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.