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Anyone have a S&W M&P .45 compact?

Discussion in 'Smith & Wesson Club' started by gordonfactor, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Hello. Does anyone on here have a M&P .45 compact? any thoughts or feedback? I'm considering getting one if and when the local regime decides it's not a Weapon of "Mass" Destruction (pun intended) :upeyes:. I intend to make it my primary carry piece in place of my Ye Olde Glock 19. Rather have 9 rounds of .45 than 11 rounds of 9mm (not that there's anything wrong with that). So any thoughts? Thanks eveyone.
  2. Had was a good gun, worked, liked it, sold it to fund another project.

  3. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Not yet. It's on my list of guns I'd like to add sometime, though.

    I have an early production ('08) M&P 45 full-size w/thumb safeties. I only ordered the thumb safety model to see what it was like, since I'm a long time 1911 shooter.

    I've handled and done some range work with a M&P 45 compact belonging to another instructor. It's a 2010 production model, and it seemed like a pretty nice alternative to the large framed models using either the 4 1/2" or 4" slides/barrels.

    While I really don't need a 10th .45 pistol, and I already have some smaller models which are handy enough for my needs (CS45, Colt OM & a 4513TSW), I like the M&P chambered in .45 ACP. I also think the 45c is just enough smaller that it would get pulled for my retirement CCW needs more often than the full-size model.

    Still on the fence about whether to get the standard config or thumb safety model in the compact. (My 40c is standard config.) Unless I order one again, I might just pick out something from whatever the S&W LE distributor has in-stock next time I call and decide to drive over. I'd like night sights, though. I like that I could use my existing 10-rd mags for spare use with the compact, too.
  4. @fastbolt, what do you think of the CS45? I just put a deposit on one today for my dad as a birthday present. Stainless, 2 mags and original box for $399. Not a lot on info out there on what seems to be a "under the radar" choice in a small .45. It will be the little brother to my 4506.

  5. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    The CS45 was often considered a real sleeper among many .45 shooters. It was a pretty popular choice among LE for an off-duty weapon.

    I have one I picked up when they added the stainless model to the line (the first ones had a carbon steel slide and black finish).

    The earlier models of both finishes also had a single side safety/decocker and plastic sights which was later changed to an ambi safety and the steel Novak Low Mount sights. They changed the plastic plunger in the guide rod assembly from plastic to steel, as well.

    The CS45 6-rd magazines are different than other 3rd gen .45 magazines in that the body incorporates a secondary set of indentations at the rear of the regular pressed lip indentations. This was done to help keep the top round from being displaced under the increased recoil of the little .45 ACP gun. It also makes loading (and unloading) the CS45 mags a bit more difficult because of the increased resistance created by the second set of indentations. (The 6-rd 4513TSW mags lack this extra set of indentations, BTW, since the added weight of the slide and the dual/non-captured recoil springs soften the recoil forces acting on the top round under the lips). The same mag springs and followers are used through the 6, 7 & 8-rd 3rd gen .45 mags.

    As is fairly typical with most of the really small .45 pistols you see in use, the shooter's grip is important to proper functioning & feeding timing, meaning a locked wrist and reasonably firm grip. The shorter & lighter .45's are often considered a bit less 'forgiving' of shooter and ammunition influences.

    I've lost track of the rounds I've fired through my own CS45 over the years, but I've replaced my recoil spring many times. In armorer classes we've been told to use the standard 3rd gen recoil & mag spring replacement schedule of either every 5,000 rounds fired or every 5 years of use (leaving the mags loaded), but since the single spring is so short and the recoil is a bit stiff I've generally preferred to replace the spring anywhere from every 800 - 1,200 rounds, or annually, if I'm doing a lot of shooting throughout the year. I tend to err on the conservative side of things when it comes to smaller guns and preventive maintenance. ;) The CS45 recoil springs are painted dark green and are available from the factory.

    I've used a fair assortment of various 230gr duty-type JHP's over the years with good success and reliability (which I could say about the other 3rd gen .45's, as well). These images are from some gel testing done using my CS45 and the standard and +P pressure T-series loads, fired into a gel block covered with 4 layers of denim.

    As much as I like my CS45, however, I like my CS9 even better. It fits my hand somewhat better than the CS45 and the controllability of the CS9 is almost as good (in my opinion) as my 3913, even using the assortment of standard pressure, +P and +P duty loads I've used over the years. The CS45 with its slightly heavier slide and 3.25" barrel is just a bit larger than the 3" barreled CS9.

    These images show the CS9 & CS45 alongside each other.

    Congrats on finding one, and for what seems to be a decent price. I remember them originally selling for as low as $370 (w/2 mags, on sale), but the pricing climbed significantly up until the time they were finally dropped from commercial production.

    I've posted info about the CS series from time to time on GT (and the S&W forum), if you search using my forum name.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  6. G33

    G33 Frisky! Millennium Member CLM

    May 29, 1999
    With G29
    Thanks for the post, FB.
  7. Wow, thanks for the response! Gonna show my non-computer literate dad the info. Sounds like I made a good choice for a birthday gift gun.
  8. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    You're welcome gordonfactor. Aside from stiff loading (and a sore thumb) and having to keep a locked wrist, the little .45 is pretty fun to shoot. Mine's always been an accurate little gun.

    Back when I was experimenting with some different ammunition, using some lighter bullet weights and +P loads in mine, I decided the +P added more felt recoil than I felt was beneficial in the lightweight gun. I settled on the 230gr loads because I usually preferred the heavier .45 loads, and they offered me a good balance of felt recoil & controllability. The thick & somewhat chunky Hogue grips were designed as standard grip panels for the CS series, and they do help absorb and mitigate the felt recoil. As odd as they might feel in the hand, just standing and holding the gun, once live-fire starts they feel fine and help with recoil management.

    There's some folks who have found a way to modify some of the factory Delrin .45 grips for a larger model 3rd gen .45 so they can be used on the CS45. I've considered such a project occasionally, because I have some extra original 4513TSW grips in a box of spare grips, but I've just never gotten around to wanting to fool with it, myself. The reason? I can notice a difference in felt recoil & controllability between shooting some 4513TSW's with stock Delrin & Hogue rubber grips. Ditto when shooting 3913's with stock grips and Hogues. The guns with the stock grips exhibit more felt recoil and let the guns shift a bit in my hands during recoil, and that's with dry hands. It happens to a more noticeable degree when my hands are sweaty or wet from rain. Just something for each individual to consider for themselves. It's one thing to shoot the harder kicking little guns while standing relaxed and comfortable on a firing line, taking your time, engaged in slow-fire. It's another to run the guns through a demanding course-of-fire involving movement, engaging threat targets with rapid shot strings and possibly having to use your non-dominant hand to shoot the little guns.

    The only time I've heard of a dissatisfied owner of a CS45 was "second hand". Someone from a small bureau outside our agency brought his CS45 to our range training unit, claiming he was having feeding problems with it.

    Due to the age of the gun I replaced the recoil spring, just as a precautionary bit of maintenance. The gun & mags looked to be in good general condition. I couldn't get the gun to experience a stoppage when I was shooting it, so I asked a couple of our instructors to try it. It ran fine for them, as well.

    Then I asked each of them to allow their grips to relax just a bit and to let their wrists "break" during the critical moment of recoil. When they did that they could each get the gun to experience a feeding stoppage, but when they resumed their normal grip technique the gun ran fine. (We were using some of the Winchester USA45JHP, BTW, or "White Box" as it's sometimes called by some folks).

    I felt the gun was just reacting to a shooter influence in the way of a grip stability/technique problem and returned the gun to the owner, asking the instructor returning it to him to discuss the importance of good grip technique when shooting diminutive .45's with the owner.

    Hey G33, how ya doin'? ;)
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  9. up1911fan


    Mar 12, 2009
    Upper Michigan
    There's an M&P45c with NS and thumb safety in the backroom of my local gunshop with my name on it. Just gotta finish paying it off.
  10. S. Kelly

    S. Kelly

    Jan 31, 2000
    Boston MA
    Let's hope the M&P45c gets approved soon in MA.
  11. thekidc


    Aug 22, 2007
    I have one and I can tell you it's definitely worth it. you get a .45 that's the size of a Glock 19. Very accurate gun. Put it head to head with a Glock 30 SF and the m&p .45 was much more accurate than the Glock in my hands. The one down side to an m&p .45 is the trigger. They are horrible out of the box. Bowie Tactical does an awesome job on the trigger. All my m&ps go to Bowie for trigger work. I also have the full size m&p .45. Sweet shooter too...after the trigger job.
  12. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    The triggers are a much discussed subject.

    Personally, I tend to think that some folks may focus too much on the trigger when they could be focusing on their trigger technique & skill.

    The stock Glock trigger isn't anything special to write home about, after all. ;) Spongy, not exactly light (@ 5-6+lbs) and with the unique downward sloping trigger that can cause some folks to drag their fingers along the bottom of the trigger guard (instead of up inside the curve of the triggers found on many other pistols).

    The M&P trigger helps keep a shooter's finger up off the bottom of the trigger guard. Yes, it can be on the heavy end of things, since the original factory specs called for a plus/minus of 2 pounds in the acceptable trigger weight (with the .45's having approx a 7lb stock trigger).

    Mine came in at the heavy end of the +/- range, 8 1/2 - 9lbs, but smoothed out and lightened up after a couple of thousand rounds. It was running 5 1/2 - 6lbs when I checked it on a digital gauge at that time. The "break" was predictable and crisp even when it was heavy, though, so some excellent practical accuracy was possible even when it was brand new, heavy and a bit rough.

    Of course, once I replaced the original sear housing block with the new current revision block (which has a larger sear plunger & heavier sear plunger spring), the trigger pull weight was bumped back up to 7 1/2 - 8lbs. Still smooth and with a clean, predictable break, but heavier. I imagine it might lighten a bit with more use. I don't care for my carry/CCW guns to have "target" triggers, though (I like my 1911's to come in at about 5-6+lbs nowadays), so it's fine for my needs.

    I don't get involved in the "sear reset" discussions all that much, since I'm not a competitive shooter only working a trigger for sporting purpose, but rather a defensive shooter. I don't "shoot to trigger reset", but shoot to "trigger recovery". I don't need to add the potential for a startle response, yip, twitch, finger/hand confusion or "rocked under recoil" problem which might trigger off an unintended round under the stress of an actual deadly force situation.

    I've seen any number of folks fire an unintended round during a course of fire when they were trying to keep their finger on the trigger after firing an intentional round, holding the trigger "prepped" for an anticipated "next" shot. Not good if it were to happen for real. :shocked: That's another subject, though ...

    The "feel" is pretty subjective, though. I recently found when shooting my G27 and M&P 40c during the same range session that the 40c's trigger felt lighter and smoother. Almost too much lighter than my G27, since the shots were "breaking" faster and seemingly sooner after I transitioned to the 40c from the G27.

    Now, the 40c had also received a new revised sear block with the heavier plunger spring, so the trigger was heavier than it had been previously (just because I had the parts as an armorer and was curious to see the difference, not because it was needed or that I was having any problems with the original block). What's weird is that when I checked the 40's new trigger pull weight with the digital gauge, it was running 7 -7 1/2lbs, heavier than the typical Glock trigger ... but it felt lighter and smoother. Go figure. It's also stock, BTW. No aftermarket parts or "trigger jobs".

    One of our guys picked up a couple of M&P 9's after having picked up a M&P 45 Mid-Size. A standard & a compact 9. One of the 9's benefited (in his estimation) from adding some aftermarket parts. He was quite surprised when the other 9 not only turned out to have a great trigger right out-of-the-box, but the trigger didn't feel much different (in his estimation, again) after he added the aftermarket parts.

    Triggers are subjective, and may also "feel" different to someone of difference training, experience and skillset (meaning trigger control).

    Just some thoughts.

    I've also noticed that the several newer production M&P's I've handled and tried out have seemed to have had some "better" triggers than my earlier production models, but then the company is always making revisions and subtle improvements. ;)
  13. thekidc


    Aug 22, 2007
    Fastbolt, you make some interesting points. I can tell you that ALL M&P 45 triggers I have felt are horrible. I work in a gun store and have dry fired many of them. The triggers on the 9's and 40's are much better out of the box. A good trigger job is not necessarily about lightening the trigger pull but about smoothing it out. In the M&P's case it's about removing take up, overtravel, and making a positive reset. Alot of self defense shooters use the reset. It's not just for competition. Bowie's trigger job sets the trigger pull between 4.5 and 5lbs. That's consistent with alot of 1911 trigger pulls. Most of the guys I work with are Glock fanatics and they all agree M&P .45 triggers are bad and all like the trigger jobs I have on my M&Ps. None of them are competition shooters.
  14. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    I've noticed that as the M&P trigger is cycled it starts to smooth out. Some of the steel action surfaces rubbing together apparently works the parts in as well as it does in revolvers.

    Also, some combinations of parts apparently provide for a smoother & lighter trigger press (less resistance among some surfaces) in some pistols than others. (Which explains why the factory specifications allow for a +/- of 2 lbs in the standard trigger pull weight range.)

    "A lot of defensive shooters" may use a trigger/sear reset point, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily going to serve them well once they're off the static target range, or not shooting in some defensive pistol course-of-fire (a class, IDPA, etc) where they know ahead of time how many rounds they're going to fire, and under what conditions ... and the "threat targets" aren't shooting back at them.

    It's a different thing to intentionally & effectively use the "reset" (versus complete trigger recovery) for intentionally fast follow-up shots, deliberately fired as fast as the trigger can be functioned ... versus doing it as a habit, or a "standard technique" between shots, trying to hold the trigger "prepped" at the "reset point".

    Unexpected occurrences such as a loud noise, touch or flash of light may trigger a startle response resulting in a clenching of the fist, or an involuntary muscle contraction might occur, a moment of hand/finger confusion, a tremor (yip), suddenly losing your balance or twisting an ankle, etc can happen to any of us, at any time.

    Folks have experienced unintentional discharges of firearms even when heavy triggers which require long movement have been involved - such as DA revolvers, TDA pistols (in the DA mode) and even DAO-type pistols. Not too hard to imagine how holding a trigger which is "prepped" at the "reset point", with a partially contracted finger, might allow for an unintentional shot to occur even easier.

    Imagine trying to explain in any legal proceeding, whether for a criminal or civil matter ... (in the aftermath where an unintentional shot was fired, hitting an unintended person, causing them serious bodily injury or death) ... how you deliberately had kept your finger on the trigger after a deliberate shot, but before you'd decided to fire another shot, holding the trigger at the reset point in case another shot was required. Then imagine any number of "firearms experts" being brought in to explain the commonly taught basic safety rules, which includes some variation of not having a finger on the trigger until you intend to fire a deliberate shot, and why your situation was some sort of exception.

    I use the trigger/sear reset as an occasional teaching technique to help explain trigger function, trigger press & recovery, cycle of operation, etc to folks with whom I'm working. I don't teach it as a routine "defensive trigger technique", and I explain why not. I also explain how mental and physical stresses ... and worse, the physiological responses that can occur during the hormonal fear response (meaning not just after strenuous physical exertion) ... may adversely affect their ability to control their fine motor skill functions.

    But hey, some folks like to drive with their left foot riding their brake pedal, too, or like to keep their right foot resting on the gas pedal while stopped. Ever know of anyone who drove using the "lazy 2 pedal technique" :upeyes: and who experienced giving their car or truck gas when they shouldn't, having it surge forward when it should be stopped (or experienced it yourself)? It's a problem when it becomes a problem, such as when the car or trucks goes when it shouldn't, and someone is hurt or killed.

    Having a finger on the trigger before you actually intend to fire (an initial or a subsequent shot) has created problems for folks. It will again. Things can happen which are unplanned and unexpected. Best not to make it easier for such things to cause us problems, I'd think.

    These are some of the reasons why having a "positive reset" isn't something of great concern to me. Besides, I spent enough years working with DA (and then DAO) revolvers, having to allow complete trigger recovery, for it to be a sudden concern for me. ;)

    Now, I'm not anybody's expert. (When I was working I avoided letting them have me accepted as an "expert" in court cases involving the use of force and firearms, and I have even less interest in seeking it for extra income in retirement. :tongueout: There are plenty of other guys & gals who are qualified, and eager, to do that sort of thing. )

    Just my thoughts, and admittedly somewhat off the topic. Sorry.

    Oh yeah, "take up", "over travel"? More topics I hear more target/competition shooters talk about than firearms instructors who deal with training private persons & LE/Gov folks for defensive purpose, especially when all manner of pistols and revolvers are being brought through classes & ranges nowadays. Nice if you can get such things built into the basic design, and it doesn't create any potential for functioning problems, but not something I look to re-engineer the gun tin order to obtain for a service-type handgun dedicated to a defensive role.

    That's what's nice about being able to have a personal opinion, though, isn't it? :)

    Best regards. :wavey:
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  15. mist


    Aug 15, 2010
    I have a 45C without the magazine disconnect or external safety. It compliments my 9C and 40C nicely. My 40C trigger was fine right out of the box. The trigger on the 9C and 45C were garbage. Installation of the Apex Tactical hard sear and ultimate striker block fixed both of them. The 40C is my favorite, but I like the 45C so much that the Glock 36 is now history.
  16. Thanks for all the replies. I'm glad I could start a good thread rather my usual outcome of just starting trouble.
  17. Sbh87

    Sbh87 Handgunner

    Hey gordonfactor, I just checked the "almighty list" of guns the Commonwealth gives us permission to own and the 45c is on there so good news there. It's from the most recent list from 10-2011 so that's also good news. The whole M&P line are great I hope you enjoy it when you get it. What dealer out your way do you go to? I hear Four Seasons in Woburn is good and I want to make the trip out there just to look.
  18. yes the M&P 45c is on THE LIST but not ok. Effing insane. Imagine the same standard applied to cars or cell phones? anyway, it makes me upset with S&W because that gun came out in 2008 and it still isn't available. the new Rugers are ok, every variant of the new SIG P238 is ok, even the S&W Governator shotgun stupid thingy that they will sell like 12 of is ok. Only logical conclusion is that S&W just don't care to make MA sales a priority. I like to support the "home team" but they are giving us the bird. I plan to buy a Sig P250 in 45 next month. S&W had had their chance. I've called, tweeted, emailed and even offered to buy show model at the Shooting Center store in person. oh well. F em....:steamed:

    Ps, Four Seasons is my go-to FFL. great selection, prices and the Carl the owner is always the 1st guy to say hi unlike some other co*k-faces that run gun shops around here.
  19. MadMonkey

    MadMonkey Spershul Furces

    Aug 18, 2010
    I had an M&P40 but I got rid of it. Today, actually.

    Swapped it for an M&P9 :tongueout: Great guns.

    HAIL CAESAR Senior Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    In my shop
    I have a 45c. It has turned out to be one of my favorite guns. After the Apex kit, Thumb safety stiffening, and NS it is a really great gun. I find that the size of the 45c is perfect.