Full Review of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40
Full Review of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 by Cane – Conceal Carry Today
TDC Note – This is one of the firearms that’s on the short list for an upgrade to EDC.
If you are relatively new to the gun scene, specifically to pistols, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was always a wide selection of viable choices for reliable, accurate, feature-rich striker-fired handguns. This was not always the case. Through the late 1980’s all the way through the 1990’s, there was really only one de facto choice for hard running striker pistol.
I of course am talking about Glock. It was Glock, and everyone else, for the most part. I’ll spare you the details of how what I call the “Striker Wars” unfolded on the commercial market, but all you need to know is that what I believe the first, true domestic striker-fired competitor to the Glock finally surfaced in 2005, taking the form of the Smith & Wesson Military and Police, better known as the M&P.
By combining the strained, painful lessons learned from their earlier, less successful forays into striker-fired semi-autos Smith & Wesson, an iconic American manufacturer and long-standing supplier of law enforcement sidearms, finally produced a pistol that was not only a solid performer, but was able to challenge the near-ubiquitous adoption of the Glock by law enforcement agencies great and small.
From a somewhat wobbly introduction the M&P series has made enormous inroads in both commercial and law enforcement sales, and is a dependable handgun for duty or defense. Today it is available in a host of variations, sizes and calibers to suit any task or purpose and is one of the best pistols of the day, showing no signs of fading out.
In this article, we’ll examine the M&P’s design, introduction, stumbles, successes and performance.
Genesis of the M&P
Smith & Wesson is no stranger to producing good, hard-running handguns; that is an understatement so huge it is almost comedic. Operating continuously for over 150 years, S&W has turned out more than few legendary handguns, their Models 10 and 29 revolvers only the most known among them. Their semi-auto service pistols, beginning with the classic Model 39, did not achieve quite the same celebrity as their revolvers, but have been produced in various marks since the 1950’s and seen success in both commercial and law enforcement circles. But we can trace the lineage of the M&P all the way back to the early 1990’s.
At this time in the early 1990’s, Glock was only a rising star, the .40 S&W cartridge was well on its way to becoming the darling round of law enforcement, and the 1994 Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban had not yet come to be. Smith & Wesson seemed unshakeable; striker-fired actions were not universally accepted or loved by the public or police, but were just gaining ground.
The .40 S&W, the eponymous cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson was poised for LE and commercial success due to a host of factors, not the least of which were several widely-publicized failures of the 9mm Para. in various LE shootings. The AWB to be, with its capacity-crippling restriction of 10 rounds for handguns, made the greater potency of the .40 even more attractive to civilians. It seemed like Smith & Wesson was poised for a big win.