Smith & Wesson M&P 45 air pistol: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

1
Smith & Wesson M&P air pistol is highly realistic. It shoots both pellets and BBs.

Today, I’ll start looking at the Smith & Wesson M&P 45 air pistol from Umarex. This is a CO2 pistol with a rifled barrel that shoots both BBs and pellets, so I know there will be a lot of readers who’ll like it. This type of air pistol is becoming more popular all the time, and nowadays a maker can use synthetics in their guns because the firearms they copy also have them.

The gun’s price is low; and according to the one review posted on the website, it’s also accurate. No, make that highly accurate, because the reviewer said he shot out a one-inch bullseye at a range of 22 to 24 yards. I find that difficult to imagine, because I would have a hard time shooting that well with a .22 target pistol, but you know I’m going to put this pistol through its paces. If it really is that accurate, this will be a best buy!

Secrets revealed!
The pistol is all synthetic on the outside. The slide is split in the middle and the front half goes forward to load the pellet or BB clip when the slide release located on the left side of the frame is activated. But a little secret that the owner’s manual doesn’t tell you about is that the rear half of the slide also moves. Pull is backward when you want to fire the gun single-action. The rest of the time, you can just pull the trigger and shoot double-action.

Read the manual
The two clips are not interchangable. The pellet clip is gray metal and the BB clip is black plastic. They are properly called clips and not magazines, because they simply hold the rounds and don’t have springs to move the ammunition in the gun.

Each clip is loaded differently; and even if you don’t read the rest of the owner’s manual, at least take the time to read how to properly load each clip. It’ll save you down time with the gun.


Each clip is for a different type of ammunition. Read the owner’s manual!

Sights are nice
The sights are tactical with three dots — one on the front post and two in the rear — one on either side of the rear notch. They’re bright yellow, and I find them quick to acquire.

The front post is also square in the rear notch, so it can be used with some precision if the lighting is right. That would be with the gun in the dark and the target brightly lit. There isn’t much room on either side of the front post, so you’ll have to work to keep a sliver of light on both sides.

The rear sight adjusts sideways for windage. A locking screw holds it in place.

The CO2 cartridge goes into the grip, of course, but the way it does is novel. You pull down on the front of what would be the magazine floorplate and the “plate” swings down, but the grip strap also swings up and away from the gun. The grip accepts the new CO2 cartridge, and the floorplate hides the CO2 tension screw.

The way the CO2 cartridge installs is a bit different!

The safety is a bar on the right side of the frame that gets pushed forward and up for fire and forward and down for safe. Pushing forward unlocks the bar so it’s free to move. On other pistols I’ve tested, this bar was hard to move; but on this one, it works as it should. On the firearm M&P, the safety is a thumb lever on both sides of the frame for ambidextrous operation.

This is a large pistol but not a heavy one. It weighs less than a pound and a half (24 ozs.), while the firearm it copies weighs almost six ounces more when empty.

A Picatinny rail is cast into the underside of the frame, so you can mount tactical flashlights and lasers. No doubt a great many owners will want to mount at least one of those on this pistol because of the tactical connection. Just make sure your holster can hold the accessorized pistol, as the extra light will add a lot of bulk in the front.

This looks like a good pistol. The trigger is light in the double-action mode and also in single-action. Of course, it’ll take an accuracy test to tell the whole tale. We’ll get to that after we look at velocity for both kinds of ammunition.

48 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson M&P 45 air pistol: Part 1



      • BB,
        I thought I had read that there was also going to be an outdoor shooting range. And the event is this Friday and Saturday the 14th and 15th, a week or 2 earlier than usual. Is all of that correct?
        Thanks,
        Lloyd


  1. I’m looking forward to the rest of this report. I carry the M&P 40 at work as federal government contract security. The powder burner is a joy to shoot, on par with the Beretta and Glock, though I do prefer the M&P.

    It will be great if the accuracy of the pellet gun pans out to be good. I think I’d be all over this if proves to be accurate.

    I’d look forward to a bit more practice to become more efficient with the powder burner version of this pistol.



    • chasblock, I’d say you have hit the sweet spot here if this gun proves to be accurate–as I expect it will. Airgun training is the way to go as a cheap way to build up your trigger time, and if you can find an exact match for your duty gun, you’re all set. You can amaze your colleagues and friends with your proficiency with the SWM&P.

      Matt61


  2. Seems to be a lot like the Walther P99 Q. The good thing with these pistols is the small clips fits a LOT of pistol (and some rifles too) so you can load a bunch in advance and just plink away, the bad is the horrible double action triggers but if this one can be fired single action it might be worth a try (especially under 60$).

    J-F




      • I thought you had, but I’m glad to hear more. My biggest interest here is the trigger after my bad experience with the Walther Nighthawk/CPSport. I’ve had the gun sent back once to repair the trigger, but after a fairly short time, it is going downhill again. Not uncommonly, I simply cannot pull the trigger at all. Reloading the clip seems to help. But while the trigger pull is then possible, it is so hard that I cannot squeeze with the pad of the first joint as I like to but with the joint itself, and this somehow puts my finger out of position so that it gets crushed between the bottom of the trigger and the guard. It hurts like hell. I might be looking for a new pistol, and this one has a lot of appeal.

        Matt61


        • If all you want is a fun blowback realistic single action pistol you can’t go wrong with the 3 Cybergun BB pistols (Tanfoglio Witness 1911, GSG 92 and SIG-Sauer P226), the GSG can easily be moded to unlock the full auto mod (just a very small bit of filling) while still retaining the single shot and safety option fully working and the 1911 is so well tought out that LOTS of parts from the firearm can be transfered on the airgun, almost everything that isn’t needed to specifically fire a bullet (extractor, barrel, firing pin etc) can be swapped, so you can add as much “bling” as you want. It’s a really fun pistol, you won’t hunt or win any competition with it but it’s a FUN plinker. I guess us Canadians like it so much partly because the real stuff is so hard (not to mention expensive (see I remembered the lesson)) to get.
          I just got my brownells 1911 catalog and realized I may spend more on accessories than what the pistol costed me…

          J-F




    • Victor,

      I know you mean the firearm and not the airgun. No, the M&P is too large for concealed carry.

      Edith carries a Glock 36 in .45 ACP and she likes it fine. Most women won’t like the heavier recoil of a .45 and would go more for a 9 mm.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,
        Yes, I meant firearm, but my reason for asking in this context is that I like the idea of having a similar model in both firearm and air-pistol, so that it can be practiced at home as well.
        Victor


      • Doesn’t Edith carry her Glock in a purse? That would make the size of the pistol less of an issue I think. Maybe this is a consideration for Victor depending on the mode of carry that is chosen.

        Matt61


      • My wife was considering a particular S&W in .38, until she did her homework. She found issues that now have her looking for an alternative. Her thoughts were to go with a revolver, but I think she’s open to anything that is good.


        • Victor,

          Unless your wife has fired a revolver already and knows how it feels, she should rent one before buying. They kick a lot in the concealable sizes, and the auto pistols are so much lighter in recoil.

          However, autos are harder to work the action. So there are considerations.

          Having the exact airgun model is a very small point, I think. Because the firearm is so different is all other ways that I don’t see a lot of familiarization transferring between the two.

          B.B.



          • Wouldn’t you think that learning how to draw cleanly and to aim an M&P air pistol could be transitioned to the firearm. It is amazing how hard that seemingly simple process is yet is probably the most important. I would think that if you can raise an air pistol, whether using the sights or another ready position, and hit a vital man sized target area you’re facing, without shooting yourself, you should be able to raise a firearm and expect it to a least be pointing into a vital man sized area of a target. Now, I know that different trigger pull plus flinching affect the results and must be overcome with firearm practice but if you’re not even pointing into the right area it won’t matter how you’ve mastered those.


            • Chuck,
              I agree that value can be extracted from an air-gun, because there are many things that are common between an air-gun and a firearm. At a minimum, the fundamentals are the same, so there are things that can be analyzed. For example, my wife was making certain mistakes with my Ruger Mk II, so I worked on certain fundamentals at home. We were able to see her mistakes with a Crosman 1377 air pistol just as well as the Ruger. More importantly, we were able to solve them.
              Victor


        • Victor: Your wife may find that a snubby revolver like the Charter or S&W models to be a good choice for civilian carry. ECQ ( extreme close quaters combat) is what most civilians will encounter during a suprise mugging attack or rape attempt. Back ups would be a good pepper spray and a small fixed blade weapon that can be used to punch your attacker. It’s also worth noting that Col. Cooper recommended a S&W snubby for his wife.


          • Robert,
            She likes the S&W’s, but didn’t like what she was reading about a particular model. Didn’t seem to be reliable, so it didn’t pass a fundamental requirement. However, she’s also seen some Rugers that she likes. She actually has a very practical reason for carrying a firearm. I’m surprised that she’s gone this long without one. I’m glad she’s finally taking this more serious.
            Victor


  3. Wow, that was one huge spam mailbomb in the RSS feed this morning! Slimeballs.

    Boy, do I have an itchy trigger finger right about now. I haven’t fired a single shot since the last DIFTA match two Saturdays ago, and I doubt I’ll get any more trigger time until the “fun match” we’re having this Saturday. I’ve never been quite comfortable with the term “fun match.” It’s not like the regular matches are “un-fun,” is it?

    -Jan


    • Jan,

      We invented that name because people could do anything they wanted. One guy shot the match with a Blue Steak pumper! It was just supposed to be more relaxed.

      B.B.


      • That’s also the match where I shot the Sharp CO2 gun. My avatar comes from that match. I’m holding the Sharp. I sat on a chair. The same chair I bought for my benchrest matches. It was relaxing, but it was cold, & I was a very lousy shot. Good times 🙂

        Edith



          • Frank B,

            The Sharp was a CO2 gun and is unscoped. The benchrest gun was a Gary Barnes rifle that had the offset mount Gary made especially for that air rifle. We no longer have that rifle. In fact, we no longer have the Sharp rifle. Tom sold the Sharp without my knowledge. That’s why I always ask him which guns he’s selling, because I don’t want another one of MY guns walking out the door to fund a gun for Tom’s collection.

            Edith


  4. Well, this is fascinating. I just happen to have been thinking about the SW M&P right about now. It seems to me like there is a basic division among semiauto handguns between the 1911s and all the others which are characterized by polymer construction, large magazines, and “striker” firing which I don’t fully understand. The pros and cons of both are pretty well known but the other question is how to choose among the new breed. In terms of quantity, Glock is far ahead of all the others. However, the late Col. Jeff Cooper, the apostle of the 1911, had a fairly devastating riposte to the Glock. It’s great popularity, he said, is perfectly appropriate precisely because it is a simple gun that is easy to use for law enforcement (the major customers) whom Cooper considered to be fairly clueless. There are few controls. The gun is totally reliable. And the spongy trigger which relates to the safety mechanism doesn’t hamper law enforcement because they can’t shoot anyway. (This is all Jeff Cooper and not me.) In addition, speaking for myself, I’ve never been too crazy about a safety that is identical to a trigger. If the safety is supposed to prevent the gun from firing when the trigger is pulled, you could say in a sense that the Glock gives you no safety at all. Some law enforcement have claimed that they feel mighty uneasy with their bulky, uncomfortable Glocks in holsters with the barrel pointed at their femoral artery and only a trigger pull away from bleeding to death. And of course there is the never-to-be-forgotten YouTube video of the DEA agent demonstrating gun safety to students with his Glock. “I’m the only one in the room that I know of who is professional enough to be handling a loaded gun.” Boom.

    So, casting about among the other modern semi-autos, I see that the SW M&P gets rave reviews, and almost all compare its accuracy favorably to the Glock. My great experience with the SW1911 and the SW customer service with their lifetime guarantee also dispose me in favor.

    Incidentally, my fine experience with the SW1911 and the 185 gr. loads has given me a new enthusiasm for pistols. I actually really felt I was in control. I have now livened up my mental visualization practice by imagining myself shooting everything in sight with my 1911. Boom, there goes the clock, and the fire extinguisher, the doorknob, the telephone, the coat-rack…. The allure of power has even led me to a new appreciation of the SW686. I was thinking that your iconic .357 magnum was either the SW 27 or the Colt Python. But now I’m thinking that with the choice of any of them, the SW 686 is the one I would choose–an all around wonderful gun by every account. And I believe that the Umerex air gun version is a very good likeness.

    Wulfraed, Top Shot sounds like the program that some people are born for. Even with the different formats, I don’t see how alliances and politicking can influence how someone takes a shot–unless they’re tanking the shot on purpose which is a whole different issue.

    PeteZ, I was listening to Professor Lisa Randall from Harvard talk about wormholes and extra dimensions. It seems to have been pretty well settled, at least in theory, that the three physical dimensions that we move in are only a subset of about 11 that are out there. As for why we cannot perceive the others, one explanation I’ve heard is that the other dimensions are all compressed (like a zip file) and inaccessible except at the scale of subatomic particles, or even “strings” at the smallest scale. But Randall was suggesting that maybe this is not the case and that the other dimensions are not restricted this way and have some other relation to our physical universe. She seems to be a devotee of the Kaluza-Klein theory which says that what we call electromagnetism is just a manifestation of other physical dimensions intersecting with our own…. Interesting stuff. I’m sort of holding out for wormholes to liven up our picture of the universe. By the way, are you offended by Star Trek like a cousin of mine who is a retired professor of astrophysics? He was very annoyed with people asking him how fast Warp Factor 5 was. (Which I think is a perfectly reasonable question for someone not familiar with physics. 🙂 ) And he didn’t care for the idea of “transporting” oneself either. When I sent him a notice about the neutrino experiment, I wrote “Star Trek lives” which was probably not the most diplomatic thing to do….. Slinging Lead, you should take a look at Professor Randall. She is really hot. However, she’s a bit too serious and lacking in camera-sense like Crystal….

    Victor, I guess I was under the impression that you already had a Savage and that it was just a matter of recommending a hunting rifle to your son. Did you really make a leap into the Savage universe based on our recommendation? Well, I am gratified and relieved. You are very welcome. The fact is that I don’t believe that I would make much of a salesman which is not my orientation, but given a good product, promotion is pure joy and a service to humanity. And you give back: a good report of the rifle from you does it a lot of credit. I had total faith in the Savage line, but it’s nice to hear that you’re impressed too. I’m not familiar with the 11 series, but believe that it is the hunting version. Wait until you try the target series. On the one hand the action and the manufacturing processes are fundamentally the same which raises the 11 series above the usual hunting standard. On the other hand, Savage takes extra pains with their precision models. You might consider the 12 Long Range Precision which is a magazine rifle with target capabilities and with the Red Target Accutrigger, Red for extra special, meaning that it can be adjusted down to 6 ounces. However, the calibers are kind of weird and mostly adapted for varmint shooting. So, your son has passed on all of your coaching expertise until now? Well, if I were him, I would start making up for lost time.

    Now, that we have you set up with hunting equipment, it’s time to work on your hunting skills. Have a look at this.

    http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/blog/30571/amazing+footage+shows+mountain+biker+ambushed+by+african+antelope/

    Now, I’m all excited to learn about the Red Hartebeest which can reach speeds of 65 mph. As the Navy Seals said, from a properly prepared ambush, there is no escape. And the comic book character Green Arrow tells us, “Patience is the heart of the hunter.”

    Extending the, er, hunting thread, you all might want to look at this which is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/slideshow/real-life-super-hero-project-10759553

    I’d say that between the criminals and those citizens with concealed carry, these people had better check their bullet-proof vests. But maybe the bigger danger is just attracting loud laughter.

    BG_Farmer, you laugh about the reloading 🙂 but B.B. has created a monster or might I say an Arsenal of Democracy with flames shooting out the doors and windows. I’ve just solved my length problem. I put a reference round in the ram and screw the bullet seating die down on top of it, similar to the way that Savage screws it barrels down onto minimum length gauges to ensure perfect headspacing. Now my OAL is within 1 to 2 thousandths of an inch. I’ve also perfected the “flying trickle” spooning individual particles into the pan so that by the time the scale stops oscillating, my load is correct to 1/20th of a grain. I feel like John C. Garand, except about 1/100 the actual size. 🙂

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      I agree with Jeff Cooper on the 1911…it’s my favorite type of handgun. I would like nothing better than to carry one of our 1911 handguns as my concealed carry weapon. However, the Glock has it over the 1911 when it comes to size & weight. My purse is already heavy with the Glock (unlike most other women, I barely carry anything else in purse). I wear my purse cross-shoulder. If I had a 1911 in there, I’d fall forward every time I bent over! Not exactly becoming 🙂

      To be honest, I don’t even know if my Glock has a safety. Tom? I am the safety. Be one with the gun. I carry it fully loaded with one in the chamber. God forbid I should ever have to use it for defense. But if I do, I want the option of reaching in my purse & pulling the trigger if I can’t get it out quick enough. I don’t want to have to think about racking the slide. That’s dead man’s territory.

      Edith


      • Unless Glock has redesigned the trigger mechanism, the “safety” is that skinny blade the sticks out the front of the trigger. Before the trigger itself will move, that blade has to be pushed back/flush with the trigger surface. It may also block the firing pin/striker but that is just hypothetical. The Walther P99 has a similar feature — the bottom half of the trigger blade is hinged; the top half won’t move until the bottom has pivoted back a small fraction.

        The concept is that, if one intends to fire, one does not need to explicitly disengage a safety — the mere act of pressing a finger against the trigger releases the safety. If carried in a holster, the holster should cover the trigger guard so nothing can touch the trigger until drawn and a finger placed on it.

        These models often also have decocking levers to release the striker — leaving one with a long high tension double-action trigger pull for first shot (some models are DA only, the striker never “cocks” for a single-action pull, others “half cock” the striker, giving a shorter trigger pull but the trigger still has to complete the cocking).


        • Wulfraed,

          I have a lot of upgrades in my Glock since it’s the version that’s known as the “kaboom” Glock. The trigger blade feels fine to me. Tom would know if I upgraded it. I thought I did. Total outlay for the gun & upgrades is about $1,000. So much for “cheap” plastic handguns!

          Edith


          • Ah, well… At least you’ve put stuff into it <G>

            I just sent off my NRA firearm insurance payment — this year I had to “schedule” one rifle. A rifle that had 50rounds fired the year I bought it (at which time it was under $800) and has spent the rest of its life in my cabinet. Recent books put the value between $2000 and $2500, and the accessories are another $500 — which puts it over the policy $2500 limit for “unscheduled” arms.

            Somehow the “least sporting” firearm I own is also the most valuable one I own… the HK-91 (one of the accessories is a 5 round magazine making it “hunt legal” in most jurisdictions; the 5rd magazines sell for $10 more than the normal 20rd: $70 vs $60 each)



      • Matt,
        Lisa Randall is hot looking and very smart. But she should not have given the impressison that an eleven dimensional universe is settled physics. It is the result of one specific variety of ‘string’ theory. If that doesn’t mean a lot, I’ll confess that I don’t know much about string theory!


      • Whoops… Have to retract the P99 trigger description… The split/hinged trigger is on the SW40F (or, at least, the AirSoft version of same).

        P99 /does/ have some odd things, like the broad trigger blade pushes against a skinny lever. Appears one part lifts up under the slide, while a second part moves a flat “rod” to the rear. I suspect the first is lifting a firing pin block, while the second does the striker (and even manually cocking the action only lets the trigger “snap” to a half cocked position — so the P99 appears to be one of those where the single-action pull is still partial striker cocking)


    • It’s interesting to note that the US government is now considering the S&W MP as a possible replacement for the Beretta M9 for non -dedicated government personel. The DA only feature is considered more foolproof for folks who don’t really care about advanced training with the weapon they carry. We as enthusiasts tend to forget that there are a lot of folks who carry guns in their jobs, who really do not have much interest in shooting or the subtle differences between models.



  5. Matt61,
    You might have been confused about whether or not I already owned a Savage because I had mentioned before that I was interested in a Model 12 target version. You just gave me enough of a nudge to make sure that my son had given a Savage adequate consideration.

    Regarding lessons that he might have gotten from me. I’ve not formally coached him until this Sunday, but I’ve talked to him about things that I’ve learned over time. He tends to be a good student, and retains whatever I teach him, and it showed this past Sunday. He was doing what I had taught him, just a little too much. Specifically to shoot as relaxed as possible. Again, the issue that we had with the rifle was that the scope rings were way too high. They fit me better, so I was better able to overcome them, but even I hurt my neck a little.

    I spoke with a friend last night about my sons groups, and how one suggestion caused the groups to shift to the left, but still high. This friend of mine explained that while winning a World Championship at 300 meters and setting a world record, that he had trained himself to be super relaxed with the high-power rifle by pretending that it was an air-rifle. He trained himself to not think about recoil. Every shot he reminded himself that he was shooting an air-rifle. Basically, what this means is that my son was doing the right thing. We just need to get low rings so that he can properly place the entire butt-plate against his shoulder, which he wasn’t able to do.

    Victor


  6. I havent used my mp45 for about 8months. I tried putting in a co2 cartridge in and all the air came out. I tried it twice after that with no luck. What am i doing wrong?


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