ToddG said:I've seen other people here at mp-pistol.com use MPN as a "safe start" prefix, but I don't know if anyone has really determined that's 100% true.
Where did you come up with that? It's not true, in my experience. My 40 Compact with s/n #MP "N" was manufactured in Feb 2007 and suffered the mag drop problem in a big way. Based on my experience, I wouldn't use anywhere near MP "N" as an indicator of a safe bet.
Someone's going to have to do a lot of data gathering and tabulation to be able to confidently come forward with any particular s/n # or date of manufacture that represents a true "safe bet". What people who work at S&W might have said is of no importance to me.
I'm not saying S&W hasn't put the problem to bed with it's most recent samples. I am saying that I'd be a lot more confident in buying one which was made in 2008 vs. one which was made last year, unless it was at the very end of the year. That's not a dark cloud over all earlier production guns, just a statement of hoping to be able to have much more confidence in the most recently made samples. I'd look at the fired casing envelope of a gun I was considering buying and want to see a date somewhere in the last couple of months or so, hoping for an extra measure of likelihood that all will have been done on that sample to prevent the mag catch problem from occurring. I'd also do a pressure check on the mag catch button, wanting to see that it required very deliberate, firm pressure AND relatively deep travel before the mag drops. I'm not one who favors guns whose mags are easily dumped out of a gun.