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Smith & Wesson M&P 45 air pistol: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

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

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Smith & Wesson M&P 45 air pistol. Of course, this pistol shoots both BBs and pellets, so we’ll have to look at the velocity for both.

Two different clips
I told you in Part 1 that the pistol uses two different clips — one for BBs and the other for pellets. It’s important to use the correct clip for each type of ammunition to avoid feeding problems and possible jams. I’ll start with BBs

BBs are pushed into the black plastic clip from the side that doesn’t have the ratchet teeth. The BBs are held in by pressure, alone, so loading them correctly is important.

Unusual stability!
For what I think is a first, I noticed no difference in velocity between single-action and double-action firing. Double-action is when you just pull the trigger to fire the gun. The trigger cocks the striker and advances the clip to the next chamber, so the pull is heavier though, on this pistol, it isn’t that bad.

Single-action is when you cock the pistol separately before the shot. That can be done by pulling back on the rear half of the slide. You won’t find it in the manual, but it’s there and the trigger becomes much easier to pull. Do it when you want to shoot accurately, as opposed to fast.

The pistol fires at between 5 lbs., 4 oz. and 5 lbs., 9 oz. on single-action and more than 12 lbs. on double-action. That may sound like a lot; but if you’re a shooter who pulls a lot of triggers, it isn’t so bad.

I shot Daisy zinc-plated BBs, because extensive testing has shown them to be just a little larger than Crosman Copperhead BBs and, therefore, more accurate and a little faster.

Eight BBs (what fits in one clip) averaged 345 f.p.s. As I said, it didn’t matter whether they were fired single-action or double-action. The spread went from 340 to 351 f.p.s., and I was allowing about 10 seconds between each shot. At the average velocity, the gun is generating 1.35 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Now for pellets
When shooting pellets, we use the gray metal clip. Pellets are loaded from the side that has the ratchet. That’s just the reverse of the BBs. Load the pellets point or nose first and seat them so their skirts are flush with the clip so there won’t be any jams.

The first pellet I fired was the Crosman Competition pellets — a very appropriate pellet for a pistol like this. Eight pellets averaged 334 f.p.s., ranging from a low of 329 to a high of 348 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 1.96 foot pounds with this pellet.

Next, I tried RWS Hobbys, which are among the very lightest of pure lead pellets. They also averaged 334 f.p.s., but the range was much broader. It went from 316 to 344 f.p.s. I attribute that to the tight fit of the pellets. The gun was much harder to cock and shoot with Hobbys, as well, so they are not a good pellet for this pistol. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 1.73 foot-pounds.

Finally, I tried an H&N Finale Match Pistol pellet. They averaged 351 f.p.s. with a spread from 345 to 359 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they were producing 2.07 foot-pounds of energy, making them the clear leader for efficiency among the pellets tested. They also fit the chambers better, and I think that has a lot to do with how fast they went relative to the Hobbys.

How many shots per cartridge?
How many shots you get from a CO2 cartridge is always something buyers want to know. The M&P seems to be right in where all the other BB pistols are. I got 56 shots before the velocity dropped below 300 f.p.s. with Finale Match Pistol pellets.  I shot a final clip of eight — making 64 shots in all. The lowest velocity I saw was 272 f.p.s. with Finale Match Pistol pellets. But you must remember that I was allowing the gun 10 seconds between shots to warm up. Shoot it fast, and you’ll drop below 300 f.p.s. sooner than I did.

So far, this pistol is doing well. But I’m still intrigued by that one owner who claims he can shoot one-inch groups at 23-24 yards. Part 3 should be very interesting!

22 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson M&P 45 air pistol: Part 2”

  1. OK, I’ll be first today…..

    I’ve never had a CO2 gun. If the accuracy is good, I may have to put this one on my short list. I’d be surprised if it can do 1″ at 23 yds, though. Was that with bb’s or pellets? I forgot if you mentioned it…


    • I find 1″ at 23yds for this pistol to be, in Mythbusterese, implausable. I would think it was a typo or brain lapse and they meant 23 feet. I wait to be proven wrong. It won’t be the first time 🙂 However, even if it is 1″ at only 23 feet, I’d say this is still a good choice for safely practicing clean-draw and point-and-shoot of the firearm.

      • Let me clarify: I didn’t mean a good choice for safely practicing clean-draw and point-and-shoot WITH the firearm. I meant practice with the air pistol and transtitioning that training to the firearm.

        • Chuck,

          I’ve always suspected that there was a small black hole somewhere around Chicago…. (As evidenced by certain inter-dimensional creatures that have come out of there in recent times.) Bet if you shoot pointed the other way from there through your chrono, your velocities will fall off by 20%…..


  2. I do believe that the SWM&P is my favorite among the current polymer handguns. It combines the best of the preceding generation like the Glocks and is backed by that SW quality and customer service.

    DG, the statistical standards for airgunning are right here at the PA blog. We’ve had long discussions about this and the highlights are that 30 shots more or less at a given range will give you a maximum group size that will not expand except for some human or technical failure. The distribution of shots within the radius of such a group follows, approximately, a radial normal distribution. It turns out that the 3 to 5 shot groups that are normally used are not bad approximations of what a given gun can do, and the normal distribution implies certain transformation that have, more or less, held up. A 3 shot group is about 82% the size of a what a five shot group would be, and a 5 shot group is about 70% of a 10 shot group if I recall. If you have anything to add let us know. And see if you can attract the attention of Herb. He is really into this and knows a lot about it.

    PeteZ, I keep forgetting to address the issue of the standing artillery hold about which I have some experience since it’s all I do. There are some paradoxes here–countervailing effects–that make the issue kind of fuzzy. As far as I’m concerned, a standing artillery hold is identical to a rested hold but standing up. No big mystery. But although a rested artillery hold is more stable it poses special difficulties because the very stability makes the loose recoil of the gun more obvious. The recoil was much sharper when I went to the bench than what I am accustomed to standing. Standing is less stable but the overall body movement that is not constrained by a rest seems to dampen recoil. Live your damped oscillations. So once you get a handle on the reticle movement that comes with offhand shooting of any gun, the artillery hold should actually be easier to perform than it would be at a rest.

    B.B., thanks for the info on droop. But if droop can come at any angle to the barrel, as I understood you to say, not just in the vertical plane directly beneath the bore axis, then how could a droop compensator work since it couldn’t work the same for different angles? If the droop is always directly down from the barrel axis all the more reason for this to be fixed.

    Volvo, that is pretty weird about all the wild animals. My grandfather used to say that troubled people would kill themselves in earlier times but they wouldn’t mess with other people by shooting them or, in this case, releasing wild animals to fend for themselves and endanger people. Tragic.

    As today’s quick fact that is relevant to the broad topic of Smith and Wesson, I see that revolver guru Jerry Miculek uses a DA revolver with a 10 pound trigger because he will outrun any lighter trigger. That is one strong, fast finger he’s got there…


    • Matt,

      The droop is established when the barrel is joined to the receiver. Like I said, even fixed-barrel air rifle, like the RWS Diana 48, droop. In fact, the 48 is known as a drooper.

      So how they manufacture it makes it a drooper.


      • Not even HW airguns are immune. My .22 cal HW-77 requires a drooper mount; I ran out of vertical adjustment trying to get sighted in at 25 yards (with a Blue Ribbon 66 scope.)


        • Paul,

          Your comment got caught up in the spam filter. Sigh. The spam filter has been relatively ineffective, which is why we’re sometimes faced with 20-50 spams posted on the blog when we get up in the mornings. I’ve been reworking the filter, and it now appears to be catching a bit more than spam.

          I’ve whitelisted you. Hopefully, that’ll stop you from getting caught as spam.


      • If the droop is shooting the pellets too low and it’s done at the factory why is there no talk about the opposite effect?
        Why so many airguns shoot down but none shoot too high?

        I’ll probably end up buying this pistol if it’s close to being accurate in part 3. At around 60$ (price here) It’s hard to resist, especially when you already have a bunch of those little Umarex clips.


          • You call it “droop” and that conditions us to think it’s in the vertical plane. But the way you’re describing the origins, couldn’t it also have a left-right component?

            • Pete you stole my line!
              If the problem is the way they make the barrel or the way it’s fixed to the rifle than that phenomenon should happen on all axis, no?
              Why is there so much talk on the ones that shoot too low and almost none on all other directions?
              Is it because a scope can more easily compensate on the other sides because of the way it’s made?

              Could a scope be turned upside down? Sure the adjustements would be the opposites but would this bring any problems in use? Wouldn’t that be the “redneck” way of solving the problem?


  3. 1″ groups at 23yds!!
    As someone mentioned, he is either dreaming or meant feet, not yards.
    If someone can shoot like that with this (really…a lower end CO2 pistol) I’d fully expect to see them in next years Olympics, blowing some very high-priced Steyrs, FWB’s and Walthers out of the water.
    Don’t think so.

    • Olympic air pistol is shot at 10m, which is 33 ft. You need to shoot almost all 10’s with a scattering of 9’s. Well, you don’t need to shoot the 9’s but everyone does! It’s a hell of a lot smaller than 1-inch groups at this distance. I’m not sure what it’d translate to at 25 meters, but the real precision pistol shooting in the Olympics is free pistol and that’s done at 50 meters. The groups at this range are sure bigger than the rifle groups.

      So, at 25 meters, what’s shot by some of the same people who go to the Olympics? There’s standard pistol, sport pistol (woman’s event) and rapid fire pistol. Rapid fire’s pretty cool and the targets are pretty big! Keep your shots inside a saucer and you’ll be in the 9’s and 10’s.

      The rifle target BTW is so demanding that the 10 is a DOT and shots are measured from the outside in! As in, what the outer edge of the shot hole touches. If it’s touching say the 7 it can’t be a 10, etc.

      Some other really good shooters are the NRA 3-gun guys. They use red dots and scopes, booo, but they’re really good. They shoot at 25 yards. They use 3 rates of fire though, only the first is as slow as an Olympic shooter will use.

      This pistol is interesting. A friend of mine has the M&P firearm. And this pistol being a true shootemupski, will do what I was trying to do with pulled cases, primer, pellets, and a fair amount of idiocy with my Ruger Single-Six and too much free time.

      • Flobert…I don’t disagree with anything you say…but 1″ with this thing at 23 yrds…I stand by my original opinion…if he can do that with this…he could easily compete at 10m with a proper pistol.
        I compete locally in 10m competitions. I’m mid pack I’d say, shooting average in the mid 500’s. (so I sorta know what I’m talking about).
        I also have a Umarex 1911A1 Colt (the expensive pellet only version). At 10m, if I am having a good day and am using single action I can shoot 1″ groups…at 23 yrds…no way.

        • And Umarex 1911A1 Colt replica that shoots only pellets sounds fun! And 1-inch at 10m is perfectly acceptable to me. Most jays and squirrels, and tin cans, are at that distance!

          To me, cocking + pistol = poo. I don’t wanna do it!

          I could get one of those 2300S (or was it 2300T?) pistols customized by the Crosman shop for metallic silhouette, with decent sites not the one that needs a scope, these days but I can see myself carrying, and plinking, with a 1911A1 form factor pistol much more.

          I’ll have to try to look into what they cost. Meanwhile, my model 2004 just ticks me off. It’s awkward to cock, and it just sits in a drawer now. And I think it made me do something funny to my thumb.

        • I checked and that one costs more than the Crosman 2300S (for Silhouette, it’s got good iron sites on it no scope nonsense) would cost me from Pyramyd.

          Hmm …..

          Gotta save money though, I want to get a used Toyota van, need a better bug-out vehicle than a bicycle trailer.

  4. I think we agree. I was trying to put some meat on the bones of the argument. I don’t think this guy can shoot 1″ at 23 yards with this thing and if he can, I’d sure like to see it – and him in the Olympics if he’s good at politics also!

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