Smith and Wesson M&P Line Now Features Thumb Safeties

Smith and Wesson is now producing all of the M&P pistols with optional thumb safety.

The ambidextrous manual safety is now available on the full-sized and compact 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 Sig.  The manual safety was originally developed by S&W for the M&P 45, which was developed for the U.S. armed forces trials that never happened.  Now the safety has been carried over to the rest of the M&P line as an option.

All specs on the M&P pistols with the thumb safety remain the same as the pistols without the manual safety.  The thumb safeties are large and easy to manipulate.  They are designed to mimic the 1911-style safeties but are easier to operate.

While the 1911 was an amazing military gun for its time, if the military is serious about upgrading sidearms, they need to abandon the 1911 concept and go after what works.  Frankly, the most reliable handguns on the market today are the polymer-framed, striker-fired handguns that do not have a bunch of switches, safeties and doo-dads.  The Glock line of handguns and the M&P (sans safety) help prove that point.

I’m not suggesting the 1911 is not a fine firearm because it is.  I’ve got a Colt 1911A1 in my safe right now.  But it is in my safe.  The gun on my hip right now is a Glock 19.  Why?  Because the G19 is just more reliable.  And in a violent encounter, I’m not looking for style points, I want a pistol that will reliably put holes in the target and stop the threat.

MSRP runs $719 for the full-sized and compact pistols, with the exception of the .357 Sig models, which list at $727.

smith & wesson m&p thumb safety2009 SHOT Show Update

At the SHOT Show, I got to see the new guns.  I worked with several different M&P pistols and found the safeties worked very well.  I wasn’t sure I would like them, but they were easy to manipulate, clicked smartly into place, and did not interfere with my grip.  I don’t know that I would order an M&P with a thumb safety, but I certainly would consider it.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

9 replies on “Smith and Wesson M&P Line Now Features Thumb Safeties”

I spoke with a CS Rep for S&W today. I was told they cannot install a thumb safety on the older models. I am not too happy about it but I guess there is nothing you can do if you already purchased one.

Just bought mine about a week ago. Dealers don’t even mention anything about this safety switch. They stated m&p were meant to not have it. how much does it cost to have it installed.

I just purchased a non-thumb safety M&P 40 without knowing there was not a manual thumb safety. Wow, am I dissappointed. I contacted Smith & Wesson, they tried to tell me of all the safety devises on this gun. What a load of crap. The safetys work until the trigger is pulled. Ya think.. I don’t know about you but I want full control of the pistol. What if one was to pull this pistol from the holster and snagged the trigger on something. Nothing like a .40 cal hole in the ass cheek.

Smith told me that they could not alter the gun. Guess I’ll get rid of this hazard. Have not even fired it yet and don’t want to.

Over the past years when Ruger and Kimber had a safety issue they did a recall.


Just so we are clear, there is no mechanical issue with the M&P that does not have a thumb safety. So, there is no need for a recall. It was designed and works perfectly fine in that manner. The tumb safety is merely an additional device for anyone who might want one.

I’ve got an M&P 9 without the thumb safety and I am perfectly happy with it. In fact, none of my revolvers, Glocks or SIGs have a thumb safety either. Carried them for years without any problems whatsoever. I can definitely appreciate the desire for one, but your M&P is perfectly safe as is.

If you definitely want a thumb safety, see if your dealer will let you make a swap. If it was just purchased and never fired, I would think they would be willing to work with you on that.



Hey Richard,

Thanks for the feed back.

No mechanical issues. I may be over reacting and too use to the good old 1911’s. I probably will take it back to the dealer for a trade (if there is one there). I really like the way this gun feels and the .40 cal. I see that the new M&P 40 coming out more have the thumb safety.



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