Handgun Profile: Smith and Wesson’s new M&P line

Great new Smith and Wesson line: The M&P automatics


Smith and Wesson has tried to come up with a polymer automatic to combat the Glock since it first gained popularity and started replacing the .38 special revolver as the firearm of choice for America’s law enforcement community. Smith and Wesson’s first attempt, the Sigma line, resulted in a mediocre-at-best firearm and a successful lawsuit from Glock. S&W went back to the drawing board and revived the Military and Police line championed by the all new M&P semi automatics, and they hit a home run.

When you think of S&W you probably think of high quality wheel guns, and some obscure semi-automatics that are custom fit to the tastes of collectors or Smith enthusiast. The M&P line of handguns has changed this dramatically. Even though I am a die-hard Glock fan, the M&P looks and feels nicer in my hands. It is an extremely functional and reliable gun, but it also has style with the scalloped slide serrations and interesting texture treatments.

One thing you will definitely notice with the M&P is that your grip is extremely close to the bore axis thanks to the deep beaver tail. What this means is that your grip is very close to the barrel and this helps to reduce muzzle flip during recoil because the slide has less of a lever to exert force on your hand with. The felt result is a push rather than a snap, even with the usually snappy .40 caliber guns. Less muzzle rise results in quicker follow up shots, and more rounds on targets in less time.

The M&P is a definite winner over the Glock in .45 as the frame is still very slim and easy to conceal and handle. Even in the SF the Glock 21 feels unnaturally large in my gorilla palms. It is plagued with the same elephantitis that made the HK USP so unpopular with most .45 shooters. The M&P feels right, points right, and allows you to operate all functions on the handgun without shifting your grip whether you have large hands or not.

The accuracy with the M&P is what you would expect out of a high quality handgun: it shoots better than 99% of us do, and well above combat accuracy. The grip angle lets you hit naturally and points in the right direction for those of us addicted to combat Tupperware ( glocks or xd’s). Available in all sizes and calibers Smith got this one  100% right and the .45 version will be joining my inventory soon, instead of the model 21. The trigger is smooth but takes a little getting used to due to it being hinged in the middle of the pad. My only objection to this gun is the loaded chamber indicator, which is a hole in the rear of the chamber that shows the loaded cartridge. I wonder if this affects velocity at all, but in all likeliness this is simply a cosmetic issue that I am not a fan of.

Verdict: The M&P line of handguns is a serious contender to the Glock, especially since it is able to change the grip to fit the hand of the individual shooter. I wouldn’t outright sell a Glock to replace it with an M&P, but will pick the M&P up in .45 over a Glock any day. A great carry gun that looks sharp, shoots true, and works.

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