Umarex S&W M&P40 Part 1
Best Training Gun Ever!
By Dennis Adler
The S&W Military & Police name has a storied history in U.S. military and law enforcement dating back to the first .38 Military & Police Model revolvers introduced in 1899 and carried by the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard into the early 1900s. Variations of the .38 caliber hand ejector models (later 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Models) were also carried by police departments, establishing the M&P as a standard sidearm for more than a generation, through two World Wars and into the postwar 1950s. The M&P name is carried on today by the S&W M&P R8, and M&P 340 revolvers and the entire line of S&W M&P semi-autos introduced a decade ago, and currently comprised of the M&P9, M&P40, M&P45, full size, compact, Pro and C.O.R.E. series, M&P Shield and Bodyguard models; the most extensive use ever of the Smith & Wesson Military & Police name.
Why an S&W M&P40 airgun?
There are many options available to airgun manufacturers for brand name products but Umarex is especially recognized for its Colt and S&W models among American brands, as well as their legendary line of Walther products.
The Smith & Wesson M&P in either 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP is carried by the LAPD, Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept, Detroit, Miami, and Atlanta police departments, Vermont State Police, agents for the Department of Homeland Security, the DEA, Passaic New Jersey PD, Olympia, Washington PD, and numerous state and local police departments across the country, including my own County Sheriffs Department here in Bedford, Pennsylvania. With the M&P’s extensive law enforcement use throughout the U.S. the Umarex S&W M&P40 becomes an even more attractive airgun for use in training, particularly in the civilian sector, as the first step to learning the handling characteristics of the actual M&P models.
Both the M&P40 and Umarex have matching polymer frames, and metal slides. The visual differences are minimal and confined almost solely to the white outline lettering around the M&P40 and Smith & Wesson names on the left side of the slide, and the telltale manufacturer’s information and safety warnings on the right side. Except from a straight on view that reveals the recessed .177 caliber muzzle, the variances in fit, finish and details of the M&P40 airgun and the .40 S&W models are minimal. The Umarex model of the M&P40 also duplicates the optional version’s ambidextrous manual thumb safeties, so that is not an immediate giveaway that the Umarex is an airgun.
The 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP models are a fraction of an inch longer, and the rear sights are slightly different is shape and a fraction of an inch taller than the white dot sights on the cartridge-firing models. The most telling feature of the airgun’s handling is the lighter trigger pull.
As a training gun in place of a cartridge-firing S&W M&P40 the handling characteristics are identical including the field stripping and cleaning. Every working feature of the M&P40 is duplicated, so all training regimens can be taught and practiced with the airgun creating duplicate responses right up to the moment you pull the trigger.
Standard features include ambidextrous slide releases, ambidextrous manual thumb safeties, disassembly lever and full field stripping capabilities, left side magazine release, three interchangeable palmswell grip panels, full blowback operation with a slide that locks back after the last round is discharged, and a correct two-piece trigger design with over travel stop. The airgun also has a matching 3-slot Picatinny rail on the dustcover so it can be equipped with the same tactical light or light/laser combinations used in the field.
The airgun uses drop free, self contained CO2 and BB magazines with a capacity of 15 rounds, making the airgun ideal for practicing reloading and tactical reloads (replacing a partially loaded magazine with a fully loaded magazine in an active shooter situation to assure maximum capacity). Like the cartridge models, slapping a fresh magazine into the grip automatically releases the slide and chambers the first round. This is literally as close to handing a cartridge-firing S&W M&P40 as you can get.
In Part 2 we sit down with law enforcement officers to compare their M&P40 duty guns with the Umarex M&P40 and then head to the firing range.
A word about safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.