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  #1  
Old 12-02-2009, 01:22 PM
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Default M&P Full Size 45 Firing Pin Breakage

Co-worker went to unload his .45 and discovered a problem. Not good. What is scary is that this is a LE duty weapon. Luckily this was discovered when he was unloading it to show a co-worker who is considering purchasing one. Need less to say the other subject is now buying a Glock.

I feel like **** since I bought the first one at our agency and after shooting mine, he was convinced to get one.

Anyone seen a similar failure?






Last edited by ToddS112; 12-02-2009 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:08 PM
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Last night, a buddy of mine at our Dept range claimed M&Ps used by a neighboring town (who uses our range) has had small parts break during qualifications last week. He also said he's never seen the problems on the Glocks we are issued. He hopes we stay with Glocks versus the M&P.
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:25 PM
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Todd, is your buddy going to ship the gun back to S&W for (warranty) repair?

If so, we'd sure like to hear the outcome, and, if they so state, what the root cause of the failure was.

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:33 PM
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That broken firing pin looks identical to one that I broke as a result of dry firing a Marlin 1894 .44 Mag. rifle. Maybe the root cause of this broken firing pin is that the design is not suited to dry firing practice. Sincerely. brucev.
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:11 PM
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Gun is going back to S&W ASAP. The metal is not uniform throughout the cross-section of the break. Looks like a manufacturing defect, metalurgical failure?

I'm sure Smith will say, "Replaced Firing Pin".
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:26 PM
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Did you guys get yours free of charge from S&W too?

S&W just gave the same M&P model to the Guilford County Sheriff's department here. Free of charge, with holsters, in exchange for their Glocks and putting some advertising on some of the cars.

Lots of Deputies unhappy with that trade. I just Emailed one to take a look at this thread. Regards 18DAI.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:10 PM
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S&W has been in the process of revising their M&P striker since some early small number of scattered reports of striker breakage, especially when a lot of dry-fire was apparently involved.

The new revision of the striker appears to be made from stainless steel (instead of MIM). It lacks the angled corner of the earlier striker where the body is of lesser thickness than the head. It's like one large shaft of steel with the body the same diameter as the head. Robust. No sharp angle for the possible development of a stress riser. The foot appears a bit narrower than the earlier MIM striker's foot (although I haven't checked it with a micrometer) and looks very smooth.

The spring keepers have been replaced with a single large keeper, required because the original design (common to other striker-fired guns of recent design) used the rebated shoulder behind the striker head to hold the keepers in place. The new keeper is larger and appears thicker and has a specific orientation. I'm guessing a benefit of having a 1-piece unit might be eliminating the potential for warping edges of the separate pieces, which could risk overlapping at the seam where they met and lifting , creating drag inside the firing pin channel (like Glock armorers are told to check for during inspections).

Although I've had no problems with my original MIM striker unit in my M&P 45 over the course of the last year and about 3,000 rounds, I decided to install a new unit when I received it in a regular parts order, just to see if it felt any different. I was expecting some initial roughness until the striker foot wore a bit against the original sear, but I was surprised to find that the trigger now felt almost a bit smoother than my original well-worn striker. Interesting.

A friend who just received a new M&P 45 told me that his gun appeared to have a stainless striker, so it seems the new revised striker is in the pipeline for both production (at least in the .45 models) as well as parts. I'm not getting rid of my spare MIM strikers just because of the new design, though, and will keep them for spare parts.

I can try to take pictures of the new striker unit later, compared to the earlier one, if anyone is interested.

Before folks get too busy pointing fingers, it might be fair to consider that Glock is still revising parts in their models because of issues being reported by some of their LE customers. I was told by the company (as an armorer) a while back that the current trigger bar for the G21 is now different than the current one for the G30, and both of them are different than what was considered current just before the LAPD situation occurred a while ago. Slide rubbing on the vertical safety extension of the trigger bar (which lifts the safety plunger), and involvement of the safety plunger & firing pin, has apparently been reported by some customers to have been causing issues in some small number of newer guns. I'm only dealing with one new Glock .45 in this regard at the moment, though.

I'm curious to see what the latest revised models of the Glock line will have to show in a couple of months, too. Aside from offering replaceable grip inserts, I've heard some rumbles about a new recoil spring assembly for the full-size .40s. It would be nice if the functioning problems occasionally reported by some users who attach lights to their .40's have finally been addressed and resolved. A friend of mine who recently retired from another agency told me a little while back that a lot of their guys were still having functioning issues when they attached lights to their guns. My friend didn't use a light on his gun, though. FWIW, I'd also had occasion to speak with an armorer for that agency a little earlier who also said they were having a number of their officers experience feeding issues when they used lights. Last I heard they had received new magazine springs to try and address the issue (although their guns were only about 4 years old, according to him). These are the kind of things that can keep armorers busy.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
Did you guys get yours free of charge from S&W too?

S&W just gave the same M&P model to the Guilford County Sheriff's department here. Free of charge, with holsters, in exchange for their Glocks and putting some advertising on some of the cars.

Lots of Deputies unhappy with that trade. I just Emailed one to take a look at this thread. Regards 18DAI.
No, we issue Glock .40's. We are approved to purchase our own guns that meet policy (at our expense). I bought mine, my buddy shot and handled it, liked it and bought his. I know any gun can fail. I'm actually one of our Glock armorers and have seen a few broken parts over the years. This failure was a little disconcerting.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:38 PM
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Okay, here's some images of the difference between the previous and new striker in the .45 model. The black one (MIM) is the earlier version and the stainless one is the new one.

Please excuse the quality of the images, but my camera isn't exactly the latest & greatest.





Notice the body is no longer reduced in dimension all around behind the head, but only on the sides (to hold the 1-piece keeper and presumably allow for the same freedom of movement).

When I was taking these pics I also noticed that the sharp 90-degree angle above the engagement pad of the striker's foot has been changed to a curve, too. This is reminiscent of when S&W first changed the older traditional ejectors to eliminate the sharp angle (which could be prone to developing a stress riser and allowing the tip to break off at the corner of that angle) and substituted the longer curving angle on the bottom of the ejector tips where they connected to the main body.

All in all, I was struck by how much more robust this new striker appears. Not bad.

Like I said earlier, though, I'm not tossing the other earlier production strikers I have as spare parts, nor the earlier one in my M&P 40, unless one of them ever breaks or develops signs of damage. Or unless S&W comes out with an armorers bulletin recommending the replacement of the earlier one with the newer one, which I haven't heard being recommended.

They did something like that in the SW99 series back when they told armorers to immediately reverse the extractor spring orientation - different size ends - in the slide spring holes from what Walther had originally used. Also, like Glock recently did when they sent out a revised page for the armorer's manual which included instructions for armorers to replace any trigger springs which were not the current grey finish during inspections.

I know what you mean about needing Glock parts, too. I've gone through enough parts for repair and preventative maintenance that it's time to make an order to restock some parts. I figured it was time to make an actual order to replenish my parts kept on-hand when I realized I was asking the Glock rep or a factory tech for some repair parts now & again ...
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:05 PM
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Fastbolt, thanks for those pics. Very good information. I am going to try to get S&W to send me the updated part for my gun.
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddS112 View Post
Fastbolt, thanks for those pics. Very good information. I am going to try to get S&W to send me the updated part for my gun.

Sent you a PM with some further info.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:34 AM
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I have a stupid question about the M&P failure. I was just curious as to what kind of pressure ammo was being used in it. Is your friend shooting a lot of +p+ or is it just standard pressure ammo? Just wondering as my 3rd Gen Smith maunal expressly state no +p+, and I didn't know if the M&P line also had this kind of stipulation.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:46 AM
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I have heard about the firing pin issues last year and was told not to dry fire the MP when I called SW.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:33 AM
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Another example of the "superiority" of MIM parts. Regards 18DAI
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:31 PM
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Well the good and the bad of S&W service. Sent an email explaining the situation to the general email address on their web-site. Received this reply:

"There was a redesign of the 9 and 40 firing pins but not the 45. If you would like you can buy the parts you want direct from us at: 800-331-0852 ext 2905. Dry firing these firearms without the use of snap-caps will cause the firing pin to break just like in your photo. I don’t know if this was the case but, just so you know."

Hmmm. We have pics here of something that apparently does not exist.

In the mean time I received direct contact info for a LE rep and called him. The reply was, "I'll ship you out 2 updated striker assemblies right away."

So again, it's all about who you talk to.

Fastbolt, thanks again for the great information.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:51 PM
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is there a serial number or date to show when this change has been made? I have been thinking about getting the 45 M & P.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:03 PM
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Fasbolt....many thanks again for your dedicated assistance to us S&W enthusiasts.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:30 PM
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De nada guys, but don't make more of it than it is ...

It can be a little confusing at times talking about the various models, production changes and parts revisions, etc.

It also depends on who you talk to, as well, I'd think (as in any manufacturing company). Not everything changed by the engineers, or the reasons for the changes, always filters its way down to the customer service/parts level.

If I were to make a guess (and that's all it is, mind you), I wouldn't be surprised if the change (redesign) of the 9/40 striker mentioned in your email just referred to the early change made to striker's foot, when extra material was made to allow for more striker spring compression. If I remember right, this change was made in the 9/40 models before the .45 models were being released, so it may have just been carried over to the .45 strikers from the beginning of their production. Dunno. Wasn't paying that close of attention.

I can say that the first M&P armorer manual I received had the early 9/40 striker pictured and we were told that the striker had been changed to add more material to the striker's foot for the reason given. The corresponding pictures in the next M&P armorer manual I received had the updated striker pictured.

Here's an image of the same pages from 2 different armorer manuals, the earlier one on the left (showing the early striker) and the more recent one on the right (showing the redesigned striker with more material added to the front of the foot).


Maybe if I do another class for the M&P pistol the next armorer manual will have a picture of the newest striker.

The suggestion for snap caps is still worth considering, though.

Strictly as a personal preference, I've always been a bit reluctant to do much dry-fire with striker design pistols, myself. It's one thing to dry-fire a pistol with a 'conventional' firing pin which has a tapered body. The tapered body/tip can easily slip through the hole in the breech face. When it comes to a striker-fired pistol, on the other hand, I've just never cared for the thought of a heavy striker head slamming into the rear of the breech face for a lot of dry-fire.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveno View Post
is there a serial number or date to show when this change has been made? I have been thinking about getting the 45 M & P.
A friend of mine said the M&P 45 he just received (which was received right after production, and hadn't been sitting in some dealer's inventory) has the stainless striker.

I knew they'd been working on revising the striker since late last year, and it appears the finalized design started making its way into production recently.
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Last edited by Fastbolt; 12-04-2009 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:58 PM
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I've got about 5000 rounds though my M&P 45, and alot of dry firing. Haven't had a problem yet. I'll be inspecting mine now.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:45 AM
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Do the new 9mms have a stainless striker?
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:33 AM
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With my life experience of things breaking at sharp stress risers, the original firing pin looks like an illustration of what NOT to do in creating something like a firing pin that is subject to the forces involved in the "life" of a firing pin. Add to that the MIM material issue, and I have to wonder who thought this was the proper design. An amazing design failure.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:00 PM
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I was given the impression that the striker redesign was going to be a general one. I just haven't had occasion to see some from any guns other than the .45 model.

The original design of the striker, with the sharp angle of the rear of the head where it reduces down to the body, isn't an uncommon one when it comes to striker-fired guns and the firing pins used in other makes/models.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:50 PM
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My 9mm M&P had a "burr" grow on the striker, began failing to hit the primer deep enough to start the fire, so with a few weeks of waiting, I'll have a new striker assembly i hope. Other than this, i REALLY like the gun, Love the sights, Feel and trigger, Hope this is the only issue i have with it, Loves lead cast bullets!
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddS112 View Post
Well the good and the bad of S&W service. Sent an email explaining the situation to the general email address on their web-site. Received this reply:

"There was a redesign of the 9 and 40 firing pins but not the 45. If you would like you can buy the parts you want direct from us at: 800-331-0852 ext 2905. Dry firing these firearms without the use of snap-caps will cause the firing pin to break just like in your photo. I donít know if this was the case but, just so you know."

Hmmm. We have pics here of something that apparently does not exist.

In the mean time I received direct contact info for a LE rep and called him. The reply was, "I'll ship you out 2 updated striker assemblies right away."

So again, it's all about who you talk to.

Fastbolt, thanks again for the great information.
Well, got the parts today and it wasn't the complete assembly, just the strikers. They are the updated version, but without the updated spring retainer/cup. So I called them back and requested any and all parts that were updated to complete the striker assembly.

Took 10 days to get the strikers. So it probably wont be until after the new year when I back from vacation, I can get the updated parts installed.

Fudge.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:33 PM
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I just got a new M&P 45, haven't had it to the range yet. It seems to have a gritty trigger. I got out the Lyman gage and found it has an 8 lb. trigger pull, a little much in my opinion. I think I will wait for Apex to get their sear on the market and just replace it, rather than do it my self. I did my own M&P 40, which has 41/2 lb. trigger and much smoother than the 45. I have to admit the 40 has about 10k of ammo through it though.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:57 PM
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Here's some pics of the new striker and the orientation of the new 1-piece spring keeper.

The new 1-piece spring keeper off the striker


The keeper as it fits onto the striker, with the open slot facing UP. I positioned the keeper a little to the rear of the striker head (against which it will actually rest when assembled) so you can see how the front of the keeper will fit up against the rear of the striker - just like how the separate 2-piece keepers are retained.)


The assembled striker, viewed from above, showing how the open slot of the keeper faces UP.


These pics show how the 90-degree angle of the rear of the striker must fit in the striker guide, BTW.



Hope this helps.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnum12pm View Post
I just got a new M&P 45, haven't had it to the range yet. It seems to have a gritty trigger. I got out the Lyman gage and found it has an 8 lb. trigger pull, a little much in my opinion. I think I will wait for Apex to get their sear on the market and just replace it, rather than do it my self. I did my own M&P 40, which has 41/2 lb. trigger and much smoother than the 45. I have to admit the 40 has about 10k of ammo through it though.
I checked my M&P 45 when it was NIB and got averages around 8 1/2 - 9+ lbs. Not too bad considering the .45 models run about a pound heavier than the 9/40/357 models (which are spec'd at 6 1/2 lbs +/- 2 lbs).

It became noticeably smoother and seemingly lighter within a few hundred rounds, and seemed even more so as I was approaching 3,000 rounds. I replaced the striker within the last few hundred rounds so it has a pretty new striker spring right now, and when I just checked it on my digital gauge I got an averaged reading of just barely 6 lbs.

The inherent accuracy is outstanding, and since I use it as a retirement CCW I'll leave it stock.

Very nice pistol.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastbolt View Post
I checked my M&P 45 when it was NIB and got averages around 8 1/2 - 9+ lbs. Not too bad considering the .45 models run about a pound heavier than the 9/40/357 models (which are spec'd at 6 1/2 lbs +/- 2 lbs).

It became noticeably smoother and seemingly lighter within a few hundred rounds, and seemed even more so as I was approaching 3,000 rounds. I replaced the striker within the last few hundred rounds so it has a pretty new striker spring right now, and when I just checked it on my digital gauge I got an averaged reading of just barely 6 lbs.

The inherent accuracy is outstanding, and since I use it as a retirement CCW I'll leave it stock.

Very nice pistol.
Thanks for the interesting info, gives me some comparison poundages. My MP 40 had a 5 pound 11 ounce trigger when NIB.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks for the interesting info, gives me some comparison poundages. My MP 40 had a 5 pound 11 ounce trigger when NIB.
The armorer manual lists that 6 1/2 lbs, with a plus or minus 2 lbs range, is the normal range trigger pull expected on the smaller calibers, meaning you could conceivably get one as low as 4 1/2 lbs and as high as 8 1/2 lbs.

I'm told the 45 should run approx 7 1/2 lbs with the same 2 lbs plus or minus margin being possible.

My personal M&P 45 is approx 3+ lbs less now than when it was new.

My M&P 40c was lighter than my M&P 45, but I didn't bother to check it with a gauge.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:51 AM
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Fastbolt, thanks again for the great info and the pics.

My trigger pull got significantly better with a few hundred rounds in it. I did buff and polish the sear too. I actually did a bit of cutting on the original sear and got a really smooth light pull at about 5 pounds. The "powers that be" found out and I ended up having to buy an entire housing with sear to get a stock one back in the gun. All that work to end up back at the crappy heavy pull.

I too would like to test one of the new Apex sears to see what it gets the pull down to. I still love my .45. We'll see how it goes at our night quals this week: cold, dark, snow, wind, should be a great time..
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:29 PM
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Great thread - good info!
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