The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol has been one of the most durable and affordable polymer pistol series on the market in the last decade. The M&P made its debut in 2005 and quickly has spun off into a complete line of fourteen different pistols in most popular calibers. In the last decade the Smith & Wesson M&P has been adapted to meet the growing needs of both the civilian and law enforcement communities and has replaced the venerable Glock pistols in many law enforcement agencies nationally.

While the M&P has been durable and cheaper than the Glock and other polymer pistols it does have some shortcomings some of which have not been addressed by the company. When the M&P first arrived on the scene it was not available with an external safety and that eliminated it from being selected by some  law enforcement agencies. Smith & Wesson listened to the critics and in 2009 made M&P pistols with optional external safeties, which boosted already high sales levels. This showed that the company was at least willing to listen to the needs of consumers on some topics concerning the M&P but not all.

Many of us that have Smith & Wesson M&P’s are mostly happy with their performance and ergonomics but, not completely happy. This begs the question, what can we do to modify our weapons to fit our particular needs or desires ? It just so happens that the wonderful thing about being in the Firearms Industry is that I can always find projects to do and accessories to install on my guns, all in the name of science. The first thing we need to do in order to address any issues with the M&P is decide what the issues are and how important those issues are. The second thing is find a solution and act on it.

COMMON COMPLAINTS:

The two common complaints I hear about the Smith & Wesson M&P is the trigger is less than ideal and that the gun could use a more aggressive texture to it. I hardly ever hear anyone complain about the sights or the weight of the pistol. So with these two very correctable issues clearly laid out I began to look at solutions for both of them. Fortunately I was not alone in my complaints and found a legion of companies willing to help me iron out the issues that lay in front of me.

TRIGGER: 

When it comes to trigger upgrades for the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol there are really only two choices on the market. The first and most popular is the Apex Tactical trigger kit, and the second is the Bowie Tactical trigger. The Apex kit ranges from $39.99 – $169.99 depending on which kit you get and which trigger you select. The Bowie kit runs between $75-$100 on average. I chose to go with the more recognized Apex kit for $129.99 and had it installed by a local gunsmith. The difference in trigger pull and reset was instantly noticeable and made the trigger less soft and squishy. I chose to have someone else install the trigger and springs, but Apex does have a full line of videos on YouTube for the person who wants to try it themselves.

Image Courtesy: Apex Tactical
GRIP:

The amount or style of texture on any firearm can make an immediate impact on shooting the gun. Every shooter will have his or her own personal likes and dislikes when it comes to their texturing on a pistol. I personally hate Glocks because of this very reason (texturing). Every Glock pistol I have ever handled just doesn’t feel right to me, the checkering on the front strap, well pretty much all of it feels weird to me. It has nothing to do with the function or durability of the pistol at all, it just feels like garbage to me. If I’m not comfortable then I know my accuracy will suffer in a major way.

The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol has very Glock like ergonomics but doesn’t offer anywhere near the level of texturing I wanted. This was a problem for me when I first got he pistol, but with the help of Joe Kim at Frost Modular Systems I was able to correct that small issue with very little downtime and very little cash spent. This is another step where someone who is willing to learn can save themselves some money and stipple the frame themselves. All it really takes is some time, and a soldering iron with a few tips that is available at any hardware store. Now that being said if you are wanting to try stippling I suggest you watch a lot of videos and practice on MagPul PMAGS, Sig 320 frames, pistol grips you get the idea. Different polymers have different burn rate characteristics and it would be terrible to try texturing your own gun and ruining a $300 frame. That is where modular pistols like the Sig P320 are a good idea to practice on.

Backstrap checkered nicely
Backstrap checkered nicely
The one word of caution I will say if you choose to texture your own pistol or have it done professionally is sometimes the texturing may feel fine when you first get it finished, but will irritate your hands in short order. This is where some small scraps of 240 or 400 grit sandpaper and some manual labor will come in handy. Generally the area of the pistol that might need some sanding down is where the pistol meets the webbing of your hand. Honestly if you are having any sort of sensitivity to the texturing I would spend some time sanding and checking the fit of the whole frame. Comfortable yet improved grip is the goal in this situation.

One honorable mention for suggested upgrades is to get hi capacity magazines for your pistol if yours happened to come with the dreaded 10 round capacity variety. I’m going to say check with your state or local law enforcement official to make sure they are not restricted where you live. With that we will say that it’s been our pleasure to go over a few simple and affordable upgrades to your Smith & Wesson M&P pistols that can really improve an already high quality sidearm. We hope you check back with the site often, and if you have any questions about this or any other project we have done here don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comment section below. If you would like to write for the site, we are taking applications for new writers in an effort to expand our demographics.

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This article courtesy of Rick Dembroski from The Arms Guide.