Smith & Wesson M&P 9MM Compact Review

The M&P pistol has been getting rave reviews since its introduction.  As most of you know I'm a Glock fanatic but I'm always testing new guns to see if I can find something better.  Here is my comparison of the M&P 9C (with magazine disconnect and no internal lock) with the Glock 19 and 26.



Ergonomics

Everyone says that shooting a Glock is like holding a 2 x 4 in your hand.  I don't think it's quite that bad but it does have a "chunky" feel to it.  But this doesn't seem to really bother most people as I've seen more people shoot a Glock better than any other handgun.  But, oh the feel of the M&P's adjustable backstraps is so sweet.  I have large hands and the biggest backstrap fills out my hand very nicely.  The slide release and magazine catch are convenient and easy to reach.  I do like the rounded and larger opening of the M&P trigger guard.  It is easier to shoot the M&P with gloves.

Advantage:  S&W


Size

I've always wished that Glock made a 9MM that was a little bigger than the sub-compact 26 but smaller than the 19.  The M&P 9C is just about halfway between the two.  Although I like the feel of the 19 the best, the smaller 26 is easier to conceal.

Advantage – since this is subjective I'll call it a tie


Weight

The Glock 26 weighs in at 26.6 ounces (this includes one round in the chamber and a full magazine of Winchester 127's – who really cares what the empty weight is), the Glock 19 is 31.0 ounces and the M&P is the same 31.0 ounces.  This is actually one of my biggest beefs with the M&P – it is heavy for its size.  Since I am very weight conscious I find the lighter Glocks more pleasant to carry.

Advantage:  Glock


Capacity

The 26 holds 11 total, the M&P holds 13 and the Glock 19 holds 16.

Advantage – another tie


Sights

I can't believe that a gun as well thought out and engineered as the Glock has such rotten sights from the factory.  The optional night sights are fine, but the stock sights are just plain cheap plastic.  On the other hand the Novak type sights on the M&P are solid, secure and snag-free.  Gaston, are you listening?

Advantage:  S&W


Reliability

I have shot Glocks on and off duty for about 15 years now and they just about always work.  If they don't it's usually due to shooter error or lack of lube.  The M&P came from the factory with a very "gritty" trigger.  I could not even shoot it until I had completely stripped the gun and polished all of the mating parts.  If I did not have the wherewithal to do this I certainly would have sent it back to the factory.  The rest of the fit and finish was very good.  My biggest complaint with this gun though is that it is somewhat ammo sensitive.  It absolutely gags on S&B ammo, it doesn't like any of my low power reloads and it occasionally hangs up with flat point bullets.  My Glocks will shoot anything I feed it.

Advantage:  Glock


Durability

The Glock with its polymer frame and Tenifer coating is darn near indestructible.  I've never had one rust at all and I've thrown them in mud puddles and they come out shooting.  The S&W also has a polymer frame with a stainless slide.  But two things worry me about durability of this gun.  The first is the loaded chamber indicator or as I call it – "the hole in the slide to allow dirt and debris to enter the chamber".  Yep, sounds good on paper, but stupid in its execution.  Also, the sear deactivation lever (which you need to push to release the slide for disassembly) seems very weak and vulnerable to me.

Advantage:  Glock


Accessories

Glock has such a commanding lead in the handgun market that everyone and their brother makes holsters, sights, etc. for this gun.  The market for the M&P is improving but it will take a long time, if at all, to catch up.

Advantage:  Glock


Magazines

Glocks come with a unique in the industry metal lined injection molded magazine.  There have been many who have bashed this magazine but I have found them very reliable, readily available and cheap (around $15 each).  The M&P magazines are blued steel, tough to find, and very expensive (currently around $35 but rumor has it they are being reduced to the $25 range).  This is still too much for a blued magazine (I might consider it for a stainless mag).  I have not owned a blued magazine yet that did not eventually rust – even after religious greasing.

Advantage:  Glock


Trigger
Since trigger control is the secret to good shooting, it stands to reason that a good trigger is important.  The Glock has a shorter trigger pull and a shorter reset and feels more comfortable to shoot.  While many people complain about the M&P trigger, I found mine to be quite nice (although I'm sure that this due in part to the trigger job I performed on it).

Advantage:  Glock


Disassembly

Although the M&P is not bad, no one beats the Glock for fewest number of parts and easy of assembly.

Advantage:  Glock


Spare parts

Glock spare parts are readily available and inexpensive.  Kudos to S&W for providing the same on the M&P's. Shame on Ruger, and especially Springfield for making it darn near impossible for the average shooter to find a part.

Advantage:  Tie


Shooting

OK, now this is where we really get serious.  I have carried all three of these guns every day for the last 3 months and have at least 1,000 rounds through each in that time.  I found no difference in split times between the guns and no discernable difference in accuracy.  The biggest difference is that there is definitely more muzzle flip with the M&P and I don't really know why.  As previously mentioned, the M&P is easier to shoot with gloves.

Advantage:  Glock


Other

You can buy your M&P with an optional magazine disconnect and internal lock.  I don't believe in either one of these (and I am going to eliminate the magazine disconnect on mine) but I guess it's nice to have the option if that's what YOU like.


RECAP

I really thought that the M&P might finally be the handgun to unseat king Glock.  But after spending a lot of time with it I can not justify making a change.  S&W has come up with a fine pistol and I would firmly rank it as number 2.  If they can solve the ammo sensitivity issues and get rid of the loaded chamber indicator I'd certainly feel much more comfortable carrying it every day but for now the Glocks will remain in my holster.



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