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Frustration with new M&P .40 and .45 slide release design

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by sleepyone, Dec 11, 2012.

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  1. sleepyone

    sleepyone Member

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    Ok, let me preface this post by stating I am ex-military, a hunter, a shooter and very well versed with semi-automatic handguns and have owned Rugers, XDs, several 1911s etc... I decided to get into the M&P platform and recently bought the .40 Pro Series in 4.25" and the full-size .45. I have put about 300 rounds through the .40 Pro and love it. I just received the .45 and have not had a chance to shoot it yet. Both these pistols are new.

    The problem I have run into is the ambi slide release on both pistols is almost impossible for me to work with a single thumb. I have had carpal tunnel and cubitul tunnel syndrome on both hands/arms. I realize I have lost some grip strength but I have no trouble working any of the features on any of my other weapons. I have bolt actions, lever actions, pumps, ARs, revolvers etc. I don't have to force or exert any effort when operating these weapons.

    About the only way I can release the slide on my M&Ps is to use my index finger and thumb to pull down both sides together or use one thumb to press against the other to work one side. Fortunately, it is not a deal breaker for me because the M&Ps are designed to release the slide and go into battery when you slam in a loaded magazine. I'm assuming this is a design feature and not a malfunction. Both of mine do it and so does my friends new standard M&P .40 full-size. Can anyone confirm this for me?

    Why are the slide releases so stinkin hard to work? My friend stated that while it is not easy, he is able to work his with one thumb only. My XDs were not hard at all to work. What gives? Can you do anything to "loosen" the slide releases up for smoother operation or is the preferred method of operation to slam a loaded magazine in to release the slide? Is there an after-market kit that uses an over-sized slide release?

    I do realize that Smith and Wesson calls it a slide stop in the manual. I am also aware of the overhand method of pulling back on the slide and releasing to load the chamber, but I really like the way my 1911 slide releases work and wish all others worked the same. Maybe I am trying to make something work in a way it was not designed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  2. SouthernBoy

    SouthernBoy Member

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    If you look at the detent in the slide that the slide stop moves up into when the magazine follower pushes it up after the last round, you will notice that the vertical part of the detent which holds the slide stop is not at all slanted towards the front of the slide. This causes more pressure to be exerted on the slide stop in order to release it.

    The fix is to do hundreds of releases on a dry gun, use the slingshot method of releasing the slide, or have a gunsmith angle the vertical part of the detent a little to relieve some of the pressure (careful with this one).
     
  3. BILLG

    BILLG Member

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    Use the slingshot method to release the slide.
     
  4. 3twelves

    3twelves member

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    The slide hold open is just that, the proper way is to use those aggressive slide serrations to release the slide. Mine auto closes when you slam a mag in also, I like it.
     
  5. snakeman

    snakeman Member

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    I either use the slingshot method or use my support thumb. If you don't like the guns consider a sig 2022, they have the easiest slide release ever!
     
  6. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    I oil and grease my slide release and it helps, but the main way that I release the slide is by inserting a fresh mag. If you give it a firm push then the slide will be sent home that way. It is very fast, and doesn't require me to play with that small slide release or slingshot the slide.
     
  7. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    I had the same problem with my Sig 220. Had a hell of a time locking the slide back when the RO called cold. I don't miss that gun.
     
  8. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Actually slide release ISN'T supposed to be used to release the slide from open position. Even pulling slide back when empty magazine is inserted the slide is driven home by partly releasing magazine and pulling the slide back and releasing it. The slide release lever is NEVER pressed.
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Maybe ;)

    I must say I've never noticed until this post made me pick mine up to try. I'd only previously used to slide stop to to lock the slide to the rear when clearing the gun...I've never even touched the slide stop lever on the right side...mine seems to release fine when I push on it.

    Are you getting your thumb on top of the lever when depressing it...the left side lever of the slide stop protrudes a bit more than the right side lever to give you better purchase. I even checked the spring that powers the slide stop and it's doesn't seem overly sprung. It might have to do with how much of your thumb you are getting on the lever...mine fall right at the beginning of the nail bed.

    I can control if the slide releases when I insert the magazine...it isn't designed to automatically release, but you can make it do so...by varying the angle that I insert thee mag. When inserted straight in, it doesn't release; when inserted at about 45 degrees to the rear, it always releases...I use it as a feature during slide-lock reloads when shooting in competition
     
  10. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Two of my 3 M&Ps gave me fits with the releases whether with a full magazine or no magazine inserted. The ambi (slave) side would simply flex and fail to work while the strong side required both thumbs to disengage. Touched up both with a small file, less is better, now both work as expected. Before work, neither would release with a firm magazine seating so slingshot was the only option. Both now go to battery when smartly inserting the mag.
     
  11. sleepyone

    sleepyone Member

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    I forgot to mention I shoot left-handed, so I purposely purchased the M&P because of the ambi features. I have noticed the left side has a higher notch before the slide stop lever and like a previous post mentioned, it is angled in a way that makes it harder to pull it down manually to release the slide. I really don't like filing on new guns. I'm going to use the slingshot method or the "slamming" method to release the slide for the first several hundred rounds and see if it loosens up over time. I have read some posts on other sites that this was the case for others.

    Skylerbone, where exactly did you run your file across the slide stop?
     
  12. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    Not really a design feature and not really a malfunction.

    It usually means you are slamming in the magazine too hard.
     
  13. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    The slide stop on the M&P isn't really used to drop the slide on a life round. Realistically about the only time I use it is to lock the slide open when I'm field stripping it.

    When actually shooting, use the slingshot method. As noted too the gun will tend to pretty easily auto-forward and you seat the mags with some authority. Personally I tend to like this but I don't really rely on it. By habit if I ever reload from slide-lock I make the motion of moving my hands up to the slide to slingshot but if I notice when transitioning that it auto-forwarded then I basically shift back to a shooting grip rather than completing the motion.
     
  14. sleepyone

    sleepyone Member

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    After speaking with several people and reading many forums including the replies to my original post here, I have to disagree. I don't think S&W would design a pistol that automatically chambered a live round by seating the magazine too hard. That would be a HUGE liability. I think it must be a feature to either compensate for the lack of a 1911 style slide release or decrease the time it takes to reload the weapon for combat or law enforcement scenarios. I certainly could be wrong about this and would like to hear from someone who has a different opinion.

    The S&W manual refers to it as a slide stop only. Several people on this site and others have been able to use the slide stop as a slide release if they do some filing and/or some lubrication or have very strong thumbs.

    SouthernBoy has a good point below:

    It looks like the design is intended for locking the slide in the open position but not necessarily for releasing the slide. There are ways to overcome that, but I will just be content to slingshot it or seat the magazine hard enough to load a round. I actually like that feature. Thanks for all the input, THRs. I can always count on thoughtful and helpful input from our members.
     
  15. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    Well, with my M&P it doesn't take too much force when seating the magazine to release the slide, so I don't think I am slamming it too hard. Now, to get my Glock to do the same thing, yes, I have to slam it too hard.
     
  16. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    It's not S&W specifically - its really just the way autoloaders work in general. The slide is spring loaded. The slide stop is spring loaded in the downward position (otherwise it would catch the slide every time it cycled). It's only friction that is causing it to hold the slide open. With enough of a jar the slide will bump loose.

    Pretty much every autoloader will do this if the magazine is seated with enough force. It just seems that M&P's seem to take a little less force than others to dislodge the slide lock.

    Its certainly not a feature as it doesn't do it consistently (and even between M&P's some are more susceptible than others), but it isn't really a flaw either. If it does happen then consider it a boon and continue shooting, but never COUNT on it to happen.
     
  17. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    That might be because there is no notch on the right side for the slide stop to engage. The slide stop lever on the left side of the M&P is just an extension of the slide stop assembly. The slide stop notch is only on the left side of the slide

    So does Colt...see part number 46 below:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. sleepyone

    sleepyone Member

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    Very interesting. I have always heard it called a slide release and used it as such. JMB had it right from the get-go. I have never had a 1911 where the slide stop/release was difficult to work. I like M&Ps, but the more polymer autos I am exposed to the more I like my 1911s. Just shows that there is nothing new under the sun and that JMB was a genius on the level of Edison, Ford, Bell, etc.... but he is never mentioned in the same conversation by those outside the industry. Maybe he was better known and respected back in the day. Don't mean to go off topic here, but since I started the thread I guess can take that liberty. But I digress....
     
  19. CommanderCrusty

    CommanderCrusty Member

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    You said you, "... use one thumb to press against the other to work one side."

    So do I (and I have carpal tunnel syndrome in BOTH wrists).

    I use the same technique on the M&P, the 1911 and the Sig. Been doing it for years. Works great. Never had a problem.
     
  20. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    Mine auto-forwarded reliably from day one. I would say it works about 99% of the time. In the event it doesn't I hit the button on the right side of the gun (I am a lefty) with my strong hand thumb. It costs a little time but not nearly as much time as it would take to slingshot.

    I'd say mine broke in over time and now pressing the button to drop it requires less pressure than it did when brand new. You are pressing it DOWN, rather than IN, correct? I never had to use the amount of force you are talking about. You will have to press the right side a little harder than the left since only the left engages, and you will need to overcome the flex that occurs when you press only the right side of the wishbone shaped part.

    If it were me I'd give it some time to break in, and/or polish , with 600 grit sandpaper (not "file") the engagement surface on the slide catch. Polishing will just speed up what would naturally occur through breaking in the gun through live or dry fire. Worst case, if you over-cook the polishing (which would be hard to do) it is a $16 part I think.

    If it auto-forwards it can't be getting hung up all that badly.
     
  21. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    my glock 30 is the same way, i trained myself to slide it back and release
     
  22. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    You might want to check where else your sources might have lead you astray ;)

    You know that JMB did not design the 1911 to be carried cocked-n-locked (Condition 1), right?

    The US Army forced him to redesign the pistol to add a thumb safety he had not included in his original submission. His original design relied on the grip safety as the primary. Condition 1 was not a common carry method until 30-40 years later
     
  23. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    Sleepyone, I guess I'll have to disagree with your disagreement. :D

    mgmorden sums it up well here:

    If S&W were to market it as a feature, that would be a liability, as it is not a "design feature" that could ever be counted on to activate consistently in a defensive situation, and would certainly never be marketed to law enforcement as such, or recommended for training.

    By the way, I have a Walther P99 that will also release the slide if the magazine is inserted too forcefully. No big deal, just physics in action.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  24. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    If you really feel you must use the slide stop/release to let the slide go forward, but can't use the thumb of your strong hand to do it, use your OFF HAND, with several fingers in a hook/claw, to depress the lever. It's much easier with several fingers than just one, and not nearly as hard to find the little release tab on the lever.

    I found that dropping the empty mag, and using the offhand to insert the fresh mag, and then just moving the fingers on up to release the slide is almost as fast as using the strong thumb, and you do NOT have to change your grip (required for me with some guns) or move the gun's bore dramatically away from the target (as IS the case when using the slingshot method).

    (When you watch master-level shooters in combat-type competitions, you see that nearly all = of them leave the gun up, pointed at target, at eye level, insert the mag while it's in that position; they then release the slide using the slide stop/release lever. Some use the strong hand thumb, but not all.)

    An acquaintance -- a pro shooter and a formerly highly ranked IPSC shooter, is now an instructor who works Special Ops troops at Fort Bragg. He told me, some time ago, that the US Special Ops command no longer advocates the slingshot method in its training classes -- except as a part of the clearance drill. Why the change? Because the military was were getting too many reports from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan of shooters having to do a clearance drill or having to rack the slide again after a failed slingshot release, loosing a round in the process and taking extra time when time was critical.

    It's always been claimed that using the slide release requires fine motor skills, while using the slingshot method did not. It would appear, however, that when the adrenaline is flowing and stress is high, either method can require more finesse than might be available -- and releasing the slide using the slingshot method, if not done crisply, can be as problematic as using the slide stop/release lever.

    You should know how to slingshot a slide -- as its a critical part of the clearance drill, but experiment with the other method; with practice, decide for yourself which works best for you -- don't rely on THEORY alone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  25. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    To avoid any mis-perception or confusion by a later reader, are you using sling shotting the slide interchangeably with the overhand grab to rack the slide?

    ...or are you referring to pinching the slide between the thumb and index finger to pull it from the rear?...what I think of, when I hear the term sling shot

    Does someone still teach the sling shot slide manipulation in defense tactics classes/schools?
     
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