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Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols All Variants of the Smith & Wesson M&P Auto Series


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Old 01-08-2021, 01:32 AM
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In identical full size M&P guns, both are more similar than I would have thought.

Went to the range with two M&P full size, one in 9mm and one in .40. I'm used to the nine as it's my EDC gun. But I wanted to see how it compared to the .40.

.40 ammo was:

165 grain Winchester white box FMJ
180 grain hardcast handloads, max load in Accurate Arms reloading guide

9mm ammo was:

115 grain Winchester range fodder
115 grain FMJ handloads, loaded to max +P load in Accurate Arms reloading guide


This is not a quantitative test, just my impressions:

I fired not super rapid fire, but flash sight firing, about a round every second.

I expected .40 to be a whole different category of recoil. But it's really not all that much different. With a firm two hand hold you get a some more muzzle flip. Flip is much more noticeable shooting one-handed. I think if you timed ten-shot strings you'd get ten off a bit quicker out of the 9mm, but not a great deal of difference. If I get a chance to do this test I will.

Firing at the rate I was shooting, accuracy at seven yards was equal. I was putting them in a fist-sized hole in the paper, with occasional outliers. Either one is combat-accurate at ordinary defense distances.



The 9 and the 40 are more alike than they are different, at least in full-size M&P. Certainly neither is in the territory of my XDM 10mm with full power loads. That one is a bigger handful. The M&P is known as a soft-shooting gun and you might have a different impression in some other pistol. I'd bet that there's a bigger difference, say, in 9mm Shield vs. .40 Shield.

I wanted to do a three-way test with the M&P45, but none was available.


In a full-size plastic pistol, either 9 or 40 should be fine for self-protection. I'd still give the edge to the 9mm. Save for possible barrier penetration, the 40 won't do a thing that the nine won't do on a bad guy, and you still have the advantage of more rounds, cheaper ammo, and less recoil.
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Old 01-08-2021, 01:52 AM
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I've got a pair like that: Beretta PX4 Compacts in both .40 and 9x19. You can tell a difference but...well, service rounds just aren't very snappy.
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:31 AM
Dan Zulu Dan Zulu is offline
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These days I’m seeing 40 ammo cheaper than 9.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:11 AM
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The magic of the wonder-nine wins again !
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:18 AM
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I do comparison testing on two very similar guns in different calibers every range trip. I have two M&P 4" compacts one in 9mm and one in .45, and usually shoot both.

They are more alike than different. The .45 has noticeably more recoil but it's not too bad. I'm equally accurate with either and they feel about the same in my hands.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:28 AM
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You shot both a 9mm AND a .40 from identical models and the .40 didn't rip you arm off ?????

I am shocked.....that is NOT what the interweb says! I shoot all three calibers 9, 40 AND 45, and still have my arms with hands attached!!

A wee bit of sarcasm to start the day............

Randy
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Univibe View Post
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In identical full size M&P guns, both are more similar than I would have thought.
[...]
I expected .40 to be a whole different category of recoil. But it's really not all that much different. With a firm two hand hold you get a some more muzzle flip. Flip is much more noticeable shooting one-handed. I think if you timed ten-shot strings you'd get ten off a bit quicker out of the 9mm, but not a great deal of difference.
Good post Univibe !.

Knowing the recoil and energy differences between 9 an .40 cartridges this only proves how well M&P series was designed.

I'm 9mm guy, but tried .40 once, shooting my friend's Glock (it was G22 or G23, don't remember). I felt huge difference..and didn't like it ...
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Old 01-08-2021, 01:51 PM
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Good post Univibe !.

Knowing the recoil and energy differences between 9 an .40 cartridges this only proves how well M&P series was designed.

I'm 9mm guy, but tried .40 once, shooting my friend's Glock (it was G22 or G23, don't remember). I felt huge difference..and didn't like it ...
I agree with that. Glock's a good weapon but I just don't mesh with them.

I've shot the G19 9mm and the G23 .40. I didn't shoot them back to back, but my memory is that the G23 was quite a bit sharper in recoil than the G19. I could be wrong about that and it wasn't really a fair test.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:06 PM
Dave Lively Dave Lively is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Univibe View Post
In a full-size plastic pistol, either 9 or 40 should be fine for self-protection. I'd still give the edge to the 9mm. Save for possible barrier penetration, the 40 won't do a thing that the nine won't do on a bad guy, and you still have the advantage of more rounds, cheaper ammo, and less recoil.
That is what I decided too. When I did a back to back comparison the 40 had more recoil but it was not like going from a 38 Special to a 357 magnum. If I had to come up with a number I would say the 40 had 30% more recoil. Both are high pressure rounds but the 40 seemed to have noticeably more muzzle blast for some reason. Even with ear protection I think the noise is one reason the 40 has such a bad reputation for being hard to shoot.

If I thought I was gaining a significantly more effective round I would go with the 40 but I don't. I think the 40 has an edge but not enough of one to make up for the increased recoil, noise, ammo cost in normal times and reduced capacity.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:14 PM
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I've always believed that M&P is one of the best designed modern handguns.
I was pretty sure that one would be a Military M9 replacement.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:21 PM
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I've always believed that M&P is one of the best designed modern handguns.
I was pretty sure that one would be a Military M9 replacement.
I think so, too.

When I finally decided to get off the 1911 bus for EDC, I shot several competing designs.

Glock 19: I just don't like Glocks. Very good weapons but I don't get along with them.

HK VP9: These are really pretty awesome. You feel like you're "driving" them like a sports car. I almost went with the VP9.

Ruger SR9: I think this is a sleeper and another one I almost got for EDC.

Springfield XD: Nothing wrong with these.

Smith M&P: it just felt more substantial and fit my hand right out of the box. Unlike the others it had an option for thumb safety to avoid "glock leg."
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:34 PM
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I have been shooting 9mm since about 1970 with Lugers, P38, Browning Hi Power, S&W gen 1-2-3, Glock, Kahr, Beretta 92, and probably a couple others that don't stand out in memory.

Bought my first .40S&W in about 2004, Kahr P40. 16.1 oz. empty weight, polymer frame, very light, compact. After a few hiccups during the first 100 rounds the Kahr settled in nicely as a reliable and accurate piece. Recoil in the lightweight pistol was noticeable; I would call it sharp, abrupt, very brisk, and a few other adjectives. Not a combination I would enjoy an all day range session with, but a good and reliable piece.

My more recent .40S&W (November 2018) is a Sig P229. Compact version of the P226 series, 12-round magazine, DA-SA-Decocker, alloy frame. Very good ergonomics and enough weight to take the recoil of service-grade 180-grain loads in stride. Also extremely accurate and completely reliable with everything I have fed into it.

Based on this limited comparison I would agree with the OP. There is little difference in felt recoil or recoil impulse when compared to 9mm pistols of similar weight (Browning Hi Power, S&W 5906, etc).

As an old 1911 .45 aficionado I am pretty well accustomed to pistols with some recoil, and I appreciate some weight to control that. Overall, I like the .40S&W quite well and recommend it for serious "social work".
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:59 PM
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In Pre-Covid days, I was shooting in a weekly competition at the local indoor range. Sometimes it was speed over accuracy, other times the opposite. There were a few times I shot the comp twice; once with my 9, then with my 40 (Glock 17/22, FS M&P 9/40). Accuracy was not an issue with either caliber and my speed/times were almost identical (9 was just slightly faster than 40). I don't find the 40 to be objectionable in recoil, especially in FS handguns. In light weight, compact guns; it would be a different story. Although, I have Shields in all 3 calibers and don't mind shooting them either.
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Old 01-08-2021, 07:05 PM
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9mm shield is my EDC in the summer, 40 compact M&P in the winter
both carried @3 o clock in a Milt sparks VM2
I try to shoot them both every range trip since the 9mm shield is smaller and lighter I really don't see any difference in recoil than with the slightly bigger heavier 40 compact and I find them both a joy to shoot.
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Old 01-09-2021, 01:13 AM
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I have had 9mm Shield and currently have a 40 Shield. I notice very little difference, if any at all between the two.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:32 AM
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9mm and 40 S&W Walther PPS. You can definitely tell the difference when these two go off. While still manageable, the 40 is a handful in this little package.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:50 AM
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When it comes to manageable recoil I'd choose a bigger gun over a smaller caliber. I have Compacts in both 9mm and .45 and a Shield in 9mm. To me the little Shield 9mm has recoil similar to the larger .45 Compact. The Compact 9mm is far more comfortable for long sessions than either of the others.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:30 AM
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I'm going to agree with Univibe here... a sign of the apocalypse?

In identical pistols, the 40 S&W will give more felt recoil than the 9x19mm. Why? Simple. Bullet weight and velocity. The closest comparison without getting into boutique ammo would be 147 grain 9mm ammo vs 155 grain 40 S&W ammo. The 9mm load is going to give around 975 fps, a hair over 1000 fps in +P. The 40 S&W load is going to exit the muzzle around 1050 fps. Heavier bullet with more velocity equals more recoil, but it's not like going from 38 Special to 357 Magnum. I'd say it's more like 38 Special to 38 Special +P in terms of the difference in felt recoil.

Now let's go to a 45 ACP size pistol, chamber one in 40 and the other in 45. The 40 S&W is not loaded with 230 grain bullets, so compare 180 grain 40 S&W to 185 grain 45 ACP, full power, not target wadcutter ammo. The 40 S&W load is going to exit the muzzle around 980 fps, the 45 ACP load around 1000 fps. The heavier bullet and higher velocity of the 45 ACP results in more felt recoil. Again, more recoil from the 45 ACP, but it's not that much more and not like going from 44 Special to 44 Magnum.

The magic of the 40 S&W came from it's ability to launch a 180 grain bullet at just a little less velocity than a 185 grain 45 ACP load, but the 40 S&W could be crammed into a 9x19mm size pistol. This is what the FBI wanted and now what they have abandoned in favor of the 9x19mm.
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Old 01-09-2021, 01:09 PM
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I have both the M&P40 FS and the M&P40 Shield. I have 9mm barrels as well. IMHO there is a noticeable difference in felt recoil. But not so much that I prefer one over the other. I think it a good idea to have a firearm that can be converted to 40SW, 357Sig, or 9mm simply by changing barrels and magazines.
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