Monday, September 26, 2011

M&P 45 - First 250 Rounds

I've gushed, I've bragged, and I've boasted about the M&P's superiority long enough... time to talk about real-world performance.

Unbeatable, especially for a full-size double-stack .45 and my goofy paws. I will forever preach about the ergonomics of the M&P handguns... any of them. At the heart of the amazing fit are the palmswells Smith & Wesson provides. I personally prefer the Medium but can comfortably shoot all three. Even those with truly small hands will find the M&P a good fit. Out of the Glock, XD(and 'M'), HK, Sigs, FNH, Taurus, Bersa, 1911-pattern pistols I've held, shot, and owned, the M&P keeps rising to the top of the milk barrel.

A few easily-fixed niggles aside, it's familiar, consistent, smooth, and accurate. Through 250 rounds of Winchester "white box" and Blazer (aluminum) ammunition, it's been flawless. Accurately launching 230gr Golden Sabers was easy and 185gr Hornady Critical Defense shot downright soft and fed with absolutely no complaints. Accuracy is equally impressive - the M&P45 is an instinctive pointer, thanks in part to a familiar 18-degree grip angle. The stock 3-dot sights (I always black my rear dots) were dead-on accurate, and while the takeup on the definitely-ready-for-duty trigger is admittedly rough, I have been able to find the reset point just fine and can quickly deliver rapid follow up shots with very great accuracy.

Those loooooooong "full size" base pads. Compact models will be on order before I go to sleep tonight and are drop-in replacements. I don't have problems with my reloads, but I prefer a closer grip on the mag tube. After a couple dozen matches indoor on polished concrete, I have yet to see one break.

Down the Road:
I easily expect to break the 1,000-round mark with boring reliability, and have no reason to think otherwise. The more I shoot it, the better it gets. It's not even broken in and the trigger is smoothing out. Even with out the Apex parts, it's duty-ready and I will not hesitate to carry it.

I WILL be pulling the thumb safety out and inserting the frame plugs, replacing the sights with a u-notch rear and tritium front, and will upgrade internals to Apex components. That's not going to improve a "bad" gun, it's going to make a very good gun MY very good gun.

The Verdict:
Haters Gonna Hate, but the M&P is tried, true, and finding converts all across the law-enforcement, competitive, and civilian personal defense spectra. I am among them and urge my friends to give one a shot.

With the exception of my EDC handgun, we will be standardizing our household to the M&P platform for the majority of our defensive, competitive (Production, SSP, CDP), and recreational shooting. Soon.

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A Modern Classic

Two iconic examples of form and function coming together in a single, beautiful and rugged creation.

M&P 45 / Insight XTi Procyon

The Chrysler Building is 77 floors of bad-ass glory, too!

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To Weaver or not to Weaver...

...there's a hell of a question.

The school I teach with instructs citizen shooters on the merits of the Modified Weaver stance, and it's the only thing I keep grinding my teeth over. Not because I hate the Weaver, but because we don't talk about the merits of the modern Isosceles presentation.

I keep thinking back to stories of Bruce Lee's philosophies toward "style" and - to grossly oversimplify - the value in using the most advantageous to the fighter at that particular point in time based on environment, opportunity, training, and what the bad guy is giving you to work with.

In my own world I fall back to a very mobile, dynamic, and instinctive symmetric presentation. Both arms pressed out, full-strength two-handed grip, and offensive attack to the target.

Recoil control - even with small, light .45-caliber handguns isn't a problem for me and it's more a testament to technique than my considerable bulk. I've seen my tiny-handed wife run an HK USP Tactical with control and command while the potbellied "gun guy" in the next lane struggles to keep a .38 on the same piece of paper.

The point? Simple - symmetrical two-handed upper-body grip and presentation works, and you don't have to assume a "target" stance to make it work.

I've shot from the Weaver, strong hand and support hand (I don't have a "weak" hand, dammit!! :-) positions, shot supported against a wall, braced against a port, and off a rest, and would like to think I'm pretty dang good from most of them.

I come "home" to my happy place more often than not and that happy place is pressed out, grip strong, and keeping shots 2, 3, 4, and 5 as close to each other as possible.

If you're a Weaver Guy, and it (really) works for you, great! But give some of the newer thinking a try. Yes, it feels weird. No, you may not like it. But master it and add it to your range of skills and you may just become a better shooter overall for it.

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Adios, Glock!

Ladies and gents,
All the fawning and hero worship I've held near my heart for the venerable Glock 34 is coming to a close over a rather simple realization...

I'm an M&P guy.

And... Even though I started out as a dyed-in-the-wool Glock Guy and have bested many an indoor match with Gaston's guns, something changed. Something profound.

After 3,000 or 4,000 rounds of practice, fun, and carry ammo through Mrs. Normal's M&P 9(JG) - with it's ribbon-engraved slide and pink backstrap - I found it to be just as fast, just as accurate, and just as easy to maintain as my Glock and I'd secretly developed an envy of her pistol.

So much so that I decided on a midsize M&P45 for my house / carry / classroom gun. As luck would have it, Mrs. Normal thought it would make a great 5th anniversary gift!

And lemme tell ya, friends... GAW-DAMN does the thing run! The stock "heavy, gritty, indistinct" trigger, basic 3-dot sights, and somewhat kludgy thumb safety - none of those supposed, reported "downsides" slow me down one bit. Even on the .45 I'm out of the holster and slamming 230 grains of red hot glee into the A box over and over.

All this newfound S&W joy is telling me one thing... if I've been good on the Glock - and I have - coming back home to the M&P is going to be great.

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