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 grouped 5 rounds at 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.
Another 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.
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.