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S&W M&P9: Initial impressions

I’m not quite drinking the Kool-Aid yet since I haven’t even shot it. But so far, I am impressed. I like the simplicity of a point and click interface. No safeties, no locks, no magazine disconnector nonsense. If I want it to go bang, I pull the trigger. If I don’t want it to go bang, I don’t pull the trigger.

Here’s another pic:

From Gun Porn

My initial impressions are this:

I like how the gun feels. Ergonomically, it fits me. The grip angle is very similar to a 1911, though a bit fatter since it is a double stack.

The long, snag free sights are very nice. Also, the sights are not cheap looking and feeling. Only problem is they are three-dot sights. I’ll have to change that, not a fan.

The frame tool seems largely useless and is extraordinarily difficult to remove. I felt like I was going to break it when I was taking it out. Fortunately, it’s not needed for disassembly and only needs to be removed to change grips.

The slide stop teaches good habits. As far as I can tell, it does not act as a slide release. You must rack the slide to get it to move forward into battery. I kinda like that.

Trigger pull is OK. A little stacky early but otherwise crisp and has a very nice reset. Factory claims it’s 6lbs. Feels lighter than my Glock’s.

Yes, it has a big stupid lawyer written warning on the side of it. Leave gun design to engineers and gun guys. Not your lawyers.

Hope to shoot it this weekend.

25 Responses to “S&W M&P9: Initial impressions”

  1. hsoi Says:

    If you want to improve the trigger, check out the kits from Apex Tactical

  2. SayUncle Says:

    Heh. Let me shoot it first 🙂

  3. ZK Says:

    I’m a 1911 nut, but my competition gun is an M&P Pro, and I love it. Some reactions:

    -The Crimson Trace grips are a little slick, but there’s not that much you can do about it. If you don’t plan on shooting this in IPDA (where it would be illegal in SSP class) consider stippling the front-strap. It’s easy, DIY, looks good, and vastly improves the grip.

    -Sights. The dots black out pretty easily with paint/marker, but I went a replaced them with 3rd party sights, and this was a great call. Warren makes some great sights for it, for example.

    -The Trigger can be improved. The drop-in Enhancement Kit (Duty or Comp) by APEX is a fantastic product if you don’t mind detail-stripping the gun. There’s still some takeup, but it removes over-travel and makes the break lighter and totally removes the grit (which is from the firing-pin stop plunger).

    -Slide release… It is a slide release. I’m not sure why it doesn’t function, except that they can be stiff from the factory. It may need a few magazines through it to break in before it’s “easy” to operate as such. If you wish to use it is up to you.

    Congratulations on the gun, and I think you’ll be happy with it.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    where it would be illegal in SSP class

    Even with the power button off? This is why I hate gun games, too many rules.

  5. ZK Says:

    Sorry, that referred to stippling the front-strap. That’s a permanent frame modification, and lands you in ESP class.

    Since the backstrap is removable, you can stipple it, stick a laser in it, do whatever, so long as it’s not permanently part of the gun. With the power button off, CTC grips are totally fine.

  6. Weer'd Beard Says:

    I wonder if the trigger is another thing that is improved by the “lawyer trigger”, as the 10lb Mass trigger is very smooth and constant on the Mass models I’ve shot. (See also the Glock NY trigger ) IMHO pull weight isn’t as important as smoothness and consistancy.

    I’m thinking about getting an M&P45 and a .460 Rowland conversion kit as a Bear Gun for camping and hiking.

  7. ZK Says:


    I’m not 100% sure, but the 10-pound lawyer trigger probably seems smooth and consistent because no matter what everything else is doing, all you feel is the huge springs, particularly the sear spring. Metaphorically, you’re not going to hear that your guitar is out of tune when there are loudspeakers blaring in your ears.

    Smoothness and consistency are certainly more important than a low weight, but if you can get all three, it’s better than settling for just two.

  8. Firehand Says:

    Friend cop bought one in .45, and he loves it; all this makes me want to try one. Wonder if H&H has one to rent…

  9. jason Says:

    Father-in-law has one. After handling it, I was in the “meh” crowd. After shooting it, though, I was very impressed. I am a big fan…I think you will be too. Congrats.

  10. "E" Says:

    I have had my M&P9 Pro for a few months now…1200 or so rounds through it. Haven’t had a single FTF, FTE, or other malfunction yet. I think the pro has a slightly lighter trigger.

    I haven’t tried one personally (only modification is the inclusion of a TLR-1s)…but people seem to love the APEX trigger kits, resets, etc.

  11. "E" Says:

    Also, let me know if you find a decent holster for concealed carry. Haven’t found one I like yet.

  12. SayUncle Says:

    Ordered an MTAC from comptac. I like the one I have for my 1911.

  13. Jennifer Says:

    Firehand-Yes, H&H has one to rent. Or we can meet up there and you can shoot my M&P9Compact or EvylRobot’s M&P45Compact.

  14. aczarnowski Says:

    Nice addition.

  15. LC Scotty Says:

    It’s going to sound weird, but the slide release is easier if there’s a round in the magazine when the pistol is brandy-new. At least that was the case for mine (MP 9C). I rarely use it as a release, though-I just pull back on the slide and let the springs do their thing.

    The only failures I’ve had (around 1k rounds) is that early on it would occasionally fail to slide lock at the end of a magazine. It has not done that in the last 600 or so rounds.

    Concealed holster-I love my crossbreed supertuck. Yes it’s a bit pricey, but very comfortable and it really does not print at all.

  16. John Smith. Says:

    Looks like an ugly cz97b.

  17. ben Says:

    I got the M&P9 compact a few months ago thinking it was time to try the plastic hi-cap carry gun thing. While it is lighter weight than my full size 1911, and holds 15 rounds (14+1 = dumb, do any semi-autos hold 14+0 or 14+2?) it carries like crap. The problems are 1. that it’s fat, and 2. that it’s bulky as hell where the hammer would be if it had a hammer.

    My 1911 pistols carry much better, and even with my full size .45 I don’t have that bulge poking me in the side of my arm. I still have the M&P, and it’s fun to shoot, but my primary carry gun is now a Springfield EMP 9mm. Light, thin, carries perfectly, what more could you want.

    And about the M&P… there’s instructions available on the internet that walk you through a trigger job. The trigger is pretty grabby factory new, but apparently it’s one of the easier guns with which to undertake trigger improvement. In fact, here’s the link:

  18. jumpthestack Says:

    The frame tool is useless. I just use my finger to push the sear disconnect down. You can also just pull the trigger like on a Glock.

  19. Michael Says:

    So, let me ask a dumb question, but why is using the slide release to you know, actually release the slide, a bad habit?

  20. Firehand Says:

    Jennifer: Excellent! I get a chance, one or the other.

  21. Les Jones Says:

    So how’s the LaserGrip? I’ve got one that’s activated by the middle finger on the frontstrap. How’s the web ‘o hand-activated LaserGrip?

  22. Les Jones Says:

    Oh, and if you’re going shooting give me a shout.

  23. hsoi Says:

    In response to Michael (#19).

    It’s not a slide release, it’s a slide lock. It’s intended to lock the slide back, not release the slide.

    Why bad?

    Too much use of it as a release can wear it down and then prevent reliable locking.

    The way the gun is designed to operate is for the slide to go all the way back, then all the way forward. When the slide is locked, it’s not all the way back, thus a forward stroke from that point isn’t a full as-designed forward stroke and doesn’t give the full oomph to make things go. Yes most of the time it happens to work out, but….

    When it comes to using that motion as your way of dropping the slide, consider that using your thumb in that manner is a fine motor skill. When the pressure is on, fine motor skills go to pot. Do you want that? What if you are having to work the gun in your left hand (given it’s a “right-handed gun”)? What if your thumb is out of commission? Better is to have a single motor skill that works for all situations: grabbing the slide over the top of the back of the slide (palm heel on the left side of the slide, fingertips on the right side, hand “horseshoeing” over top of the slide but not covering the ejection port or contacting the rear sight). Grab like that, pull back and let go. That works to load the gun, to drop the slide, to deal with malfunctions, left hand, right hand, if your thumb is out of commission, if maybe you’ve only got a few fingers to work with, it’s a much stronger grip so if things are slick you improve your chances of holding on and manipulating the gun, it’s a gross motor skill.

  24. Mike V Says:

    I use the MTAC IWB and a Sparks model 55. The 55 was originally for a Glock 23 but works fine.

  25. Karl Rehn Says:

    The Apex parts are worth the money – produces a much better trigger pull than the DIY trigger job done on factory parts.

    Apex parts (the carry kit) have also been approved by several PDs for carry use. After following armed citizen incidents and trials in Texas for decades I can find no evidence that any armed citizen has ever lost in court because he or she had installed an aftermarket trigger part or had a trigger job done by a gunsmith.

    Aside from boutique 1911 “production” guns, there are no ‘stock’ guns that can’t be dramatically improved by upgrading the sights and the trigger pull.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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