How to fix the M&P auto-forward problem

How to fix the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol’s auto-forward problem.

Buy a Glock. :-)

I’m half joking, but also half serious.

I love my M&P9. I’ve also got a 9c and a Shield. I really do like them. There’s a lot about the ergonomics, overall capabilities, etc. that are just great. I’m generally quite happy with things. Yes, I had some problems with the 9’s accuracy when I first got it, which was fixed by replacing with a KKM barrel (seems many M&P’s had this problem). And interestingly, my 9c shoots better than my 9.

But the one thing that continues to stick in my craw is the auto-forward behavior, where seating the magazine — sometimes — causes the slide to go forward. I could see this as a feature — if it was reliable — but it’s not. It doesn’t always go forward. And I’ve had a few times when it did go forward but yet it didn’t chamber a new round. To me, that’s not a feature — that’s a bug. And IMHO it’s a bad one. The solution tho is simple: always rack the gun anyways. But now you lose a round on the deck, or you don’t. Maybe not always a problem, but it can add up in classes or shooting particular drills that need a particular setup. Some people suggest that you just watch what happens and react: if it forwards, go; if it doesn’t, rack it. But that doesn’t help the failure to chamber problem. It also has another side-effect… which I just experienced.

I went to the gun range with my friend foo.c. See, I’ve been discussing with some people about switching to a Glock 19 and being done with it. So foo.c brought his 19 out for me to use for a bit. What was most telling? The first time I seated the magazine. Of course, the Glock doesn’t have this auto-forward problem, but yet I acted as if I was addressing it: I was reserved in how I seated the magazine, and I was pausing to diagnose what was going to happen — bracing myself for what may or may not happen. When you’re in a situation where the problem is fully removed, then the compensations you make for that situation suddenly become glaringly obvious. I didn’t realize I was doing what I was doing. It bothers me. I should just slam the damn magazine home and get to business, but the nature of the beast: if it forward or not, if it chambers or not… geez, that’s causing some behaviors that are not good.

Could I overcome them? Sure, I could attempt to train around them, but again consider the side-effects it creates — that other guns do not.

So all things come back to… gee… is it time for me to dump my M&P and just get a Glock and be done with it?

All these years of not being a Glock fanboy, of jibing and jabbing my Glock-using friends. And now am I going to drink the Kool-Aid? Probably not that, but I’m certainly at a point where I care less about the gun and care more about myself. Glock: it works, it’s reliable, it’s got the track-record, it’s not sexy, it’s not frilly, but it gets the job done.

I’ve also said it before and I’ll say it again: the form factor of the 19 is tough to beat. Everyone makes “17-sized” and “26-sized”, but no one else makes a 19-size. I don’t know why, but it’s just such a perfect form factor.

So yeah… not switching yet. But I am thinking more and more about it.

2014-08-29 training log

Sleep — the magic elixir.

Been getting more sleep the past few days: going to bed earlier, staying in bed a little later, and forcing myself to take at least 1 short nap during the day. Still could use more sleep, but feeling MUCH better. I know all of this, I think my biggest issue is giving myself permission to take mid-day naps.

And so today went well. No complaints.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

  • BB Rows
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
  • Wide, Neutral-grip Lat Pulldowns
    • 125 x 8
    • 125 x 8
    • 125 x 8
    • 125 x 8
  • Barbell Shrugs
    • 140 x 20
    • 140 x 20
    • 140 x 20
    • 140 x 20
    • 140 x 20
  • Hyperextensions
    • 10 x 10
    • 10 x 10
    • 10 x 10
    • 10 x 10
  • Mundane Movements: Parking Lots, Part 1: Positioning and Movement INTO the Store


    Some solid advice and tips for staying safe in parking lots. Very important since parking lots (getting into and out of cars, the store, etc.) are the most common places and times for being mugged.

    Originally posted on Growing Up Guns:

    This post is universally applicable to the person who wants to decrease a criminal’s ability to close space and gain positional dominance via maneuver and avenues of approach, while simultaneously increasing their own ability to maintain reactionary space, preserve positional dominance and set them self up for an uneventful departure after the shopping is done. 

    The goal is to make predatory movements more obvious. We are looking for odd behaviors from unknown contacts. For instance, someone rapidly changing direction when you do, stopping when you do, or anything else that makes your spider sense tingle. The better we can observe and control our positioning in the public space, the more obvious a predatory movement will appear.

    ‘Nowhere’ isn’t the name of a bad part of town where all the crooks live, it’s where people come from when we lose our situational awareness and are task fixated by the myriad distractions…

    View original 998 more words

    In personal defense, physical fitness matters – Follow-up

    Greg Ellifritz posted on Facebook, coincidentally, the same day I originally wrote about how, in personal defense, physical fitness matters. Greg was sharing an article from Aaron Cowan on the very topic of the importance of physical fitness in personal defense. It’s very much in line with my prior writings on the topic.

    In Greg’s Facebook share, my boss-man, Karl Rehn commented:

    and examples of armed citizens who lost their fights due to poor physical condition are where, exactly? I’m not saying that getting in shape is a bad idea. Better physical condition has a lot of advantages. But as with a lot of things that we are told “will get us killed on the street”, examples of it actually happening are difficult, if not impossible, to find.

    Karl is correct. But I take odds with his stance. Is the lack of examples because we’ve collected data and evidence shows fitness doesn’t matter? or because there’s no data at all? I believe it’s the latter. Use of a gun? that gets put on the police report. But “subject is able to run a 10 minute mile and bench press 200 lbs.” or “subject is an out of shape fat-ass” isn’t on the police report checklist. I assert lack of examples is because there isn’t formal data collection on the topic.

    I’ll agree with Karl that we cannot presently prove that “being fat and out of shape will get you killed on the street”. But that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying that the stronger you are, the more “fit” you are, the better chances and more options you have available (and Karl does agree there). Plus, there’s a confidence and mindset factor that cannot be discounted.

    Look at the Force Science articles I previously referenced. Is that not some scientific examination of how physical fitness can matter?

    How about that store clerk in Houston who, earlier this month, used his semi-pro MMA skills to stop his store from being robbed? Granted his MMA skills contributed, but his physical fitness mattered a great deal as well because, as far as fights go, that was a long fight. Anyone can throw punches for a few intense seconds, but to keep throwing intense punches in a lengthy fight takes a good degree of fitness.

    Or let’s bring it back home and look at how many students in our classes struggle because they cannot grip the gun hard enough to adequately manage recoil? Or get tired after an hour of holding a 5 lbs. gun at arms length. Or cannot handle the level of effort to get through a 3-4 hour class, especially in the Texas summer heat?

    To me, it all comes back to a question I keep asking and no one has yet answered:

    Name me one place – especially in this context of personal safety – where being weak is an advantage.

    Granted, Greg, Aaron, myself, we’re biased because we all lift weights and are personally invested in improving our own physical fitness. We see the advantages. Heck, I see how getting fatter has hurt me in this realm, and am presently dedicated to getting off this fat-wagon. Yeah, maybe there’s no demonstrable proof that being fit and strong “will get you killed”. But to me, it’s more that being fit and strong is rarely going to be a disadvantage, and will do a lot to give you an edge. We always emphasize how you should take and make every advantage possible to maximize your ability to survive and win.

    Again, I’ll leave you with something Mark Rippetoe said:

    Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.


    2014-08-27 training log

    Just because I’m basing my program around Paul Carter’s methodologies doesn’t mean it’s the only thing involved. I reserve the right to incorporate useful things from other areas… like Jim Wendler’s notion of “Jack Shit”. :-)

    Today was one of those days.

    I’ve been very stressed the past few days, and sleep’s been lacking too — bad combination. Yesterday was drag-ass out of bed earlier than usual and I did not want to, which is a strong sign of needing more sleep. Went to bed early last night, woke up later than usual this morning (another clue), and could have slept more if I hadn’t felt the obligation to keep my schedule somewhat intact for the day. But all signs pointing to: you’re overworked, get more rest.

    And it was evident during the session. Squats didn’t feel heavy, just sluggish. Certainly felt like a step backwards from last week.

    So I squatted, then called it. Deadlifts will take a lot out of me, and why do that if I’m already this beat-up and exhausted? I need the rest, and I don’t need to add to my stress/break-down; body needs to heal up.

    Speaking of healing up, my Thera Cane arrived yesterday. Oh man… why did I wait so long to get one of these? I immediately went to work on my neck and upper trapezius and within minutes I found myself noticably looser with a better range of motion in my neck. Yes, things were that bad, but hitting all those trigger points and tight spots made an instant difference. I felt myself able to self-manipuate (i.e. “crack”) some of those upper thoracic vertebrae that I rarely can get and the relief was terrific. The ability to direct pressure exactly where you need it, angle you need it, and get the leverage needed to get in there… man, this is a great tool.

    Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

    • Squats (model 1)
      • bar x 5
      • bar x 5
      • 145 x 5
      • 170 x 4
      • 200 x 3
      • 220 x 2
      • 250 x 1
      • 175 x 5
      • 175 x 5
      • 175 x 5
      • 175 x 5
      • 175 x 5

    In personal defense, physical fitness matters

    Seeing thousands of students a year in classes, one thing is clear.

    Most people are out of shape. Yeah, a lot are too fat for their own good, but it’s also simple physical fitness. I see people having a hard time getting into and out of kneeling positions or getting winded just hauling their gear from the parking lot to the range. This isn’t good people.

    I know. Harsh for me to say, especially about students. But the realities of personal defense tend to be pretty stark and serious, so sometimes you have to hear things you may not want to hear.

    I was reading Force Science News issue 262. There was a discussion of a study done in Norway about physical fitness of police officers and the impact it had upon the physical control of suspects during arrest.

    “The results of the physical capability tests are remarkable,” he told Force Science News. “These were the averages among the study subjects: bench press–235 pounds; chin-ups–15; long jump–8 feet 4 inches; time for the roughly two-mile run–11 minutes 53 seconds. The average participating officer weighed 181 pounds and stood just under 6 feet.

    “In all likelihood, fewer than 10 per cent of officers upon graduating from any academy in North America would be able to match these performance standards. And from a fitness standpoint, that is when officers tend to be at their absolute peak.

    “In one survey of 226 US officers with time on the job, only a minority felt they could ‘very well’ perform such relatively simple tasks as completing 21 push-ups, negotiating an agility obstacle course, performing 36 sit-ups, sitting and reaching 16 ? inches, and bench pressing their own body weight. And these tests are far less demanding that what the researchers in Norway used.

    “In the study of physical exhaustion conducted by the Force Science Institute a few years ago, we found that the average officer’s pulse rate hit 180 beats per minute within 20 seconds of all-out exertion, such as would be experienced in a struggle with a resistant suspect. That represents a dramatic stressing of an officer’s physical system and capabilities.” For more about this study, go .

    Lewinski suggests that officers reading about the Norwegian study measure their own ability against the physical capabilities tests those researchers used, as cited earlier in this article. “The message for many officers,” he says, “will be: ‘Get to a gym! Do it now! Don’t wait!’ “

    Yes, this is regarding law enforcement, and the nature of their job often requires physical contact and “wrestling” with a non-compliant subject. But it still has implications for the private citizen when it comes to your own personal defense.

    How about the ability to run away? That’s certainly a great defensive tactic, but can you run? And if you can, how fast and how far can you get? Will your attacker(s) be able to catch you?

    What if you had to climb over something, like a fence? Could you do it?

    And what if you wound up in a physical struggle? Could you give your attacker at least some challenge? Or will you be a rag doll under their fists and boots?

    Heck, if you get knocked to the ground, could you quickly and decisively get back to your feet?

    I know these don’t seem like very challenging things, but I see far too many people who cannot do these things when there’s no pressure. You will not rise to the occasion and suddenly gain the skills of Brock Lesnar or Usain Bolt. This isn’t to say you have to be at their level, but I’m certainly you can be better than you are today.

    Funny thing.  The same day I wrote this article, Greg Ellifritz posted a similar such article to his Facebook page (must be something in the air for us all to be writing from the same point of reference about the same topic!). I’ll address Greg’s posting in an upcoming article.

    Until then, I’ll leave you with something Mark Rippetoe said:

    Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.

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