A look at a custom M&P 40

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Feb 9, 2004
I have just started working on the S&W M&P and am very favorably impressed with these pistols. This one belongs to one of my very good customers. It has trigger and reliability work and the custom texturing or stippling on the front and rear strap. I will be taking the slide to the shop today to give it a minor "melt" and media blast it for a two tone look. The slide on the M&P is stainless, so a nice satin media blast will look very nice. Anyway, the trigger on these can be set for as light as 3 lbs and very crisp along with removing the mag disconnect. Anway, here are the pics of the stippling. Another gunsmith friend of mine, Dan Burwell, does a sharkskin and stippled look, this is more of a honey comb look. I like this because it resembles the pattern that I do on the metal stippling, more of a random pattern with not much repeating in the pattern. You will notice that I have even textured the rear of the slide and the mag release as well. When I have it apart to do the trigger work, I will also give the trigger a light texturing as well.:image035:
The texturing appears to be a bit courser in the pics than it looks. It really does match the balance and factory look while it REALLY improves the comfort and is a huge improvement on the grips. Almost like velcro! I will also be offering trigger work on the Springfield XD with similar grip texturing and reshaping, along with trigger work. I am working on my personal XD-45 right now. I have the trigger pull down to a very crisp 3.5 lbs with an adjustable trigger pre-travel adjustment. And I will be removing the front strap checkering to slim and re-profile the grip a bit and the doing this stippling on the side panels and front strap of the XD. I can also do grip reduction on the other caliber XDs, but not the .45. The grip material is just too thin to reduce very much. I can really do this to any polymer pistol, such as the Glocks and others. Just depends on what the customer wants!:comeandgetsome:






Barrel chamber throat polishing, ramp polishing, all internal running surfaces polished and checked for smooth operation. Magazines checked and tuned as needed. If you mean, was it unreliable? No. Are there things that can be done to them to make them run better and run more reliably in the short and long term? For sure. The trigger on this one was very gritty, inconsistent trigger reset and about 7 lbs pull. Now is very smooth 4 lb glass rod break. No grittiness at all, shorter pre-travel, reduced over travel and glass smooth pull. And with the chamber throat polishing and ramp polishing, it is feeding smoother and a tad faster. Every factory gun can stand some tuning. And some guns will shoot 10K rounds with never being touched. But if you have ever had a gun "tuned" to your shooting preferences, then you will probably not be able to ever settle for a factory trigger action again. There are a LOT of good guns out there that come with some very nice triggers, but none that are one size fits all. I hope that answers your questions. Reliability tuning is a lot of knowing what to look for and what to change and tune to prevent problems down the road, even if the gun is shooting 100% today.

Decided that I was not done with this one yet. Since the last pics, I have refined the trigger to a very crisp 3.5 lb match trigger. The owner mainly uses this gun for matches and range use, but this trigger is still not so light that I don't think it could be carried. It could be. I media blasted the slide, did a slight melt on the front for easier holstering and carry, and then did an old fashioned 320 grit hand polish on the slide flats. Then added a 45 degree polished target crown. It makes for a very striking custom look to the gun and a totally different character. The slide of the M&P is stainless, so there is no problems with taking off the black finish. Here are the pics. I will have a hard time shipping this one back, I like it that much!:smile:







First off, that is a great looking gun.

Secondly, it sounds like you have given it a trigger pull equal to a "combat-tuned" 1911 pistol, at least in the force required to make it go bang. The person with the 1911 would not dream of carrying it cocked with the safety off, and yet the person with the M&P has no choice except to carry cocked with the safety off. (Empty chamber is not an option, no matter what the Israeli uber-commandos hype to us.)

Yes, I know that the M&P isn't really fully cocked, but from the standpoint of what it takes to fire it, it should be considered cocked. And ready to fire with a 3.5 or 4 lb crisp trigger pull.

This just doesn't seem safe to me. Your thoughts, ladies and gentlemen?

Bart Noir
Yeah but on the 1911, I ahve to move the trigger maybe .25 inches to make it go boom. On the M&P I have to move it a HECK of a lot farther. The trigger job makes the trigger break even farther back unless you go with one of the new bowie tactical long trigger jobs.

I've got mine done by Dan, I primarily use it for competition, but i asked that he keep it a little heavier.

When it was new, it was about 6.5lbs pull, I polished up the striker face because it had some tooling marks left in it. That, cleaning up the edge of the bit that engages the FPS and a bunch of dryfire brought it down to about 5.5-5.75lbs. Sent it to dan, and it is now a hair under 4.5lbs from my measurements.

Would i carry it? That depends. I wouldn't worry about a case of nerves, there's a lot of trigger travel and even getting an agressive grip, you don't reach that point where you are feeling the load from the sear trying to disengage. A more realistic concern is while reholstering, i could see a thumb break that is reinforced posisbly catching it and combined with pushing it into the holster, badness ensuing. But frankly, you could probably ahve done the same thing stock, or with a glock or XD even. The weight of the gun won't do it on it's own, at least from realistic heights.

For civilian concealed carry, I'd say it's viable. It falls into that area of personal choice about paying that much attention to your gun handling. For LEO type duties where you do a lot more administrative handling of a gun while busy, I'd like the change in the point of reset, but I'd probably keep it at the 5.5lb mark.

Realisticly, it could probably go off if you droped your loaded gun during a struggle, and tried to quickly drag it back to you and cauhty only the trigger with your mk1 booger hook. But that situation also applies to your 1911 with a 3.5lb trigger which you more than likely cleared the safety on while drawing.

If you aren't comfortable with the glock/Xd/M&P etc. style of action, that's a judgement call, but even with a trigger job, It's no more touchy than a lot of stock XDs I've tried out or a G34/G35, which some departments issue. So i'd call it par for the course. Your judgement about the comfort zone would likelly apply even before taking a trigger job into consideration.
I have done trigger work on XDs, M&Ps, Glocks, and specialize in HPs and 1911s. It is NOT uncommon to have customers request trigger pulls of much less than 4 lbs for carry and duty. I have several pistols that are carried everyday by people going in harms way that have trigger pulls much lighter than 4 lbs.

ALL of the new "service class" polymer and steel guns rely on very long and very heavy trigger pulls. My XD-45 is now about 4.5 lbs and started out at 7 lbs. This particular M&P was about 7 lbs. The trigger work that I do does not shorten the trigger pull. Nor does it change the sear engagement or release point. You still have to pull the trigger almost all of the way to the rear to get the gun to go bang. And I don't want this thread to start turning into a Massad Ayoob "if you modify your gun in anyway your going to jail" thread.

The bottom line is that you can argue until the day you die about whether or not a 1911 condition 1 is safe. Or whether the longer trigger pull or DA pull of some of these types of guns are safer. Or if pulling the mag disconnect out of an HP to get a better trigger is not "safe". It is all about the person behind the gun and the training that they have. As a gunsmith, I can modify a gun to help the person shooting it shoot it better, safer and more accurately. And add some eye candy to make it nicer to look at. I can also judge somewhat as to what the skill level of the shooter is, but not really. Would I carry this gun? Damn right I would. Would I carry a 1911 condition 1? Of course. Do I have the training and the mind set to feel very comfortable carrying any if not all of the guns I build? Probably. Would I carry a gun with a 1.5 match trigger pull. Hell no! But that is because I know that I would not be able to use that gun in a high stress situation in a manner that would be totally predictable.

If your nature and skill level allow you to carry a gun with a safety that needs to be disengaged first before being ready to fire, then go for it. If you are more comfortable with a gun that all you need to do is pull the trigger, then that is what you should shoot. This all falls in the same catagory as is it safe to carry cocked and locked, is a .45 better than a 9MM, is a DA better and more safe than a SA auto, and so on and so on. It is a never ending discussion. This thread is about getting some custom work done on a M&P S&W. The work that was done to this gun will allow the owner to shoot it more accurately and safely. He is a skilled shooter that can very readily handle the lighter trigger pull for carry if he is so inclined. Getting into a debate about whether or not it is "proper" to lighten the trigger pull on a certain type of gun is pretty much moot for this thread and any other. If you send me your 1911 and order a 1.5 trigger pull and tell me the primary purpose is for carry and duty, then I won't put that light a trigger pull on it. Personally, 3-4 lbs is about as light as I will go on any gun for any purpose unless I know specifically that it is for match use and I know the shooter. Now, can we get back to talking about custom M&Ps? And let the politics and debate about cocked and locked, SA vs DA, .45 vs 9MM find their way to a more appropriate thread? Please?


P.S. Dan Burwell is a good friend of mine and does fantastic work!
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That is one sweet looking M&P if I may say so!:eek: :eek: Beautiful work deezulsmoke. I am sure your customer will be very happy with it.:D
The Walther P99 has a trigger of just over 4lbs right out of the box. That first pull is loooong, but you can carry it with the striker cocked and it shortens up considerably. I'd feel ok carrying an M&P with a 4.5lb trigger, but 3.5 might make me a little nervous.

Really nice looking M&P, by the way.
Treebeard, yep the customer is happy with this one! :D As for the trigger pull/carry discussion, I don't think the trigger is any more dangerous than installing a 3.5lb Glock trigger connector. I'm not a Glock expert, but I know several people who carry with this connector installed. I will mainly use this for matches, but will not rule out carrying it. I carry a 1911 cocked & locked and that gives some people the willies. Me, I feel comfortable with SA pistol and feel comfortably carrying a DA with 3.5-4lb trigger. My holsters are IWB leather/kydex hybrids. Not that bad things can't happen when holstering i.e. clothes or holster parts getting inside the trigger guard, but that can/has happen(ed) to many pistols.
Mind if I ask whats the point of stippling the rear slide cover? I mean it looks cool, so that enough I guess...
Rob1035, my opinion and experience with a wet M&P is that this pistol is "slippery when wet". I requested the palm swell and front strap be more "grippy". Jess stippled these areas to increase grip friction. Slide cover is for looks and reduced glare from my understanding. Jess care to comment?
I would agree that the M&P grip in stock form is too slippery when your hands get slippery or sweaty. I personally like very coarse grips on my firearms.

I like the crowning job. I would be curious to see one put in a rest and the accuracy tested before and after the crowning.
I shoot glocks, so I know all about slippery when wet, so I totally dig the grip stippling. I guess I never thought about the glare issue with the slide cover...
Well, I got a chance to try to trigger today. Very sweet trigger. The pull is just as long as before, but much smoother. I might even enjoy shooting a .40S&W :neener: The stippling is perfect. Just the right amount of grip. Very nice work Jess.
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