Home / Gear Reviews / S&W M&P 9mm Magazine Follower Design Change?

S&W M&P 9mm Magazine Follower Design Change?

I was recently able to order a couple of M&P 9mm magazines from Midway, and the new magazine followers are just a little different from the M&P magazines that I have purchased in the past. The part of the follower that pushes up on the slide stop appears to have a small bevel on it that is absent on the older followers.

When inserting the new magazines into the pistol, the new follower will sometimes slide past the edge of the slide stop, and keep the magazine from dropping free. Now, I don’t think this is really an issue, as in a competition or a concealed carry situation I won’t be slamming an empty magazine into the pistol, and when stripping a round off of the top of the magazine, the follower doesn’t have enough force behind it to keep the magazine from dropping free.

You will notice in the above picture, that the dirty magazine follower on the left just barely pushes up the slide stop, and the clean follower on the right kind of slips past the slide stop.

In the above pictures, you will see that the slide stop is being pushed up, but the tab on the slide stop has slid past the edge of the follower a tad.

Whats the big deal?

These newest magazine followers appear to be just a hair different on the front edge where the follower contacts the slide stop. I’m not sure if this was an intentional change or not, but following this thread over at the Smith & Wesson Forum, it appears that this is an issue that only some people are having. I’m not convinced that this is an issue at all. I agree that the new magazine followers are different, but inserting an empty magazine, and not having it drop free isn’t much of an issue for me, especially when I can’t replicate it with a snap-cap.

Here’s the deal:

When a snap-cap is placed in the magazine, it pushes the follower sideways toward the slide stop. On all 5 of the pistols I tested, this made all of my fancy photography above useless, and it makes the pistol work as intended. I did have a reader tell me that with a snap-cap in his magazine, his follower would only engage the slide stop about 2/3 of the time. I’ll be interested to hear a report back from him once he uses the pistol with live ammo¬†(and I might be eating a little crow…)

At least they are back!

These magazines have been unobtainable since December of 2012, so the fact they they are back on the market is great. They were listed as “in-stock” for over 24 hours (which is amazing!) before I purchased them. I gave $33 each for the two that I purchased from MidwayUSA, and the basepads, springs, and magazine bodies are exactly what I was expecting to receive, but the followers in both of the magazines look sloppy compared to the older followers I have. They have sharper edges, and have slightly different angles, especially on the front.

After waiting 9 months to get my hands on some more M&P magazines, I’m not about to send these back because of sloppy followers. I suspect that S&W (or someone contracted to make these magazines for S&W) is rushing to make as many of them as possible, and really, even though they are different, I doubt that I will see any performance change with these new magazines over my old ones when shooting live ammo.

So there you have it. If you have your hands on some of these newest M&P 9mm magazines, let me know how they function in your pistol. I know I’m interested to see how they will function in mine with live ammo.

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.

14 comments

  1. I wonder if this is on purpose to avoid sending the slide home when inserting the mag with force.

    • Interesting thought. None of my M&P’s have ever been able to do that, and I wouldn’t think that the follower would effect it, because the magazine would be full of ammo when inserted to auto forward the slide.

  2. Kinda late, but my M&P 9 sends the slide home with a good mag seating, original magazines that came with the gun.

    I count it as a feature!

  3. I too just bought a couple 10 round mags from Midway. Didn’t notice the bevel difference but I am having trouble loading more than 5 cartridges. I did notice the feet on the new followers are slightly longer and may inhibit loading the last 1 round. Can’t load more than 5 right now so haven’t crossed that bridge yet. Sent an e-mail to S&W, so we’ll see what they have to say.

  4. I can see the difference between the old an new mags that I have. And, as noted, the new ones do seem to “hang” once it a while when pressing the mag release. Also harder to load the last round in 12-rounders). I’ll have to watch for it, now that that there seems to be something specific to watch for. I though it was just me.

  5. I have this problem with my m&p compact. According to S&W its because I switched my mag release button. They sent out some new followers no questions asked. But with live ammo the factory followers I recieved my gun with would fail to lock the slide on the last round 50% of the time. If you have this problem call s&w its a simple follower fix.

    • Yeah, I know of one reader who’s gotten a couple sets of followers from S&W and he’s still having trouble. My personal guns haven’t had any problem shooting live ammo, just with dry fire, so I haven’t bothered getting new followers.

  6. The slide stop on your pics are the old version of it, do you think this has something to do with the new followers?

  7. I just bought my m&p 9 pro here in California. I have the 10 round factory mags and they’re terrible! First, they wouldn’t load more than 9 rounds. The 10th wouldn’t come close to loading even with a EULA (sp?) loader. I had to cut off about 1/2″ of plastic material from the bottom of the followers to get a 10th round in. Then, with 10 rounds, the mag was really hard to seat so I had to cut off 1 coil of the mag spring to get it to seat into the gun without pounding on it. Finally, the shape of the follower makes it nigh impossible to load the first round by hand. If it wasn’t for my loading tool I think I would have given up and switched by to my 1911. Those mags are the worst I’ve ever had in any gun.

  8. I have noticed the same thing on my gun and with the mag release reversed with these new followers it creates a real problem. As a lefty i bought the m&p for the slide lock and mag reverse option. but the reversal puts a little pressure away from the slide lock and with these “#9” followers the gun fails to lock open on the last shot. I called smith and they sent me some of the old black followers with have a thicker ledge and those work fine but these new ones are no good for me. They work at the begining but after about 30 40 mag uses the followers wares on the side and no longer locks the slide. I hope they go back to original production. With the old followers the m&p is nearly a perfect gun. With these new ones southpaws beware it may be false advertising to say the release cant be swapped. Because it doesn’t really matter if you can swap it if it wont work correctly once you do.

  9. The new S&W M&P 9mm mags are the worst; near impossible to load the 1st round

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