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M&P 45C Overview and Range Report:

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by HKLovingIT, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles




    I ordered this pistol because, well, I just wanted another .45 and I like Smith and Wesson. Reason enough! I got it in the Flat Dark Earth to appease my mall ninja-ness and I just liked the look of it. I was tired of all my other black pistols sitting there all gloomy and brooding in the safe. I placed the order with my local guys for this back in September and it took until last week to come in. But, by the grace of Allah, I was blessed to receive this pistol in time to go shoot it last weekend.

    This particular variant of the pistol has a manual thumb safety. Opinions vary on this, but I like it. I have handled the M&P9C with thumb safety and did not like it so much on there. It made things just a little too cramped for my large size hand. On the M&P 45C it is just dandy. The safety is very positive and clicks on and off well. In fact, it seems to require slightly less force to click it off, but it does not seem so light that it would come off on it's own if protected by a thumb break holster, which I like and all you haters don't. Giggity.

    Anyway, the construction and machining is what you would expect and nothing disappoints about the build quality. It comes with three back strap options (S,M,L), a lock, spent shells, usual manuals, and one each, flat and extended base plate 8 round magazines.

    I found that the small back strap feels about the same as a regular M&P 9/40 using the medium, which I like. The grip circumference on the M&P 45C is a little bigger than a regular M&P 9/40. It feels really good in the hand.

    In one of the photos below I show it compared to a 1911 Commander (full size grip), a USP Compact .45 and the M&P45C. You will notice how similar the grip angle and circumference of all the grips are. The M&P and USP Compact .45 feel like a slightly fatter 1911 with an arched mainspring housing. (Note: my 1911 doesn't have an arched housing, but close enough to get the idea). Please note also that the M&P grip looks bigger because it's closest to the camera. It's really pretty much almost the same as the USP Compact .45, which feels like a lil plumper 1911 grip.


    Below are comparison shots of the pistol using a 1911 Commander using 8 round PowerMag (full size grip, 4.25 barrel), a USP Compact .45, a Glock 19, and the M&P 45C which has a 4 inch conventional rifled barrel. Overall the M&P45C is pretty darn close to the size of a G19. It's a touch longer and just a touch shorter in the grip. Of course the slide is fatter.

    Okay, here they all are from above. Now depending on if you want to line up the 1911 by the back of the slide or the end of the beaver tail it could be considered longer or shorter. I lined up to the backs of the slides. L-R 1911, Glock 19, USP Compact .45, M&P 45C It's pretty close to even but the M&P45c is definitely a bit longer than the G19.


    Here I have them lined up shortest to tallest. L-R M&P 45C with flat base plate mag, Glock 19, USP Compact .45 with flat base plate mag, 1911 Commander - 8 Round PowerMag - Std. Bumper.


    Next same thing but extended base plates in. L-R Glock 19, M&P 45C Extended Base Plate, USP Compact .45 Extended Base Plate, 1911 Commander - 8 Round PowerMag - Std. Bumper. Why yes, that is a bunch of Iron Maiden CDs and my NRA renewal letter to the right rear. Ya nosy hoodlums.


    Next up some comparisons photos against the G19 using M&P45C flat base plate side and rear shots:

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  2. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    Glock 19 vs M&P 45C flat base plate from side:


    Using the extended base plate mag compared to the G19 it's about the same thing. Just a hair taller towards the front strap is all. It's closer to even than what the picture makes it appear. Kind of depends on the angle you eyeball it at. Side shot comparing extended base plate to G19:


    Rear shot compared to the 1911 Commander:


    I broke out my calipers and here is what I got. If I measure tomorrow or you measure yours I'm sure it'll be a little different but here goes:

    Height from bottom of mag to top of slide with flat mag in: 4.67

    Length of slide from rear to front: can't measure my calipers go to 6.25 inch. Factory says 7.33 inch

    Thickest part of slide: 1.11 (right in front of safety levers by my eyeball)

    Thickest part of frame: 1.15

    Grip from rear of grip to front of trigger: 2.71

    Grip front to rear thickest part (small back strap): 2.15

    Grip Thickness measured L-R from rear to get thickest part as viewed from rear of pistol looking straight on like in photo above:

    M&P 45C - 1.18
    Glock 19 - 1.27
    USPc .45 - 1.17
    1911 Colt Std Grips - 1.29 (surprising but the 1911 is 1.91 front to back so it feels thinner)

    Weight: Who cares. It's a polymer pistol. Don't complain. You'll make Col. Cooper turn in his grave.

    By the way I found that it fits in the Glock Sport Combat Holster sized for G20/21/29/30 snug as a bug. Also fits this Don Hume leather thumb break I have for the USPc .45. I hear tell it fits a lot of leather G21 holsters also. Anyway...


    Don Hume:

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011

  3. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    So off we went. Smith and Wesson, and me...always wanted to say that.


    Date: 12/10/2011
    Time: 14:30
    Conditions: 39 Degrees, Clear, No Wind.


    8+1 capacity .45 ACP Pistol
    Trigger DAO
    Other: Thumb Safety
    Made in U.S.A. by Smith & Wesson Baby!


    100 Rounds 230 gr CCI Blazer Brass FMJ
    100 Rounds 230 gr Remington FMJ


    2 Failures to return to battery third magazine through pistol (Remington FMJ). Tapped rear of slide to correct both malfunctions. None after.
    No issues shooting one handed, non-dominant hand, etc.
    Could not make it fail on intentional limp wrist trials.


    Prior to the range expedition I field stripped the pistol. Internally it is like any other M&P pistol you have seen. That is to say, it looks a bit like a more complicated Glock inside. I know that there is more to them than that, according to posts from others here that have attended the armorer's course, but that's beyond my scope. Highlights include the nice rails for the slide to ride on and the nice all steel captured recoil spring and rod. I really like the way Smith did that up. The pistol could haven been fired as is out of the box but I wiped it out with blue shop towels to get off the factory lube. Next, I used Slip 2000 for all lubrication of the pistol except Hoeppes Elite Gun Oil to wet patch the barrel followed by one pass with a dry patch.

    I took 200 rounds of mixed Blazer Brass and Remington FMJ with me. I was also testing the LC9 this day and fired 260 rounds through that prior to getting to the M&P 45C. If you want to read that range report it is here: LC9 REPORT:

    Whenever I test a new pistol I always like to use paper so I can see how I am doing with the trigger over time.


    The pistol comes with two magazines. One flat bottom and one finger extension. I can easily get a full three finger grip using the extension magazine and I can get an almost three finger grip with the flat bottom magazine. Magazines are made out of steel and welded. The follower is plastic, uh, excuse me, polymer. The magazines are not super bright shiny silver like on the Springfield XD models of pistols. The steel is kind of a dull gray color. I don't know if it has been treated with anything on this model or just looks like that. The magazines on my M&P 9C are black from the factory. The M&P45 C can also use the 10 round and 14 round magazines made for the Mid Size and Full Size models. To my knowledge, at the time of this writing, there is no X-Grip adapter out yet but their web site said they were planning on it.

    I'm going to give it a big negative at the time of this writing (12/17/2011) due to magazine availability. I looked on a few of the big name gun parts sites and the 8 and 10 round M&P .45 magazines are out of stock, back order. One of the largest sites has 10 rounders listed as coming in end of January 2012, 10 rounders with FDE color base plate end of March 2012, and black 8 round finger rest magazines as end of February 2012. I didn't even see flat base plate or FDE color base plate 8 rounders, like it came with, for sale. I looked on the online Smith and Wesson store and they list the same magazines as the retailers, but that doesn't mean they are in stock, plus they want like $8 each more for them. I guess a couple things could be happening, maybe M&P 45 models are flying off the shelves, Smith and Wesson is going through all the magazines they have to put in the boxes of new pistols, or they just have a manufacturing shortage or supplier issue. That kind of makes sense as it took 3 months for my local store to find one at the distributors in this color. Either way, it kind of sucks. You can find magazines for sale online at some of the more "out of the way" retailers but you'll pay a few bucks more of course, but less than buying from the Smith and Wesson online store.


    3 Dot low profile ledge sights. I really like the steep ledge on these. The sight picture is a lot better than my factory Glock night sights to my eyes. These are not night sights on the M&P but they are available from Smith and Wesson using Trijicon tubes. I have them on my M&P 9C and they are nice and provide the same sight picture. There is a generous amount of light on each side of the front blade. Sights are dovetailed and can be tapped over if needed. Rear sight has a set screw in it. If I was going to get night sights, I would just mail the slide right back to Smith and Wesson for installation of factory ones.

    In this photo you can see the controls of the M&P 45C




    Works as expected. Magazines eject strongly and I did not have any issue where I unintentionally released the magazine or bumped it with my hand. Everything is good here. You can reverse it if you like.


    I won't beat this to death. It works. I like the Glock system better but nothing wrong with this. It doesn't get hot after shooting a bunch of rounds like it does on the M&P 9c.


    The release is ambidextrous if you care for it. It is pretty small but still usable. Matter of fact it requires much less pressure than the one on the LC9. If you do not wish to use it you will be happy to know that slamming a fully loaded magazine into the pistol with your palm at a 45 degree angle to it will cause the slide to release. Don't freak out. I have SIGs that do that and my H&K P2000 series all do that. It only happens if you slam it home with your palm at that angle. I consider it a feature because it only happens when I make it do that. Or of course you can slingshot it.


    Finally we have the manual safety. Up for safe. Down for fire. It works well, is not in the way of my grip and when I ride it with my thumb I can lock my hands in good. Couldn't ask for more. Also, it works the same as the ones on my USP pistols, you can leave it on safe and still operate the slide. I prefer that over the LC9 or 1911 safety where you can't manipulate the slide with the safety on. I don't know why, just personal preference.

    According to Smith and Wesson, if you get an M&P without a safety you can't add it later. If you get a model with one, you can remove it, but you'll of course have an extra small hole in the frame where it was. I don't know if they will officially do it for you (doubt it strongly), but I saw some You Tubers removing it of course. I'm leaving mine. I like it.

    Finally, I held up my 1911 Commander to the M&P 45C and lined up the rear of the slides. I found that the slide release and safety lever were in nearly identical locations to each other proportionally. So, 1911 guys, you will probably feel right at home with this one. I guess the M&P is like a CCO size 1911. About a Commander length slide with an Officer size grip. Speaking of which...


    The grip circumference feels really good. It feels ever so slightly thicker than a 1911 and about the same as the USP Compact .45 which is my all time favorite feeling grip. I have no complaints. With the three inserts available I'm sure it can be made to suit most hands. You'll also notice on this model that it does not have the extended beaver tail like the Mid Size and Full Size models. Fine by me.

    You have the option of using a finger extension base plate or a flat base plate. Here is the funny thing. Earlier in the day I was having all kinds of misery with my new LC9 trying to get a grip (har) on the pistol switching between the extended and flat base plate mags. I had wondered in my earlier written range review of the LC9 if I was having trouble because I had been shooting a lot of small pistols lately and using a two finger grip. Thereby, when using a three finger grip base plate I was thinking I was putting way too much pressure on the grip with my pinky and stringing my shots vertically. Well, wait until you see my targets from shooting this pistol I think I have my answer. Too funny.

    The stippling on the M&P, while not very aggressive was more than enough. It was cold out though. If I had been wearing gloves without much traction or if it was hot with sweaty hands, I might want some grip tape on there.


    Recoil on this was smooth. It was different than a 1911, more spongy, and felt about the same as the USP Compact .45. No problem at all and to my hands more pleasant to shoot than the LC9. Of course I did just get done shooting 260 rounds though the LC9 prior to this, so my hands might have been biased at that point. Muzzle rise was negligible. Using a thumbs forward grip it was easy to maintain control of the pistol and it settled back on target very quickly.


    Room in the trigger guard is adequate and would work if you were wearing winter gloves. The trigger pull itself seems just fine. I don't know the pull weight but it's a touch heavier than my M&P 9c and feels a bit lighter than my Glock 19 with NY1 and standard trigger bar. I like a heavy trigger anyways. The break has a nice snap to it. What a lot of people aren't going to like is that there just isn't a really discernible reset. This is where Glock cleans the M&P's clock. With the NY1 in, the reset on the Glock is very forceful. I can't even feel it on the M&P. I'm not a trigger snob and I'm pretty trigger insensitive really, but I would just like to feel some kind of reset.

    Now in actual use at the range, that didn't matter a lick to me. I find that on the range, I naturally let the triggers out all the way and just keep my finger in contact with them. I didn't have any problems with it and could produce pie plate accurate rapid fire groups.

    So here is the funny thing. The first target posted is me using the extended base plate. The second is using the flat, almost three finger grip, base plate. I would shoot one mag of extended into the left target, reload and shoot the flat into the right target. Hmmm... Interesting results. Pistol is obviously more accurate than user was on that day.

    Using extended base plate magazine:


    Same amount of shots (couple mags or so) using the flat base plate magazine: - better



    Ejection was strong and to my right rear. I had no brass come back at my face. Most brass was about 12-15 feet away from me. Even when I spent a few magazines trying to induce a limp wrist malfunction, which never happened. I was impressed with the steady ejection. The surprise of the day was the LC9 which spit brass almost twice the distance. You can see in the photo below where I have indicated the relative locations of the brass piles.



    I think this pistol is very well built and it comes in a variety of options and configurations that you might like. I think if you are a 1911 guy looking to go polymer for carry, a guy looking for a G30 alternative (though it is ever so slightly bigger) or you just want a smaller sized .45 you can't go wrong here. The only negs I'll give it are magazine capacity versus the G30 (10) and the new XDM 3.8 .45 (9), and the aforementioned trigger reset and magazine purchase availability issue. Still it carries the same load as a Full Size or Commander size 1911 in a smaller package overall. And you can carry a 10 or 14 round spare if you want. I'm really pleased with this. Just remember it's not a pocket pistol. If you can't carry a G19 because of size restrictions, you aren't going to be able to carry this, because it's just about the same size. If you need to go a bit smaller for CCW and still want a .45 polymer pistol, I would personally look at G36, G39, Kahr CW45.

    In short, this one is a real winner. I like it a lot and if you shot it, I bet you would too.

    Thanks for reading!


    Going home with lil' buddy the LC9:

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  4. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    reserved for more pics or pic requests.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  5. awpk03s


    Apr 1, 2007
    Just so you know... that was an amazingly detailed and thorough review! Thanks!!
    I especially like all the size comparison pictures.

    I think very highly of S&W M&P 45s... Someday I will cough up enough coin to get one to keep the rest of my 45s company.

    Again - great gun (as are the rest in those photos) and great review!

  6. Chonny


    Mar 30, 2010
    Edmond, OK
    Great review.
  7. jamaicanj


    Nov 25, 2007
    Another great review. Thanks for putting forth the time and effort
  8. Gunshine


    Jan 3, 2011
    All this and entertaining as well.
  9. carbuncle

    carbuncle is not cool.

    May 27, 2006
    Nashua, NH
    Great review, thanks!
  10. This past November, I got a bit of a wild hair up my posterior and on a lark went to one of my local guns shops to see if they had any M&P .45's with the 4" barrel in stock. They had one and it went home with me that day. While I was waiting for the instant check to clear, their armorer installed an Apex DCAEK trigger kit in the gun. This brought the trigger down to around 6.5 pounds, reduced the pre-travel and over-travel, and produced an excellent letoff... almost 1911 like.

    When I got it home, I cleaned it up and did some dry fire practice and decided to re-install the stock OEM trigger spring (the Apex DCAEK kit comes with a stronger trigger spring). This brought the trigger pull down to under 4 1/2 pounds which is really nice with the crisp letoff.

    This gun shoots beautifully and has been 100% reliable so far. An excellent buy for someone who is looking for a compact slide and barrel with a full size frame to increase mag capacity.
  11. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    Love my 45c. I once shot like a 3" group at 20 yards with it, by far the best performance I've ever had with ANY handgun. I'm lucky to do 10" with Glocks at that distance.

    Does your ejector have any movement/free play in the frame? Mine is a bit loose and I think that's what's causing brass to my head.
  12. LawScholar


    Aug 23, 2011
    Amazing review. I wish when everyone posted about a new firearm they put the same thought and effort into it that you did. Told me a lot about the pistol, and now I want one (just flat black finish for me, though ;) )
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  13. Bruce M

    Bruce M

    Jan 3, 2010
    S FL
    Nice review - well written and thorough. Thanks
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  14. plouffedaddy


    Apr 1, 2011
    Great review. I have 2 M&P 45c (1 FDE, 1 BLK) and both are awesome. I've never had any failures through over 1k rounds in each though (knock on wood!). I took the safety out of my FDE one and polished up the sear and striker to get the grit out. Other than that, they're bone stock and ready to rock.
  15. Vance665


    Nov 13, 2009
    You said this is slightly larger than a G30 and is 8+1 capacity. Did I read that right?
  16. Batwing

    Batwing The Radio Guy

    Sep 15, 2011
    Excellent review.

    I was just down at the shop I frequent looking at .45 pistols, some 1911's and the M&P, and Springfield XD.

    Might have to look closer at this one.
  17. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles

    It is a little longer in the slide but has a longer barrel.
    A touch taller with the flat mag.
    A touch thinner in slide and frame.
    Can use the 10 round and 14 round mags from the M&P 45 Full size.
    I don't have a G30 so going off of Glock official measurements vs. my caliper measurements.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  18. Glockwork Orange

    Glockwork Orange

    Nov 1, 2000

    Give Clyde Armory in Athens, GA a call...I was up there during the summer and they had about two or three bins of M&P .45c mags for $24.95 each...I'm gonna grab a couple more next time I'm up there...
  19. G26S239

    G26S239 NRA Patron

    Mar 17, 2008
    Great report, congratulations. I have an M&P40c, I like the medium backstrap too.
  20. smitty704


    Aug 18, 2011
    Great review! Thanks for posting.

    I also own an M&P 45c and it has been flawless. I purchased it brand new in May of 2011, and now I have just over 4000 rounds down the pipe so far with NO issues at all. It is a great shooter. Accurate and reliable as hell. Down right sexy too!

    S&W has amazing customer service as well. I sent my gun to S&W right before thanksgiving to have some minor work done(new slide stop from normal wear, and new pair of sights because I dropped the gun and scraped the front sight :)). It only took 2 weeks to the day to get my gun back. And when I got it back I realized they installed a new slide stop and installed Trijicon night sights free of charge(my stock sights were normal non-tritium sights)!

    S&W pays shipping both ways no questions asked. I am very pleased with the way I was treated on the phone, how fast the turn around was, and that they installed Trijicons just because they can. Great company to deal with. And great guns to own. Hope you continue to enjoy yours as well.

    Again, thanks for posting your detailed review. It was a very good read.