Smith & Wesson M&P40C review

A while ago, I took a Practical Shotgun course with Weaponcraft, LLC (, and part of the course flashlight_review_tlr-3-streamlightwas learning to transition from the shotgun to a secondary handgun as soon as your shotgun went “click” instead of “bang” for whatever reason. My SIG Sauer P220 and I did just fine, but there were two fellas who took the course with me who had S&W M&P 9mm handguns for their secondaries, and man, they were putting out a hailstorm of very fast, accurate fire from their Smiths. I was impressed. I’d always been a single-stack magazine .45 kind of guy, but doing multiple magazine changes while these guys were banging away on one 17-round magazine kind of struck me and I went home from the course, pondering: is it worth giving up the power and familiarity of the .45 ACP in order to carry more rounds in a magazine?

By Drew, a contributing author of SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The Gun

I must have driven colleagues and gun friends nuts with debates that were raging in my head: caliber vs. magazine capacity, magazine capacity vs. size of gun and concealability, etc. When I saw their eyes start to glaze over, I decided to try things out for myself. I borrowed a bunch of guns that were in my price range that I knew were quality pieces and would serve me well if I bought any of them: a Glock 23 in .40 S&W, a SIG Sauer P226 in 9mm, A Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm, and a Springfield XD in 9mm. All of these guns had at least 15 round magazines, and all shot very, very well. However, for ergonomics, price, reliability, and accuracy, the S&W M&P won me over. I ordered one that day, the full-sized gun in .40 S&W (I wan’t ready for any calibers that don’t start with a “.4” yet.)

Also Read: Sphinx 9mm Compact Review

That being said, let me fill you in on the gun: The Smith & Wesson M&P series of guns is the fruition of S&W’s attempt to wrestle the Law Enforcement market out of the Glock death-grip. There were a few less-than-successful attempts by S&W in the past, namely the Sigma and SW99 series of guns, but with the M&P (Military & Police – an old historical name in the S&W lineup that also shows where they mean to market the gun), they finally got it right. The gun is similar in concept to the Glock they were aiming at – namely, it’s a double-action-only striker-fired gun with a steel-reinforced polymer frame, and steel slide. Unlike the Glock, though, the M&P can be had with a manual safety a la 1911 style guns, as well as a magazine safety that keeps the gun from firing without a magazine inserted. The M&P comes in two sizes: the full-sized gun, with a 4 1/4″ long barrel, and a magazine that holds, in 9mm, 17 rounds, and in .40 s&w or .357 SIG, 15 rounds. (there is also a .45 ACP on a bigger frame). There is also the Compact, which has a 3 1/2″ barrel, and a 12-round magazine capacity in 9mm, and a 10-round capacity in .40/.357 SIG. There are the ubiquitous picatinny rails up front for light/laser hanging, and standard low-profile three-dot sights. They come in a lockable carry case, with two magazines and interchangeable grip backstraps that let you tailor the grip profile to your hand…a nice touch!

Also Read: Glock 17 Review

Upon a stop into the shop to see if my M&P had come in yet, I saw in the rack a brand new M&P40C…the compact version of  streamlight_tlr-3_review_pistol_flashlightthe gun I’d ordered. Having never handled one, I asked to see it and instantly fell in love. The smaller grip fit my hand perfectly while still accepting the ability to use the longer full-sized magazines, and the shorter slide meant it was made for carrying concealed, something I’d been looking for, as all my handguns are full-sized and harder to hide. I cancelled the full-sized gun order and took the Compact home with me, along with an Armordillo IWB (Inside the Waist Band) holster and a couple boxes of ammo.

I stopped at the sandpit on my way home, and was instantly glad I made the purchase. The little gun put a full magazine of 180-grain FMJ rounds into a 2 1/2″ group at 15 yards. So far, with about 300 rounds through the gun, it hasn’t jammed once, displays stellar accuracy, and fits into a niche nicely in my collection, and I never leave home without it now. In the Armordillo holster (a nice kydex holster, by the way!) it disappears and is very easy to conceal under a sweatshirt. As an added bonus, keeping a 15-round magazine as a reload gives me a full 26 rounds of .40 S&W ammunition in a pinch, something very comforting to think about, especially with all the craziness running rampant in the world today. Anyone looking for a nicely balanced carry gun would do well to check out the M&P series of guns before buying…it gets my official thumbs up! :)

Do many of you carry concealed legally? What’s in your holster?

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22 comments… add one
  • Mike April 24, 2013, 6:27 am

    I carry a FN 9mm with a 17 round clip

    • Selkirk April 24, 2013, 6:34 am

      SOG Flash II here.

      You win.

  • Selkirk April 24, 2013, 6:30 am

    Sure, rub it in.

    Here in NY you need about a year, hundreds of dollars, and notes from 12 grandmothers to even touch a pistol, never mind concealed carry.

    Oh, and magazine capacity is limited to 7 rounds. That effectively made 75% of the pistols in the state illegal overnight. The guys with compact, single-stack .45 APCs are probably the only ones who weren’t affected.

  • SD3 April 24, 2013, 7:09 am

    “…the M&P can be had with…a magazine safety that keeps the gun from firing without a magazine inserted.”

    No thank you, sir. That violates one of the core tenets of prepperdom.

    • The Road Warrior April 24, 2013, 7:20 am

      SD3: absolutely! However, some states (MA, NJ)mandate that particular safety on new guns. You’ll notice mine says “CAUTION: CAPABLE OF FIRING WITH MAGAZINE REMOVED” on the slide.

  • Brad in South FL April 24, 2013, 8:43 am

    As I am in LE, my agency is still behind lingering in the 1990’s and we are only authorized to carry a 9mm. I am not in uniform and carry a Glock 19 everyday and my back up gun in a Glock 26. I carry my 26 off duty with a 15 round magazine and an extra 17 round mag on my hip!

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. April 24, 2013, 8:59 am

    I do not have a CHL so concealed carry experience is zero. I like compact guns though, and have carried a Star PD .45acp for over 30 years now. Bianchi Speed .45 holster – as compact a setup in a major caliber gun.

    I guess I qualify as ‘old phart’ and my gun purchasing days are pretty much over (unless I see something I REALLY want :^), the newer firearms I have no experience with. Glad to read some reviews of the newer guns.

    • sput April 24, 2013, 5:19 pm

      Love my Star PD! My go to for concealed .45. I do have an XD.45 & a reg 1911. and a couple of older S&W double stack 9’s, and …..

  • irishdutchuncle April 24, 2013, 9:13 am

    whenever I talk with my state representative, I always tell him I’d like to have “Vermont Carry” here in PA. no luck so far.
    I had a carry permit, which I have allowed to lapse. at renewal time they wanted the names of two additional “references”…
    I don’t have very many friends, and none that I wish to have added to another government database. so much for “shall not be infringed”.

    • Cory April 24, 2013, 11:59 am

      Hey Irish, if its character witness that you need I would be glad to tell them what a character you are! Lol.

      • irishdutchuncle April 24, 2013, 1:52 pm

        hey, thanks Cory!

  • Sgt. Survivor April 24, 2013, 9:42 am

    Glock 17 in an Old Faithful Holster.

  • Ray April 24, 2013, 10:02 am

    Never wanted a plastic gun, and don’t have a CC permit.(I really don’t need one in Ky. as we have a true “open carry law”) I never really had much use for “Hi Cap” mags, I always figgerd that if I didn’t hit the SOB with the first shot the rest were of little use. Back in the 70s I knew a cop who got shot 11 times in the legs with a 9MM.(He walked into the ER- one tough SOB) It didn’t hit bone and he was walking around the next week.- The smallest handgun round I carry is a .357 mag . If I need a CQB weapon I’ll take a 12ga. pump every time. Self defence shoots happen ,on average, at ranges under 10 feet. At that range the shot from an 19 inch- 12 bore is a solid object, and I know for a fact that it is a “one shot stop”. I guess I’m getting old , I think that “Hi cap” pistols are over priced and under powered & have little use for the “Spray and pray” that has taken over most shooting.

    • Selkirk April 24, 2013, 10:43 am

      That’s why you don’t shoot deer in the leg.

      • Ray April 25, 2013, 5:36 am

        You young guys that use semi-autos a lot. What do Y’all think of the .357 Sig?

  • HDinOR April 24, 2013, 11:41 am

    Glock 23 for every day, M&P45 when ever I take a road trip.
    The Glock is easier to cover up but you have to like the power of a 45.

  • Cory April 24, 2013, 11:58 am

    I was excited to see your post as this is the gun that I took my ccw class with and never leave home without. Still looking for an iwb holster that I like. I have never had her jam (knock on wood) and have’nt found a gun with a better trigger. Thinking of getting the wife one to replace her .380.

  • Shawn April 24, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Me and my wife both carry Springfield Armory XDS. Mine is two-tone stainless and black. Hers is black on black. We are both small framed and we love the single stack 45. Small enough to go in a pocket of shorts or on our hip with right shirt/jacket. Have both 5rd and 7 rd clips. All of out handguns are 45acp to simplify ammo buying. “I carry a 45 cause they dont make a 46!” Very accurate gun with decent ammo (it hates tula steel cased). Kick is not unwieldy. Highly recommended. Also the 9mm version of the XDS should be out soon and a 40cal version eventually.

  • John Brown April 25, 2013, 1:09 am

    > What’s in your holster?

    Ruger P944 (.40 cal. with 10 rounds weighs 39 oz) – 1-2 extra mag
    Ruger Mark 1 barrel 4 7/8″? (.22lr with 10 rounds weighs 36 oz) 2 extra mags on belt
    Walther SP22 M1 4″ (.22lr with 10 rounds weighs 26 oz) pocket carry with extra magazine

    On and off a Beretta 21a .22lr with a few extra magazines as a BUG. Very rarely as the only gun.

    I have other guns, but, I tend towards the .40 for concealed use. If I was a few inches taller and 30# heavier I would find a way to carry a Ruger Blackhawk .44 magnum concealed. It just prints too much with the long barrel, it was my favorite handgun, especially with light .44 round with 180gr.

  • Marc April 26, 2013, 10:40 pm

    Smith Wesson airlite pd in an ankle holster don’t even know you have it. Gotta be the lightest revolver ever.

  • MI Patriot December 17, 2015, 9:39 pm

    I have a S&W M&P in 40 cal. It was my first pistol. I now have my CCW and am going to get its “little brother.” My big one has some kick to it, but I still enjoy shooting it. I’ve put close to 2,000 rounds through it and it performs like a champ. It came with 2 magazines and 2 extra back straps.

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