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S&W M&P Pro 9mm Review

Its been a couple months since I posted my initial thoughts on the Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm Pro. Since writing about that, the pistol has become my primary competition pistol, and I’ve used it in every match I have shot since picking it up.


Right off the bat, this pistol throws lead very accurately. At 25 yards it has groupedĀ 5 rounds atĀ 2.5″ or less, and in matches, I have routinely placed rounds into 2-3″ placements in the down zero at 30 yards or more.

5 shot group, just a hair over 2″ @ 25 yards:


The M&P Pro comes with a set of Novak competition sights, consisting of a black rear, and a green fiber optic front. These are pretty good for being the factory sights. The rear notch is a little narrow, and the front sight is a little wide, resulting in a sight picture that is a little too tight for my preference. I’m used to shooting the Warren Tactical/Sevigny competition sights, which have a little narrower front, and wider rear, but the Novak sights are serviceable.

The front fiber optic sight is fragile like most other fiber optic sights. At the time of writing this, I have not broken the fiber optic insert yet, but looking at it right now I can see a couple cracks in it. S&W does not send any extra fiber optic fiber with the pistol, so if it breaks (and it will) you will need to have some extra on hand.


This pistol arrived with an absolutely awful trigger. It actually felt like the trigger bar was rubbing against sandpaper while the take-up was being pulled. This was pretty easily remedied by cleaning up the nasty edge that was left on part of the trigger bar at the factory with a stone. After taking the grit out of the trigger, I have left it alone for around 1000 rounds, and its fine now. It breaks somewhere around 5-6 pounds, and has a little more take-up, and a little more over-travel than a stock Glock 17, but it’s really neglegible.

Grip, Removable Backstraps, Etc:

Many people compliment the M&P series on how good it feels in their hand. I do not disagree, as the M&P has great ergonomics, but for me, it isn’t perfect. I’m really nit-picking here, but if I could make any changes to the ergos of the pistol, I would widen the front strap just a little bit, maybe 1-1.5mm. The reason for this is the grip is egg shaped now, which tends to allow the pistol to slide around in my hand a little more than a more squared off grip (e.g. Glock).

The main reason that I purchased an M&P is that I was starting to get a lot of slide bite on my Glocks as my grip evolved higher and higher. The M&P has a nice large beavertail which allows me to grip high without worrying about any slide bite.

AnotherĀ feature that drew me to the M&P was the removable backstraps. The M&P comes with 3 different sizes, small, medium, and golf ball. The small and medium backstraps are what they say they are, but I’m not sure what the designer of the large backstrap was thinking. Instead of just being larger than the medium backstrap, and adding to the length of pull, the large backstrap swells in the palm area which just adds to the egg shaped feel of the grip. I know several people who like the palm swell, but it just isn’t for me. I’ve been running the medium backstrap and it works for me.

Slide, Barrel, Etc:

The slide on the M&P Pro is attractive. Good looking milling, attractive roll marks, and nice grippy, aggressive serrations at the rear of the slide. The finish on the slide is attractive as well, and is applied evenly. After a couple thousand presentations from my holster it is just starting to show a little wear around some of the edges, which I would expect from any finish, on any gun with as much as I have dry-fire practiced with this pistol.

The barrel has traditional rifling, so it is good to go shooting lead loads for you reloaders out there. Nothing really special about the barrel, it locks up tight in the slide, and throws lead accurately. Yay.

The M&P Pro also has a steel guide rod, which surprised me when I first field stripped the pistol. Being a Glock guy, I’m used to those little plastic guide rods. The steel guide rod is great in a competition gun, as it adds a little more weight to the front if the pistol reducing muzzle flip.


The M&P Pro has been dead nuts reliable. I generally shoot the cheapest, dirty ammo I can find, and the pistol has not malfunctioned once. I also am not someone who strips my pistols and cleans them meticulously after every range trip. I give the M&P Pro a couple drops of oil and that’s it. After a thousand-ish rounds it is getting ready for a good cleaning, so I’ll probably clean it for the first time soon.

The M&P Pro is marketed as a competition pistol, but after seeing how reliable it is, I would not hesitate to use it as a self defense pistol.

Final thoughts:

When I bought this pistol, I was very biased towards Glocks. I had played with a couple M&P’s and wrote them off immediately because of the awful trigger. This M&P Pro has grown on me. I told many of you that as soon as I felt I was done evaluating it I would be selling it and buying a Glock 34 to be my main pistol, but after putting a good amount of ammo through the pistol, I think I will keep it, you know, not because I like it, but for…. ah…. testing.



About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. I just got the S&W M&P 9mm carry and range kit on Wed. 10-03-2012. In all the years of shooting this is the 1st semi-auto pistol I've owned. Doesn't mean I've never fired them, just never owned one. Always been a Single Action person…Ruger's in particular. Have yet to fire the 9mm…waiting on my ammo to arrive this week. Still trying to wrap my brain around the idea of owning what I call a "baby bullet" type of gun, when all I've ever fired are large bore pistols. Was going to buy the .45 M&P, but most everyone talked me out of it. I think I should've listened to myself. But I'm getting away from why I'm writing this. Why does there seem to b so much "play" or "side to side and up and down" movement in the slide and barrel? Even when the slide is fully forward in normal position I can move it from side to side slightly. Is that a normal characteristic of all semi-auto's, or is mine seriously flawed and should be sent to Smith&Wesson, for repair or replacement? Any insight and/or help is appreciated. Sincerely Jay Andre.

  2. I realize this is an older article but I have a few comments that I wanted to share with your readers.

    First of all, thanks for writing a fair and balanced review of the M&P.

    I own several M&P’s ranging from the diminutive but stylishly effective M&P Shield in 9 mm to the M&P Pro 9 mm (4 inch), the M&P Pro Core 9 mm (5 inch), and a M&P Pro 40SW (5 inch) and even a M&P plinker in 22LR.

    The thing is, if someone had told me 20 years ago that S&W would manufacture a semi-auto that would actually be worth owning and that I would own, I would have had an uncontrollable giggle fit and said “no way in hell”!

    Well, I am here to say I was wrong! I absolutely love the M&P design. So much so, that I have sold all of my Glocks except for a Gen 3 G19 that I had for many years and that I really like. If I can find a good deal on a M&P in 45, that will be my next purchase.

    All of my M&Ps, with the exception of the Shield and the 22LR, do not have manual thumb safeties. It is my belief that a manual safety on a striker-fired pistol is, as they say, “a hardware fix for a software problem” and completely unnecessary. However, the M&P line is much varied and if features like manual safeties or magazine safeties are important to you, they are certainly available in the M&P line from S&W.

    The M&Ps all vary a bit in the quality of their triggers as they vary within their specific price points and feature sets. IMHO, the Pro line of pistols definitely have a better trigger straight out of the box; when compared to the non-Pro pistols, and require no upgrades or trigger work at all.

    It is true that the triggers on the Shield line and the regular M&P’s leave a little to be desired but they will break in nicely after a several hundred rounds. If you are an impatient person (like I am) and want the trigger perfect right from the start; there are many options available.

    There are after-market trigger kits available from Apex Tactical that are inexpensive and fairly easy to install. Apex tactical makes duty and carry trigger kits (DCAEK), as well as, Competition trigger kits (FSS) for these pistols. IMHO, they are worth every penny if you want an absolutely sublime trigger and you like tinker with your pistols yourself.

    There are also several gunsmiths around the country that do really nice work on the triggers of these pistols at a price point that is comparable to the cost of the Apex kits.

    All in all, I am very pleased with the M&P line and believe that Smith has done a terrific job with these pistols.

  3. I have a m&p 9mm pro and am amazed at the groups you claim to shoot with cast bullets. Off a rest at 20 yards, I can not get 3″ groups. I have tried several powders and cast bullet weights. I can’t get better than 3″ groups with jacketed.

    • Ken –

      Try using a 115 gr .357 diameter bullet available online from Eggleston Munitions.

      I tried these polymer coated bullets loaded with 4.0 grains of Titegroup and a CCI primer on a lark. I mean seriously, I didn’t expect much. What I found though was that (using this load) I could shoot bullet hole through bullet hole at 10 yards and 2 inch groups at 25 yards.

      Honestly, there’s something about the way that .357 diameter bullet engages the rifling that just makes it accurate as all get out.

      Also, the polymer coating is giving me about 25 feet per second better than what I expected and after shooting 200+ rounds, I haven’t seen any leading or polymer buildup in the barrel.

      I love this load in the M&P 9.

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