Smith and Wesson has encountered a great deal of success with their M&P line of pistols. These polymer pistols have taken the shooting world by storm, and 2008 looks like another good year for M&P sales.
Polymer duty pistols were once the exclusive domain of Glock, but no more. “To date, 276 domestic law enforcement agencies have purchased, approved for purchase, or approved for on-duty carry” the Smith and Wesson M&P line of pistols said Leland Nichols, president of Smith and Wesson Corporation.
The latest agency to place an order for M&P40 pistols is the Colorado Springs Police Department. The CSPD order of 500 M&P40 pistols is separate from the order of 850 M&P pistols made by the Colorado State Police earlier in the week.
Other departments ordering the M&P are Atlanta PD (1900 M&P40 pistols), Charlotte PD (1650 M&P40 pistols), and Syracuse PD (500 M&P45). The Iowa State Patrol issue the M&P40, while the New Hampshire State Police issue the M&P45, and the New Mexico State Police issue the M&P357 pistols.
I personally own a full size M&P 9 pistol and I really like shooting it. It is fairly soft shooting and it is accurate with a wide range of 9mm loads. Mine seems to like the 147 grain bullets best, though 115 and 124 grain bullets turn in respectable results as well.
I think I like the fact that the gun, overall, feels like a very refined Glock pistol the best. Mags slip in and out lightening fast, the Melonite finish looks and feels better than the Tennifer, and the interchangeable backstraps are a real stroke of genius. Maybe Glock will get there someday…just not today.
The M&P pistols can be had with thumb safeties. Also the guns can be had with magazine disconnect safeties, or without them. It all depends on your individual preference.
Update – November 2008
Most recently, Smith and Wesson announced M&P15 (the S&W AR-15) sales to the Chicago Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol. 275 M&P15 rifles were shipped to CPD and another 90 went out to MSP.
Smith also announced they shipped 7500 M&P9 pistols to the US military for distribution to the Iraqi military and security forces. According to Leland Nichols, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation:
We are extremely pleased that the M&P9 pistol was selected for use by the Iraqi government for its military and police forces. Today’s announcement reflects the first order we have received for shipment of the M&P9 into Iraq.
Nichols also said:
In addition to the M&P9s currently used in Iraq, Smith & Wesson firearms have also been used in active duty for the last two years with several security forces in Afghanistan including the Afghanistan National Army and Border Patrol as well as the Afghanistan National Police. To date, [more than] 80,000 Smith & Wesson firearms are currently being used in these two countries.
One wonders if this exposure to the M&P will influence the military’s future decisions regarding the replacement of the M9 pistol.
Update – December 2008
Smith and Wesson announced that they are shipping 1155 M&P duty pistols to three state law enforcement agencies. All three agencies were not issuing Smith and Wesson guns prior to this, but now all three issue the M&P as the primary duty gun.
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice Services – 555 M&P in .357 Sig
- Washington Department of Corrections – 500 M&P in 9mm
- Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations – 100 M&P in .45 ACP
While the Glock is still king, S&W is definitely fighting for police agencies, trying to regain the dominance it once had.
Update – Tampa PD to Switch to M&P from Glock
Though it has not yet been announced, it appears Tampa Police Department may be the latest law enforcement agency to move to the Smith and Wesson M&P pistol. An insider to the deal said the contract is for “about 1,000 pistols.”
The police handgun market is, and probably always will be, a hot battleground for firearms manufacturers. Sales of dozens or hundreds of firearms to an agency is always good for the bottom line. Perhaps even more important to the manufacturer, citizens will frequently purchase the firearms they see their police officers carrying.
The strong presence of Glock in the United States stems, in part, because of the agencies that began carrying the guns. As people began seeing more cops carrying the Glock, it legitimized that firearm in their minds. Recognizing that strong power, Glock actively courted departments, offering very favorable deals to agencies. Glock has reaped the rewards of those investments, becoming one of the most popular handguns for self-defense in the United States today.
Now, however, an old player in the police market is making a huge push to reclaim their former dominant position. In recent years, Smith and Wesson has been marketing their M&P line of pistols to law enforcement agencies around the world. S&W has experienced a great deal of success, managing to maintain older contracts and, more importantly, bring in new agencies that have been issuing firearms from other manufacturers.
Tampa PD did not return phone calls, and a representative of Smith and Wesson declined to comment at this time about any possible deals.
The Tampa deal would not be the largest agency S&W has swayed to the M&P, rather they would be just another in a line of agencies that have adopted their sidearms. Detroit PD, Milwaukee PD and Atlanta PD are just a few of the agencies that have adopted the M&P as the official sidearm of their agency.
Glock is still in the driver’s seat, but it would appear Smith and Wesson is going to give them a run for their money.
Tampa PD Update 1
Not ten minutes after I posted this article, I had a reader e-mail me the minutes from the Tampa PBA meeting on Jan 21, 2009. The switch to the M&P 40 was discussed in the open meeting with projected delivery dates of the new pistols in 2009. So, it would appear Tampa is getting a new pistol and new caliber, as they formerly carried the 9mm.
Tampa PD Update 2
It looks like this purchase is definite, but delayed. Speaking to one of the Tampa PD firearms instructors, I found out that budget cuts have pushed the purchase of the new pistols back to “around January” of 2010. The instructor also told me that the department has already taken delivery of the new holsters for the M&P, and have sent their armorers to the S&W armorer school.
So, it would seem that the deal is almost certain at this point, just the timing has been thrown off due to the city’s budget woes.
The move by Tampa to the M&P 40 is away from the 9mm series of Glock pistols.
Click here to read the new review of the Smith & Wesson M&P series of pistols, but from the perspective of their usefulness in law enforcement service. Video, words, pictures and all of the normal gun goodness.