Ever since I first laid hands upon the Smith
& Wesson M&P auto pistol a couple of years ago, I
have liked it. First offered in 9mm,
then .40 S&W and .357 SIG,
the .45 ACP version finally
arrived, and it was an instant hit with shooters who wanted a
forty-five caliber polymer pistol, but did not particularly like
the bulky grip on the Glock 21. The M&P .45 has a
grip that can accommodate three different sized grip insets,
which are supplied with the pistol, resulting in a full-sized
plastic-framed .45 ACP that is actually comfortable in a normal
human hand. The Glock 21 is a fine auto pistol, perfectly
reliable and plenty accurate, but most shooters find the grip to
be a bit large for comfort, especially those with medium to
small hands. The M&P can be adjusted to fit almost any hand
comfortably, resulting in a pistol that is easier to shoot well.
The M&P .45 has also proven to be a reliable performer, and
can be purchased with or without a thumb safety, which is a big
plus to some folks.
The M&P .45 was first introduced in a
full-sized service pistol configuration to fill the demand from
law enforcement agencies, and is also a good choice for the rest
of us. However, S&W is now producing a scaled-down version
that is better suited for concealed carry, and that is the
subject of this review. Operation and function is identical to
the other M&P pistols, and I will not get into detail on
that here, as it has been covered before. The version shown here
does not have a magazine safety, and is capable of being fired
with the magazine removed. To me, this is no big deal either
way, as I always carry my pistols with a magazine inserted, as I
did not purchase them to be single-shot pistols, but to some,
the magazine safety is a deal breaker, so S&W offers the
M&P either way. The sights on this M&P are of the
three-dot pattern. I prefer tritium inserts, and hopefully
S&W will offer the compact version with those as an option
like they do with the full-size M&P.
Since size is the primary difference between the
full-size M&P and this smaller one, I will update the chart
from the earlier review to include the new version.
|Weight w/ empty mag
|5.818 to 6.286
|5.522 to 5.594
|Grip Frame Thickness Maximum
|1.190 to 1.321
|Grip Frame Thickness Minimum
|5 lbs. 10 oz.
|6 lbs. 12 oz.
|7 lbs. 3 oz.
All dimensions are in inches. Weight is in
ounces. The trigger reach was measured from the point on the
frame where the web between thumb and forefinger rests to the
center of the trigger. Grip frame thickness was measured at the
thinnest and thickest points. On the M&P, the thickest part
was at the palm swell on the grip insert. Grip circumference was
measured at the top and bottom of grip frame. Height includes
the sights and magazine floorplates. Where SAME is in the column
indicates that the measurement is the same as the full-sized
Velocity loss was very small and inconsequential
with the shorter barrel, losing only around twenty
feet-per-second comparing the velocities using full power combat
hollowpoint ammunition. The smaller M&P, like its big
brother, functioned perfectly, feeding, firing, and ejecting
without fault. Reliability is paramount in a fighting pistol,
and the M&P, every one of them that I have ever fired, has
performed flawlessly. Accuracy with the new pistol was also very
good. From seven yards, standing upright without a rest, Cor-Bon
230 grain ball impacted the target right at point of aim, and
clustered the shots together well. From a twenty-five yard
rested position, groups hovered between the two and one-half to
three and one-half inch size with combat ammo. I tested no
target ammo in this pistol, as this weapon was built for
fighting, not punching paper. In the role of a concealed carry
gun, it should serve very well. The butt of a handgun is the
part that is hardest to hide, and the shorter, reshaped butt of
this M&P makes it a good choice for carry, while still
offering a secure hold on the weapon. Nine shots of .45 ACP
power should handily resolve most social conflicts, but carrying
the spare mag in a pocket will give you another quick eight
shots, if needed. As stated above, the M&P .45 is offered
with or without a thumb safety. This version shown here has one,
and I like it. It is located exactly where it should be, and is
very easy to operate. If desired, it can be removed, and the
weapon carried without external safety, as is done with the many
thousands of auto pistols carried by police officers and other
armed citizens in this country. However, I like the thumb
safety, as I have used one for decades on 1911 style pistols.
The Smith & Wesson M&P .45 auto pistol
is an excellent choice for either an armed citizen or a
uniformed police officer, and now it is offered in a more
compact, easier to conceal, reliable and accurate version as
well. It comes with a hard plastic case, instruction manual, two
eight-shot magazines, and three grip inserts. I highly recommend
For more information on this and other S&W
products, go online to www.smith-wesson.com.
For the location of a Smith & Wesson dealer
near you, go to www.lipseys.com
and click on the DEALER FINDER icon.
To order the M&P online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
|For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
|To buy this gun online, go to:
Seven-yard offhand rapid-fire group.
The M&P strips quickly and easily without tools.
Three-dot sights are adjustable for windage.
M&P has a short trigger travel of only 3/10s of an
Case head is well-supported.
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