting 25 yards free hand. And still not sure how much more I like it compared with iron sights.

A red dot seems easier to view, but wearing reading glasses is not all that inconvenient (you have to wear some safety glasses, of course), until distances past 50 ft.

So, the main option would be either wait for the Core series and use a mini red dot. Or...get a stock gun, use the lower price to add a Storm lake barrel and 10-8 sights. Looking for accuracy and ease of sighting.


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February 27, 2013, 04:46 PM
It may depend on which you can locate first, how anxious you are, and budget.

You could just get a Sig P2022 with night sights.....

chris in va
February 27, 2013, 05:16 PM
As you already have a couple Sigs and a 1911, I don't think the M&P will be unique enough for your liking.

I'm severely biased but how about a CZ Custom? Many come with fiber optic sight sets.

February 27, 2013, 05:31 PM
If you want a polymer striker-fired pistol with good ergonomics as a range toy, you might be better off waiting for a Walther PPQ M2 with a 5" barrel.

If my experience with other Walthers (P99AS and PPQ) is any indication, this pistol will be a better tack-driving range gun with a better trigger in stock form than the M&P with all the modifications you've listed. To my knowledge, Walther hasn't announced pricing for this model, but my guess is that it will probably cost less as well.

February 27, 2013, 05:36 PM
Given eyesight and interest in a pure range toy, I'd wait for the Core. Early reports seem to indicate that most (but not all) versions shoot well.

If you get one that shoots, the M&P is pure joy at the range.

February 27, 2013, 06:05 PM
It's not that M&P9's aren't accurate, it's that they vary from one to another. Some are quite accurate with the stock barrel, others need a barrel replacement. You might get lucky!

Airbrush Artist
February 27, 2013, 06:26 PM
Captain .I purchased either a S&W M&P Compact 9mm or 40 ..which every comes in first.:banghead::) either way you cannot go wrong got the 40 for $439 or the (9 mm for $459

February 27, 2013, 06:47 PM
Hi Folks

Thank you for the input. I really am focused on the M&P 9mm full sized. It is cost effective and will give me commonality with my M&P Shield.

The question really is: pay more for and go with the Core for the milled slide red dot. Or...fully customize a stock FS 9.

Reports vary, but it seems that the new S&W barrels, made in late 2012 are much better than the originals. The Storm Lake barrel is always a good shooter.

It may not be a better pistol than my 229 and 226, but, it is a very different platform...different ergonomics, lower bore axis, striker fired, polymer...that it might be interesting and productive to shoot on a regular basis.

One thing: If the $730 Core did not shoot well and needed a barrel replacement....I would be sorely dissapointed. Maybe it comes down to red dot/ stock barrel vs 10-8 sights/ storm lake barrel?


Airbrush Artist
February 27, 2013, 07:01 PM
In My opinion after hours of reading and research S&W M&P Shield is my choice for C&C, certainly every one has different needs and wants in their firearm but I do believe this Smith & Wesson M&P is the top, if not one of the tops on the market today and its in the regular everyday Persons reach as far as price,maybe a few weeks of heavy duty saving but attainable...

February 27, 2013, 07:27 PM
Some are quite accurate with the stock barrel, others need a barrel replacement. You might get lucky! I wasn't so lucky. My M&P 9 Pro did have the new barrel twist and the new taper for lock up. The accuracy was still poor... make that really bad.

Airbrush Artist
February 27, 2013, 07:54 PM
Is that a problem with the Shields...or is that a Different generation ?

February 28, 2013, 12:30 PM
Accuracy issues seem isolated to full-size M&P 9s-only (and as mentioned, it doesn't effect all). 9mm compacts including the Shield are fine, .40s are fine, the .45s are supposed to shoot like lazers.

chris in va
February 28, 2013, 02:15 PM
I talked with a top shooter at our club matches that uses the 9mm version. While he has the Apex kit and a few other enhancements, he did mention the accuracy dropped off considerably after a few thousand rounds. Apparently a new barrel didn't help.

I was looking to get one in 45, but think I'll keep my 97b.

February 28, 2013, 04:29 PM
If you google it, you can find a useful article that compares the new and old S&W barrels for the M&P 9. There are significant differences. The Storm Lake barrel is said to be the best and has a more typical 9mm twist rate, while the original S&W M&P 9 barrel did not. Not sure the new one does either.

To answer someone's query above, the Shield does not have this issue. I put an Apex sear in my Shield and got great accuracy out of it. Great gun.

So...still thinking about the M&P 9 full size, vs the Core.

I could get a stock M&P 9, and might get lucky with the barrel. I could plop in an apex sear and be done, for cheap. I could upgrade to a mini red dot for $50, but getting a mounting plate for my Burris fastfire III. But, those seem to be scarce now, and I wonder if I will regret not waiting and getting the lower profile the new, milled, Core slide offers.....

If I went with a stock M&P 9, I would have more money to trick the gun out...but to get it to be a shooter...I would have to trick it out. Barrel, sear and sights. Could be $800. But, if the barrel was good, and I could get a burris mount...I would end up spending quite a bit less. Under 700, all total.

If I was able to get a Core, and it did not shoot, I could always add a Storm lake barrel and still have a terrific gun with a trigger job and milled slide for a MRD. $800+

Hmmmmm...decisions decisions.....

wild cat mccane
February 28, 2013, 04:57 PM
Of all the solid, run of the mill good guns, the M&P has got to be the bottom of the list. Spotty trigger-even when upgraded. Hit or miss accuracy. Just see no appeal to the gun.

Fish is right about the PPQ. Heck, a 4" PPQ or P99 tops out a 226 in trigger easily. And that is without or without the SRT.

February 28, 2013, 05:30 PM
Well, I have a great deal of respect for the Walther line, including the P99 and PPQ. The PPQ M2, as someone pointed out above, looks like a great gun.

A couple issues.

1. I know how to improve the trigger on the M&P and can get it to a nice 4.5 pull. The P99 and PPQ are 6.5 and 5.5 lbs or so and I am not sure how to get the trigger better.

2. Many fewer after market parts for the Walther line. MANY after market items for the M&P

3. The M&P CORE is min red dot ready. Burris makes a mounting plate for the Fastfire II and III mini red dots for the M&P.

4. More after market sights available for the M&P. I am at that age where I need better sights or a red dot. The 10-8 sight looks good. A mini red dot might be the way I go.

If I can be educated regarding the Walther line, please do so, I am open minded.

Thank you, your input is greatly appreciated.

February 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
And if you like external safeties, you're SOL with the Walthers. With an M&P, you can have a Browning-format safety.

February 28, 2013, 05:52 PM
Captain, I have a full size M&P9, and have had it for about a year and a half. It is a great shooter (I guess I got lucky), and its accuracy has not dropped off after several thousand rounds. It is my competition gun, but I have kept it stock. In the future, a blacked out rear sight and fiber optic front would be nice, but that is all that I will do with it as my trigger has greatly improved with time and I am used to it.

The M&P CORE is built to be an Open competition gun. As such, it will be much easier to shoot accurately with out of the box than a stock M&P. If you are wanting just a range gun (and since you already have a mini red dot), I would stick it out and wait to find a CORE model..... I shot one this past weekend with a Leupold Deltapoint and it was a great gun... If I had the money and wanted to shoot Open class in 3-gun, I would get one.

March 1, 2013, 01:05 AM
The P99 and PPQ are 6.5 and 5.5 lbs or so and I am not sure how to get the trigger better.

My P99AS has a 4.5 lb. SA trigger in stock form.

The original PPQ had a 5.5 lb trigger. I'm not sure if the trigger of the 5" M2 version will be any different.

March 1, 2013, 01:49 AM
Have you considered the Glock 34 or the 5.25XD? Both are pretty similar capabilities and price-wise. The Glock wins for aftermarket support and the others aren't very far behind.

I have a Glock 34, I like it for whatever that's worth. It shoots much better than I can in my IDPA matches I bought it for (as do most pistols). At the range, slow fire with cheap ammo it shoots right with my P7 which shoots very well. My Storm Lake/Wilson Combat/Norinco/Caspian Arms 1911 and S&W M19 both shoot better, but that's apples to oranges.

I'm not a Glock fan boy, I ended up with mine simply cause I couldn't find a CZ-75b to try out. It was in stock and a deccent price and I didn't want to wait to order a M&P or XD competition model, so Glock it is for me.

The only modifications I saw fit was a very minimal polishing of some trigger parts and a trigger spring as it has a lighter connector than the standard Glock from the factory. Soon, new sights though. Most likely Warren tactical.

I do kinda wish I woulda waited for a CZ-75b after trying one out though recently.

March 1, 2013, 10:14 AM
I have considered the G34. I like Glocks OK, had a 26 and a 19. They were good, but I did not spend much time at the range with them, since I was not particularly enamored of the trigger or the grip geometry.

One of the things that draws me to the M&P platform is the ergonomics. I find it a joy to shoot. Love shooting the SIGs, but, ergonomically, I like the M&P even more. And interested in having a lighter, polymer framed, striker fired pistol in the range gun collection.

Thus the M&P.

I think the Core would be the best one to does not look as though I will be able to find one. I have searched all the usual places online. Called and emailed three local GS. None would even try to locate one. All are saying....things are too tough, its "allocated", our dealers are out of everything ...etc, etc.

Ridiculous. But you can still find the M&P 9 FS. So, the strategy might be to go that route for now. If a core ever does surface, make a trade.

Pretty frustrating environment we are in now. Manufacurers release products that they have no inventory for.


March 1, 2013, 03:21 PM

Well...I called and called and searched online and could not find a Core gun. No one at any shop had any idea of when they might be able to get one. Most had no idea what it was. All said ALL M&P's were backordered and they had no idea on availability.

Only one shop I called had any M&P 9mm's in stock. They had two.

So...I went and checked today. I was going to get a stock M&P9 and make it a project gun. Install a apex trigger kit, 10-8 or similar sights. Maybe a barrel, if the gun had an old barrel. Probably order a Burris mounting plate for my fastfire MRD.

Well......could not believe it. They had an M&P9 PRO with a 5 inch slide. AND...NOVAK rear with FO front...exactly what I wanted. Checked the trigger....very nice...crisp, and about a 4.5 lb pull. Felt right.

Priced at $599. That is below MSRP.

This model:

I jumped at it.

Will see how it shoots. Should be fine. If not, plenty of money left over to get a Storm Lake barrel.

Will probably order a mount for my Burris red dot. But, might not use it. The sight set up is just like what I have on my springer RO, and I do very well with that.

If I really like having a MRD on it, I can always get the slide milled for one.

Was very surprised.

Thanks for all the advice.

March 1, 2013, 03:51 PM
Field stripped. Confirmed that the gun has the new late 2012 design barrel. So...should shoot.


March 1, 2013, 05:49 PM
You got a great deal on that gun, Cap!

Let us know how she shoots..... I love the Pro model, and if my M&P didn't have as much sentimental value to me (last Christmas present from my grandfather) I would consider trading it for one.

March 1, 2013, 06:13 PM
if you want a nice range toy that is cheap to shoot, get a M&P 22. Same size, same weight, is fun to shoot and ammo is cheap.


March 1, 2013, 07:41 PM
Thanks guys. I am very pleased with this purchase. Will see how she shoots, but was going to be a project gun anyway. Still cannot believe the deal. The trigger seems good.

I do have a .22lr upper for my SIG 229. It is VERY FUN. Lighter in weight than the 9mm slide assembly, as well.

Glad I got the long slide. I think it will make for a nice range gun. Should be more bullet stability, less recoil (not that that is an issue) and less muzzle flip.

One thing I had not thought of before, but could be another benefit, this might make a good gun to introduce people to shooting center fire. Previously, I have used a SIG 226, which most like, but some find heavy.

Will give a range report as soon as I can.

Just lucked into it.

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