I picked up a 4.5″ standard S&W M&P40 with no mag disconnect or manual safety in the fall of 2007. It is equipped with nightsights. Out of the box, the gun felt good in the hand, the finish was nice, but the trigger felt a little cheap.
The trigger was gritty with lots of take up, a sloppy break and no real reset. The gun pointed straight for me, and was comfortable to draw quickly. The mag release and slide release were in a position so as to be used easily without repositioning my hand. The ambi controls would be handy for both handed people, and seemed well thought out. My initial impression of the gun was good, and I was excited to shoot it. I don’t remember my first range session much, but do remember that it had less recoil than I anticipated.
I took the gun to the police academy where I was trained with it. The gun had a quick round count of nearly 2000 rounds. I had zero malfunctions in that time. It should be noted, that at around 500rnds in the trigger smoothed out considerably and the gun seemed to get back on target much faster. That could be shooter, or both gun and shooter breaking in. The trigger break in was very noticeable. I now recommend dry firing the gun prior to much use to help with the trigger break in.
One year with the gun brought up some interesting issues. I had a series of FTF with the gun during a range session. Mags were replaced, and the FTF issue went away. No issues and the round count was near 3000 rnds. I had some slight surface rust on the Trijicon Night Sights, but a wire brush knocked it off no issue.
Year 2 I had to again replace the mags, but no notable issues with the gun. My M&P was a first generation M&P, and I was made aware that there were 3-4 generations of them. Some known issues were the finish rusting on the slide, mag release breaking, slide release lever breaking, take down lever breaking, premature mag spring failure. By year 2 I only experienced the mag spring issue.
Year 3 I had over 4000 rounds down the pipe, and again had mag issues. S&W replaced my mags, and I got new generation mags that have had no issues to date (so far so good). I replaced all known issue parts listed above to be on the safe side, no issues related to them except the slide release lever. Right side of the gun slide release broke, did not change the function, as I used the left side of the lever. I replaced it, and have had no issues.
Year 4 and I’m not sure where my round count is, somewhere approaching 5000 rounds I’m sure. During a cleaning after a normal range session, I found a piece of polymer from the frame on the mainspring. It was clear the slide hitting it took the “chunk” of frame out of the slide. (the spot is from where the slide stops at the polymer, hard to describe without showing pictures, which I don’t have) Shot a large match with it in this condition, and no malfunctions or issues. Called S&W and they immediately replaced the frame no charge. This however put me at square 1 with the trigger which by this point was very smooth, consistent, and a pull I was used to. I opted for the custom shop “M&P Action Job”, that “tunes the action” and installs the performance center sear. The trigger is now VERY smooth, and VERY VERY consistent, but the same faint reset. I also had the frame stippled at the same time. The gun is a totally different, and very easy to shoot. It has always been a very accurate gun, but now the followups are much faster, and groups have shrank.
The M&P pistols are easy to get back on target, and mag changes are quick. During my last 4 years, mag changes have been the same each time. When you index the mag to the well, sending it home with a little force will drop the slide each time. My slide has only NOT gone home when doing this 1 time, and that was because of my error. I consider this a plus, but still train to rack the slide.
The gun has had zero malfunctions related to the gun. Mags are a different issue, as I’ve burned throgh more than my normal share. However, since receiving new generation mags, no issues at all. The S&W warranty is good, and the turn around time acceptable. I know it seems like I’ve had a lot of issues, but in reality I have not. I pay very close attention to all the problems that I MIGHT have (hence replacing all known problem parts with the gun when they were working). The frame issue I had was another issue that happened to first gen guns, and did not cause any malfunctions. I have shot a mix of ammuniton from most makers, and none have failed. The guns recoil impulse is not bad, and the ergonomics are fantastic. Aftermarket support is picking up, and accessories are easy to find. I use a Surefire X300 on my gun, but find no difference with or without it.
In summary, the gun works well and is a pleasure to shoot. The latest generation M&P’s still have the trigger that needs to break in, but known issues are supposed to be fixed. Personally the grip stippling is great, and you can’t go wrong with doing that simple modification. I always recommend M&P guns, and carry 2 daily (not at the same time). Buy, feed ammo, enjoy!
By: Jason Hallmark
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