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!