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M&P Armorer vs Glock??

Discussion in 'Smith & Wesson Club' started by Poohgyrr, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Poohgyrr

    Poohgyrr trout fear me!

    Glocks are easy to detail, inspect, and replace parts to keep them running... Is S&W doing the same for the M&P's???
  2. jlw_84

    jlw_84 General Glocker

    Nov 8, 2002
    The M&P is fairly simple to operate on, not as easy as a Glock, but anybody with any sort of manual dexterity and the ability to follow written instructions should be okay.

    Here is a copy of the S&W Armorers manual, the 06 version. I'd like to get the updated version if anybody can point me in the right direction.

  3. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    It depends on your perspective, I guess ...

    The M&P offers something Glock doesn't. You can replace the frame rails at the armorer level by replacing the sear housing & locking blocks.

    The added strength and rigidity offered by the stainless steel sub-chassis being molded into the frame requires the use of coil pins, which requires a roll pin punch to remove when servicing the frame.

    Re-installing the trigger bar & slide stop lever assembly is a bit more difficult because of having to align and capture the front end of the trigger return spring when installing the trigger pin, but the pistol assembly pin (slave pin originally used for servicing the Sigma) and a thin pin punch makes it relatively easy enough.

    The solid extractor pin on the 9/.40/.357 models is heavily pressed into position and is NOT easy to remove the first time, but it shouldn't require removal unless the extractor requires replacement for repair or the gun has been submerged (or exposed to some other extreme/hostile environment). It's still rumored that the .45's extractor roll pin (incorporated to meet anticipated military maintenance needs) might yet be introduced across the rest of the model line at some point. We'll see.

    The safety plunger can only be removed if the rear sight is removed, and the small spring plate can be tedious to install when re-installing the sight base (it's jokingly called a UFO in the armorer class). Again, though, it's not something that needs to be done for regular cleaning.

    The additions to the '06 armorer manual contained in the '08 revision added some material involving the manual safety model sear housing and gave some better pictures of the sear housing block without the magazine safety.

    The M&P armorer class is pretty much as simple as the Glock & P99/SW99 armorer class, and simpler than the Sig, S&W 3rd gen and Colt Model O Pistol class.

    I'd offer that one of the inherent shooter-related problems regarding the simplicity of 'armorer maintenance' for some of the more modern service pistol designs is that a lot of folks start to think that it's wise to frequently 'detail strip' service weapons, or that it's a good idea to do so without some training and knowledge.

    Just getting your hands on a copy of an armorer manual is rather a small part of the process. The manuals are often just an outline and guide to use in applying hands-on training, techniques and experience gained in an armorer class. Often a lot more material is obtained in the way of personal notes made throughout the class about things which aren't contained in the manual (or often even in the computer presentation nowadays).

    Plus, it's hard to beat watching an experienced armorer instructor (or another experienced armorer student) demonstrate something, and having them at hand to catch and correct mistakes made unknowingly. It's easier learning something in a classroom environment instead of learning it alone, the hard way, at the bench later ... or elsewhere ... involving a dedicated service/defensive weapon.

    It can be mind-boggling to watch the mistakes and problems which occur in armorer classes, especially if the people aren't paying attention to the instructor and the demonstration of the methods, techniques and time-saving tips offered in most armorer classes. It often slows the classes when the instructor has to stop and correct some problem created when someone decides they're smart enough to jump ahead of the instructor's pace. :upeyes:
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  4. Poohgyrr

    Poohgyrr trout fear me!

    OK, thanks for the information. I know squat about the M&P, and keep my Glock certification current - you're right about taking notes.

    The Glock grip isn't the best, but our people shot noticably better with them (then with the current DAK) when they were allowed. If using the newer designed M&P had the same or better results - that would be good.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  5. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Yeah, the grip angle and overall ergonomics issue can be pretty subjective (but relevant) when you start to factor in multiple users.

    Something interesting about the M&P series is that the replaceable grip inserts not only change the backstrap shape, but the palm swell dimensions, as well.

    I've heard it commented upon by several dedicated 1911 users that the small grip insert of the M&P 45 provides an overall feel similar to that of a 1911 with a flat mainspring housing, and I can't disagree.

    Trigger feel is a bit different in that the curved trigger of the M&P lifts and centers trigger finger placement differently than the forward sloping trigger of the Glock, which also allows users to drag their fingers more along the bottom of the trigger guard.

    The slight grip tang extension, or 'beaver tail', if you will, also seems to help mitigate potential of slide bite (serrations) for some M&P users.

    Oddly enough, I found the largest grip insert of the compact 40 (same as the 9/.357) to feel closest to my G27 (bulky and a bit fat), while the small & medium inserts make for a much smaller, thinner grip. It can offer some interesting options for folks with small & medium size hands.

    I'd have to say the Glock is pretty much the easiest to support from the perspective of simple plug & play parts replacement, but the M&P is still pretty simple from an armorer perspective.

    The sear housing block is less complicated (and more sturdy) than that used in the 99 series, and the removal/installation of the ejector is easier than either the Glock or the 99 (which has the ejector molded into the housing, requiring replacement of the whole housing for a broken ejector).

    The use of a sear deactivation lever is a nice innovation from the perspective of enhancing user safety for field-stripping and the captive stainless steel recoil guide rod/recoil spring assembly is nice.

    The heavy profile of the slide's dustcover is probably a nice feature to have for those inattentive or distracted folks who can't seem to prevent themselves from sometimes dropping a slide muzzle-first onto a hard floor at a cleaning station, too.

    I like the steel sear housing block design of the M&P.

    As an armorer for Glocks, the 99 series and the M&P series I can find advantages & disadvantages when it comes to armorer support & maintenance for each design.

    I own examples of all 3 designs, as well.

    I do, however, personally feel the M&P has in some respects taken the concept of the plastic framed pistol quite a bit further than the Glock (and the 99 series).

    Nice to have options.
  6. ecmills

    ecmills I shoot guns.

    Oct 8, 2004
    Memphis, TN
  7. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    It's likely that personal opinions on things like this can often be influenced by a number of things, such as the number of designs to which someone has been exposed from the armorer's perspective, the experience gained in working on them, the source of the training received as an armorer and the reasons for having worked on them in the first place (repair and support versus 'modification' or 'customizing;).

    If the only pistol someone may have gained experience in supporting as an armorer is a Glock, then other designs are probably going to seem more difficult by comparison. That's probably to be expected. I'd already been trained as an armorer for other designs by the time I went to my first Glock armorer class, which made the Glock class seem really simple by comparison.

    The Glock, SW99/P99 and M&P pistol series classes are all only 1 day classes, though, and it's a stretch to make any of them run the whole 8 hours.

    Juts looking at it from the perspective of the number of roll/coil pins that have to be driven out of frames, the Glock would be 'easiest' (having none), followed by the 99 (locking block) and then by the M&P (locking block and sear housing).

    Looking at the complexity of the sear housing/trigger mechanism housings, I'd offer the Glock is the easiest, followed by the M&P and the 99 series. The 2 pins, single and double action levers and 2 springs in the 99 sear housing block would be my choice in picking the design most complex and difficult to disassemble and reassemble, but then armorers are told that it's not recommended to take them apart in the first place. ;)

    Due to a change in the inner dimensions of the frame and the sear housing blocks at one point, replacing a sear housing block in the 99 series - to replace a broken ejector - has an added bit of complexity in that the lower pin (plastic tube) of the older style sear housing has to be removed and installed in the newer style sear housing in order for the housing to fit in an older frame. I discovered that the hard way when repairing a couple of broken ejectors in older models, and confirmed my observation by calling and discussing it with the factory. Nobody with whom I spoke claimed to have an explanation for the change in the frame.

    One of the nice refinements offered by the M&P's use of a steel sub-chassis molded into the frame is how the stresses resulting from recoil are spread along the sub-chassis in which the coil pins are secured, instead of having the forces transmitted directly to a locking block or trigger pin just supported by a plastic frame. I'd think this benefit is worth the extra effort involved in removing coil pins using a roll pin punch and hammer.

    It's easier to remove the locking block, slide stop assembly and trigger bar before the sear housing block, FWIW. The back end of the trigger bar can be easily lifted forward and up out of the sear housing.

    If necessary, I sometimes use a punch to gently pry/lift the locking block up (similar to doing so in a Glock), and a punch can be used to gently lever the sear housing block upward by one rail (without exposing the frame to a screwdriver's sharpened edge). Rounded surfaces are mostly gentler on plastic surfaces than edged surfaces.

    I use a small dab of a light grease to keep the takedown lever retaining wire inside its recess in the locking block, too. The first time the locking block is removed it's easy to keep the left side angled somewhat upward so the wire doesn't fall out of its recess. Otherwise, it's a fairly small spring to try and chase down if it takes an errant bounce when landing on a work surface. ;)

    Here's a couple images that can be enlarged a little showing some differences between a couple of sear housing blocks. The block on the left of the first image and the bottom of the next image is from a .45 with a manual safety. The other one is a standard sear housing (9/40/357) without a manual safety.


    In the .45 sear housing the ejector is removed by pulling it forward. (Notice the housing has a couple of small protruding edges which capture the ejector at the front.) The other sear housing, which has the space intended to accept the ILS (if requested), just has the ejector laying flat up against the side of the housing within its recess.

    BTW, the manual safety model uses a longer sear pin, which acts as a limiting stop for the safety lever on the right end, and also has a larger head on the left end than models without a manual safety. The ejector is removed from this version after the sear pin has been pushed out (right to left) with a punch.

    Now granted, while I'm far from an expert on these things, and I'm definitely not a factory tech/smith or a licensed gunsmith, I've probably had more than my fair share of opportunity to attend a number of factory armorer classes and even a couple of 'non-factory' classes. Just the sheer repetition of taking various armorer classes (repeating some of them 2-4 times) is undoubtedly going to have a major influence when it comes to what I may consider 'simple', as well as having had experience supporting the different guns.

    Even a Glock can be disassembled and reassembled incorrectly, though. One of the guys recently had someone work on one of his Glocks (doing one of the newer 'paint jobs'), and he called me for help when his gun wasn't functioning right. It turned out the slide lock had been incorrectly installed and the slide stop lever spring wasn't positioned under the locking block pin correctly.

    If I didn't mention it before, I even remember one Glock armorer class where someone failed to pass the written test and had to remain afterward be 're-mediated' after the rest of us left. Guess it wasn't so simple for that person.

    Now, when you start talking about 3rd gen S&W's, Sig's, HK's, Beretta's and Colt's ... and especially revolvers ... you can start to see some increasing difficulty in armorer classes.

    Those tend to make the Glock, 99 and the M&P all seem pretty simple, I'd think.

    I wanted to take a XD armorer class back about 3-4 years ago, but Springfield said they were still trying to develop one at that time and I eventually lost interest in checking back for one (or owning one of the guns). Probably similarly simple from an armorer's perspective, I'd guess, considering what I've seen of them when handling & shooting some of them.

    The nice thing about becoming a M&P pistol armorer is the support offered by the factory, from both the armorer training academy and the factory repair dept (and even the engineering dept, if necessary). Even the last couple of S&W LE reps I've had the pleasure to meet had been trained to provide armorer training in addition to some of the regularly scheduled field/factory classes. I've also heard the factory has been fielding some armorers to help support agency customers.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  8. AWMP


    Apr 28, 2003
    Great information and very good links!
  9. Retired Squid

    Retired Squid

    Jul 7, 2007
    Having had a M&P 45 and two G-29's, I like the G-29 better any sub-compact. My M&P 45 ACP lasted about three months as I could shoot the G-29 better, at 25 yards I could seldom hit paper, had it to a friend and he could do head shots.

    One thing I often wonder is why any dept or owner of a Glock would need a armorer. You could train a monkey to strip a Glock to nothing but a pile of parts and put it back together. When I bought my first Glock, a G-29, the first thing I did was strip it down, pushed the pins out, removed the guts, cleaned it, look all parts over with a magnifying glass, and but it back together in about 30 minutes w/o a stray part left over.

    I have never owned a G20, but have been looking on over hard at buddy's local shop. I know he had me in mind when he ordered the gun, and the $510 OTD price is tempting, but then I would have to order another Cominolli Safety to install. Having been a 1911 man all my adult life, it was a have to have thing for me. When couple friends saw the safety on the G29 I had to do installs for them, two are CCW holders and one a LEO duty gun. That install is little more work on the G29 then the G17 and G22, but only about extra 5 minutes to 10 minutes at most.
  10. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Yeah, some gun designs just don't suit some owners as well as some other designs.

    Having grown up shooting single action revolvers and pistols, and then double action revolvers as a young man, I didn't particularly care for the Glock trigger and grip ergonomics the first few times I handled and shot them throughout the late 80's and early 90's. I simply did much better, more easily, with other designs with which I was much more familiar. Not surprising.

    Then, when I finally got around to deciding to add a Glock to my collection of working guns I chose one chambered in 9mm and adapted myself to the ergonomics & trigger design. Maybe having worked as an instructor for some years prior to that helped a bit, too, since I had to make sure my skills with more than my 'favorite' designs and platforms were at least adequate for professional needs.

    While I can usually shoot most Glocks fairly decently (including out to rather long distances for handguns, (meaning at times out to 50 - 100 yards for skill building/assessment), I still prefer a nicely done single action 1911-style pistol, a double action revolver or even one of the other TDA/DAO-"type" plastic pistols.

    I like the Walther TDA trigger in the 99 series, for example, although I did find myself quickly adapting to the M&P's trigger quickly enough. Not great, but not bad, either. If I work at it I can often keep my carefully aimed groups within a hand-span at 50 yards when shooting 2-handed, unsupported. Not 'target shooter' caliber, obviously, but satisfactory enough for my needs, I'd think.

    I've been observing some Glock owners & shooters as they've been introduced to the M&P pistols. Granted, they've all been firearms instructors, so you'd expect some higher level of shooting abilities regardless of the platform. However, among the handful of folks who have tried some M&P's I've heard surprise about how well they shoot, and I've seen a couple of Glock owners immediately shoot much tighter and faster groups with a M&P than with their favorite Glocks ... much to their surprise and not a little consternation. There's been some new M&P's appearing in holsters.

    One guy did much better shooting a M&P 45FS than his G21SF. Noticeably so. He also shot a M&P 40c noticeably better than his G23, G19 and even his G26. He traded his G23 off for another G19 and is going to be ordering a M&P 45 Mid-size, last I heard.

    People vary, though, as do their skills and preferences. Probably why I own pairs of each of 3 different designs of plastic pistols. :)

    Nice to have such a variety of good quality firearm choices from which to choose, nowadays (unless you're restricted to a specific type of issued weapon, of course).

    As far as agencies 'needing' armorers? Some don't bother. Some simply return guns which appear to have 'problems' to the companies for examination and repair. That's something that caught me by surprise when I first learned of an agency which didn't desire to have anyone on staff trained as an armorer.

    There's arguably a potential advantage of being able to show that a weapon used in a OIS was supported and maintained ... and repaired, if necessary ... according to the specific recommendations of the weapon manufacturer, and in accordance with the methods and practices taught by the manufacturer for armorers. That can potentially help to reduce an agency's unnecessary expose to liability in some circumstances. It might be a nice way to reduce potential exposure to liability from the perspective of the person who last 'worked' on the weapon, too. Not to mention that it can help keep weapons running in optimal functioning condition by having them maintained so they stay within original specs, in case one of them really does have to be used in an OIS, too.

    Sure, Glocks are relatively easy to learn to maintain and repair, but not everyone may be able to properly learn how to do so. Like I said, I've seen a dismaying number of folks in even Glock armorer classes make some easily avoided mistakes, while having all the advantages of being present in a classroom environment available to assist them in not making mistakes. Imagine how they might do once they return to their respective agencies, especially if they don't keep in practice?

    Being motivated and desiring to learn how to maintain firearms is obviously helpful, especially as an armorer, as is some degree of mechanical ability. How about the people sent to Glock armorer classes (and other armorer classes) who have been selected and sent without them volunteering, or sometimes even wanting to go to the class in the first place? I've met more of them over the years than I'd ever have thought to expect to meet back when I first started going to armorer classes. How motivated are those folks going to be when they return to their agencies?

    I can see how someone who carries an authorized, personally-owned weapon might be a bit reluctant to have their weapon inspected and maintained by someone other than themselves (meaning for more than basic user level maintenance), but there are some potential liability issues to be considered when balancing the exposure to liability of an agency against the desires of an individual. Hey, this is one of the reasons that motivated me to request becoming an armorer, way back when, so I could take responsibility for maintaining, supporting and repairing the issued weapons I carried over the years. ;)

    Think about the number of people who post threads in just the GT forum who have attempted to 'detail strip' their Glocks and have subsequently experienced a 'problem' with their gun's functioning ... or who modified or 'improved' something with their Glock and likewise started to experience problems ... or who experienced a problem in their stock Glock for which they were unable to properly diagnose the cause(s), and their trial & error attempts at 'repair' resulted in the problem not being resolved, at best, or even other problems then occurring.

    There's probably a reason the major manufacturers haven't decided to save on instructor and travel costs by simply going to online/cyber armorer training. ;)

    BTW, Retired Squid, glad to hear you like your G29. I remember shooting a G20 brought around by a Glock rep back in the Fall of '90. He said it was one of the first ones imported. He provided the ammunition (Norma, as I recall, meaning full power for the caliber at that time) and we had the chance to wring it out for an afternoon. I remember thinking that it was fairly soft-shooting gun for the caliber (although the alternatives were somewhat limited back then, of course). I probably should have picked one up for the offered LE price, which was just over $300, as I recall ($311 + tax, w/3 mags?). I was more interested in the back then soon-to-be-released G21, though, being a .45 enthusiast. Oh well ... would'a, could'a, should'a ... :rofl:

    I like your sig line, BTW.
  11. Retired Squid

    Retired Squid

    Jul 7, 2007
    Thank's I decided I needed something original one day. So being a 10 mm fan and also a fan of the 45 ACP and thinking how I use mine these days it just seemed right.