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Glock 21 Gen 4 v S&W M&P .45.

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by MTS532, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. I've been looking for a M&P .45 to go along with my Gen 4 G-21. I found one yesterday at Gander Mountain.


    Keep in mind I am already issued a S&W M&P .40, so I was already familiar with the gun. At my department, we qualify 4 times per year. My impressions are that the M&P is a reliable, simple, durable design much like the Glock itself.

    But the .45 M&P was the first I could call my own. I usually stick to Glocks, but thought I'd 'broaden my horizons' a bit. I took it to the range and put about 150 rounds through it. No rules, no range staff, just me with the gun.


    Naturally, there were no problems of any kind. The gun was as reliable as my issued .40. But here are a few more impressions:

    My new Smith and Wesson M&P .45 compared to my .45 caliber Glock 21 Gen. 4.

    Both are box-stock, with no modifications of any kind. After about 150 trouble-free rounds, I did feel more recoil with the M&P than I do with the Glock. The trigger had much more take-up and felt more 'gritty' than on the Glock. There was more muzzle flip with the M&P as well and it took just a tad longer to get the sights back on target. I think the recoil and muzzle flip can be attributed to the curved backstrap of the Smith.


    Recoil seems to be channeled into a smaller part of the palm, right at the apex of this curve. The straight(er) Glock backstrap and the grip angle helps to distribute recoil to a larger part of the grip, giving the sensation of a softer recoil. Both are good guns, however, each with strengths and weaknesses. The good thing is that if you have a Blackhawk! CQC holster for the G-21, it will also fit the full sized .45 M&P.


    Based upon my own experience and shooting impressions with both platforms, the Glock is still a better weapon. Recoil is softer, and more linear with the bones of the arm, shot-to-shot recovery is faster and the Glock trigger feels more positive and breaks much better. All in all, the Glock feels more "solid" and I have more confidence with it.

    Until I carry and shoot the M&P as well as the Glock, I'd have to say that the Glock wins this comparison hands down.

  2. I totally agree with you. I think the Gen 4 21 is the best Gen 4 thus far, ok maybe the second best. I just picked up a Gen 4 30 and it was even more accurate the the Gen 4 21

  3. washabra


    Apr 1, 2010
    I love my Glock 21 Gen4. It's always at my bed side.
  4. The M&P 45 is a fantastic gun and it has several good features. I have a few thousand rounds down mine and it is one of my favorites. Having said that, I haven't found a gun that I like better than my G21. Mine has been a flawless workhorse since Day 1... The only gun that comes close is my G30!
  5. hsprincipal


    Nov 19, 2011
    My gen4 21 is my favorite of the six Glocks I own.
  6. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Congrats. Nice pair of .45's to own. ;)

    I ran a Gen3 G21SF belonging to another instructor through some range sessions. Decent. The owner borrowed my M&P 45 FS a couple of times and then went out and bought his own M&P 45. (Yes, he's typically a Glock shooter. ;) )

    Another instructor who is normally a 1911 guy (staff from a nationally recognized training facility) has an older G21 he also likes for a "plastic" pistol, but went out and bought his own M&P 45c after spending some time with a couple of M&P's belonging to other instructors.

    The M&P 45 is my personal favorite among the M&P pistol line. Much like I tend to prefer Glocks chambered in 9mm, I tend to prefer the M&P chambered in .45 ACP (and I own both guns in other calibers).

    Interestingly enough, I prefer the curved trigger of the M&P to the downward sloping style of the Glock, as it gets my finger up off the bottom of the trigger guard and feels more like a revolver (but I'm a long time revolver shooter).

    The original trigger pull of the M&P series has been receiving some attention from S&W. While the new parts being used in the newer 9/.40's won't be available in the .45 until sometime within the next year, S&W has been listening to its non-LE customer base and has been making some subtle revisions across the M&P line.

    Both the Glock 21 (especially in SF/Gen4 format, with the slightly shorter reach) and the M&P 45 ought to make fine weapons.
  7. blastfact


    Aug 15, 2011
    I don't have a G21. But I do have a G20 Gen3. Same frame, slide and over all size as the 21.

    The G20 has a LW 5.15" barrel and LW connector and some detail polishing.

    The M&P .45 Has it OEM barrel with some detail work and a trigger job I put on it with the stock parts.

    Both are very accurate. The trigger on the M&P does have more take up. But the grit is gone and it resets very quick. Glock triggers stock or modded don't break. They have mush and a bump. M&P hands down.

    Over all comfort and ability to bring the pistol the bear? M&P,, It's just much easier to handle. I did cut the beaver tail off the M&P. The G21/20 has a higher round count than the M&P .45. But the extended mag option fixes that with the M&P .45. And also gives the pistol a very neutral balance in the hand.

    The M&P's have far better sights than the Glock's in base offerings hand's down.

    Recoil Recoil,,,,, You would thing the G20 would be a monster. It's not. Very soft shooting compared to the M&P .45. The M&P's have a embedded SS subframe. And as a whole seem to run stronger recoil springs across the board. The embedded subframe is where the snapper recoil comes from. M&P frames just don't flex and absorb energy like a Glock frame.

    But if I take the slides off both pistols. I could break the Glock frame in two with my bare hands. There is no way I could break the M&P frame, much less crack it with my bare hands. And that is why the M&P .45 had more felt recoil.

    I personally prefer the M&P way of doing things. That's why I have a M&P 9mm and .45. And my loan Glock is the KING of Glocks! The mighty G20!

    Would I buy a G21? You bet as long as the price is right, NIB and ready to rock!
  8. DFin


    Mar 22, 2008
    The M&P looks better to me but my G-21's have 13 round mags.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  9. Iceman cHucK

    Iceman cHucK

    Jun 23, 2008
    WA state
    I like my G21gen4 at 13+1 capacity, flawless so far with over a dozen types of ammo, mostly +P.
    Don't like the fish gill look of the M&P. The "low" mag capacity is a show stopper for me along with the single action trigger.
  10. After shooting a friend's Gen3 21 (NOT SF), I fell in love all over again. I will be purchasing a 21 after the holidays, I just sold my full size M&P 45. Good reliable weapon, good ergos. Trigger sucks and it loses 3 rounds to the Glock.

    I'll keep my M&P 40s but the 45s triggers are terrible. Btw, the 21 is a straight up soft shooting tack driver!
  11. After shooting a friend's Gen3 21 (NOT SF), I fell in love all over again. I will be purchasing a 21 after the holidays, I just sold my full size M&P 45. Good reliable weapon, good ergos. Trigger sucks and it loses 3 rounds to the Glock.

    I'll keep my M&P 40s but the 45s triggers are terrible. Btw, the 21 is a straight up soft shooting tack driver!
  12. M&P feels better too, but the Glock shoots better.
  13. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    I prefer the ergos of the M&P.
  14. "Cold Dead Hands" !

    "Cold Dead Hands" !

    Feb 19, 2009
    S&W M&P 45 frame, is the same size as the 9mm M&P frame.
    That's excellent for a full size, double stack 45.
    Enabling you to comfortably carry a full size .45.
    Most 1911 guys, or guys with big hands, prefer this to other polymer .45's.
    As they wouldn't consider a Glock 30, 21, or 36.
    Not me, just them.

    I'd rather carry the Glock options.
  15. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    One of the observations I made when trying the different backstrap/palmswell inserts for my M&P 45 was that the smallest insert made the gun feel rather like a 1911 with a flat MSH.

    Later, as other instructors were picking up their own M&P 45's (an assortment of 1911, Glock & TDA shooters), I started hearing the same observation.

    Handy for a 1911 user. ;)

    No, the M&P's thumb safety doesn't sit and feel the same as that on a 1911, but then I stopped using a dedicated high thumb hold years ago. I have to use and deal with too many different types of handguns (pistols & revolvesr), as both an instructor and an owner, so I had to evolve my grip technique to adapt to a variety of handguns.
  16. mrsurfboard

    mrsurfboard The Anti-Glock

    May 23, 2010
    Low mag capacity? It has 3 less rounds then the G21, how is that low capacity?
  17. MP9


    Oct 29, 2010
    Nice review..

    do you have a picture of both, side by side showing the front?so we can see the wider of each? I think the g21 is wider. I would like to buy a .45 in the future but not sure which one yet. the g21 seems big for my medium/small hands...
  18. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Glad you like your G21. Folks ought to like what they buy & use.

    Just out of curiosity, though, is your comment about the fish gill serrations because of personal preference regarding aesthetics, or application?

    Having grasped a fair number of pistol slides over the years, I found the oddly scalloped "fish gill" design to be surprisingly easy to grasp and very secure, especially in cold & wet conditions. They managed to achieve a decent balance of effectiveness and user comfort. No serration/slide bite along the bottom edge of the slide, either.

    I've seen my fair share of folks develop bloody, skinned knuckles while manipulating slides under demanding qual/training conditions over the years, due to the sharpness and design of various slide serrations, as well as sight bases. ;)

    As far as the 10-rd standard mag being "low capacity" in a .45 pistol? Kind of depends on your own standard of comparison, I suppose. Feel free.

    Having carried issued .45's with 7 & 8-rd mags, I tend to look at the added 2 rounds as being beneficial (and no longer exactly "lo-cap"). I happen to dislike the optional 14-rd mag for the M&P 45, myself, but that's because I consider it a bit unwieldy (especially tall in the mag carrier :wow: ), and don't use a golf club or base ball bat grip on my pistols.

    Personally, I'm fine with anything between 7-13 rounds as an acceptable mag capacity for a service/duty .45, or a personally-owned one, for that matter. Considering the nice balance achieved in grip length, girth and overall dimensions in the M&P 45 ... and how the grip inserts allow for both backstrap reach AND palmswell modification ... the standard 10-rd mag capacity seems an acceptable result.
  19. Z71bill


    Feb 19, 2007
  20. IllinoisGun


    Oct 12, 2011
    The Glock 21 is too large for me small-to-average size hands. (I've the hands of a pick pocket artist). So this particular pistol doesn't sit well in me hands. So instead I have the Glock 30SF and that gun is simply wonderful with nary a mere 3 rounds sacrificed in the bargain.

    The warning manual slogan inscribed on the slide of the S&W M&P would be the deal breaker for me even if all other variables remained equal. Which in my view they are not. The Glock is the superior handgun in my view nonetheless.