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Smith and Wesson M&P Fullsize 9mm Review

SN: MPJ (left factory around 10/26)

November 8, 2006

All photos taken on my LG 8300 Camera Phone (sorry for poor quality)

Well, on the recommendations of those on various forums, I purchased an M&P Full Size 9mm without magazine disconnect or internal lock. For $369 from Bud’s Gun Shop, how could I go wrong?

Box and Package

First thought when I saw the box was how big it was. The box is a standard two clasp big plastic box with foam inside. A nice touch was the foam was cut out for the gun, magazines, and different backstraps.


The gun isn’t the prettiest gun, but I find it more attractive than a Glock. The fishscale slide serrations are nice and have more grip than straight cut serrations. I like the contoured nose of the slide which makes holstering smoother.

Feel and Ergonomics

If you thought 1911s feel awesome in the hand, you have to try an M&P. The interchangeable backstraps are very well thought out. The gun has the medium on it when you take it out of the box. The small backstrap is very small with the large filling out my hand very nicely. The frontstrap is curved (not squareish like a Glock) so it does not have a 2x4 feel to it. Bravo to S&W to realizing people’s hands are different sizes. This gun allows mass adoption by large organizations and the ability to tailor the firearm to different hands.

The only complaint I have is I wish that the trigger guard was undercut more. After hundreds of draws and shooting the gun, it starts to rub my middle finger raw. This may be due to using the Medium grips instead of larger for my hands however. I keep the medium ones on since it is thinner and seems to help it conceal better.

One major complaint you will hear about Glocks is the grip angle. It is good news to many (including myself) that the M&P points like a 1911. I find myself faster, more comfortable, and more accurate with this grip angle.


Thankfully, S&W put Novak type sights on the gun. They give a clear sight picture compared to the Glock stock sights. However, the sight picture is not as crisp as a set of Heinie sights of the Warren Tactical Sights. Both companies plan on making M&P sights and the sights are in the prototype stages currently. I am not a fan of dots on the rear so I used the only thing I had near me and tried to black it out. I have found I shoot faster and more accurately with a front dot only set up.


The magazines are steel 17 round magazines. Witness holes on both sides to view the rounds. The magazines are thin and really fly out during magazine changes. I have the newest version with the gray followers.

Initial Trigger Feel

Like the other M&Ps I have fondled/used, the initial trigger take up is crunchy. After a few hundred trigger pulls during dry fire, it started to smooth out. The take up is light and the break is good. Slight amount of creep during the break and it breaks at roughly 5-6 pounds on my gun. I have never been a fan of Glock triggers as it feels like a dart gun. The M&P feels totally different and makes the trigger very manageable due to the sear/trigger bar set up.

Take Down

Well the take down is more complicated than on a Glock. However, I think this is a good thing for most shooters. To take it down, you must lock the slide back. Next, take a pen or punch and trip the sear deactivation lever. After, rotate the take down lever. Release slide and the slide comes off. Some people do not like the slide deactivation lever, but it forces the used to observe an empty chamber prior to disassembly. Also, the user does not need to pull the trigger to disassemble. I have heard and read of way too many AD/NDs from failures to clear the gun with Glocks.

Shooting Impressions

Now what you have been waiting it shoots!


What recoil? The gun is very soft shooting and with the light hanging on the front feels like a .22 handgun. I am not exaggerating either. The recoil of this 9mm M&P is softer than a Glock 34 to me. The muzzle flip is also very low allowing the shooter to track the sights easy. With a full magazine, the firearm balances great and has enough heft to tame the recoil down. Initially, the recoil spring felt too stiff, but it seems to have broken in thankfully.

Accuracy 15-25 yards

Wow, I love this gun. I am rusty and have not shot a firearm in about 2-3 months. It really makes me look good.

The one complaint I have is the sights are not the best for accuracy work. The front blade is too wide and I do not feel it is tall enough.


Note all groups were done with 5 rounds (2 5 rounds groups per target) from a rest/shooting table. Firearm had 85 rounds through it prior to groups and was warm, but not hot. Target unfortunately was swinging due to wire arrangement (have it on video and may post it later…got tired of waiting for it to stop before I shot for groups), but the flyers were user error and rust. I was able to call all flyers on these targets. Ammo used for groups was 115gr Blazer Brass FMJ.

15 yard target

1st group 2” minus called flyer 1.1”

2nd group 3” minus called flyer 2”

25 yard target

1st group 5” minus called flyers 1.2”

2nd group 4.5” minus called flyer 1.9”


100 rounds on target (20 or so rounds at 15 yards, rest at 25 yards). Rounds on white at 2 and 3 o clock were shot left handed (weak side) only at 25 yards. The rest were shot right (strong) hand only and both hands.

10 rounds with TLR-1 Light on gun

4” with 2 rounds on left (did not have much of an aiming point, just shot at spot on shoulder)

1.6” without those 2 rounds

Speed and Fighting Distances

The gun was plenty accurate with light recoil to make controlled pairs and failure drills easy. There aren’t many guns I can shoot as fast as 1911s or Glocks here, but the M&P may possibly be even faster in 9mm form.

At 7 yards…

Result of 100 rounds on target:

Another sight complaint here is the rear sight notch is not wide enough. I like wide race cut rear sights as I am able to track the front sight easier. However, I still was able to track the front sight fine.

With Light

Wow, the gun was very soft shooting with the light. The weight hanging on the end really helped tame the already light muzzle flip.

Low Left Problems

Some people have complained the gun shoots low left for them. I have this problems with Glocks. The gun simply does not fit my hand and even when I pay attention to breathing, sight alignment, and trigger control I am low left. Glock 9/.40s are the only guns that does this to me. The larger frames (20/21) do not do this for me. Also, no problems with the M&P. People have complained the gun shoots low left for them. If I purposely jerked the trigger, I could get the gun to go low left EVERY time…

3 rounds in white are due to jerking. Aimed for center of head, jerked trigger and consistently made gun shoot to that area at 7 yards.


Wanted to put through closer to 400 rounds, but only got through 320 before I got too tired. No problems at all in regards to reliability.

Rounds used: 50 rounds Blazer Brass 115gr FMJ

200 rounds UMC 115gr FMJ

34 rounds Winchester 147gr JHP

36 rounds assorted Winchester and Blazer Brass 115gr FMJ


Trigger undercut

After shooting the gun and drawing many times, the gun rubs my middle finger badly. I don’t know if there is enough material between the mag catch and the trigger guard to remove plastic, but it would be more comfortable if it was possible.


Coming from Glocks and 1911s, the reset is too long and not firm. A few times, I short stroked the trigger due to the reset. The short Glock reset is ingrained in my muscle memory which caused this issue. In the future, I hope to send my gun to Dan Burwell for a 3.5 lb trigger job and a shorter reset/overtravel. While I did not feel it was critical (even with my sweaty hands), it would be nice to have Dan make the grip have some more bite.

Final Notes:

Wish I could get to the range more and afford to shoot more often. I am convinced the M&P is the gun for me. Cannot wait to get a Compact 9mm. Also waiting on some Crimson Trace Lasergrips, Warren Sights, and some Burwell gunsmithing when I save up funds!
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