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February 11, 2017 (updated March 5, 2021) Published by bigredsfirearms
Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Rang Kit: I admit, I am a little late on this review considering the gen 2 is coming out. BUT its also a good time to pick one up as some places will be clearing them out. By know we all know that the M&P range kit is a reliable firearm but there are some things to know. So onto the review and as usual I will have my final thoughts on the M&P 9mm at the end. This M&P review is fairly long so get a coffee!
I am going to be very quick here as the accessories are great for the average go to the range shooter. Case it comes with is legal for transportation of the firearm at least at the time of this writing. Remember to bring a second lock for the case when you pick it up. What’s in the case. Obviously the M&P 9mm pistol, 3 changeable back straps, trigger lock, 2-3 magazines, Maglula Uplula, holster, magazine holder for your belt. All the items that come with this Range Kit are well made and will give anyone a great start. Both the holster and magazine holder are both adjustable to help hold your mags and firearm tighter or higher up on the belt.
• Three Interchangeable Grip Sizes
• Stainless Steel Drift Adjustable Sights
• Three magazines included
• Ambidextrous Slide Stop
• High-strength polymer frame
• Stainless steel chassis, barrel and slide
• Picatinny-style rail
• No magazine safety
• No thumb safety
Model: M&P 9 Carry & Range Kit
Capacity: 10 Round Magazines
Safety: No Magazine Safety, No Thumb Safety
Barrel Length: 4.25″ / 10.8 cm
Overall Length: 7.6″
Front Sight: White Dot Dovetail
Rear Sight: Steel Low Profile Carry
Action: Striker Fire
Grip: 3 Interchangeable Palmswell Grip Sizes
Weight: 27.5 oz / 779.6g
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Frame Material: Polymer
Slide Finish: Armornite
Frame Finish: Black
What can I say the construction of the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm for the price range is very good. Its actually very good for even higher priced polymer frame pistol. There are no rough patches, burrs in the metal or any other defects as far as I can tell. The slide did get a minor scratch from a ring that my mother had on, no big deal but the coating probably could be a little tougher. I have ran a decent amount of rounds threw the M&P and it only shows some wear on the rails, this is 100% normal wear.
The sights that come with the M&P 9mm are decent. They are adjustable and are basic white dots. The picture doesn’t show it well but they are good for most shooters. I may upgrade to something more bright but most shooters wouldn’t have an issue with them. If your using this firearm for competition then you would probably want something a bit easier to acquire a good sight picture with.
There is one Picatinny-style rail on the front of the handgun which allows for a light, laser or whatever suits your fancy. I placed my cheap quick detach light on the front and works as expected. Decent amount of room to mount fairly large item.
The slide stop/release is ambidextrous so good for lefties. I find I have to reach for the release paddle but I don’t have overly long thumbs and its not a major issue. I tend to use the magazine to release the slide for the most part anyway. More on that below. The texture of the slide stop paddle is very good and allows for a good grip with your thumb. The only temporary issue with the slide release that I did find hard at the begining is that it was VERY stiff. I would have to strain to release the slide, but as time has gone on it has loosened up and I no longer have an issue releasing the slide. I don’t find this a design flaw with the firearm and actually enjoy firearms that need some breaking in as I know they are made well. At least as far as my experience goes.
The magazine release is in a great spot and I can hit it with my average sized thumb without issue. It is not ambidextrous. It is plastic not metal, something the new Smith & Wesson M&P has over this model as it has a metal magazine release. Not sure if that matters really. But something to note. Another nice thing about the magazine release is that once you push it the magazines fly out of the pistol, so for fast reloads for competition it works great.
I find the serrations on the back of the slide perfect. I don’t see any issues with them in the slightest. I do see a need for some to be added to the front. This has been done on the new M&P 2.0 and think its a welcome addition. Most of the time I don’t need front serrations but it would be nice
The M&P range kit comes with 3 magazines. There seems to be some differences depending where you purchase the kit from. I have seen some say two magazines, some say three. I know the Smith & Wesson site says it comes with two. So not sure why theres a difference, could be retailers adding an extra one to make it more attractive to buy from their shop. I was very lucky and purchased my M&P and it came with four! I think the company I deal with for most of my purchases thew one in for me. Can’t complain! This one was purchased from Wanstalls.
The magazines are very well made they have both metal and plastic on them as you can see in the pictures. They feed very well and I haven’t had any mag related issue. The first round when hand loading is a pain in the butt to get in but after that they load very easily. In the range kit they include a Maglula Uplula which makes loading a breeze BUT for some reason when using the Uplula it will only load 9 rounds and you have to hand load the last round. So this is a pain but still a nice addition to the M&P Range Kit. Look at my review of the Uplula to find out more. I also noticed on one side of the mag it has holes for 10 rounds so you can see how many rounds are in the magazine and on the other side it has holes to 9? I assume it has something to do with the Uplula? If I am wrong or anyone knows different please post a comment below. I also mentioned above about not having to use the magazine release button a lot. If you slam a magazine into the pistol with a decent amount of force it will close the slide and load a round. I think this is great for fast reloads and have fired a few pistols that do this. I don’t see an issue but apparently in the new M&P it will no longer will do this. So plus for version 1 as I see it.
I would say the trigger has been one of the biggest complaints about the gun. This for the most part is justified. Is it a horrible trigger, no, but not great. When I first started to shoot the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm the trigger was gritty. That’s still the case but has lessoned substantially with use. It has a long pull and a slightly squishy feel until the snap of the trigger. The trigger pull on my M&P is around 7-7.5lbs, reset pull is about 5.5-6lbs. So a little heavy. When trying to feel the reset it can be hard to feel as its not very pronounced. I personally have not mastered firing on the reset anyway but for speed shooters this is critical. Apparently the new M&P has a better trigger and reset. The trigger guard was wide enough for me to shoot with average sized gloves on without any issues.
Besides internal safeties that prevent the firearm from firing if dropped the model I have does not have any external safeties. In the Range Kit there are no options for external safeties. This is something you should think about. If your a new shooter or feel more comfortable with a safety you may want a different firearm. This was one of the reasons I selected this firearm as it does not have any. Nothing wrong with safeties just don’t need them if you know how to handle a firearm. A safety would not prevent me from purchasing one unless it was really intrusive. Your choice on safety is a personal choice and what your are comfortable with.
Reliability & Ammo:
Steller! Can I say more? Of course! The M&P series has been known for its reliability. I have shot over 1000 rounds so far and multiple types of ammo including full metal jacket, reloads, hollow point and not a single issue. I haven’t tried any 145 grain ammo yet, but I am sure it would run it all day. I do know there is a video out there that shows the Smith & Wesson M&P failing a test when the individual dunks it in water, shoots, then sand shoots, dirt, shoots, mud shoots and it did fail badly. I think it may have even failed on the first water test. A lot of other pistols did much better. To me the test is valid but not really a realistic test for 99% of scenarios. I do think the water part of the test is the most valid for people in countries that can carry a firearm in public but here in Canada thats not an option, so doesn’t really matter. Even if we were allowed to conceal carry I would not worry in the slightest about carrying this firearm. Chances are you would never end up in a pond and have to come up shooting. but thats a choice you would have to make if concealed carry is ever legal in this country or you have your licence to carry in the United States.
The extractor works as it should and as stated there has not been any problems with this firearm. The extractor looks strong and throws the brass out evenly and with good force.
Basic takedown of the Smith & Wesson M&P is like most modern Polymer handguns, easy and quick. There are two ways to take it down. You can watch the video below to see the two options in action. You will notice in the video when I demonstrate the first way to takedown the M&P I point at something. What I pointed at is the Sear Deactivation Lever it needs to be pulled out slightly. Its the yellow metal piece in the picture above. You will also need to push that back in to be able to test the trigger after reassembly. This can be done by physically pushing it back or inserting a magazine. For some reason the M&P got some bad press about this. Not sure why as you can also use the other method just like most other firearms. To me it just gives people more options and if you don’t like pulling the trigger to take apart a firearm you would not have to with the M&P.
Comfort & Grip:
The comfort and grip is one of the things that sold me on this handgun. Everyone is different so I suggest going to your local gun shop and holding one to make sure the fit feels good for you. But with the 3 easily changeable back straps fitting most peoples hands it won’t be a problem. Comfort has been one of the strong suites of the M&P series. Some people have also mentioned they would like more aggressive stippling. I didn’t find the stippling much of a problem but I have never shot it with wet or sweaty hands. The new M&P adds more aggressive stippling and a fourth back strap. Again something to note.
This is always a hard one to answer. Do I think the M&P is accurate, sure as are most modern handguns. But as most of you know accuracy is mainly achieved by the individual who is shooting the firearm. Myself I am not a great shot with handguns yet but am getting better. If you look at some of my posted videos you will see I am ok but not great. If I was a professional and shot a 1000 rounds a day I may be able to tell you more but realistically 5% of the firearm community could tell you how accurate a firearm truly is, the rest of us just try our best. There’s just to many factors that prevent good accuracy. The trigger would probably be the main reason this firearm would loose any accuracy due to design and even that can be worked around. Next time I am at the range I will try and get a pic of a target so I can post it here.
As you probably can tell I like the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Range Kit. Its a great value for a firearm that is well made, comes with a lot of goodies, reliable and nice to shoot. It has some “flaws” that the new version of the M&P looks like they are addressing but for the price you will be able to find these for I would not hesitate to buy one. Make sure you don’t pay full price if you can’t find a good price less then $700 I would hold off as they will go down. Even at $700 its a great price but I know theres better pricing out there. Before Xmas I found some for $550. Also remember to watch the mag count. Try and get the Range Kit with three magazines as they are around $60 each! I probably missed something in the review. Please post a comment if you would like to know anything else and I will try and answer the best I can.