Smith and Wesson M&P9 - My Review
I'm relatively new to shooting, and started out on too big a gun: my first gun was the XD40 3" barrel, which is not the best for a beginner. So, after some internet research, and trying it out at my local range, I decided to take the plunge and buy a shiny new M&P 9. Below, I will describe my experiences with purchasing, shooting, and maintaining it. This is my first review so I hope you enjoy!
I looked around town (Albuquerque, NM) and none of the 10 local gun shops had this in stock. One guy told me that several LE agencies across the nation had switched to this gun as a carry piece and that it has become scarce. I thought I was "SOL". Then, one guy told me about JetGuns.Com. So I checked it out, and they had the exact model I wanted: M&P9 with thumb safety and 2 17-round magazines. Excellent. Then I saw the price! At only $430, shipped, I was shocked; most local places were quoting me $500 + tax. So I bought it. I paid on a Sunday night at about 11 PM, and by Wednesday morning, after doing the required NM background check, I had my new baby in hand! For anyone looking for a gun, I would recommend Jet Guns.
This process was surprisingly simple, though is par for the course on most polymer pistols these days. The first thing I did upon picking it up from my FFL was to disassemble it and inspect the internals for any wear, since sometimes these internet retailers try to sell you "slightly used" guns as new. To my satisfaction, however, it was in mint condition. The process was very simple. You remove the magazine, and rack the slide to rear, locking it in place. Then, you take the disassembly tool included by SW, (which is conveniently stored in the grip of the pistol) and rotate the sear lever down into the magazine well. You then grasp the slide, move it slightly to the rear, and then pull forward. Viola! Disassembled and ready for cleaning, or inspection, or whatever. I really like the fact that you don't have to pull the trigger; even though dropping the magazine and racking the slide to the rear effectively safety checks the weapon, I still never like pulling the trigger in my home.
This gun is a smooth shooter. I put 8 rounds each of my high-performance defense ammo, Winchester Ranger +P bonded and Ranger T-series +p, through it as it the gun's very first rounds. It fed them beautifully, and even with the +P loads, recoil was very manageable. Accuracy was also very good at 25 yards; in the pictures it doesn't look great, but that's more me getting used to the weapon than a defect in the weapon. Next, I put 50 rounds of 124gr FMJ PMC Brass through the gun, followed by 50 rounds 115gr FMJ Federal. Again, shot placement was very accurate, recoil was very manageable. In all the 116 rounds I shot today, I did not have one FTE, FTF, stovepipe, or any sort of hiccup whatsoever. The action cycled very smoothly. The long sight radius made accurate shooting a breeze. I used the included 'Large' backstrap, and it fit my hands perfectly, and was also very comfortable. The trigger pull is rated at 7 lbs, although I didn't find it to be a problem. It felt nice and smooth to me, with a crisp reset.
Once I finished shooting my M&P9, I rented a Beretta M9, and put the exact same load through it: 16 Winchester Rangers +p, 50 124gr FMJ and 50 115gr FMJ. Accuracy was pretty much the same as the M&P9. Recoil in the M9 was less compared to the M&P9, but the Beretta is all-aluminum and weighs over 2 lbs, so that is to expected.
One thing that I liked about the M&P9, was the 'auto-forward' feature of the slide. As with most pistols (I can't think of an exception, but I'm sure one exists), the slide locks open on an empty mag. In most guns, you drop the empty mag, reload a full mag, and hit the slide release lever. Well, in the M&P9, if you firmly insert the magazine and give a little 'tap', the slide auto forwards. I like it because it means less manipulation of the weapon during reloads and a shorter time to get back on target, but some people have maligned this feature, saying it may cause an accidental discharge. My weapon has a thumb safety, so it's not an issue with me, but I can see how it might be a safety issue.
As mentioned above, field stripping the weapon is easy. I got home, ran a Hoppes 9mm Boresnake through the barrel, placed a few drops of SafariLand CLP on the inside of the slide and inside the barrel. Then I scrubbed the inside of the slide with a toothbrush, and ran some patches through the barrel until they came out clean. I then used one drop of Remington Gun Oil on each of the slide guide rails, and reassembled the weapon. All this took about 15 minutes; I'm new to shooting, and slow at this, and a more experienced shooter could probably do it in 5 or 10 minutes (or maybe less).
I am very impressed with this weapon, and have zero buyer's remorse! It shoots smoothly, and accurately, and is easy to maintain. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to any of my friends.
As a side note, as I walking out of the range, three Bernalillo County (County that ABQ is located in) walked into the LE side of the range. I noticed that two of them had M&P series pistols, so I asked what they carried. They were both carrying the M&P9! I figure if it's good enough for the Sheriff's Office, in a violent city, it's good enough for protecting myself and my family.
I put up some pics below. I hope this wasn't a total waste of time for you guys, but I thought it would be nice to write a review.
Have a good sunday!
http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/...h_100_0769.jpgRanger T-series +P Ammo
http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/...h_100_0770.jpgRanger Bonded +P Ammo
http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/...h_100_0772.jpgZombie Hans, full of Ranger ammo holes