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Smith & Wesson M&P9 Review (Dial-Up Beware)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by ZAT, Mar 21, 2007.

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  1. ZAT

    ZAT Member

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    A couple of months ago, when the rumors about the new 45’s coming started popping up, I began Jonesing for a new gun. Doing some reading and one visit to Cabella’s to handle an MP9 pretty much convinced me that I may be eating crow on my bias against S&W auto loaders. Having handled the MP9 I went home an dug through the safe for that G19 that hasn’t seen the light of day since about 2004 and went shopping.

    Surprisingly, there are quite a few options to choose from when shopping for an M&P pistol. You can choose to have a locking mechanism like the revolvers, a mag disconnect, night sights, or a carry package. For the upcoming MP45 you will additionally get to choose between color and manual safety. The MP9 I picked up was a carry package with standard sights, without the lock, without the mag disconnect. The difference in price ($485 vs $515) for the carry option seemed like a good value.

    For my hard earned trade in and a bit of cash I got the following items:
    • MP9 with Medium grip panel installed
    • 3 17 round magazines
    • 1 Blade Tech Revolution Holster
    • 1 Blade Tech Revolution Dual Mag Carrier
    • 1 Small grip panel
    • 1 Large grip panel
    • 1 Clear chamber indicator
    • 1 Owners manual
    • 1 Warranty card
    • 1 Spent case

    Contents.jpg

    Given that currently spare magazines seem to be going for around $35, the additional $30 for the carry package was well worth it as you get not only an additional magazine, but also the holster and mag carrier.

    Out of the box, the action felt decent, but as with every other gun a quick disassembly, cleaning and lube job smoothed it out. Disassembly was easy, yet quirky at the same time. Lock the slide back, turn the sear de-activation lever to lower the sear, rotate the take down lever, release the slide and it comes right off the frame. The gun can also be disassembled using the standard striker fired method of lowering the slide manually into battery and pulling the trigger to release the striker. Not quite sure that I would do this too often though. When dry firing the MP without a snap cap in place, there is a very metallic sound heard. This type of sound is not as prevalent on my XD, nor can I remember in on my G19 or P99. Not sure if its significant at all, but since the sear de-activation lever is relatively easy to access, I would suggest that it be used. The rest of the disassembly process is the same as any other link less assembly.

    Below are some pics that turned out:

    Lt-Profile.jpg
    Rt-Profile.jpg
    XD-Comp.gif
    Slide.gif
    Striker.gif
    Frame-Rear.jpg
    Locking-Block.jpg

    Fit and finish seem to be on par with most other mass produced guns. I would not rate it along with an HK or Sig, but it definitely holds its own against its primary competitors, the XD and Glock. The fact that it is all stainless in construction, however, puts it ahead in some ways in my mind.

    The trigger out of the box is gritty to say the least. The break is OK, but the take up is like rubbing sand paper together. There is also a LOT of over travel. The gritty feel comes form the stamped sheet metal trigger bar rubbing on the firing pin safety during take up. So to smooth it up some I spent time in front of the TV dry firing and simply pulling the trigger. The practice worked and after a couple of hours it became acceptable. Putting my RCBS scale to work got a very consistent 6.75# break after my little smooth out exercise.

    Pros:
    1. Ergonomics: The gun feels very good in the hand, and with the 3 grip inserts can be customized as needed.
    2. Low Bore Axis: Makes for very manageable recoil and follow ups.
    3. Ergonomics: The gun feels really good.
    4. Workable trigger: Wouldn’t call it great, but for me it is better than an out of the box Glock.
    5. Stainless construction coupled with Melonite should make for a rugged gun in the long run.
    6. Spare parts available from Brownells
    7. Good factory sights.
    8. Ergonomics: The gun feels good in the hand
    9. Reliability: So far out of 720 rounds fired I have only encountered one failure which was ammo related.
    10. No need to pull the trigger during take down.
    11. Options: You can get factory set ups with or without various “safety’ devices, so no back yard gunsmithing is necessary.
    12. Affordable smithing services.
    13. Have I said ergonomics yet?

    Cons:
    1. Sear de-activation lever: I cant make up my mind about it completely.
    2. Complete disassembly of slide requires removal of rear sight to access the striker assembly.
    3. Expensive mags.
    4. Metallic sound during dry fire.
    5. Exterior finish. The “black” finish in the slide does not seem very tough. Simply bumping it against a set of keys left a mark, so holster wear will probably show quick. Being melonited stainless this is probably going to be an aesthetic issue only.

    Now for the shooting part. Shooting took place over a 2 day period separated by a trip to get a trigger job. I fired 200 rounds of S&B to make sure the gun ran without failure and then decided to make some changes. I replaced the rear sight with a 10-8 U-Notch rear in all black and got a Dan Burwell standard trigger job. All I can say that both changes were well worth their price, especially the trigger job. At $50 plus shipping, the change was like night and day. Weight dropped to a consistent 4# at the middle of the trigger. Over travel was minimized as was reset and take up was smoothed out considerably.

    The following factory ammo was used for a total of 720 rounds fired over 2 days.

    Sellier & Bellott 115gr FMJ 200 rds
    Independence Arms 115gr FMJ 50 rds
    CCI Blazer 115gr FMJ 50 rds
    Remington UMC 115gr MC (White Box) 50 rds
    Ultramax 115gr FMJ 50 rds
    Monarch 115gr FMJ (Steel Case) 50 rds
    Monarch 115gr FMJ (Brass Case) 50 rds
    Winchester 115gr FMJ (White Box) 50 rds
    PMC 115gr FMJ 50 rds
    Fiocchi 115gr FMJ (9mm Magnum) 10 rds
    Speer 124gr TMJ 10 rds
    Federal 115gr JHP Hi-Shok 20 rds
    Federal 124gr JHP Hydra-Shok 20 rds
    Federal 147gr JHP Hydra-Shok 20 rds
    Speer 124gr JHP GoldDot 20 rds
    Speer 147gr JHP GoldDot 20 rds

    Total Rounds Fired 720 rds

    Through the 2 days I experienced one failure to feed using Remington UMC ammo. Upon examining the round it was apparent that the round received little to no crimp and I doubt that anything would have fed it.

    Here are the details:

    - Trigger: Out of the box, the trigger is acceptable. I like it better than the factory G19 and it comes close to the XD aside from the gritty take up. With the $50 investment the trigger easily surpasses the XD and rivals some of the 1911’s I have had over the years.

    -Sights: Factory sights are acceptable. The 10-8 is also a well spent $40. The U-Notch makes for a very clean sight picture and also makes for quick follow ups.

    -Accuracy: I did not shoot for groups, during the break in process, but did notice that when I did my part the gun cold put 5 rounds into a clover leaf at 7 yds using S&B ammo. The second day a the range, with the new trigger job, I was able to engage 8 six inch plates with single and double taps without missing out to 15 yds. It did take a mag or two to get used to both the factory and refined triggers though.

    -Summary: The sound you are hearing in the background is me eating crow on my S&W bias. At least with the MP9 model, it appears that S&W has hit a home run. I definitely feel no regret at having traded the G19 for it. To date, reliability has been exceptional and accuracy is more than acceptable for a service grade weapon. The thing that truly sets this gun apart from the competition, is the ergonomics. The gun feels very natural in the hand. The low bore axis, adjustable grips, and beaver tail make for a gun that is very pleasurable to shoot. I am eagerly awaiting the MP45, to say the least.
     
  2. GunNut

    GunNut Member

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    Very nice detailed review.:D

    Steve
     
  3. madecov

    madecov Member

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    Nice review.
    I've handled several of the M&P's and I am seriously considering one for a duty weapon over the Glock 22 I currently use.
     
  4. mrcpu

    mrcpu Member

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    Great review. I am stuck on xd vs m&p. Just can't make up my mind. Everytime I go to the gun store and get ready to lay down the cash, I just get this little "well, let me fondle 'em both a bit more..".

    Maybe because I'm jonesing for an EMP... :)
     
  5. GrandmasterB

    GrandmasterB Member

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    Great review. I fired one a while back and knew I needed one! I just ordered a combo pak like yours and can't wait until it gets here. :)
     
  6. tydephan

    tydephan Member

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    I chose the M&P first...but on the same day put the EMP on layaway. :D

    That was 5 or 6 months ago. I shot both of them this weekend and you will not go wrong if you choose either one of them.

    Can't comment on the XD. Haven't owned one yet.

    Great review by ZAT, btw...
     
  7. vanfunk

    vanfunk Member

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    Thank you ZAT for this very informative review. I am drawing ever closer to buying one of these contraptions.

    vanfunk
     
  8. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Member

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    I have an M&P 40 and have fired a friend's XD-9c. I like them both. I do think the ergonomics of the Smith are better. The issue with the detail strip of the slide is one I was looking at. I just use a flat screwdriver to gently push the plastic beneath the firing pin down, push in the button on the slide, and the tail-cap comes right out. You can then remove the firing pin and spring, but not the sleeve. Since the pin rides inside the sleeve, I don't see much residue getting in behind it. I run a 22 patch in there and then wipe down the spring on the pin. I might rub some oil on with a patch every three cleanings or so, just for the slightest of films so it doesn't catch crud. I've had zero problems with cleaning this way, and you don't have to fiddle with the sights.
     
  9. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    "2 piece trigger"; M&P model...

    As a left handed American, I like the ambi controls on the Smith M&P models but I'm not thrilled with the 2 piece trigger. It looks like it could wear or break with ease. :uhoh:

    I'm also not a big fan of hard use/duty type weapons that require locks or "take down" parts to field strip the sidearm. :barf:

    The Smith and Wesson's M&P line offers good prices for NIB(new) pistols and I might consider a M&P compact 9mmNATO for duty use/CC.

    Rusty S
     
  10. nwilliams

    nwilliams Member

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    You actually don't need any tools to take down the gun enough to clean it. I bought one of these same kits only in .40 last month and I reaaly enjoy it. You can take the slide off and on in a few seconds, about as long as it take to take the slide off a Sig plus a few seconds. Open the slide turn down the slide catch lever. reach inside through the ejection port with your thumb push down the little lever thingy, then the push the slide forward and its off.

    In the manual they show that you need to use a tool to push the lever thingy forward but I found it to be no problem doing it with your finger or a car key really makes it quick and easy.

    Now my con:

    I had to send mine back recently to S&W because after about 700rds the magazine started poping out part way after each shot. I adjusted my grip, tried firing it one-handed and with both hands and still after each shot the mag would eject about an inch and no round would feed because of it. So I would have to push the mag back in and rack the slide again. After 10 minutes of this I gave up. I took the gun home called S&W they emailed me a shipping lebel the next day and I sent the gun back. That was a week and a half ago, I just the gun back last night (not bad turn around time). According to the repair order they replaced the mag release button. So now I'm off to the range today to see if they truely resolved the problem. I really hope they did I want to start carrying this gun again:(
     
  11. ront

    ront Member

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    Very nice review ZAT!! I have the M&P .40 Compact. I traded in my G27 for it, and just like you, have no regrets. The M&P's are sweet shooters!! I still say that one of the only things keeping more people from buying them is that they just have not handled and shot one yet. Once you do that, well you know what happens:) .

    Ron
     
  12. Fergy35

    Fergy35 Member

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    Thanks for a great review.

    I have been wondering about these since they came out. After handling a couple I was very impressed with the feel of them in my hands.

    Now I might just have to start saving for one (along with all the other ones on my list).
     
  13. ront

    ront Member

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    Fergy35, if you have only handled one, just wait until you shoot one. They are fun to shoot. I don't really know why, but I am at least 50% more accurate with my M&P!

    Ron
     
  14. nwilliams

    nwilliams Member

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    First let me say that I don't want to hijack your thread so I'll keep it simple.

    Well I just got back from the range and after 200 flawless rounds I can say without a doubt S&W fixed the problem with my M&P. I'm gonna put another 200 rounds through it before I feel comfortable making it my carry gun again, but I have high hopes!

    So I have to say in addition to ZAT's fine review I have to add to it by giving this feedback in further support of this fine handgun. S&W's customer support was very helpful, they seemed to have done their job and the turn around time like I said earlier was very reasonable. I only hope that the gun continues to work well for many thousands of rounds to come.

    Again good review ZAT and welcome to THR!:)
     
  15. zahc

    zahc Member

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    I have a 9c, and I'm not happy with the trigger. Anyone know of any good fixes, DIY or otherwise?
     
  16. ront

    ront Member

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  17. SKM&P9

    SKM&P9 Member

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    Zahc, just to echo Ront, if you look at the mp-pistol site, there is a DIY trigger tutorial in there, with easy to follow steps, and pics to guide you. I did mine (full size 9mm), and you can't believe the difference about 1 hour, some 600 grit paper, and lapping compound can do. Well worth the time.
     
  18. Lonestar

    Lonestar Member

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    ZAT great review.

    I'm a big Glock fan, but I'm thing of branching out into another striker fired handgun. The XDs I shot seem a little top heavy, and I'm actually not a fan of the grip safety. I was looking at the S&W M&P and the Walther P99 (which I noticed you mentioned) , out of those 2 which do you like most so far.
     
  19. ZAT

    ZAT Member

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    Glad you guys like the review. I spent a good amount of time over the the MP forums and did a lot of reading before taking the plunge. My model is a Revision N which is the latest and greatest. If youre buying a 9 or 40 in full size look for it on the inside surface of the dust cover. The compacts havent been updated yet.

    SW customer service seems to be a class act that people like HK should look to sa an example...Heck almost any company should.

    Of the 4 striker fired's I had/have (P99 in 40, XD45, G19 and MP9) I think the Walther and MP rank at the top. The XD is a good gun, but the ergonomics of the Walther and MP are far better for my hand size and shape. The G19 while it is a great design in a lot of respects also did not do it for me as far as ergo and trigger went. Between the MP and Walther...hmmm its a tough choice. My biggest issue with the Walther was the caliber, I think. The 40 was just not a fun gun for me to shoot and practice with. Shooting any factory round my strong hand would be sore for at least one day after the session; and were talking about 2-300 rounds only. I had the DA/SA version and the SA trigger was AWESOME, but the transition from DA to SA was hard. The QA actio that is now being imported was not to my liking as all the samples I handled were incredibly Glock like. In 9 it may have been a different story.

    Over all if the MP continues along as reliably as it has been I will give the nod to the MP cause of the ergonomics, no DA/SA transition and made in the USA.
     
  20. zahc

    zahc Member

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    What are the differences? I heard there was some kind of updated striker available, does it have anything to do with that?
     
  21. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    I had to do that, too. ;) I don't remember exactly how anti I was outwardly, but inside I was all "Oh great, another S&W autopistol. This one will be better than the last three we evaluated, yeahsureright."

    I'm happy to be wrong. This gun sure does seem to rock.

    Mike
     
  22. Ghost Tracker

    Ghost Tracker Member

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    Very Nice Review!

    I've liked the feel of the M&P since I first handled one, although I haven't shot one yet. Zat, you've done us all a favor by your unbiased review. Thanks!

    David Bowie @ Bowie Tactical (West Union, Ohio) reportedly does wonders for the M&P trigger including (get this) 2 DIFFERENT styles of take-up/reset modifications (short & long) to best adapt to your personal preference on trigger reach. Go to his website for details. No...I'm not on Bowie's payroll. I've just already decided that he's gonna' do the trigger work on my M&P .45 (with manual thumb safety) as soon as the dang things come out.

    I feel comfortable tuning (lightening) the trigger on this model of the M&P since there's an "old fashioned" manual safety. Hell, as a 1911 & Hi-Power shooter, my thumb sweeps down the left side of the frame without thinking anyway!

    Has anyone actually SEEN on of these M&P .45 models anywhere but the SHOT show? When are they going to start shipping them?!?
     
  23. ront

    ront Member

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  24. johndoe1027

    johndoe1027 Member

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    Hey Ront!!! ::waving arms about like a madman::
    Yeah, anyone who is wondering, check my signature. Thanks for the awesome review, I feel amost exactly the same. The trigger really is easy to fix (by dry firing or polishing). I've done both and here's what happened today...
    [​IMG]
    1100 rounds with a malfunction on round #5 (straight out of the box, literally) and none since
    P.S. My groups would be a lot better if I wasn't so crappy at shooting. All of the ugliness was my fault, not the M&P's. Not too bad for a compact polymer though....
     
  25. ..

    .. Member

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    I have been very happy with my M&P.
     
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