Smith & Wesson M&P BB pistol - Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
I showed you a picture of the Smith & Wesson M&P BB pistol in Part 4 of the 2008 SHOT Show report. At that time, I predicted this would become a popular BB pistol. Today, we'll start a look to see if I was right.
A tremendous number of BB pistols have come to market over the past few years. Where does this one fit in the long list? For starters, it's priced well below $40, which will be attractive to many shooters on a budget. The entire outside of the gun is synthetic, which is the norm for this price range. The pistol closely copies Smith & Wesson's popular new service pistol, though most of the controls are molded into the body and don't function. Only the magazine release on the left side and the safety on the right side move and operate. The slide is also molded in and immobile. A short Picatinny rail forward of the triggerguard can accept a compact laser or tactical flashlight mount.
Another attraction to this gun is the S&W M&P tie-in. The polymer-framed service pistol has attracted a very large audience since its introduction in 2005. When you hold the BB gun, you get the same tactile feedback from a gun that was designed to become a part of your hand. I hate to make comparisons, but it really feels like a cross between a 1911 and a Luger. It's a double-action only pistol with no visible hammer. The BB pistol has a stick-type magazine that holds only the BBs. The CO2 fits separately into the grip.
Charging with CO2
The M&P uses conventional 12-gram cartridges that install in the pistol grip. The grip panel is a single molded piece that slides straight back to expose the place for the CO2 cartridge. After putting a drop of oil on the tip of the new cartridge (the manual recommends RWS chamber lube, but lacking that, I used Crosman Pellgunoil), install the cartridge with the tip up and tighten the winding key at the bottom of the grip. The cartridge will be pierced after several turns and you're done.
Usually, loading a BB pistol is difficult, but not with this one. Pull the sliding follower all the way down and it catches and stays back. Drop BBs through the hole in the magazine. A groove guides the BBs and it's hard to drop them anywhere but where they're supposed to go. Once loaded, the follower is released to do its job. BB pistols don't load any easier than this. One thing to remember, though, and this holds true for most BB pistols made today: when the magazine is inserted, the top BB is released from the magazine. If you remove the mag for any reason, one BB will fall free from the grip, as well.
Being all-synthetic, the pistol is very light. Fully loaded and charged, it weighs just 18 ozs.!
The safety switch is on the right side of the frame and can be applied or disengaged with the trigger finger while holding the pistol in a shooting grip. It's as quick and easy as a 1911 safety, which is legendary among pistols, so the M&P has something very nice going for it. When it's applied, the trigger swings freely and you can tell in an instant the safety is on. If the firearm works the same way, I can see why S&W is doing so well.
The sights are a fiberoptic rear (two green dots) and a post front with a white dot. For combat shooting, you align all three dots and shoot. They will be quick to acquire, but there will be no bullseye precision. Minute-of-pop-can will be the best to hope for, I believe.
The grip is somewhat wide and rounded - sculpted to fit most hands. A deep overhang in the back gives it that Luger feel I mentioned.
On our next look, I'll check the power, which is supposed to be high.