Smith & Wesson’s M&P just doesn’t match up to Glock

Everyone competes with Glock.
All of the serious names in handguns have a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol on the market including Sig Sauer, which finally gave in and eliminated the hammer on its newest model to go headto-head with Glock in the marketplace.
Probably the most affected by the Glock dominance is Smith & Wesson of Springfield, Mass.
They virtually owned the police market when revolvers were the sidearm of choice for Americas cops.
As the Glock pistols took over, Smith & Wesson got busy trying to compete. Yes, they had their conventional DA/SA autos that some departments favored, but they really weren’t holding their own in numbers on the beat.
The gun they came up with was the Sigma pistol. The pistol was a little more “swoopy” and less blocky then the Glock but had a much stiffer, creepier trigger, was not nearly as corrosion-resistant and, although reliable, was not unfailing like the Austrian competition.
The Sigma was also a near partfor- part replica of a Glock, which didn’t set well with many shooters.
Anyone can manufacture something that someone else has already designed and gun owners weren’t too impressed by the copy.
Apparently, Glock was really unimpressed, as they brought a lawsuit against Smith & Wesson.
The Sigma was re-named a couple of times, along with slight re-designs, and it became the SWVE and SD.
Since that line of pistols garnered virtually no police contracts, S&W had to come up with something else or concede defeat. Out came the M&P line of duty pistols.
S&W resurrected a name that was legendary in firearms lore: the Military and Police.
I don’t think the Military part was ever a serious option, as the military is married to the Beretta M9, but the Police part was every ounce the serious half of the iconic name.
The M&P name has been used on many revolvers and a few autos over the last century (and then some), but the automatics were rarely actually used by police since they were small, concealed-carry pieces.
The revolvers, however, were the very ones that dominated the police sales into the 1980s. It made perfect sense to name the new pistol, intended for police use, the M&P.
I’d make a good bet that the civilian sales of the M&P are easily 100 times greater than to the “Boys in Blue.”
I was recently presented with a full-size version of the M&P to install a series of trigger-pull-enhancing parts in. I learned much more about this pistol in the process of tearing it, virtually completely, down than I had known previously.
I have to admit that I did not see the appeal of this pistol when it came out. I purchased one immediately and gave it a good workout.
While not a bad pistol, I still preferred the Glock and, to a lesser extent, the Springfield XD. After completing the trigger job on this example of the M&P I am even more staunch in my belief.

AT LEFT are the tools necessary to disassemble a Smith & Wesson M&P, while at right is what it takes to get a Glock apart.

I am sure many lovers of the M&P are more interested in it because it’s “not a Glock.” Although very much in the minority now, many shooters just didn’t/don’t like the Glock pistol and, now that there is a domestic alternative, they jump at the chance to “not buy a Glock.”
I have no problem with legitimately not liking a certain firearm.
There are many I don’t like but there is a distinction between not liking something and it actually being bad and some do not appreciate the difference.
I have sold quite a few M&Ps and have no regrets about doing so.
Those buyers wanted an M&P and after showing them the ups and downs of different pistols, they still wanted the M&P.
My first center-fire pistol was a Glock 17, so my hand and trigger finger might have mutated to the “Glockterine,” but many feel the M&P is more ergonomic and fits their hand better.
In the photo accompanying this article you will see a small flashlight and a smart phone. Everything to the left of that light is necessary to getting a 4-pound trigger pull from an M&P. To the right is a Glock frame, torn apart, and a 3/32-inch punch.
That is everything required to get a 3.5-pound trigger pull out of a Glock. I timed myself and it takes under three minutes to accomplish this on the Glock and about an hour for someone with experience to do the same on the M&P.
A handful of parts are required for the M&P and one little L-shaped connector in the Glock.
To be fair, many times the trigger pull on the Glock actually comes in close to 4 pounds as well, with a 3.5-pound connector installed.
I was amazed at the complexity of the S&W product. Maybe they didn’t want to be accused of copying anyone else’s design again but making it this complicated compared to the competing pistols seems kind of foolhardy to me.
The S&W parts are definitely smaller and more delicate. In the long run I don’t believe the M&P will prove as indestructible as the Glock has been in its four decades of use and abuse.
Small parts and complexity can’t beat robust and simple. To work on the S&W, I needed a hammer, spring pick, three punches, the included sight tool and slave pin, brass punch parallel pliers, allen wrench, flash light and the internet.
Those last two may be a little confusing. The light was necessary in order to see the fine details in the pistol to get the stubborn trigger pin in. This pin goes through the frame, locking block, trigger and trigger spring all at the same time.
There is an included slave pin to help accomplish this but it is made of plastic and of limited use.
This part of Smith & Wesson’s design was my least favorite; there are too many parts located here in this small area and reassembly is a pain.
The smart phone was used to access the Internet to get installation directions. I may be an oddball guy, but I actually like to read the directions however since there were no printed instructions I was forced to use the interweb.
When the Linn County Sheriff’s Office adopted the M&P as their service weapon, I was skptical of the need for the change.
Many deputies told me that their Glocks were getting worn out and were glad to see the change.
I am very unsure of that. I have seen Glocks that were beat almost beyond recognition but they still
worked. I believe it was more of a case of someone in charge wanted a different pistol or a really good S&W salesman came by.
Sometimes these salesmen are offering to basically take your old pistols straight across in exchange for the new ones. That seems like a great deal and is hard for agency buyers to pass up. Also, if the individual actually shoots one quality pistol better than another that is enough reason to change.
The salesmen offer this too-good-to-be-true deal because they know that sales to the local “PD” will translate to sales to the public – remember that 100:1 ratio of sales?
People think that if the cops chose the pistol it must be the best one, right?
Not really; police are not necessarily gun experts, to many (most?) of them the pistol is just another tool on their belt.
If you have purchased one of these pistols, however, you are not an idiot! This is a good solid pistol with a name brand and you will be happy with it. There is also something to be said for it being Made In America!
But wait….the Glocks will soon be manufactured here as well. It is not better than a Glock, however,
and personally I’ll stick with the tried and tru,e with its feet firmly planted in two different centuries.
It is simpler, easier to work on, much more corrosion-resistant, time-proven and so popular that virtually every holster and accessory manufacture builds product for it.
For a service pistol those are all winning attributes.
– Jeff Hutchins operates Rangemaster Gunworks in Labanon.