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Exactly one year with the M&P

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by ny32182, Nov 1, 2012.

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  1. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    I have shot exactly one whole competitive season with the M&P Pro 9. I will share my experience for whatever it might be worth to those reading.

    Basic Stats:
    Round count: 17952
    Other: Significant dryfire, 1 to 4 times a week depending on schedule

    Aftermarket parts: SSS stainless non-captured guide rod, 13lb ISMI recoil spring, both installed at 765 rounds.

    Maintenance: One of my goals was to find out how many rounds various parts of the gun could actually take before they need replacement for me with the way I use it. Overall it has proven to be a good durable pistol in my estimation, but there are some quirks with it.

    -Magazine springs: These do suck in the M&P. I changed them 6 times in the three primary mags I use.

    -Detail cleaning: I detail cleaned the slide and frame at various intervals beteen 5k and 9k rounds. It is important to note that my sear started having intermittent failure to reset issues at 13k rounds with no cleaning. Following the first cleaning, I made sure to take the sear out and clean under it any time I had the frame apart, and have not had a problem since. Still on the factory original sear spring.

    -Other parts replacement: everything else that was replaced, I replaced due to physical failure of some type.

    Parts worn out/Broken:

    -Trigger return spring: Broke at 14.5k rounds. Replaced with new stock one.
    -Trigger safety: lost tension completely at 16846, causing the trigger safety to be non-functional. This is not only a slight potential safety hazard, but makes the gun illegal for SSP and Production. Replaced with new trigger/bar assembly.
    -Striker assembly: I started having intermittent light strikes with hard primers only (Federals always 100%) with all the original trigger parts at around 14k rounds. They got progressivley worse and I elected to replace the entire striker assembly at the same time as the trigger/bar. I figured the spring was getting weak, but upon close inspection of the old and new strikers, I could see that the actual tip of the old striker that impacts the primer was rounded off visibly compared to the new one. I believe that was a contributing factor as well.

    Lessons learned:

    Based on this I will utilize the following maintenance schedule going forward:

    -Detail clean at 10k rounds or less, Including under the sear.
    -Replace trigger return spring at 10k rounds.
    -Replace trigger/bar assy and striker assy at 15k rounds or when problems start to surface

    Impressions:

    I was shooting a Glock before. I think both are good solid designs, but I have to give the reliability edge to the Glock simply because of the sear in the M&P. The sear has to stay clean or it will start to malfunction. This is an issue that doesn't exist in the Glock.

    Looking forward to more rounds downrange with the M&P, and also I plan to take a look at the 5" FNS when it becomes available.
    Hope this helps someone.
     
  2. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Awesome review!
     
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Well done. I'm still interested in trying out an M&P Pro for a season of IDPA, but after your review I don't think it could replace the G34 on a permanent basis.
     
  4. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    Between the two I say it just comes down to ergonomics. I think the M&P internals might not be "quite" as durable, maybe, but it will probably come down to the particular gun.

    Ex: In the Glock I broke several magazine catch springs. Still on the original in the M&P.

    I think the sear/spring resetting is the only significant physical potential problem area in the M&P vs. the Glock.
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Thanks for the report. I just started using a M&P9 a while back in IDPA and was wondering when the springs might start going off.

    A couple of questions:
    1. Does you Pro have the larger diameter sear plunger and spring?

    It sounded like you were getting sear stall.

    2. Have you experienced any issues with your extractor?

    I know folks who have been shooting the M&P9 longer than I and they've gone to the Apex Tactical 9m extractor rather than stay with the factory one optimized for the .40 case
     
  6. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    No problem, I always appreciate your input as well.

    Yes.

    I can't say that I have. I'm aware of the Apex extractor and the idea that the factory extractor is not optimal for 9mm, but I've never had any hint of an extraction problem. I replaced the original extractor spring with an Apex extra power during the "major" rebuild of all the trigger parts but it was purely preventative; not a result of any functional issues. I have a spare ($2) factory extractor on standby, and you can see some wear on the inside of the hook on the original, but the original extractor is still in there and running like it did from day one.

    Some of my friends have had problems with M&Ps but the common thread I found was that they all had lightened "competition" sear springs.

    I couldn't find any factory sear springs and got both the Apex competition and carry springs as spare parts. Just squeezing them in my fingers, my original factory one with probably 60k cycles on it feels about like the "carry" Apex spring.

    I also put in an Apex sear along with the "major rebuild" of trigger parts. It was mushy at first but broke in nicely in 1000 rounds and now is crisp like the factory pro sear, just with the break point slightly further back than factory (more takeup, less overtravel). took a couple weeks to adjust but breaks much like the factory now and I'm shooting it just as well.
     
  7. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    I rented a 9mm Pro at the range last night just to give it a try. It was very easy to shoot this pistol well. One thing I noticed was that the trigger was spongy in the reset; I just let it out about halfway and began the press again, but there wasn't positive feedback like on a Glock. Has this been your experience too? It may have been because the gun was a neglected rental.
     
  8. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    Mushy/less perceptible reset is one of the common gripes against the M&P. Honestly it doesn't affect my shooting currently, but there is a very popular aftermarket part called the "Apex RAM" (Reset Assist Mechanism or something) that is supposed to make it feel like a Glock.

    I've noticed that the Apex sear does seem to shorten the reset for me. That is actually my favorite thing about it. I never really try to feel where it is while I'm shooting however.
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I know a lot of folks who swear by the Apex RAM also.

    I don't have one installed. While it is very helpful in finding the point of reset, if you are feeling for it while shooting at speed, you're behind the curve
     
  10. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    I just slow fired with an increasing tempo. I'll be the first to admit that if I'm picking up a pistol for the first time I don't expect to become one with it immediately, and am indeed behind the curve. I don't expect to perform the same with that pistol as I do with one after 10k+ rounds per annum and hours of dry fire. I'd call it a training wheel for establishing muscle memory.
     
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    20-50 dry fires should get you up to speed on the reset point. Granted this likely won't get you up to 5 accurate rounds a second, but it should get you to 3+
     
  12. *GunNut*

    *GunNut* Member

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    Amazing review!
     
  13. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Member

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    Good review... Can't approach your round total yet, (revolvers just sing to me ;) ) but for a Polymer pistol, I've found myself rather attached to it, and found very little to seriously complain about. (even with the older factory trigger)

    Have 4 mags, no issues. Put fresh front and rear Trijicons on, need to give a fresh coat of Wax as well, seems to protect it fairly well for a gun that gets worn in the rain at times.

    Hate to say it, but the thought of a compact one, or the Shield has crossed my mind... albeit very briefly in the face of other "wants"

    Keep us updated as it wears please!
     
  14. para38super

    para38super Member

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    Why did you have to replace the magazine springs? Were you getting malfunctions?
     
  15. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    The first couple times I waited for malfunctions to start. After that I got a feel for being able to press the follower with my thumb and tell if they were getting weak, and also went to a general policy of just replacing them before a major match if they had more than a certain number of rounds.

    My last couple sets seem to be a bit more durable though so this might not be a universal issue with all lots of springs.

    My Glock springs would last almost 3x longer before I would change them.
     
  16. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Spot on. Maybe it's just that nagging in the back of my mind that I like to just know. You're also likely to be a more skilled and experienced shooter than I am, and better at picking things up a bit faster.
     
  17. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    I've been using my M&P9 for steel challenges and action pistol matches. Just the standard trigger and the two mags that came with the gun. I have only about 2000 rounds through it now. It hasn't had a jam or failure of any kind yet. *knocking on wood* I was shooting the Sig P226, which I still love, and was doing fine in the matches but the M&P was just a simpler set up for me.
     
  18. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Interesting review. Thanks.

    BTW, S&W makes a recommendation that the recoil, mag, trigger & striker springs be replaced at 5K rounds (or 5 years of service use, whichever occurs first).

    At one point back around '08, Glock had a list for armorers where it recommended that some springs be replaced in LE .40's at the same or less round count. Firing pin & trigger coil springs @ 5K, recoil @ either 2K, 2.5K or 5K (depending on model), mag springs varied a bit (depending on model). The current grey trigger coil spring is now considered a "lifetime spring", although they've also made some changes to the trigger bar spring arm to enhance spring life (and reduce stress on the front coil). The new RSA's have been said to have an expected service life of anywhere from 5-6K (depending who you speak to from Glock), and they say to expect that other springs will require attention at some point (and to inspect them often).

    A much larger & heaver sear plunger & spring started to become the "standard" plunger & spring (originally made for the MA-compliant models), with the required sear housing block change for the larger hole) back a couple years ago.

    S&W also made a revision to the extractor (standard for all models/calibers) about the same time. The tip was made a bit sharper and the hook was given a bit more negative rake. I was told it would help with hotter loads and some occasional case rim dimension variability.

    Mag spring and follower revisions have occurred within the model line, too. Mec-Gar was still supplying mags & springs, last I heard. (I think they're on their 2nd mag spring revision for the .45 models.)

    The slide stop lever assembly has also received a recent revision, and in my last class we were told it's going to be the standard assembly for the entire model line.

    The wire lever assembly spring is the heavier yellow painted spring, which is the heaviest of the ones they've used. They've used plain (unpainted), red, light blue and now yellow (depending on caliber/model).

    The new lever body has a slightly angled inward bend on the right side, at the rear bottom corner. This revision is intended to lend a little inward pressure to the trigger bar (in addition to the trigger spring tension and normal bend of the trigger bar), to help provide a bit more force in the trigger bar tail resetting under the sear nose. Nice, simple revision to help with "reset", and without having to add more parts.

    The regular model line is getting the PC sear (like used in the Pro), but a different trigger bar, which is intended to keep the trigger pull up in the regular range they desire for service guns (even though the sear is changing). We were told this is already happening with the new production 9/.40/.357 guns, but they didn't say when it started (so no serial number range, production date, etc was available). The .45 models won't get the revision until sometime within the next year, as they're doing testing on the .45 trigger bar).

    Probably some other recent changes they didn't mention, but they've been making revisions, refinements and occasional manufacturing changes since the M&P's introduction. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  19. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    Thanks fastbolt, good to know about some of those further changes coming down the line.

    I think replacing everything to include the striker assy every 5k rounds would get slightly unneccessarily expensive on a competition gun, but wouldn't hurt on a rarely-shot carry gun. Maybe I will go to a "rebuild" of everything every 10k rounds just to keep it all on the same interval and for an extra margin of functional reliability.
     
  20. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    As if the 5k rounds themselves wouldn't be expensive enough? ;)

    All kidding aside though, thanks for the detailed review. I'm sure this will become a reference for some of us later on...
     
  21. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Springs are relatively inexpensive. The striker itself more so, of course.

    The 5K replacement interval is recommended for duty/dedicated defensive weapons, and is probably on the conservative side ... albeit in the interest of user safety and optimal weapon functioning in an actual deadly force encounter. I've heard of springs in some competition guns running fine at longer intervals, but there's always the chance of running into the odd spring that started life on the lower end of the normal tolerance range, right? ;)

    I agree the original itty bitty sear plunger spring was pretty diminutive and light. As an armorer I ordered some spares against the potential of a weakened spring ... or, more likely, one of them being launched off the bench and acquiring invisibility. :)

    The larger plunger spring is noticeably heavier, as well as being larger and more easily picked up, held and positioned in the sear block. I found the new sear block with the larger plunger & spring added approx 1- 1 1/2 lbs to the trigger pulls in my pair of M&P's.
     
  22. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    5k rounds costs me $600 at most and I blow through that pretty quickly in the middle of a season. I'd have to go look but I want to say the rebuild cost me $50-75 including a sear. Not a lot I guess, but not really worth chucking parts at 1/2 or 1/3 their useful life either. So far I've seen that 10k live rounds along with ~20k dry fires appears to be a safe interval for a fully functional gun for me (at least for the trigger/bar, trigger return spring, striker assy, extractor spring) obviously there will be some variation from one part to another.

    I have the large plunger and spring, and still on the factory original sear spring with probably ~60k cycles on it right now. It still feels the same tension as a brand new Apex "carry" sear spring to me, and is 100% functional when clean. I have not been able to locate a new factory spring or I would have changed it as a preventative measure. As it sits I don't feel the need to change it when it still feels the same as the heaviest replacement I can find.

    If it was a dedicated carry gun that barely gets shot (<1k a year) then sure I would not hesitate at all to rebuild it every couple years if I thought it needed it.
     
  23. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    I really was teasing there. Fifty bucks is fifty bucks, no sense of spending it if you don't have to.

    Again though, thanks for the review.
     
  24. Dlowe167

    Dlowe167 Member

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    Love when shooters do the Review. Just the right amount of details,good review. Keep us posted. Around 50k-65k,id like to hear re-review.
     
  25. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    These are ok guns and I could get by with one. M&P is almost a Glock almost.
     
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